Hey, did you ever go for an unplanned trip? How did it go? Was it a good experience or a bad one? Typically, unplanned trips are ideas that came to life in less than a day – sometimes even just a few hours. It was one random Sunday morning when I suddenly made my mind to go for a day trip in Gangneung. A place I’d been hoping to visit for a long time.
Gangneung is a coastal city located in the eastern province of Gangwon-do. It is a famous vacation spot among Koreans. Explore and discover the unique charms of Gangneung with me in this post.
How to get to Gangneung from Seoul
Most people take the bus to Gangneung, since it is the fastest and most economical way to travel into the city. You can take a bus from the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Seoul subway line 2, exit 4) daily from 6:30 am to 11 pm. It takes about 3 hours and buses run every 30 to 50 minutes. From Seoul’s Express Bus Terminal in Gangnam (Seoul subway line 3, exit 1), buses run every 15 to 30 minutes, daily from 6 am to 11:30 pm. The bus fares are in the range between 14,000 KRW to 22,000 KRW.
In my case, I chose to travel by KTX train as Cheongnyangni station is just a stone’s throw away from my house. The journey took approximately two hours. One-way ticket prices range from 20,000KRW to 30,000KRW.
I arrived at Gangneung station at around 12pm and planned to have my lunch at one of the most famous restaurants there. However, the restaurant that I wanted to go does not welcome solo diners. ‘A table for one, please.’ ‘We are so sorry that we can’t serve you…’ Well, what a big letdown! I will surely visit there again one day later. At last, I just settled my lunch at Lotteria and headed to the first stop, Gangmun Beach.
First Stop – Gangmun Beach 강문해변
Address: 29, Changhae-ro 350beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Adjacent to Gyeongpo Beach, Gangmun Beach is less crowded than Gyeongpo Beach. While Gyeongpo Beach is where tourists go to, Gangmun Beach is where local Gangneung people visit. If you want to feel the local vibes, Gangmun Beach is strongly recommended.
Trust me, it was a selfie 😀 If you are going on a trip alone, do not forget to bring a tripod and selfie stick along. They will surely be your best friend. I spent my time taking selfies and basking in the sun before moving to the next stop.
2nd Stop – Soft Tofu Gelato 순두부 젤라또
Address: 354-4, Chodang-dong, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Having heard Gangneung was known for its soft tofu, I stumbled upon Soft Tofu Gelato, and instantly added it to my list. According to my research, Gangneung is popular for making tofu with seawater, which imparts to the dish light but delightfully salty taste. This kind of tofu is called chodang sundubu (초당순두부).
The shop that I visited is located in front of the famous Sonamoo restaurant. I was surprised when I reached there. A very long line of people waiting to place their orders. The shop makes 4 ice cream flavors: Soft Tofu flavor, Injeolmi (bean flour) flavor, Coffee flavor, and Aronia berry flavor. Each with 3,000 won only.
Finally got my soft tofu gelato after waiting for more than 20 minutes. Not a bit of regret! The gelato was super yummy. The texture was perfect, creamy and full without feeling heavy. It is the unique food you can taste only in Gangneung, so do not miss out the chance when you visit there.
Last Stop – Anmok Beach & Coffee Street 안목해변 & 커피거리
Address: 17 Changan-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Enjoying a cup of coffee as you hear the waves crashing onto the shores by Anmok Beach is a great way to end your day trip at Gangneung.
Trendy amongst Koreans, this coffee street is a nice place to chill at, and with the number of cafes for you to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Once you’re done relaxing, you can even head over to the beach nearby and take a look at the coffee-related art pieces that are scattered around.
Looking at the breathtaking scenery, I quickly whipped out my tripod and took as many pictures as I could. The sun, the sound of the waves, or a perfect combination of both I actually fell asleep for a while. How good life is!
Then at 6 pm I caught a taxi to Gangneung Station, heading back to Seoul again. I was so lucky and grateful to have had such perfect weather, especially on a day that had called for rain.
“I guess sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places, further proof that spontaneity is more rewarding than a meticulously planned life.”J.A. Redmerski, The Edge of Always
I think having a short, peaceable rest is the best way to relieve stress, start my daily life with a new mindset. Hopefully, we can travel here and there again without any anxiety after the corona pandemic. Chills!
Read more: Gangneung- Jumunjin Beach + BTS Bus Stop