Gangneung (강릉) is the largest coastal city in Gangwon Province, third largest overall. It is nestled at the east side of South Korea's longest mountain range, Taebaek. The Taebaek Mountains stretch along the eastern edge of Korean Peninsula and run along the East Sea. Geologically isolated from most parts of the country, Gangneung was able to preserve its own distinct culture and to date it has a tendency of being politically and culturally more conservative.
- Tourist Information Office, Gangneung-si Hongje-dong 992-3 (behind the bus terminal), ☎ +82 33-640-4114. Open all year round 08:30-18:00. Provides maps and guide books (English, Japanese, Chinese).
Gangneung Bus Terminal connects Gangneung to all major cities in Korea. Gangneung is a popular weekend destination during the summer for Koreans living in the capital area. There is only one expressway that connects Gangneung to Seoul. Consequently, traffic gets very heavy coming in on Fridays and leaving on Sundays. Here you can find the main tourist information centre (TIC).
Gangneung Station is the terminus for the Dong Hae line of Korail. There is a train that connects to Cheongnyangri Station in Seoul, but it goes takes a circuitous route through the mountains and takes 6 hours. A tourist information booth is in front of the station.
Downtown Gangneung is not very big. One can cross downtown on foot in 15 minutes. Getting to other popular areas will take less than 15 minutes by taxi from downtown. Most streets in Gangneung have names and signs.
The public bus system is good. Most signs on the buses do not have English. Sometimes one bus number will have two routes; be careful, particularly if boarding near the bus terminal. Fare is a flat ₩1,200 for city routes when you pay cash and 1,080 won when you use T-money.
Flagfall for a taxi is ₩2,200. Most taxi drivers do not speak English.
Most bicycle shops sell second hand bicycles starting at about ₩50,000. You can buy one and sell it back to the shop for about 50% of purchase price.
- Haslla Art World. This is a massive 26.9 ac. natural art park established by a husband-and-wife team of sculptors. The couple’s desire to preserve the smallest pieces of grass, flowers, trees, and rocks harmonized nature and artistic creations to bring into being a massive art world. Named after Haslla, an old name of Gangneung, it is also known as one of the most beautiful scenic points for the sunrise and moonrise along the east coast.
- Ojukheon Museum (It is located about 1 km west of Gyeongpo Beach.). Named after a special black bamboo growing in this area, the building was the birthplace of the famous Korean scholar Yulgok (1536-1584 A.D. His portrait is featured on the 5,000 Won bank note) and his mother Saimdang (1504-1551 A.D. Who is featured on the 50,000 Won bank note). Since 1963 the Ojukheon Museum counts as national cultural heritage No 165. It includes one of the oldest wooden buildings in Korea. Several shrines and old residential buildings deliver insight into the lives of these famous Koreans.
- Gangneung Municipal Museum. Shows folklore and antique pieces from the history of the city.
- Daegwallyeong Museum. Consists of a revealing collection of more than 1000 artifacts and shows the history of the region. It is located in a somewhat remote area about 5km southwest of downtown. Daegwallyeong is the name given to the mountainous region between Wonju and Gangneung.
- Seongyojang Residence. A traditional house of the high Joseon Dynasty society. It is famous for the beautiful curved lines of its roof, which resemble the shape of traditional Korean socks and hanbok clothing. Garments and products from the Joseon period are displayed in the exhibit and folk information exhibit within Seongyojang.
- Chamsori Gramophone & Edison Museum. As the world's largest museum of gramophones, the Gramophone Museum displays unique gramophones collected from all over the world. The museum has items from a tin foil that was invented by Edison in 1877, all the way up to modern audio systems.
- Biking. Gyeongpo Lake has a paved biking/walking trail around its 4km long shore. There are bike rental shops near the lake.
- Gyeongpodae Beach (6 km north from the centre of the city). One the most beautiful sites in Gangwon-do. It is a beautiful beach of white sands, perfect for swimming and even fishing. Restaurants around the beach offer fresh fish specialities. Numerous festivals take place at this site. Next to the beach there are many cultural sites. It is the third most visited beach in Korea, and as such is very crowded during the summer. To avoid crowds, go to the beaches just north or south. They offer the same beach conditions, but are far less crowded. From a bird's-eye view of Gyeongpodae Beach, when ocean and lake are calm like mirrors you can see the five moons of Gyeongpoho Lake of which many poets have sung: the moon in the sky, moon on the ocean, moon on the lake, moon in the glass of wine and the moon reflected in the eyes of the person across from you.
- Gangneung Danoje. 3rd to the 7th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar every year, mid June. Gangwon-do's largest folk festival was registered in 2000 with UNESCO Intangible Cultural Assets. The city becomes a festive ambience with over 50 official events. The greatest attractions are the Gwanno Mask Play, open-air market with a thousand shops and splendid fireworks.
- International Junior Art Festival (IJAF). An youth festival which is held annually at Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung, South Korea for four days at the beginning of August. With 300 participants from seven nations and 500 visitors every night, it is considered the biggest international youth festival in South Korea. The festival lasts four days (1.-4. August). Each group performs twice: one performance on the main stage at Gyeongpo Beach, one performance on the sub stage next to the Gangneung Arts Hall in the city. The first evening starts with a big parade of all participants through the city towards the beach. The opening and closing ceremony includes a big fireworks at the beach. During festival days, the participating groups attend several cultural workshops. The festival is free of charge for the participating groups, entrance is free for the audience.
- Gyeongpo Rock Festival. takes place at Gyeongpo Beach right after the IJAF from 5.-9. August since 2006. This rock festival, first and foremost attracting young people, offers young Korean bands from the Gangneung area a stage for their performances.
- Gangneung Coffee Festival. is an eleven-day long annual event which began in October of 2009. Gangneung has recently been called 'Coffee City' due to the emergence of privately owned coffee shops that serve high quality coffee.
There are several market places in Gangneung. Gangneung Jung Ang Market is located at the center of the city and is the largest one in the area. Jumunjin Fish Market located at Jumunjin Harbor is also very popular with tourists as they can see and buy various types of fish, inkfish, and shellfish.
There are two major discount stores, Homeplus and E-Mart.
- Uncle Bob (coffee shop), Nansolhyun ro 81-5, or Ponam dong 964, ☎ +82 33 652-2700 +82 5327-2008 English, e-mail: email@example.com. 10 AM to 10 PM. American owned/operated coffee shop. Specialty coffees, teas, fruit drinks, take out and lite brunch with natural countryside outdoor seating. On bicycle trail 5 minutes from the lake or beach, 10 minutes from the bus terminal, 10 minutes from downtown. ₩3,000 for Americano.
- Chodang Grandma's Sundubu, 77 Chodang Sundubu-gil, ☎ +82 33 652-2058. If you like sundubu (soft tofu), there is no better place to go in town and Gangneung is well known for some of the best sundubu. Sundubu: 4,000 won.
- Gangneung Gamja Ongsimi, 171 Toseong-ro, ☎ +82 33 648-0340. Televised on several popular national TV programs for their gamja ongsimi, a variety of dumpling soup.
- Yehyang Makguksu, 62 Nanseolheon-ro, ☎ +82 33 644-2270. Makguksu is Gangwon's local specialty buckwheat noodle dish served in a chilled broth. If you ask the locals, Yehyang is the place they will tell you to go for makguksu. ₩6,000 for a bowl..
- Geumhak Kalguksu, 12-6 Daehak-gil, ☎ +82 33 646-0175. Not a very clean place, but their kalguksu, a handmade, knife-cut noodle soup is what makes the locals keep coming back for more. ₩4,000 for kalguksu..
- Ho Ho Sarang, Byeong Sang Dong 327, ☎ +82 33 651-2151. This family owned restaurant serves a truly unique dish: baked yellow squash stuffed with smoked duck. You can also enjoy dong-dong ju, a traditional rice wine, with your meal.
- Hotel Hyundai, ☎ +82 33-644-2181. Deluxe 93 rooms
- Hotel Kyongpo Beach, ☎ +82 33-644-2277. First Class, 60 rooms
- Gangneung Tourist Hotel, ☎ +82 33-641-7701. First Class, 74 rooms
- Sun cruise hotel, ☎ +82 33-610-7000. 207 rooms
- Aark House, 4-5, Yongji-ro 96beon-gil, ☎ +82 10 9945 3938, +82 33 642 3938, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dorm: ₩20,000-24,000.
- Chodang Guesthouse (강릉초당게스트하우스), ☎ +82 10 3782 1450, e-mail: email@example.com. Dorm: ₩20,000-25,000, Double: ₩25,000-30,000.
The area code for Gangneung and the rest of Gangwon province is 033.
Pyeongchang, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics is located approximately 30km west of Gangneung. There are several ski resorts such as Alpensia Ski Resort, the location where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics will take place, and Yongpyong Ski Resort which has 31 slopes and 15 different lift facilities.