Around Korea

Gangneung: One day trip to the East Sea

In June 2018, me and my best friend went on one day trip to Gangneung (강릉) – the city on the east cost of South Korea, where some of Winter Olympics 2018 championships took place. The main purpose of this one day trip was to try Gangneung food (mukbang trip/먹방여행), but also we wanted to walk around Gangneung beaches and see beautiful nature.

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So, we took a KTX train at 9 am from Seoul station and arrived to Gangneung Station in 2 hours. In front of the station, you will find cute Winter Olympics 2018 mascots!

FAMOUS JJAMPONG FROM GANGNEUNG

Our first stop was a popular restaurant Donghwa Garden (동화가든), which serves soft tofu jjampong (순두부짬뽕). Many famous people came to try this spicy noodle soup with seafood and tofu, including president of South Korea. At the entrance, you will see the wall with autographs of celebrities and important visitors. There you can take a queue number and wait to be seated (we waited 10 minutes, but sometimes waiting time can be longer). Restaurant has break time between 4 and 5pm.

We ordered two spicy soft tofu jjampongs (원조짬순과,  9.000₩ per person), and, since we were on a holiday, decided to drink some makgeolli (막걸리 – Korean rice wine) as an “afternoon alcohol drink” (낮술). As expected, the soup was amazingly delicious! For sure, the best jjampong I have tried. 

GANGMUN BEACH 

After eating, we headed to the first beach of Gangneung – Gangmun beach (강문해변). It is in a walking distance from the lunch place. On the way, we stopped by the ice cream shop Soontofu Gelato (순두부젤라또). I tried injeolmi gelato (인절미젤라또 – 3.500₩) – yummy!

On Monday afternoon, there were still many tourists and locals at the beach. It was not swimming season yet, so the atmosphere was a bit more relaxing – no crowds, just people enjoying views and chilling. 

The water was purely blue and quite cold. Also, it was foggy in the afternoon, so it seemed like the sky and sea merged together. Still remember warm sand and fresh sea breeze while looking at the pictures I took^^

GANGNEUNG COFFEE STREET 

After Gangmun beach we headed to the Gyeongpo beach (경포수욕장), which is famous for the pine forest nearby. We took a long walk through pine forest to the third beach – Anmok (안목해변) – the most popular one and must visit on Gangneung trip. The pine tree road leaded us to the coffee street, which is in front of Anmok beach. Gangneung coffee street (강릉커피거리) is a coastline road filled with cafés. It was a new thing for me to discover that Gangneung is also considered a “city of coffee”: despite numerous coffee shops, you can also find here coffee museum, barista academy, or visit coffee festival.

We decided to take a break and drink coffee in one of the cafés – L.Bean (엘빈). Most of cafés have beautiful terraces including L.Bean, but it became quite windy and very foggy, so we sit inside on the 3rd floor. My friend told me that this place serves delicious tarts. She ordered strawberry tart (딸기치즈, 6.500₩) and I ordered cherry one (체리타르트, 6.500₩) plus both of us got iced americano (4.800₩/one). It was a tasty coffee break with pretty East Sea view.

ANMOK LIGHTHOUSES

After chilling for a while at the Anmok beach, we headed to see Anmok lighthouses. There are two lighthouses near Anmok beach: red and white. Red one is closer, so we went there first. It was crowded here as it’s a popular spot to take pictures. Its is extremely beautiful here – sea, mountains, blue sky…

Then we walked to the white lighthouse and, surprisingly, there was not a single person! So, we took out a mini tripod and made cool photos together. And yes, we were wearing twinning look (it is common in Korea to wear same clothes for friends on a trip, not just for couples). We bought same cherry t-shirts and denim shorts in Bershka to wear on this trip to Gangneung. It looks great on photos and now when I wear these clothes, I think about my best friend and traveling to Gangneung.

COLD RAW FISH SOUP FOR DINNER

If you like raw fish, Korean cold raw fish soup (물회) is a must try when traveling to the sea! Especially, if you like spicy soups, you will like this one a lot. We headed to the popular restaurant 해미가 (Haemiga) to have dinner. It is a Korean traditional style restaurant, where you sit on the floor. 

There is a waiting list at the door, where u should write how many persons will eat, main dish which you will order and your phone number (because of the popularity of restaurant, there can be line, but we were lucky and were seated right away). If you don’t understand any Korean – ask help straight from the stuff.

We ordered spicy cold raw fish soup for 2 persons (물회, 2인 – 30.000₩), which included seaweed soup, rice, noodles on the side, kimchi, meat (suyuk/수육) and jeon (전 – Korean pancake with spring onions). So, all of this food for just 15$ per person! 대박! For drinks, we took dongdongju (동동주) – rice wine, which is almost same as makgeoli (3.000₩ per bottle).

The soup was increadible! All the side dishes with dongdongju satisfied our foodie travelers’ taste. Definitely go here for the best dinner in Gangneung! Note, that restaurant has break time from 2pm to 4.30pm.

GANGNEUNG STREET FOOD: SEONGNAM MARKET

Our last stop was Seongnam Market (강릉중앙 성남시장) in the city centre of Gangneung. Here you can find fresh ingredients, as well as delicious street foods. We wanted to try famous dessert from this market – ice cream hotteok/아이스크림 호떡 (hotteok – Korean sweet pancake). This hotteok shop 모자호 (Mojaho) was  featured on some Korean TV programme. There are always lines to get good food in Korea (including restaurants we went for lunch and dinner), and same was here near the hotteok stand! We ordered strawberry ice cream and chocolate ice cream hotteoks. Very sweet and delicious for 2.000 per piece! 

After eating dessert, we went to catch our train back to Seoul. Train was at Seoul station around 10pm. 

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If you are thinking about one day getaway to the sea from Seoul – consider picking Gangneung, which is a very popular destination among Koreans. There are lots of things to do in Gangneung, and, for sure, it is one of the best spots for a foodie adventure!

You can find all the places we visited easily by copy-pasting the place’s name in Naver/Kakao maps. Feel free to ask for more details in comments or through contact form! In Gangneung, it is convenient to move around by taxi or car (we used taxi twice), but also it is possible to walk some distances (I recommend to walk from Gyeongpo beach to Anmok beach along pine forest) and ride a city bus (we took bus to city centre and back to the railway station). 

I hope my amazing Gangneung experience will help you to plan your trip! If you are also searching for other day trip destinations close to Seoul, read about my foodie getaway to Namyangju, city just 23 km from Seoul. Safe travels^^

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