by Abigail Javellana
(Copyright: The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games)
The city of Gangneung, one of the host cities for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, is famous for its beaches, lakes, seafood, museums, and old houses.
There are a number things you can do here--from enjoying fresh seafood at the Jumunjin Seafood Market and touring Ojukheon House (the oldest wooden residential building in Korea), to enjoying modern art in Haslla Art World and witnessing a 4.3km stretch of cherry blossom trees surround Gyeongpoho Lake.
Here's a photo essay of the sites you can visit near the Winter Olympic venues...
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Yeongdong Expressway Route II - Around 2 hours, 40 min from International Airport to Gangneung
- KTX (High-Speed Train) Around 70 min from Seoul/Cheongryangri to Gangneung
- Railroads (Olympic Route)
- Around 108 minutes from Incheon Airport to Gangneung
- From Gangneung Intercity Bus Terminal or Gangneung Express Bus Terminal, take Bus 202 and get off at Gyeongpodae Bus Stop.
The Gangneung Olympic Park is a sports complex area in Gangneung, which will be the location of four of the venues of the 2018 Olympic Games--Gangneung Hockey Centre, Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Ice Arena, and the Gangneung Curling Centre.
It will host the ice sports curling, figure skating, short track speed skating, speed skating, and ice hockey.
WHERE TO GO:
Jumunjin Seafood Market
Squid, crabs, mackerel, pike, seaweeds, delicious sashimi, and various dried products can be found here at inexpensive prices!
The Jumunjin Seafood Market was founded in 1936 and is the largest seafood market on the East Coast. It is located in Gangneung next to Jumunjin Port, where large fleets of squid boats dock.
There are also many restaurants in the market offering fresh seafood, a dried seafood market, and a sashimi center.
For lunch, we had a huge serving of perfectly grilled herring, mackerel, and red fish.
A favorite to take home is the large pack of dried seaweed that costs 10,000 won.
Jumunjin Seafood Market
38, Sijang-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Contact: +82-2-1330 , +82-33-661-7302
(National Treasure No. 165)
Built in 1450 during the Joseon Dynasty, Ojukheon House is one of oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea, where Shin Saimdang lived, and her son Yulgok Yi Yi--a great philosopher and politician who finalized Korea's neo-Confucianism--was born.
The building has been well maintained by the descendants throughout the generations.
Shin Saimdang (1504 - 1511) is considered as the model of the Korean woman, one who embodies Confucian virtues including filial piety. Her face is on the 50,000 won bill.
Her son Yi Yi's face on the other hand can be found in the current 5,000 won bill.
King Jeongjo ordered the Eoje-gak to be built to preserve the inkstone and the book Gyeokmongyogyeol (The Secret of Expelling Ignorance) written by Yi Yi.
There are plenty of black bamboo around the house, hence the name Ojukheon.
Several scheduled performances are held outside the Yulgok Memorial Hall.
The compound also includes Mongnyongsil, Munsengsa, Eoje-gak, Yulgok Memorial, the guesthouse, the main building, and the museum.
Admission Fees: Individual - Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won
24, Yulgok-ro 3139beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Contact: +82-2-1330 ,+82-33-660-3301~3308
Haslla Art World
Covering an area of 61 acres, Haslla Art World was built atop a seaside hill, maintaining its natural landscape to minimize damage to nature.
Various modern art pieces are displayed including paintings, sculptures, crafts, etc.
One of my favorite sections is the extensive Pinocchio exhibit, which is fascinating for adults and kids alike.
Their Art Garden features different themed sections including the Sea Garden, Pine Tree Garden, Time Hall, Wetlands, Field Garden, and Fun Garden that brings together nature, people, and art.
At the Fun Garden, visitors can admire the sculptures while gazing at the clear view of the sea.
Visiting the art garden involves a lot of walking. It's not a hard walk, and there are many benches plus a cafe to where you can relax.
My favorite is the Sky Observatory.
A full tour takes around one and a half to two and a half hours.
Tip: They also have a hotel that offers a modern take on lodging with an out-of-the-box experience, thanks to their quirky decor and unique rooms that feel like you're living inside an artwork.
Haslla Art World
1441, Yulgong-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Contact: +82-33-1330 , +82-33-644-9411
Gyeongpo Lake: Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival
Many spring festivals happen all over Korea, but one of the most anticipated is the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Every year, Gangneung hosts the Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival, which usually starts early to mid-April where you'll catch the cherry blossoms at their peak. This year the festival ran from April 6 to April 12.
The peak bloom is the magical moment visitors want to experience during the cherry blossom season. This happens when 70 percent of the trees have opened their buds, creating a magical sea of pink and white.
It is not as famous as the other cherry blossom festivals in Korea so expect a lesser volume of people.
It takes place at the center of Gyeongpodae Pavilion. During the festival, various cultural events are held against the beautiful cherry blossom backdrop. There are also food stalls and shops available during the festival dates. Bicycles can be found on the festival grounds for rent!
Winter Olympics Promotion Hall
Get to know more about your favorite winter sports and visit the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Promotion Hall.
This is an Olympic promotion center where visitors can see the entire Olympic processes, from the bidding to the actual hosting of the Games, and a 4D experience room.
PyeongChang 2018 House
131 Nanseolheon-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Gangeung especially the cultural, historical, and natural attractions the city had to offer.
Start your day with a visit to the Jumunjin Market where you’ll find impressive fresh seafood caught on the East Coast, then a historical visit Ojukheon House. Spend the rest of your afternoon wandering in the gardens of Haslla Art World.
And don’t miss a good bargain on those dried seaweed!
Live an Awesome Life,
ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: We were media guests of the Korea Tourism Organization. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. What Olympic winter sports event are you looking forward to?