Gangwon-do is blessed with splendid nature scenery, but it has more to offer than the gifts of nature. The beautiful coastal cities of Gangneung and Donghae are drawing the attention of tourists with newly opened attractions. By taking KTX-Eum from Seoul Station, Gangneung can be reached in just 2 hours and Donghae in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Enjoy a vacation away from Seoul in search for old and new attractions in Gangneung and Donghae.
ARTE Museum Valley Gangneung opened in December 2021. It is the third ARTE Museum to open, following the branches in Jeju and Yeosu. ARTE Museum is an exhibition gallery that uses videos, mirrors, sounds, and fragrance to create a fascinating space where you can appreciate media art using your senses. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be embraced by darkness with only the lights and sounds from the media artworks to guide you. The exhibition gallery is divided into 12 spaces according to different themes, such as flowers, waves, and the beach to name a few.
One thing to remember is to watch your step and progress slowly so that you don’t bump into any mirrors. Also, the passageways leading in and out of each themed space are designed like a maze, so visitors are advised to use the pamphlet as a guide to find their way through. At the end of the final exhibition is ARTE Shop, where you can buy souvenirs like diffusers, handmade soaps, scented candles, and more. ARTE Museum Valley is the perfect place to spend your time whether in rain or snow as all exhibitions are indoors.
- Watch ARTE Museum Valley media art video via Facebook
Haslla Art World is located on top of a small hill by the sea. The museum’s name “Haslla” refers to the the name of Gangneung in the past. The museum has diverse dimensional artworks on display both indoors and outdoors.
A chair surrounded by colorful flowers and an outdoor exhibit with the blue ocean in the background are a few of the contemporary artworks that serve as photo spots that will make you forget the time. Besides the exhibition gallery, Haslla Art World also has a restaurant, café, and a hotel with guestrooms that are designed with an artistic touch.
Ojukheon House was named so due to the many ojuk, or black bamboos, planted around the area. Ojukheon House is a must-visit attraction in Gangneung, not only for its beautiful scenery but also for its historical importance. Ojukheon House is the birthplace of Yulgok Yi-i, one of the most famous scholars from the Joseon dynasty. His portrait is on the 5,000 won Korean bill, and a portrait of his mother Shin Saimdang is on the 50,000 won Korean bill.
Ojukheon House was a filming site of the drama “Saimdang, Memoir of Colors (2017)” and it has a stone plaque with handprints of the drama’s main cast shortly after you walk pass the entrance. Inside the premises is Ojukheon House building, Munseongsa, sarangchae (main guestroom), eojaegak, Yulgok Yi-i Memorial Hall, and Gangneung City Museum.
Donghae Nondamgol-gil Street is a small road in a neighborhood on a hill. Follow the stairway and alleyways to reach Mukho Lighthouse on the hilltop where you take in the view of the East Sea. The houses and walls are decorated with murals that depict the golden era of Mukhohang Port and the village in the 1970s.
Nongoldam-gil Street featured in several dramas. In “The Heirs (2013),” this area was the filming location of Cha Eun-sang’s (Park Shin-hye) home, whereas the Mukho Lighthouse made an appearance in “Brilliant Legacy (2009),” which featured Han Hyo-joo and Lee Seung-gi. Walk a bit further from the hilltop to get to the next destination, Dojjaebigol Sky Valley.
Opened in June 2021, Dojjaebigol Sky Valley is equipped with tourist attractions like Sky Cycle, Giant Slide, and a Skywalk overlook. The Skywalk has a transparent glass flooring to show visitors a thrilling view 59 meters below their feet.
The word dojjaebi is a Gangwon-do and Gyeongsang-do dialect for dokkaebi, Korean goblins that appear in folktales. The valley was named after the mythic creatures due to a legend about dojjaebi in the valley. If you follow the downhill path in the direction of the ocean from Dojjaebigol Sky Valley, you’ll soon reach Haerang Observatory that protrudes out into the sea. You’ll notice from afar that the observatory deck is an oval shape, which is in fact designed to resemble a club used by dokkaebi. Haerang Observatory also has a transparent glass-bottom floor that allows visitors to see the blue waters right under their feet.
* This column was last updated in April 2022, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.