Traveling to the East Side of Korea can be fantastic for your vacation. Yeongdong Highway and Seoul-Yangyang Highway connect Seoul to the scenic east coast. Yeongdong Highway ends at Gangneung and takes about three hours by car. Seoul-Yangyang Highway ends at Yangyang and takes about three hours by car. During weekend or holiday, it would take longer because of traffic. The combination of mountains and beaches makes the east side of Korea an ideal vacation spot. The small coastal towns as well as the deeply forested mountains of the area show historical sites and vibrant colors of life. In addition, the mountains offer exciting opportunities with some ski resorts in east side of South Korea. Here we introduce 14 places to visit in East Side of South Korea.

Eastern Korea

Chuncheon (춘천)

Chuncheon, the lakeside city, is the provincial capital of Gangwon province. It is a famous tourist city tucked away in a basin with Uiamho Lake to the west, Chuncheonho and Soyangho Lakes to the north, and Sinyeongang River to the south. Therefore, aquatic sports are very popular in this area. There are many places to visit including Namiseom and Jungdo Islands, Cheongpyeongsa Temle and Soyanggang River. These areas are popular one day trip destination when traveling the east side of Korea because of close distance from Seoul.


Namiseom Island (남이섬)

A mega hit Korean TV drama, Winter Sonata, was filmed here. People relieve the memories of the drama by walking along the tree-lined path featured in the most memorable scene of the drama. The island offers many fun and interesting activities and facilities.


Goseong Unification Observatory (고성통일전망대)

The Goseong Unification Observatory was built by an army in 1983. It is the northernmost point of the east coast. Visitors are able to enjoy a great view of the beautiful mountains and lakes as well as the coast of North Korea. Looking North Korea side is quite exciting.


Seoraksan National Park (설악산국립공원)

It is located in Sokcho where is a popular tourist destination. Seoraksan is a mountain and its height is 1,708 m and is the third highest in South Korea. Many people consider the mountain as one of Korea’s most beautiful mountains. Seoraksan National Park spreads across four regions: Sokcho, Inje, Goseong and Yangyang. Its highest peak is Daecheongbong and scenery from there is really excellent.


Naksansa Temple (낙산사)

It is located at the north of Naksan Beach and has 1,300 years of history. It is overlooking the sea and provides spectacular sunrise views. Naksansa houses many Buddhist cultural properties and especially famous is the 16 m tall statue of Buddha called “Haesugwaneum”.

Chuam beach

Chuam Beach (추암해변)

It is located in Donghae-si. Along the village of Chuam-ri is a 150 m long beach with a coastal cliff, a cave and a number of rocky islets. So they offer a fantastic view of nature. As if purposely erected there, Chotdaebawi Rock, or Candlestick Rock, stands tall in the middle of the ocean. This quiet and shallow beach is ideal for family vacations, and it offers a picture-perfect sunrise any day of the year. Many people are visiting there to see the sunrise on January 1st each year.


Gangneung (강릉)

It is located by the east coast of the Korean peninsula. As a result, Gangneung is a beautiful seaside city with Gyeongpo Beach. It has also historical buildings like Ojukheon which is the place where Yi Yulgok, a great Confucian scholar of the Joseon Dynasty, lived with his mother, Sin Saimdang. Sin Saimdang was a genius painter and she is on the 50,000 won bill.


Gyeongpo Provincial Park (경포도립공원)

It is located in Gangneung. Gyeongpo Provincial Park is surrounded by a slew of both natural and cultural attractions such as a lake and a beach. Especially Gyeongpoho Lake is home to swans and mallards. Gyeongpodae, a pavilion overlooking Gyeongpoho Lake, is a great location to enjoy the first full moon of the year. Gyeongpo Beach is known to be one of the cleanest beaches on the east coast.


Jeongdongjin (정동진)

It is also located in Gangneung. Dong, “동”, means east in Korean, thus it was named so for being located directly east of Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Gate. It is especially popular on New Year’s Eve because it is where the sunrise begins. Jeongdongjin Station is a Guinness World Record holder as the station closest to the sea.

Mangsang Auto Camping

Mangsang Auto Camping Resort (망상오토캠핑장)

It is located by Mangsang Beach which is in Donghae. Mangsang Auto Camping Resort is the first camping site in Korea for mobile homes and recreational vehicles. This nature-friendly leisure space is ideal for family vacations or group outings.

Odaesan National Park (오대산국립공원)

Many people visit Odaesan National Park for hiking because it has good hiking courses. It is divided into the Woljeongsa district and the Sogeumgang district. Woljeongsa is the oldest temple of the Silla Kingdom. Odaesan Mountain is spread over a total area of 304 square kilometers with its highest peak at Birobong (1,563 m). Sogeumgang has a beautiful view and landscape.


Samyang Ecogreen Campus (대관령삼양목장)

It has a large green pasture on a plateau, Ecogreen Campus and has been a meadow for dairy cows Since 1985 because of its altitude. It provides a great view of its surrounding areas. So the sunrise over the East Sea is exceptionally beautiful. It takes about 30 minutes to tour the entire ranch by shuttle bus. In addition, families and groups of people can stay overnight at the ranch with prior reservations.


Chiaksan National Park (치악산국립공원)

Chiaksan Mountain is located about 12 km northeast of Wonju and its height is 1,288 m. It attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year due to its natural beauty and proximity to Seoul. Chiaksan Valley with uniquely shaped rocks and cliffs is magnificent. In addition, there are several Buddhist temples.

Korea Ski Resort
Korea Ski Resort2

Skiing & Snowboarding

Given that Korea is a highly mountainous country, it is no surprise that east side of Korea has a great number of world-class ski resorts. As a result, Pyeongchang in Gangwon province held the 2018 Winter Olympics. Every year, millions of tourists come to Korea to enjoy the snow covered hills and slopes.

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