OWL Magazine Korea

Spring Trip to Gangneung, May 2022 – 1 Night, 2 Days

While Gangwon Province is closer than I initially thought, I hadn’t ventured there for a trip. Until before the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t easy for me to travel to Gangwon Province since I had been living in Paju for a while.

Even though it takes only 1 to 2 hours to travel from Paju to Seoul, considering the additional travel time from Seoul to Gangneung, it felt like a long journey. Now, with the opening of the “Seoul-Yangyang Expressway,” accessibility between Seoul and Gangwon Province has improved. However, it wasn’t the case in the past. Because of this, when it came to domestic travel, I often found myself heading to Jeju Island, which was not only cost-effective during the off-peak season but also had affordable airfare, car rentals, and accommodations.

“After COVID-19: A 1-night, 2-day Trip to Gangneung”

Furthermore, international travel was quite affordable back then. In the case of Japan, which is close to Korea, the cost and flight duration to visit Fukuoka or Osaka from Korea were slightly higher than visiting Jeju Island. Therefore, going abroad was more convenient. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the world’s isolation, overseas travel became much more challenging.

That’s when I turned my attention to domestic travel. Taking the opportunity, I decided to visit Gangneung, a place I hadn’t visited in a long time.

“A 1-night, 2-day Trip to Gangneung”

This time, my trip to Gangneung lasted only 1 night and 2 days. Due to economic constraints caused by COVID-19, I aimed to minimize expenses as much as possible.

I considered taking the KTX to Gangneung Station and renting a car there, but a friend who accompanied me suggested that it would be more convenient to go by car. Thanks to this, I was able to save on transportation costs. Also, since it was a trip with just two adult men, the expenses weren’t too high. I chose a budget-friendly accommodation for around 24,000 KRW per night. If there was one thing that cost the most, it would probably be the sashimi dinner on the first day. We dined at Hanmi Hwejip, and we opted for a course menu that cost around 100,000 KRW.

Other than that, there wasn’t much else that required a significant amount of money. The entrance fees for Ojukheon and the Jungdongjin Time Museum were all there was.

“Gangneung Itinerary”

The places I visited in Gangneung on this trip were as follows:

“Day 1”

“Day 2”

The return journey from Gangneung to Seoul was done via the Seoul-Yangyang Expressway.

“Seoul-Yangyang Expressway, Naerincheon Rest Area”

Naerincheon Rest Area is located on the Seoul-Yangyang Expressway and offers a magnificent view. However, I visited too late in the day, so I only made a brief stop at the convenience store and then continued on, leaving me feeling a bit disappointed.

Additionally, after the trip, I came across a sad news article about Naerincheon Rest Area. The rest area is operated by Sono Hotel & Resort and was awarded the operating rights as the first privately operated rest area in 2017. It was guaranteed five additional years of operation based on the results of the initial five-year contract, following a two-year extension due to COVID-19. However, it caught my attention that they decided to return the operating rights. This led to the following article:

  • Ohmynews “Tragedy of Naerincheon Rest Area, the First Aerial Rest Area”: Link

The contract period is said to last until June 30, 2022, but I’m not sure how it’s being operated after that. If I have the opportunity, I’d like to stop by again to see how it’s doing.

“The Two Most Memorable Places”

The two most memorable places from this Gangneung trip were “East Sea Cine” in Jungdongjin and “Brazil” Cafe in Jumunjin.

“Jungdongjin, East Sea Cine”

I stumbled upon East Sea Cine in Jungdongjin, a place that’s not easy to define with just one word. It serves as a “cafe, small movie theater, bookstore, and accommodation,” making it a unique place.

It’s a great place to escape to a quiet seaside and spend some romantic time away from the city. If I have the chance in the future, I would like to purposely make a trip here.

“Jumunjin, Cafe Brazil”

Cafe Brazil, visited in Jumunjin, is a cafe with a view of the sea in front of Jumunjin, visible through large windows on the second floor. The view of Jumunjin’s sea from the second floor of the cafe is picturesque. It left such a strong impression that I wanted to keep gazing at the view through the window. Just like East Sea Cine, this is also a place that makes me want to go out of my way to visit again.

This was a short but impactful 1-night, 2-day trip to Gangneung. While Gangneung was not as far from Seoul as I initially thought, it’s a region that doesn’t quite resonate with me as much as I had hoped.

“Gangneung Trip Details”

  • Description: A trip to Gangneung with a friend
  • Duration: May 11th – 12th, 2022