Gangwon-do, a province of South Korea, is on the east coast of Korea. The province lies right on the border of South Korea and North Korea. Taebeak Mountain dominate the landscape along with the beautiful beach. While Gangwon-do is divided into cities and counties, Goseong-Gun is the northernmost part of Korea.
Although I grew up in Seoul, half of my childhood was spent in Goseong-Gun as my grandparents had a summerhouse there. Beautiful sceneries through the mountains and calm yet breathtaking beaches along the coast make it one of my favourite places to spend my time. Historical buildings and their lifestyle can be seen as you drive around. In addition, simple yet cozy and warm feelings you get from the neighbourhood and the people makes Goseng-Gun the perfect getaway destination from the city.
Here are some places to visit in Goseong-Gun:
1. Goseong Unification Observatory
Goseong Unification Observatory is the closest location to North Korea. From the observatory, you can see parts in North Korea as well as mountain peaks and islands. Many family members separated during the Korean War come and visit the observatory as there are monuments and museums.
2. WongGok Village
You can really see and experience how life was like in Korea long time ago as this village was around since the Chosun Dynasty. Different housing styles are preserved since then and are still in use. The houses show different social classes. There are festivals and events that take place here where visitors can try out the different traditional food and ways of life.
3. Hwajinpo Beach
Hwajinpo Beach is known for its beautiful 1.7km shoreline with clean, shallow water and fine sand. The sunset here attracts visitors across the country. The area is surrounded by pine trees and sweet briers, providing spectacular scenery – reminding the visitor to appreciate the nature. Heading south from the beach, historical figure such as North Korean dictator Kim Il-Seong and Korea’s first president Yi Seung-Man’s villas can be found. These places have been restored and are opened for visitors. As well, the Korean Drama “Autumn in My Heart” (가을동화) was also filmed here.
4. Gunbongsa Temple
Gunbongsa is located in the mountain, since the Silla period. The drive through the mountains to get here is absolutely fascinating, especially in fall when leaves change colour. Many monuments and tombs here have been demolished when the Japanese invaded Korea (1592 – 1598) but restoration slowly brought the temple back to life. Traditional buildings represent Korea’s long history.
Have any of you been these places before? What other places have you been to in the province Gangwondo?