Just two hours from Seoul, the stunning province of Gangwon-do is the perfect destination to escape from the crowds.

Man standing with Seoraksan Peak in the background

Photo credit: @shin____zzang via Instagram

Gangwon is no stranger to those who’ve been to Nami Island and Seoraksan National Park, especially for its gorgeous foliage in Autumn and hiking opportunities in Summer.

But not many know of Gangwon in Winter — from Olympic ski slopes to iconic K-pop landmarks, here are six refreshing experiences that make Gangwon a great destination to escape from the busy city of Seoul.

Read also: 8D Singapore-South Korea VTL Itinerary Under S$2.9k incl. Covid Expenses

Necessary documents: digital vaccination certificate, negative pre-departure test result, and health declaration form.

Covid tests: Pre-departure PCR in Singapore, On-arrival PCR test in South Korea, mid-trip ART test on day 6/7 (only if you’re staying for 8 or more days.

*Pro-tip: If you’re in Gangwon two days before your departing flight, head to any of their designated Public Health Centres (PHC) for a fast-track PCR test! You’ll get your results on the same day, or no later than the following noon.

To apply for this fast-track testing, simply book through a travel agency. They will handle the whole process, from application to appointment booking.

On top of that, be sure to download the Self Check app and update your daily health status once you arrive in Korea!

Getting Around Gangwon Province

Friends Renting a Car from Seoul Singapore South Korea VTL Itinerary

From Gangwon-do from Seoul

From Seoul: 90 minutes via KTX or a 120-minute Limousine Bus ride.
From the airport: 160 minutes via KTX or a 120-minute Limousine Bus ride.

Alternatively, rent a car and have pick it up from Incheon Airport or within Seoul City.

Getting Around Gangwon

Intercity bus: Use the BusTago website or app to find your bus routes

G-shuttle also has direct buses to many tourist attractions in Gangwon. Although this service runs on tours, your round-trip transportation and activity fees are covered.

Tourist taxis: Private taxi seat up to 4 pax and run on 3-hour tour packages (₩20,000). They cover areas within the cities of Chuncheon, Gangneung, Sokcho, and Yangyang.

Fun Things to Do in Gangwon-Do, South Korea

1) Recharge at Gangwon’s Wellness Resorts

Yongpyong Resort Balwangsan Mountain

Yongpyong Resort Balwangsan Mountain in Autumn - Gangwon Travel Guide

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

Treat yourself to a healing experience at Yongpyong Resort’s Balwangsan Mountain Forest Healing Center.

Join their Balwangsan Forest Experience and go on a guided hike through the calming woodlands — we recommend either the Yew Healing Forest Trail or the Um Hong-gil Trail!

Alternatively, realign yourself with a yoga and meditation session with Singing Bowl Music Therapy. Relax to the sounds of Tibetan bowls, as their vibrations ease your emotional or mental tension.

Opening hours: 10AM – 5PM
How to get there: Take a direct shuttle bus from KTX Jinbu Station

Parkroche Resort and Wellness

Parkroche Yoga Wellness Programme - Things to do in Gangwon

Photo credit: @park_roche via Instagram

If you want a more immersive yoga and meditation retreat, head to Parkroche Resort in Jeongseon. Here they focus on rest, contemplation, and exercise to find the balance between body and mind.

Start off with either their Calming, Baro, or Suriyaone yoga programmes. Or, try out body balancing exercises like Rose Pilates and Morning Stretching.

Don’t forget to complete your wellness trip with some meditation. Dive into Sookam meditation (said to improve sleep) or respiratory meditation which helps stabilise your nervous system!

Opening hours: 10AM – 7PM
How to get there: 2hr bus ride from Jinbu Station 

Romyzian Garden

Romyzian Garden Forest Bathing - Things to do in Gangwon

Photo credit: @jerry_ssd via Instagram

Fully experience what it means to heal in nature at Jeongseon’s Romyzian Garden.

This space promotes holistic healing and reflection from forest bathing experiences to customised accommodations to suit your state of health.

Go through their full wellness programme with daily meditation, 5.4km of forest bathing, Begonia flower healing and even stargazing in Querencia Forest!

Entrance fee: ₩15,000 (~S$16.95)
Opening hours: 10AM – 5PM
How to get there: Take Bus 22 from Jinbu Terminal, get off at Najeon 1-ri Bus Stop, walk 13 mins (bus operates three times daily — 10AM, 2:10PM and 7:40PM)

High1 Resort HAO Wellness

High1 Ski Resort HAO Healing House- Gangwon Winter

Photo credit: High1 Resort

For those looking to recharge as a family, check out High1 Resort’s HAO Wellness Programme.

Parents can enjoy relaxing traditional tea making experiences and guided forest treks. While kids get busy with cooking workshops, gold sessions and even yoga!

How to get there: Take a direct shuttle bus from Gohan Station

DongHae Mureung Health Forest

Donghae Mureung Health Forest Sauna - Gangwon Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

In the cooler autumn and winter months, escape to Donghae Mureung Health Forest, a hidden sanctuary northeast of Gangwon. Unlike a Jimjilbang (bath house), this Korean sauna focuses on the mind and body, perfect for that much-needed wellness trip.

This Jimjilbang (bath house) features various rooms from the Salt Cave to the Red Clay Sauna. Each with different health benefits. There’s also the Oxygen Healing Room that has massage chairs and low-intensity workout machines.

Apart from the sauna experience, you can also join relaxing workshops like pillow-making or natural soaps and shampoo-making classes.

Entrance fee: ₩10,000 (~S$11.22)
Opening hours: 7AM – 11PM, closed on Mondays
How to get there: 25min cab ride from Donghae station

2) Explore the Magical Wondaeri Birch Forest (인제 원대리 자작나무 숲)

Wondaeri Birch Forest Winter - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

One of Korea’s most stunning forests, Wondaeri Birch Forest is well-known for its 690,000 sky-high birch trees planted almost 50 years ago. The picturesque forest is gorgeous all year round but looks extra magical during winter.

Experience its tranquillity with any one of its seven hiking routes. The forest trails are mostly uphill with varying difficulty levels — the easiest being the Birch Forest Course (900m) and the toughest being the Danger Course (3km) for obvious reasons.

*Pro-tip: Be sure to layer up and wear proper winter hiking boots as you’ll be in the thick of snow!

Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: Varies
How to get there: 15min cab ride from Inje Intercity Bus Terminal

3) Visit Alpaca World (알파카월드)

Girl Feeding Alpaca on Bench - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

Don’t fight me on this — Alpacas are the cutest, fluffiest animals on the planet. And at Gangwon’s Alpaca World, you can warm up to these furry friends! You can even take them out for a walk too 🦙

Interestingly, Alpaca World doesn’t only have Alpacas. Being Korea’s largest forest experience farm, they have other animals like bunnies, deer, and even a camel 😂

Although most enclosures aren’t manned, the animals are pretty well-behaved — just be gentle and don’t provoke them.

Entrance fee: ₩15,000 (~S$17.41)
Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM, last admission 5PM
How to get there: Board Bus 3 to Alpaca World from Namchuncheon Station (Exit 1)
Bus schedule:
From Namchuncheon Station – 8:50AM, 12:20PM, 4:10PM.
From Alpaca World – 9:55AM, 2:05PM, 5:20PM

4) Hit the slopes at Gangwon’s Ski Resorts

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned snowboarder/skier, Gangwon’s slopes are sure to impress. I mean, they did host the 2018 Winter Olympics after all 🙌🏼 Here are three resorts to check out!

Yongpyong Resort (용평리조트)

Yang Pyong Ski Resort - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Klook

Known as Korea’s Ski Mecca, Yongpyong Resort is the largest ski resort in Korea and was shortlisted as one of the venues for the 2018 Winter Olympics!

The resort’s highest slope stretches 5.6km in length but even if you’re not an experienced rider, it’s still worth a gondola ride up — enjoy a meal at the restaurant with panoramic views of the snowcapped mountains around.

And once you’re all skied out, spend your evening warming up at the in-house sauna.

Yongpyong Resort is one of the resorts closer to Seoul. Oak Valley Resort, Welli Hilli Park, Vivaldi Park Ski Resort (Muslim-friendly) and Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort are near the city too — no more than 90 minutes!

Cost of Ski Pass: From ₩82,000/day (~S$92)
Opening hours: varies
Equipment rental: Yes
How to get there: Take a direct shuttle bus from KTX Jinbu Station

Alpensia Ski Resort (알펜시아 리조트)

Alpensia Ski Resort - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

Alpensia Ski Resort is the place to go if you’re just trying the sport out for the first time. The diverse range of slopes promises a fun time whether you’re snow sledding, skiing, or snowboarding. If you’re new to the sport, they offer basic lessons too!

This resort was the venue for the Winter Olympics Ski Jump Event in 2018. Another Olympic venue to check out in the area is Phoenix Snow Park — the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events were hosted here! They also offer private ski lessons in English.

Cost of Ski Pass: ₩69,000/day (~S$77)
Opening hours: 8:30AM – 10PM
Equipment rental: Yes
How to get there: Take a direct shuttle bus from KTX Jinbu Station

High1 Ski Resort (하이원 리조트)

High1 Ski Resort - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

ARMYs do you recognise this place? Hint: 2021 Winter Package 🙌🏼 ❄️

Kpop aside, High1 Ski Resort is also well-loved for all riding levels. For experienced riders, this resort offers the highest elevation in Korea spanning 20 slopes. For beginners, there’s a 4.2km course that’s fairly straight and perfect to level up your skills on.

Take a break from the slopes and join High1’s Healing Programme. Unwind in nature with relaxing activities like yoga and meditation for that much needed mental detox.

Cost: From ₩54,000 (~S$60.60)
Opening hours: varies
Equipment rental: Yes
How to get there: Take a direct shuttle bus from Gohan Station

5) Follow BTS’s footsteps along the East Coast

High1 Ski Resort isn’t the only place in Gangwon that BTS has graced in winter. Here are three other iconic places the boyband have done photoshoots at.

Samyang Ranch (대관령삼양목장)

Samyang Ranch BTS Photoshoot - Things to do in South Korea in the Winter

Photo credit: All For Army

Samyang Ranch is Asia’s largest green pasture. Its wide, open fields and huge wind turbines made the perfect backdrop for some of the band’s Winter Package photos.

Samyang Ranch in Winter Pyeongchang - Things to do in Korea during winter Gangwon

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

Although the photoshoot took place during the drier period of winter, it’s even more breathtaking when it’s covered in a blanket of snow.

Entrance fee: From ₩7,000 (~S$7.86)
Opening hours: 9AM – 4PM (Nov to Apr), 8:30AM – 5:30PM (May to Oct)
How to get there: ~20min cab ride from Hoenggye Bus Terminal to Eco Green Campus

Neungpadae (능파대)

Neungpadae BTS Photoshoot Winter Package 2021 - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: All For Army

Neungpadae Peace National Geopark is renowned for the amazing rock formations of tafoni. These unique rock formations have smoothened out over time with a unique honeycomb pattern.

Opening hours: 24 hours
Address: Munamjil-ri, Jugwang-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

The BTS Bus Stop at Jumunjin Beach (주문진해변)

BTS Bus stop at Juminjin Beach - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

It’s honestly mindblowing how a group of seven boys can transform a quaint little bus stop into a global sensation overnight. Yes, we’re talking about the bus stop from their You Never Walk Alone album cover.

Although the bus stop was just a set, the Gangneung City Government installed a replica of it by Jumunjin Beach. No buses actually stop here though — it solely serves as a photo spot for BTS fans and tourists!

Jumunjin Beach was first made famous by Goblin, and its iconic breakwater still draws crowds even today.

Opening hours: 24 hours
How to get there: Take Bus 300 from Gangneung City, walk 5 mins.

6) Hunt down iconic K-drama sites

Sanida Cafe (사니다카페)

Drama: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Psycho but It's Okay Cursed Castle - Gangwon Winter

Photo credit: @linny_y via Instagram

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay had some pretty impressive sets, especially the cursed castle that Go Moon Young lived in.

Although the castle itself isn’t real, the grounds on which the set was built belong to a coffee shop Sanida Café. Visit the grounds and you’ll still find the grand gates from the show that lead to the grass patch where the house front and blue screens were set up.

Cafe Sanida Mountain View - Things to do in Gangwon

Photo credit: @_g0_f via Instagram

This gorgeous cafe sits on a mountain surrounded by lush greenery. Not only does it serve great coffee, but also exceptional views of the forests and valleys below.

Opening hours: 10AM – 9PM
Address: 992-12, Jusan-ri, Hojeo-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Read also: 13 Iconic K-drama Filming Locations to Add to Your Korea Itinerary

Secret Blue Bakery Cafe (시크릿블루베이커리카페)

Drama: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Secret Blue Bakery Cafe - Gangwon Winter

Photo credit: @sanidacafe via Instagram

Another main setting in the show was the hospital Moon Gang Tae worked at.

Many pivotal scenes took place at the hospital’s outdoor recreational area, for which we have Secret Blue Bakery Cafe to thank — who would’ve guessed a cafe could become the perfect space for a hospital’s exterior?

Here’s the real secret though: the cafe used to be a resort! Now, this two-storey coffee house only hosts art exhibitions and cafe-hoppers. Still, with unbeatable views of Ayajin Beach and Mount Seoraksan, your coffee fix always comes with a slice of paradise.

Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM
Address: 226 Ayajin-ri, Toseong-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge (원주 소금산 출렁다리)

Drama: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Wonju Suspension Bridge - South Korea Winter

Photo credit: Gangwon Tourism

A significant development in the show was their first trip alone together. And Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge was the third-wheel in the show we all wanted to be.

Found in Wonju, it’s Korea’s longest and highest pedestrian bridge spanning 200m, 100m above sea. It’s the best way to appreciate Seomgang River and Sogeumsan Mountain.

Entrance fee: ₩3,000 (~S$3.37)
Opening hours: 9AM – 6PM, closes at 5PM from Nov to Apr, and every first and third Monday of the month
Address: 26, Sogeumsan-gil, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea

KT&G SangsangMadang Chuncheon (KT&G 상상마당 춘천)

Drama: Vincenzo and True Beauty

KT&G SangsangMadang Chuncheon Entrance - Gangwon Winter

Photo credit: Visit Korea

One of the biggest heists Vincenzo pulled was in Ragusang Art Gallery (episode 14) — stealing evidence for Babel’s corruption… oh, and Cha Young’s heart 😚

KT&G SangsangMadang Chuncheon was the main set for the gallery and is a culture complex in real life. This vintage art space houses not only local art but also a photo studio, an outdoor theatre, a live studio, and even a hotel!

KT&G SangsangMadang Chuncheon Outdoor Stage - Gangwon Winter

Photo credit: Visit Korea

Its outdoor theatre was also a filming location for another K-drama, True Beauty. It was where Saebom High’s festival concert was held (Episode 5), and when Joo-kyeong and Lee Su-ho’s friendship began to shift (iykyk 😉).

Entrance fee: Free (fees may apply for programs)
Opening hours: Varies
How to get there: Take Bus 64 from Chuncheon Express Bus Terminal to Samcheondong Intersection Bus Stop, walk 10 mins

Gangwon — a refreshing destination for weary travellers

Hiking Path to Ulsanbawi Rock - Day trips out of Seoul

With diverse landscapes and serene nature spots, it’s no wonder why Gangwon province is the perfect destination to recharge your senses with relaxing wellness resorts and adventurous hikes.

And although being 2 hours from Seoul makes Gangwon an ideal day trip destination, it’s definitely worth a longer visit to fully immerse in the relaxed pace and breathtaking sights.

What else is there to do in Gangwon-do? Share with us in the comments!


This article was brought to you by Gangwon Tourism.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here