Last summer, Daniel and I (Katie) visited Yangyang Beach and fell in love with the eastern coastline of Korea (aka Donghae).
This year, we're excited to visit again, but wanted to explore areas we haven't yet visited. So, we decided to go further up north - Goseong.
If you are an avid Korean reality show watcher - like me, Goseong County was featured in "Summer Vacation" (여름방학) aka Home Vacation.
I remembered how beautiful and serene the shots of the town were and this inspired me to visit!
Goseong is a relatively small, undeveloped area on the northern part of the Gangwon province.
It's located just below the 38th parallel line that divides the South and the North Korea.
Many parts of the town are still restricted - accessible for military only - as North Korea is closeby.
As a result, the surrounding areas (including the nature) is less touched by humans - perfect for vacation!
If you are in Korea, and want to explore outside Seoul, it's worth taking a weekend trip to Goseong - to soak in that local, countryside experience.
In this post, I'll share the places we visited that we want to revisit!
[Bongpo beach] 봉포해수욕장
The Beaches along the coast of Goseong province are all beautiful - wherever you go, it will be beautiful.
But if we had to pick one area, our favorite was Bongpo Beach.
It's relatively small in size, which makes the beach very intimate. It's very peaceful and tranquil.
The more famous beaches were packed with families with kids and hobbyists - which means banana boats, jet skiing, surfing... no!
Every morning, we took a dive in the Bongpo beach - enjoying gentle waves while seeing the sunrise - it felt so heavenly.
The water was so clear, we could see little fishes in the water - even without snorkeling goggles.
Even locals come here for walks - I saw a man playing freesbie with his two dogs - it was a dreamy morning for me.
[Munam beach] 문암해수욕장
If you are looking for a place to snorkel (or scuba), Munam beach is the place to go!
You will find a few scuba diving shops and see people coming in scuba gear to practice diving.
But the area is friendly to casual snorkelers as well.
There's an entrance - left of the scuba shop - with a metal walkway down to the waters. The water is calm and you can see a variety of fish along the rocks.
Come early morning as the place does fill up by afternoon.
There's other beaches that you can check out while you are in the area:
- Baekdo beach - This is where they filmed the "Summer Vacation" show
- Ayajin beach - I think this used to be a very quiet beach but when we got there, it was packed with people. It seemed to be more commercialized than other beaches and naturally because of that, more restaurants and cafes
[Seokransan National Park] 설악산 국립공원
Seoraksan is one of Korea's most famous mountains, known for its magnificent natural landscape.
It's designated as a nature conservation area - so you'll see a wide variety of rare species.
If you're someone into nature, don't mind walking a bit of uphill, then this is for you!
We drove from the Bongo beach to the Seokransan National Park and it only took 25 minutes.
After you have fully rested on the beach, it's nice to switch-up the scenery and soak in the cool breezes of the forest.
When you're in the national park, you can also take a cable car to enjoy a scenic view from the top.
There, take a look at Ulsan Peak and the entire city of Seokcho.
The view is just breathtaking!
I just love gangwon, for its multitude of natural landscapes!
[Local Cafes & Restaurants]
(All in the vicinity of the Bongpo beach)
This cafe was our "secret gem" that we came across during our stay by the Bongbo beach.
It boasts a beautiful view of the ocean with both indoor and outdoor seating.
They have an array of freshly baked desserts, hand-dripped coffee, and also a library of Korean books to read.
The place was also used as a backdrop for one of KANU's TV ad (Korean coffee brand).
I only wished I stayed in the area longer, to come back to this cafe every morning!
The building also operates a pension (Korean style bed and breakfast) on the second floor, so if you're looking for a place to stay overnight, it's also worth checking Sunrise house (aka 해맞이하우스) for accomodation.
On The Button (OTB)
This is another ocean view cafe, located by Munam beach. It's a 2 story building - with a roof top.
They have a delectable selection of desserts - salted caramel croissants with an iced americano was a perfect finish to the trip before we headed back home.
Bongpo Budae Jjigae (봉포막국수부대찌개)
If you are by Bongpo beach, the one restaurant you cannot miss is this Buddae Jjigae restaurant, operated by an elderly couple.
Even from breakfast time, we saw locals having budae jjigae (which is a heavy stew). It was a good sign that this restaurant was a local matjib.
Their buddae jjigae was honestly one of the best buddae jjigaes I had.
We added ramen noodles and a slice of cheese on top, and it tasted wonderful.
The color of the stew was deep-red, the broth tasted deep and very savory.
After the first bite, Daniel and I stopped talking and focused on the food.
Even the banchans were delicious.
It was so good that we went the next day for the same menu!
- 📍 194 Bongpo-ri, Toseong-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do
- Find direction on Kakao map
천진오길 (Cheonjin 5 Gil)
We couldn't leave Goseong without some seafood.
At this cute restaurant by the Cheonjin Beach (5 minute walk from Bongpo beach) we ordered a fried seafood basket (aka fritto misto) and paired it with Korean Tteokbokki.
I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the cute vintage items displayed at different corners of the room.
Takeout is possible, so a can of beer and a bag of fried seafood, sitting by the beach, watching the sunset sounds like a romantic dinner plan!
[Bed and breakfast]
Goseong Sea Land Pension (고성 씨랜드 펜션)
In Korea, local bed and breakfast places are not typically found on Airbnb.
Korea has its own history of bed-and-breakfast, called "pensions".
Many of the pensions in Goseong can only be reserved by phone. They're not listed on Naver (Korea's Google).
So I had to search '숙박' in Naver and click on individual pensions (in Street View) to find their phone number on the building... then call and check their availability.
We spent our weekend at "Goseong Sea Land Pension" - overall 3.5/5.
The price was decent given that we went during peak summer season, but the rooms were renovated recently - so it was clean and comfortable.
- 📍 195 Bongpo-ri, Toseong-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do
- Find direction on Kakao map
- Can be booked on Trip.com
- The End -
If you have any questions about the places mentioned in this blog, feel free to leave a comment below! Thank you for reading.