8 Things to do at Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung for a Perfect Summer Escape
When the monsoon rains, intense heat, and crazy humidity of Seoul’s summer starts to drive me insane, Gyeongpo Beach is my go-to escape from the big city.
It’s either that or injecting ice straight into my veins. However, since that isn’t really an option (is it?), a quick break to Gangneung and Korea’s East Coast is just what the doctor ordered.
It’s super easy to get to from Seoul and so incredibly gorgeous, I bet you’ll fall in love with Gyeongpo Beach too!
In this guide
- 1 Gyeongpo Beach | 경포수욕장
- 2 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 3 How to go to Gyeongpo Beach from Seoul
- 4 Gyeongpo Beach Hotels | Where to Stay
- 5 Things to do near Gyeongpo Beach
- 5.1 Admire Gyeongpodae Pavilion | 강릉 경포대
- 5.2 Stroll around Gyeongpo Lake | 경포호
- 5.3 Visit Nearby Beaches
- 5.4 Indulge in the freshest seafood
- 5.5 Try Chodang Soondubu at the Chodang Dubu Village | 초당순두부마을
- 5.6 Have coffee at Terarosa | 테라로사
- 5.7 Visit the Chamsori Gramophone & Edison Science Museum | 참소리축음기 & 에디슨과학박물관
- 5.8 Visit the Gyeongpo Aquarium | 경포 아쿠아리움
- 5.9 Gyeongpo Beach: Essential Info and FAQs
Gyeongpo Beach | 경포수욕장
Address: 514, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 창해로 514 (안현동)
Gyeongpo Beach is one of the absolute best beaches not just on the East coast, but in all of Korea. It’s a 4 kilometre swathe of white sand, backed by fresh pine trees, that faces the massive Pacific Ocean.
The first time I saw it, I felt as though my eyes were deceiving me. The water was such a glorious shade of blue, that I couldn’t quite believe we were still in Korea. But we were. And not that far from Seoul at that.
Best of all, it’s an easy journey by bus or KTX from Seoul. If you really need to escape the city, a day trip IS entirely possible, but there’s so many things to do in Gyeongpo Beach, I recommend spending at least one night.
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How to go to Gyeongpo Beach from Seoul
The city of Gangeung is the transit hub for most cities and beaches on Korea’s East Coast.
There isn’t a train or subway line in Gyeongpo Beach, so you’ll have to get to Gangneung first, and travel onwards using other methods. Fortunately, it’s just 6-km away from Gangneung.
Seoul to Gangneung by KTX (high-speed train)
Taking the KTX high speed train is undeniably the fastest, most comfortable way to get from Seoul to Gangneung. The KTX leaves from Seoul Station on the north side of the city, and ends up at Gangneung Station (which was built for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics).
There’s a train almost every hour, and it takes approximately 1 hour 50 minutes to reach Gangneung.
Be sure to factor in your travel time to Seoul Station, when you’re deciding how you’ll get to Gangneung. It can take an hour or more to get there, depending on where you’re staying in the city.
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Seoul to Gangneung by Bus
If you don’t have a car, an express or long-distance bus is a very comfortable and relatively affordable option for getting to Gyeongpo Beach.
There are many bus terminals in Seoul, but the most convenient one for getting from Seoul to Gangneung is the Dong (East) Seoul Terminal. It’s located just outside of Gangbyun Station on Line 2 of the Seoul subway.
If you’ve never traveled by express bus in Korea, you’re in for a treat. Typically, express buses are super modern and comfortable, with wide business class style seats, air conditioning or heating as appropriate and run exactly on time.
The bus will make enough rest stops, so there’s no need to worry about hunger pangs or needing the bathroom.
Seoul to Gangneung by Car
If you have a car, you can drive directly to Gyeongpo Beach yourself. It should take approximately 2.5 hours to get there under normal traffic conditions. All bets are off on holidays and summer weekends though, when it can take at least double that amount of time to reach your final destination. Maybe even longer.
If you’re traveling during that time, the best option is definitely the KTX high speed train to Gangneung Station. Be sure to book as far in advance as you can. Tickets on weekends and holidays during summer regularly sell out.
Gyeongpo Beach Hotels | Where to Stay
During low season, you can literally just show up and find something on the fly. There’s a line of hotels and minbaks facing Gyeongpo Beach and it’s easy to find somewhere to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean waves.
If you’re traveling on any national holiday or during summer weekends in Korea, it’s much wiser to book something far in advance. I’m telling you this from experience. We made the mistake of just “showing up,” one hot summer day, only to find almost every single accommodation fully booked for the weekend.
Since the Gangneung area and Gyeongpo Beach are easy to get to from Seoul, it’s a big draw for locals and tourists alike. It’s wise to book as early as possible, especially if you want to stay somewhere reasonably affordable and beachfront.
Things to do near Gyeongpo Beach
If you tire of lounging around on fine white sand, surveying turquoise seas, there ARE other things to do near Gyeongpo Beach. From the freshest seafood, to some of Korea’s best coffee, these things are actually worth leaving the beach for.
Admire Gyeongpodae Pavilion | 강릉 경포대
Address: 365, Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 경포로 365 (저동)
It’s said that you can see the moon 5 times from Gyeongpodae Pavilion – once in the sky, once reflected in Gyeongpo Lake, once in the East Sea, once in your drinking glass and once in the eyes of your lover.
Cheesy or romantic? You be the judge. But the best time to do this is on the 15th day of the first Lunar month, each year. Or so they say.
From its location atop a hill, you can see majestic views of Gyeongpo Lake and the surrounding trees. Visit Korea in April for pink cherry blossoms and in October for fiery autumn hues. It’s free to enter.
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Stroll around Gyeongpo Lake | 경포호
Address: 365, Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 경포로 365
Gyeongpo Lake sits just behind Gyeongpo Beach. It’s separated from the beach by a single street, so you can simply walk over when you’re craving a different scene.
In spring, Gyeongpo Lake is especially gorgeous because it’s rimmed with 4.3 kilometres of cherry blossom trees. These ephemeral pink buds pop open sometime in early April, and turn the whole place into a pastel-coloured wonderland.
The Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom festival celebrates this gorgeous natural event every year. I won’t go so far as to say it’s better than Gyeongpo Beach in summer (that would be lying), but it’s still worth your time.
You can stroll around the water, stopping to take pics along the way, or rent bicycles to explore the entire circumference of Gyeongpo Lake instead.
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Visit Nearby Beaches
While the entire East Coast is lined with gorgeous expanses of sand, there are 2 beaches in particular that are worth the extra trip from Gyeongpo Beach: Anmok Beach and Jumunjin Beach.
Anmok Beach is known for Gangneung Coffee Street – a strip of over 30 seaside cafes.
And if you’re ARMY, you’ll definitely want to make a stop into nearby Jumunjin Beach to see the BTS bus stop, which served as the album cover for “You Never Walk Alone.”
Indulge in the freshest seafood
Address: 514, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 창해로 514 (안현동)
Since we humans can’t survive on mere sunshine and sea alone, head to one of the restaurants facing Gyeongpo Beach when in need of sustenance. There, you’ll find tanks full of fresh seafood and a lively atmosphere.
One of my favourite Korean dishes is a spicy pot of haemultang or seafood stew. If spice is a no-go zone for you, try out jogye-gui (grilled shellfish) instead. You’ll get a huge dish full of different kinds of shellfish to roast over charcoal at your table. Watch out for popping shells!
There’s not much difference between the restaurants lining this strip, so just pick any one and head in for some of the freshest seafood available in Korea.
Try Chodang Soondubu at the Chodang Dubu Village | 초당순두부마을
Address: 99, Chodangsundubu-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 초당순두부길 89-8 (초당동)
If you head just a little bit south of Gyeongpo Beach, you’ll find the Chodang Dubu Village. It’s named after a famous literary family known as Chodang-Heoyeop. Look out for the hanok house that’s been reconstructed where their original house stood.
Chodang dubu uses salt water from the East Sea in its production, resulting in a super soft tofu. This is a good choice for anyone averse to spice, as the tofu stew made here is very mild.
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Have coffee at Terarosa | 테라로사
Address: 419, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원 강릉시 창해로 419 테라로사 경포대점
Coffee and writers go hand in hand, right? Well, there’s no better place to experience this than in Gangneung. All those creative types living in Gangneung are credited for pioneering coffee culture in Korea.
Get your caffeine fix at Terarosa Cafe. It’s one of Korea’s original coffee roasters, and you’ll find this bohemian feeling location right across the street from Gyeongpo Beach.
Visit the Chamsori Gramophone & Edison Science Museum | 참소리축음기 & 에디슨과학박물관
Address: 393, Gyeongpo-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 경포로 393
Admiring a collection of gramophones is probably not what you planned for a beach vacay, but the Chamsori Gramophone Museum is the largest in the world.
It has an astonishing 4,500 phonographs and 150,000 records on display, from 20 different countries around the world.
In the Edison Science Museum section, you can see 850 of the inventor’s creations, including the light bulb, phonograph, projector, and battery car.
Visit the Gyeongpo Aquarium | 경포 아쿠아리움
Address: 131, Nanseolheon-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원 강릉시 난설헌로 131
At the Gyeongpo Aquarium, you can see over 25,000 sea creatures from 255 species. There are also experience programs like riding a boat and fishing at the outdoor area.
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Gyeongpo Beach: Essential Info and FAQs
Ready to hit the beach? What will you do at Gyeongpo Beach?