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gyeongpo beach in korea

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.

gyeongpo beach korea

Gyeongpo Beach is a perfectly lovely place to spend a weekend… or two.

It’s super easy to get to from Seoul and so incredibly gorgeous, I bet you’ll fall in love with Gyeongpo Beach too!

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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.

gyeongpo beach in gangneung

Gyeongpo Beach is one of the best beaches on Korea’s East Coast

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.

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 Gyeongpo Beach is easy to get to from Seoul, it’s a big draw for locals and tourists alike. Book early… especially if you want to stay somewhere affordable and beachfront.

St. John’s Hotel Gangneung

If you’ve got your heart set on a pool, St. John’s is a lovely and affordable 5 star option. It has fantastic ocean views, beachfront location, multiple restaurants, and super comfy rooms.

Gyeongpo Soo Hotel

The Soo Hotel is a comfortable option, with an excellent location. It’s just a 1 minute walk to the beach. Each room is equipped with air conditioning, free wifi, and either a lake or beach view.

Skybay Hotel Gyeongpo

If you ever wanted to stay in Korea’s version of Singapore’s famous Marina Bay Sands, this is your chance. The Skybay Hotel in Gyeongpo Beach has indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness centre, and other excellent facilities to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

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.

trees at gyeongpo beach

There’s lots to do away from Gyeongpo Beach!

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 April, turning the whole place into a pastel-coloured wonderland.

> Visit the Gyeongpo Lake Cherry Blossom Festival and the Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm on an easy day tour from Seoul.

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 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.

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.

cherry blossoms in korea | gyeongpodae

Gyeongpodae is simply stunning ⓒ Gangwon Office, Korea Tourism Office

From its location atop a hill, you can see majestic views of Gyeongpo Lake and the surrounding trees. Visit in April for pink cherry blossoms and in October for fiery autumn hues. It’s free to enter.

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.

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.

Terarosa Coffee originated in nearby Gangneung

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.

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, where a special tofu is served. It 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.

chodang soondubu - soft tofu stew

Chodang soondubu is not spicy at all

The village is 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.

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.

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.

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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. There’s a train almost every hour, and it takes approximately 1 hour 50 minutes to reach Gangneung.

seoul station korea

The KTX high speed train to Gangneung leaves from Seoul Station.

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-dsitance bus is a very comfortable and relatively affordable option for getting to Gyeongpo Beach.

There are many express 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 metro.

express bus terminal in seoul korea

You can catch an express bus to Gangneung from Seoul © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

If you’ve never traveled by long distance 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.

Go to the Dong Seoul (East) Bus Terminal. You’ll find it right across the street from Exit 3 of Gangbyeon (강변) subway station on Line 2.
Ask for tickets to Gangneung (강릉). Tickets cost from 14,000 to 17,000 won each way.
Upon reaching the Gangneung Intercity Bus Terminal, you can take a 15 minute, 7,000 won taxi ride to Gyeongpo beach, or get on public bus #202. Make sure you're headed in the right direction!
Direct buses depart from the Dong Seoul Terminal, every 15 minutes. It takes around 2.5 hours. Unless it's a holiday weekend, you can just show up at the bus terminal, get a ticket, and board a bus 15 to 30 minutes later.
If you get lost or confused, there’s a Tourist Information Centre just outside of the Gangneung Bus Terminal, where you can ask questions. They speak some English.

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 on the KTX high speed train. Be sure to book as far in advance as you can. Tickets on weekends and holidays during summer regularly sell out.

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Gyeongpo Beach: Essential Info and FAQs

When is the beach open? Gyeongpo Beach is open from 6AM - midnight, with swimming hours from 6AM - 6PM, during summer.
Where is Gyeongpo Beach located? Gyeongpo Beach is located on Korea's East Coast, about 6-km away from Gangeung City.
Is there parking available? There's limited parking available right next to Gyeongpo Beach, but in summer it can be difficult to find a spot.
What facilities are available at Gyeongpo Beach? There are restrooms, shower booths, and changing rooms available at the beach.

Ready to hit the beach? What will you do at Gyeongpo Beach? 


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