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jeongdongjin beaches in korea

Korea’s quirky Sun Cruise Resort grabs all the headlines, but there’s much more to do at Jeongdongjin Beach, than just gawk at a crazy cruise ship hotel perched atop a cliff.

While there’s no denying that the surreal ship is worth a visit, don’t limit yourself to that itself. There’s enough other things to do in Jeongdongjin Beach to keep you entertained for the duration of a packed day trip or overnight stay.

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Jeongdongjin Beach | 정동진 해변

Address: 17, Jeongdongyeok-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동역길 17 (강동면)

Jeongdongjin Beach is a 250 metre long stretch of sand near Gangneung, on Korea’s East Sea. It’s open year-round, but if you plan on swimming, the best times to go are typically from early July to mid-August.

jeongdongjin beach in korea

The beach is always open, but you can’t always swim

I say this, because we visited at the beginning of summer (in late June), with the intention of spending a weekend relaxing by the sea, but it proved kind of impossible then.

The waves at Jeongdongjin Beach were huge and dramatic, and even though it was technically summer, it was pretty cold. Definitely too cold for a dip in the sea.

jeongdongjin beach in korea

There are regulated swimming hours at most beaches in Korea © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

Keep in mind that there are posted hours for swimming at most Korean beaches. At Jeongdongjin Beach, the hours are from 6 AM – 6 PM.

And yes, if you were wondering, they do police these hours – since they’re there for your safety. I saw this actually happen at Gyeongpo Beach one day in early September, after the beach had closed. There were police boat sirens wailing and ajusshis yelling at people to get out of the water. For real.

From Seoul to Jeongdongjin Beach

Address: 17, Jeongdongyeok-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동역길 17

Jeongdongjin Beach is located in Gangwon-do Province, on Korea’s East Coast. It’s about 230-km away from Seoul.

Aside from driving or renting a car, there are many different ways to get to Jeongdongjin Beach from Seoul – including KTX high-speed train or express bus.

jeongdongjin station

There are a lot of different ways to get to Jeongdongjin Beach © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

By Car

Address: 강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동진리 |

Driving yourself to Jeongdongjin Beach is a great option, because it allows you to easily visit other nearby sites and beaches on the East Coast.

BTS bus stop in Hyangho Beach

You can easily drive to the BTS bus stop if you have a car © Gangwon Office, Korea Tourism Organization

It’s best to map out your driving route using a Korean navigation app (NOT Google Maps – it does not work well here). I’ve included the Naver Map link at the top of this section.

Under normal traffic conditions, it takes just under 3 hours to drive from Seoul to Jeongdongjin Beach. I should warn you however, that on summer weekends, and holidays, it can take a lot longer. Like A LOT. In this instance, you’re really better off booking a KTX train to avoid all the traffic.

By KTX train

If you’re near Seoul Station or Cheongnyangni Station (the train stations, NOT the subway stations), the fastest option to get to Jeongdongjin Beach is KTX high speed train. It takes around 2 hours, and a one way ticket start at 23,000 won.

The train journey to Jeongdongjin Beach hugs the coast © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

Remember to factor in the amount of time it take to get to Seoul Station or Cheongnyangni Station from where you’re staying, when deciding which route to take.

KOREA RAIL PASS  |  A Korea Rail Pass lets you explore the country with extra comfort, speed, and convenience – at a cheaper price. With unlimited rides via high-speed rail to over 600 stations on 80 different routes, it’s the ultimate in hassle-free travel. Get affordable unlimited rides around Korea with a Korea Rail Pass here.

By long-distance bus

If KTX train tickets are booked up, your other option is to take an express or intercity bus from one of Seoul’s express bus terminals. It can be difficult for non-Korean passport holders to book tickets in advance. Fortunately, unless it’s a holiday or busy weekend, you can usually just show up at the terminal and pick up tickets on the spot.

If you’d like the certainly of booking tickets in advance, you can grab some here.

express bus terminal in seoul korea

You can catch an express bus to Gangneung from Seoul © Lee Beomsu, Korea Tourism Organization

The Dong Seoul (East Seoul) Terminal is probably the best departure point from Seoul. It’s just outside of Gangbyun subway station on Line 2. Ask for destination tickets to the Gangneung Intercity / Express Bus Terminal.

Once you arrive in Gangneung, you’ll have to take bus 112 or 113 from outside the terminal, and get off at Jeongdong Station. The beach is a 300 metre walk from the bus stop. It’s best to verify the bus route on Naver Maps once you reach Gangneung, as they do change from time to time.

Things to do near Jeongdongjin Beach

If you’re all beached out, there are a number of things to do within quick walking distance of Jeongdongjin Beach.

Sun Cruise Resort Theme Park | 썬크루즈 테마공원

Address: 950-39, Heonhwa-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 헌화로 950-39 (강동면)

Korea’s quirky Sun Cruise Resort made the rounds on social media a few years back, so it might seem oddly familiar to you. It’s a huge hotel modelled after a cruise ship, perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea… but not actually in it. Ring any bells?

sun cruise resort on jeongdongjin beach in korea

Nope, it’s not a mirage © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

Surrounding the Sun Cruise Resort, is a theme park with a sunrise garden, sculpture park, scary walkways that takes you out right above the powerful ocean, and observation platforms.

The sunrise garden and sculpture park includes “The Hands of Blessing,” and other pieces designed to magnify the impact of sunrise and sunset on visitors.

sunrise garden at the suncruise resort on jeongdongjin beach

Sculptures in the Sun Cruise Resort theme park.

It was all a bit kitschy for my taste, but somehow appropriate, given the huge cruise ship also on site. There’s definitely a ton of great places to take photos.

There’s no sign of tackiness on the walkways set right atop the ocean though, only a feeling of insignificance and no small amount of fear. The Sun Cruise Resort sits 60 metres above the sea, and the views above Jeongdongjin Beach and Korea’s East Coast from the observation platforms on the ship were extraordinary.

It was pretty scary (and awesome) to walk out onto these platforms.

The best place to take in these stunning views is from the rotating coffee shop, which is also a glass observatory. You can relax and indulge in some rather expensive desserts and drinks, while drinking in the magnificent sight of mountains and ocean all around you.

views of jeongdongjin beach from the sun cruise resort

Views of Korea’s East Coast from the Sun Cruise Resort

You don’t have to be staying at the hotel to visit the Sun Cruise Resort theme park. Tickets to enter are 5,000 won for 12+, and 3,000 won for children aged 5-12.

Jeongdong Simgok Badabuchae-gil | 정동심곡바다부채길

Address: Jeongdong Ticket Office, 950-39, Heonhwa-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do

The Badabuchae-gil was once used as a patrol route for the military coast guard, but now offers unfettered views of the sea to visitors. Topographically, the connected trail points look like the tips of a fan – hence the name 바다부채길 – which translates to sea fan road.

Jeongdong Simgok Badabuchaegil near jeongdongjin beach

Get up-close views of the magnificent sea from the badabuchae-gil © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

The 2.86-km trail stretches between Jeongdongjin Sun Cruise Resort parking lot and Simgok Port. You can walk either way, but it’s recommended to begin at the Jeongdongjin Beach side, to avoid walking up a steep set of stairs. If you don’t mind walking up stairs of course, feel free to start at the Simgok Port side instead.

On the walk, you’ll enjoy views of turquoise waters, as well as see 2 uniquely shaped rocks. The “buchae bawi” is a huge rock shaped like a fan, and the “tugu bawi” looks like a soldier wearing a helmet.

Jeongdong Simgok Badabuchaegil near jeongdongjin beach

It takes around 1 hour to complete the trek © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

It takes approximately 1 hour to complete the Badabuchae-gil. There are no toilets on the trail, so make sure you use the restroom before entering the trail. The entrance fee is 3,000 won.

Jeongdongjin Railbike | 정동진 레일바이크

Address: 17, Jeongdongyeok-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동역길 17

There are several different rail bikes you can ride in Korea, (Gangchon is my favourite) but the Jeongdongjin rail bike has the distinct honour of being the closest one to the sea. You can breathe in the salty ocean air and enjoy gorgeous views as you peddle your way along the 5.1km long track.

jeongdongjin rail bike

This is the closest rail bike to the sea in Korea © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

The start and end point of the rail bike is Jeongdongjin Station. The entire journey takes approximately 40 minutes to complete, and there are both 2-seater and 4-seater rail bikes available.

Book on their website (only in Korean)

TIP  |  The price of the Jeongdongjin Rail Bike, depends on the number of people in your group. This is an especially popular activity during summer, so it’s best to book at least 3 days in advance. Check for availability and reserve a Jeongdongjin Rail Bike experience in english here.

Visit the Sandglass Park | 모래시계공원

Address: 990-1, Heonhwa-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 헌화로 990-1

One of the world’s biggest hourglasses can be found at Sandglass Park near Jeongdongjin Beach.

Built by Samsung Electronics, the hourglass is 3.2-metres wide, weights 40 tons, has a diameter of 8.06-meters, and holds 8 tons of sand. It takes an entire year for all the sand to trickle to the bottom. The sandglass restarts every year, at midnight, on New Year’s Day.

Jeongdongjin Sandglass Park

It take a full year for the sand to trickle to the bottom © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

Fun Fact: Jeongdongjin Station was made famous in the 90s era K-drama “Sandglass,” which depicts the Gwangju Uprising, and the political and civilian oppression of Koreans in the 70s and 80s. It’s one of the highest-rated K-dramas in history.

Jeongdongjin Time Museum | 정동진시간박물관

Address: 990-1, Heonhwa-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 헌화로 990-1

Located inside a steam locomotive and 180-metre long train near Sandglass Park, you’ll find all manner of unique artworks related to the concept of time inside this museum.

Admission is 4,000 won for children, and 6,000 won for adults.

jeongdongjin time museum

Clocks, clocks, and more clocks © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

Sea Train | 바다열차

*2024 Update: Unfortunately, the Sea Train took its last ride of December 25, 2023.

The Sea Train is a tourist train that travels for 58-km, right next to the ocean. The route starts in either Gangneung or Samcheok Haebyeon, and passes through Jeongdongjin, Mukho, Donghae, and Chuam along the way.

jeongdongjin beach sea train

The train ride promises to be incredibly scenic © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

You can enjoy full ocean views from 4 different train cars, ranging from general seating to first-class. Tickets can be booked on-site at Gangneung or Samcheok Haebyeon Stations, or by calling 1330 and making a reservation if you can’t speak Korean.

Where to Stay near Jeongdongjin Beach

The Sun Cruise Resort is undoubtedly the most interesting hotel on Jeongdongjin Beach. Visit during summer in Seoul, and you can enjoy an infinity pool that looks out over the East Sea.

It IS a very popular place to stay however, and it’s often fully reserved. Book well in advance if you’ve got your heart set on staying there.

Here are your other options for places to stay that are relatively close to Jeongdongjin Beach.

Haslla Art World Museum Hotel: Check prices on Agoda   |   On Booking

Hotel Tops 10: Check prices on Agoda   |   On Booking

Oasis Motel: Check prices on Booking   |   On Agoda

Dawoo Resortel: Check prices on Booking   |   On Agoda

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Jeongdongjin Beach: Essential Info and FAQs

When is Jeongdongjin Beach open? Jeongdongjin Beach is open year-round, 24 hours a day.
Can you swim at Jeongdongjin Beach? If you plan to swim at Jeongdongjin Beach, the best time to visit is from early July to mid-August. Swimming hours are from 6AM - 6PM.
What facilities are available? Facilities at Jeongdongjin Beach include restrooms, changing rooms, shower stalls, and free parking
What's the best way to go to Jeongdongjin Beach from Seoul? The best way is to take a KTX train from Seoul Station or Cheongnyangni Station (in Seoul) to Jeongdongjin Station. It takes around 2 hours, and tickets cost 23,000 won+ each direction.

Have you ever visited an over-the-top tourist attraction? What do you think of the Sun Cruise Resort? Yay or nay?


  • December 8, 2023

    Thankyou for the information, this was really helpful i was planning to visit Korea next season.

  • June 2, 2023

    that ship shaped hotel really looks good.

  • April 4, 2023

    I want to come Korea after reading this blog

  • March 18, 2022

    ever since i watched squid game, i want to see korea.

  • February 21, 2022

    Thank you very much for sharing with us.

  • September 21, 2015

    Wow beautiful!! I would love to visit there too!!

    • September 21, 2015

      It was interesting to finally see the cruise ship up close! I’ve been wanting to see that hotel for a long time!! 🙂

  • Sha

    August 30, 2015

    That cruise ship!! Again, I still wonder about the logic of having it up there…but I’ve been to Gangneung beach and didn’t realise this was here too! Haha…:)

    • August 31, 2015

      Jeongdongjin Beach is quite a bit further south than Gangneung, so it’s no wonder you didn’t see it. 🙂 Lol, kinda hard to miss, right? It’s ridiculous!!!

      • Sha

        September 1, 2015

        I see, no wonder I didn’t manage to see it, it would be quite hard to ignore if I do see it..haha…:)

  • August 28, 2015

    I watched the sunrise in winter – it was cold, super crowded on the beach, but still pretty. Wish I’d had time to visit the Suncruise though.

    • August 28, 2015

      It was pretty darn cold in July, I can’t even imagine how deathly cold it was in wintertime! 😮 I’ve wanted to see Suncruise for so long, I happy I finally got the chance. What a weird place… 🙂

  • August 27, 2015

    Sounds like paradise, Shelley. Love those skies. 🙂

    • August 28, 2015

      We were lucky to be up on the observation platform at the right time, to witness that gorgeous sunset! 🙂

  • August 27, 2015

    A fantastic place to spend a weekend regardless the weather and rough sea!


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