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.
Jump to what you want.
- 1 Jeongdongjin Beach | 정동진 해변
- 2 Things to do near Jeongdongjin Beach
- 3 Where to Stay near Jeongdongjin Beach
- 4 Getting from Seoul to Jeongdongjin Beach
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sea Train | 바다열차
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.
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.
Full details, online reservation, and updated schedule can also be found on their website (only in Korean).
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.
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.
Where to Stay near Jeongdongjin Beach
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.
Getting from Seoul to Jeongdongjin Beach
Jeongdongjin is around 230-km away from Seoul on Korea’s East Coast. It’s best to drive independently, but if you don’t have a car, you can also get there by taking the KTX high-speed train or express bus from Seoul.
[Naver Map] 강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동진리 | http://naver.me/GeYqgniJ
If you have a car, driving to Jeongdongjin Beach is a great option, because it allows you to easily visit other nearby sites and beaches on the East Coast.
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.
TIP | Don’t have a car? This private taxi tour for up to 4 people is incredible value at just 19,000 won per car. If you’re booking for the weekend, you must reserve by 10AM on Friday morning. Reserve a private taxi tour of selected Gangneung sites here.
You can choose from the following curated tours:
- K-WAVE tour: includes BTS bus stop at Hyangho Beach, Youngjin Beach from Goblin + more
- Coffee Tour: includes Anmok Coffee Street, Jungang Market + more
- Gangneung History Tour: includes Ohjukheong, Gyeongpo Lake + more
Via 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.
Remember to factor in the amount of time it take to get to Seoul Station from your location, 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.
Via 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. Unless it’s a holiday or busy weekend, you can usually just show up at the terminal and pick up tickets.
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.
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Jeongdongjin Beach: Essential Info and FAQs
Have you ever visited an over-the-top tourist attraction? What do you think of the Sun Cruise Resort? Yay or nay?