Chilling out in Gangwon’s unique tourist spots
PYEONGCHANG, Gangwon Province ― The problem with a winter holiday is that some people don’t like being stuck on the ski slopes all day.
So when PyeongChang, the country’s best winter resort town, was hit by a record snowfall of 77 centimeters in one day, there was a desperate urge to get away from the slopes. Deciding on a day trip away from the city, the first destination was Jumunjin harbor. Why?
It is only a 30-minutes drive from PyeongChang, and it would be a mistake to leave Gangwon Province without visiting one of the oldest harbors in the country.
Jumunjin harbor (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Jumunjin harbor lies on the northeastern side of Gangneung with a wide open view of the East Sea. First opened in 1917, it still serves as a base for the fishing industry here. And it has another claim to fame. The fish market in Jumunjin is one of only a few places still untouched by modernization.
Jumunjin’s fish market is one of just a handful of spots that remain untouched by modernization. (Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)
This place is not ideal if you are looking for a relaxing day out. But there is plenty of excitement about.
It is 11:00 a.m. and the fish market is getting busy with people looking to buy fresh catch from the sea.
“Hey come here, look at these crabs,” an old woman, sitting behind a plastic bucket filled with king crabs, stops me. “60,000 won, all of them,” she says.
“Okay, 50,000 won,” she shouts to my back as I head down to the dock.
Strolling down one of the many narrow alleys of the open market and looking at the variety of fish, one cannot help but feel refreshed.
If the cold is starting to bite, it is a good idea to jump aboard the Risabu Cruise. The boat runs four times a day, sailing around some of the country’s best-known beaches, including Sachun beach, before returning to Jumunjin. The price is 19,000 won ($17) for adults and 13,000 won for children.
After a tour of Jumunjin, you might want to erase the odor of fish from your nostrils. How about a cup of coffee? And not just at any old coffee shop. Believe it or not, there is a coffee farm in this snowy wonderland.
Nestled deep inside the mountain area north of Gangneung, a small glass house is filled with hundreds of coffee trees in pots of all size.
Coffee Cupper owner Kim Jun-young, 44, says he produced more than 50 kilograms of coffee from the trees last year. Such a small amount is not enough to hit the market, Kim admits. But he adds that it is now just a matter of time.
Coffee Cupper owner Kim Jun-young scoops up roasted beans. (Photo: Coffee Cupper)
Kim has also opened a coffee museum here. It is quite small, but has a wide range of coffee paraphernalia from around the world. The museum tells the story of coffee, from its discovery to the latest coffee trends. Everything one can imagine about coffee, from roasters to containers, can be found here. The Coffee Cupper also roasts coffee beans and has a caf on the premises.
Not enough? How about heading down to Gangneung city. The town has earned a reputation as a “coffee village,” thanks to some of its renowned coffee masters, including Park I-choo.
There were no coffee shops when Park opened Terra Rosa caf here in 1988. But since then, many have followed in his footsteps, and now you don’t have to try hard to find a cozy looking caf.
With a cup of steaming coffee in hand, check out Chamsori Gramophone Museum, adjacent to Gyeonggpo Lake in Gangneung.
Founder Son Sung-mok is known to have traveled to about 60 countries in order to collect gramophones from around the world. Traffic accidents, robberies and even life-threatening incidents could not stop this avid collector.
Thanks to his efforts, the museum has a fine collection of 4,500 gramophones from 30 countries, 150,000 music albums, and 5,000 information materials, which is the world’s largest collection of its kind.
In particular, the music hall at the museum, which can accommodate up to 200 people, is designed in the shape of a gramophone record. And visitors can listen to the 100-year history of sound development from gramophones to modern CDs, LDs and DVDs here.
For more information, visit www.edison.kr or call (033)655-1130-2.
Where to check in
Lovers of art should visit the Haslla Museum Hotel. The idea is to combine a museum and hotel together. Located on a hill near Jeongdongjin, Haslla art world commands a panoramic view overlooking the East Sea.
The hotel itself is a huge house sculpture. A middle-aged couple’s love for art and nature has led to a nature-friendly art garden ― an art museum created outdoors using the slope, the height of the mountain and the natural features of the land.
An outside view of Haslla Museum Hotel, Jeongdongjin, Gangwon Province.
Hassla, an ancient Goguryeo name for the city of Gangneung, introduces you to hear, touch, and smell what Gangneung is all about.
Strolling along the 108,596 square meters of pathway at the museum designed to merge art and nature pushes the borders of arts, letting you experience, touch, watch, hear and smell the artwork at the gallery.
Find out what is inside the out-door art museum by calling (033) 648-4091-3 or visit www.haslla.com.
Something more special? Check out the Sun Cruise Ship hotel. The ship-shaped hotel sits just on the edge of a cliff facing the East Sea. Stepping inside and sitting in one of the guestrooms creates the illusion of being on a real ship, especially with the sound of the ship’s horn.
Watching the famous East Sea sun rise from the beach is a fantastic experience. The 10-floor hotel offers fusion Korean food at the rotating Sky Lounge.
“Sea Cafe” at An outside view of Haslla Museum Hotel, Jeongdongjin, Gangwon Province. (Haslla Museum Hotel)
You can choose from two views ― the sea view or the sun-rise view. A standard to family standard room ranges from 70,000-200,000 won depending on the season and day of the week. Find out more at (033) 610-7000 or at http://english.esuncruise.com.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org)