Chuseok Holiday in Gangwon

Authored by:
Jemma X.

Jemma X.

In South Korea, people have a 3-day holiday for Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving (which is also known as Mid-Autumn Festival in Chinese culture). Together with the weekend, we had 5 days off from school, three Chinese friends and I decided to travel to Gangwon-do. We didn't choose Jeju or Busan because we wanted to avoid the super popular traveling destinations to have a better and safer travel environment.

Sept.17th Friday: Departure

We departed from East Seoul Bus Station in the morning of that Friday because when we tried to book the KTX tickets on Monday, they were all sold out... It took us 2.5hours to get to Gangneung. We directly took a taxi to our Airbnb pension after getting off the bus at 3:20pm because Fion and I had the KLI class at 4pm. When we went out for dinner after class, we were so surprised to see a double rainbow (my first time!). The sunset made the sky pink, which matched perfectly with the light blue color of the sea. We had a snow crab + sashimi set for dinner, but it cost us 93,000won each.

Sept.18th Saturday: Samcheok

It was a one-day trip to Samcheok, a smaller seaside city to the south of Gangneung. We luckily caught the special Seatrain, where all the seats are facing the sea to make people enjoy the wonderful sea view easily. After lunch, we walked by the seaside for about an hour. The beaches by Donghae (the East Sea) are absolutely beautiful as the water is pretty blue. Thinking it would be too early to go back to the Airbnb, we went to a cafe in the late afternoon. We had raw beef and clam fried rice for dinner in downtown Gangneung, both of which were unexpectedly delicious.

Since we were gonna watch the sunrise the next day, we all went to bed around 10pm that night and all could not fall asleep before 12am. I couldn't sleep at all before 2am because I usually sleep around 4:30am every day, and I had a Brown club meeting at 3am, I decided to get up and go out for a walk to see the sea at night, which was actually quite scary when the surroundings were so quite. After a while, I went back, had the meeting, watched a few lecture recordings, and got ready to go out for the sunrise.

Sept.19th Sunday: Gangneung

We went to the shooting spot of the K-drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God near the Jumunjin Port at 5:30am. We were completely amazed by the gorgeous sunrise. The warm color changed several times during the one hour and we witnessed the sun gradually rose from sea level. It was my very first time watching a sunrise and I was totally impressed. Later, we went to the shooting spot of the music of BTS's song Spring Day. Yet it's kinda funny that none of our four are BTS fans lmao.

All of us felt quite sleepy by 11am, so we changed our plan to directly go to our next destination in the early afternoon. We arrived in Sokcho at 2pm. Having almost no sleep the previous night, I stayed in the Airbnb room and took a long nap till 6pm. We had a nice walk on the Sokcho beach after dinner.

Sept.20th Monday: Sokcho

Seorak Mountain is one of the highest mountains in Korea and also one of the most famous tourist attractions. We were so shocked at the number of tourists in the national park that day. Due to the heavy traffic jam, we had to walk 40mins to get to the entrance. Already feeling exhausted, I sat near the creek while my friends went to see the waterfalls. At 3:45pm, we took the cable to the top of the mountain because we will never hike 4-5hours one way lol. It was very cloudy that day, so the view was just fine.

We tried the famous octopus sundae at Abai Village for dinner, which was so good! Since it was the last night of the trip, we played some poker games and truth & dare while having mooncakes and rice wine together after getting back to the Airbnb. At 11:30pm, we went out to have some fireworks to celebrate the holiday by the sea and under the bright moon. It was such a nice new experience for me.

Sept.21st Tuesday: Chuncheon

Our last stop of the trip was Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon-do. All we wanted was to have a great Dalgabi. Although a lot of restaurants were closed due to the holiday, we still managed to have it at the Myeongdong Dalgabi Street. In the afternoon, we went to a potato bread cafe & farm I chose, stayed there until 4:45pm for chatting and taking pictures, and went back to Seoul by bus. After getting back to the dorm, I called my family and friends and had a mooncake which I got from Chinatown. After all, people are meant to be gathering together with their family on that day.

The traveling experience I had this time has been far beyond my expectations. I think the beaches are greater than the ones in Busan and each city has its own features. I really recommend to go there if you wanna have a 4-5 day trip!

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