Mountainous Gangwon-do (강원도) gives you some of South Korea’s most spectacular landscapes, up-close Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) experiences, and laid-back coastal towns and beaches on the East Sea. This is where many Seoulites escape – to get lost in the mountains, chow down on Chuncheon’s fiery chicken dish dakgalbi or the coastal towns’ raw fish, or leap into a frenzy of sports like skiing in Pyeongchang county, host of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
While the province may not have that much by way of cultural antiquities, what it does have – Gangneung’s 400-year-old Dano Festival, for instance – it celebrates with zest. And Gangwon-do can be quirky too. Near Samcheok you’ll find a park full of unabashed phallic sculptures standing cheek by jowl with a humble fishing village, while Gangneung has a museum dedicated to its founder’s lifelong obsession with all things Edison.