Famous for its ‘stamina producing’ ginseng, Ganghwado is still a rural island that seems oddly distant from the bustle and craziness of Seoul, despite the fact that it is less than a two-hour bus ride away. Egrets stalk through verdant rice fields, gulls chase french fries from the ferries and the pace of life is slow – boring even, but boring in the best of ways.
Attractions include numerous small fortifications; one of Korea’s largest dolmen (a prehistoric burial chamber) which is a World Heritage monument; Manisan with an ancient stone altar on its summit; and a 10km coastal bicycle track.
A short ferry trip away on Seongmodo is one of the country’s most important temples, Bomunsa, with a cliff-carved Buddha and beautiful old pines. Numerous sashimi and seafood restaurants make dining a pleasure, though you may find seafood is the only item and it can be pricey.