Mountainous Gangwon-do (강원도) gives you some of South Korea’s most spectacular natural parks and scenic 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 hills, chow down on Chuncheon’s fiery chicken dish dakgalbi or the raw fish of the coastal towns, or leap into a frenzy of sports such as skiing in Pyeongchang, which hosted 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.