Goseong Unification Observatory Building


While this area was part of North Korea from 1945–53, today this building is the closest most South Koreans can get to glimpsing that world. There are binoculars (₩500 for two minutes) installed on the viewing deck, and inside the observatory is a large map labelled (in Korean only) with mountain names and the locations of military installations (red text for North Korea, white text for South Korea). Kiosks here sell liquor, cash, postage stamps and other souvenirs from North Korea.

On a clear day, you can get a good view of Kumgang-san, about 20km to the west. The North-bound highway and railroad fell quiet after South Korea suspended Kumgang-san tours in July 2008, when a South Korean tourist was shot by North Korea.

Despite the solemnity of the place, the parking lot is cluttered with souvenir shops and restaurants. On the other side of the lot is the Korean War Exhibition Hall, which provides something of a primer on the war.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sokcho attractions

1. DMZ Museum

0.71 MILES

This large museum has a surprising amount of English in its narration of the history of the DMZ, as well as exhibits such as US POW letters and extensive…

2. Ulsan Bawi

27.14 MILES

This spectacular granite cliff stands at 873m and is a popular destination for hikers making the strenuous, two-hour, 4.3km hike from the Seoraksan…

3. Gyejo-am

27.54 MILES

A hermitage en route to Ulsan Bawi, Gyejo-am is a human-made cave where you can sometimes hear Buddhist monks chanting just before reaching the boulder of…

4. Heundeul Bawi

27.57 MILES

This massive 16-tonne boulder is balanced on the edge of a rocky ledge and can be rocked to and fro by a small group of people. It’s a lookout on the way…

6. Lighthouse Observatory

28.28 MILES

The views of distant Seorak-san and the East Sea aren't bad, but it's best at dusk or dawn. Binoculars are available.

8. Baekdam-sa

28.77 MILES

A Buddhist temple built in 1957, though originally constructed in the 7th century in the Silla Kingdom. It's worth walking over its wooden bridge, which…