With the passing of Spring comes the highly-anticipated, summer travel season. Finally, the winter’s cold is a distant memory and it’s time to rally the troops for the adventures that accompany warm weather. While the major cities have a lot to offer, sometimes we must venture away from Seoul or Busan to find Korea’s finest gems. Gapyeong is located in Gyeonggi-do, northeast of Seoul, and is home to some of the best weekend getaway spots in the northern region of Korea. Easily accessible by public transportation, these locations serve as the perfect day trip from Seoul and offer up some epic scenery.
How to Get To Gapyeong from Seoul:
ITX Train: From Yongsan Station, buy an ITX ticket to Gapyeong Station, or reserve online. To Gapyeong takes about an hour and the cost is around 6,000 won per adult ticket.
Intercity Bus: from Gangbyeon Subway Station (Line 2) buy a ticket, or reserve online, East Seoul Bus Terminal (동서울터미널). Bus tickets are around 7,200 won and the journey will take 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Subway: It’s possible to get to Gapyeong via the Seoul Subway System. Get yourself to Sangbong Station (Line 7) and transfer to the Gyeongchun Line. The ride will last almost double the time, but the fare will be less than 3,000 won.
From Gapyeong Station, walk out the exit with 6,000 won and hop on the Gapyeong Tour Bus to get to all the stops on this list (minus the first!)
River Land, situated on the banks of the Cheongpyeong Lake, offers a 50m bungee jump that overlooks the lake. You have the opportunity to dive over the clear lake, the wind blowing in your hair. River Land also provides other water sports and even has a hotel for those looking to stay overnight. You can also try your hand at wakeboarding, waterskiing and banana boating. Pricing for the bungee jump ranges from 40,000 -100,000won depending on weight and the number of people. There is an option to bungee jump as a couple, making this a great date for thrill-seekers. The bungee jump operates between 9:00 – 17:00.
Directions by public transportation:
By Train: Cheongpyeong stn.(Gyeongchun line) EXIT 1, take a taxi (fare ₩10,000, 10min)
By Bus: Take a bus toward Seorak-myeon at Cheongpyeong terminal, get off at Hoegok-ri bus stop (15min)
Petite France is perfect for those who have an affinity for French culture. While it may not be as authentic as say, actual France, Petite France offers a cute French oasis in the heart of Korea. It is coined as a “Unique French Theme Park in Korea” and has a variety of cultural experience programs and performances to give you the feeling of walking around a small French town. With its beautiful scenery, it’s not surprising that many dramas have been filmed here, including: “Secret Garden”, “Great Friend Note – Girls Generation Episode”, “Running Man” of SBS and many more.
Housing 5,000 different species of plants, The Garden of Morning Calm is an impressive arboretum located in the Gapyeong district. The Garden of Morning Calm uses floral arrangements to complement the existing, natural beauty of Gapyeong to create a show of harmony. If you are a K-drama fan, you will have likely seen this garden in many episodes of your favorite shows. The garden offers seasonal displays and houses festivals many times a year, including a winter Lighting Festival. In the summer you will see flowers such as the iris, hydrangea, and rose of Sharon, ranging from June to August.
Nami Island is a favorite amongst travelers in Korea for good reasoning. It gives you a breather from the “bali bali’ of Seoul and offers peaceful views of the countryside. Nami-seom (seom meaning island) is a half-moon shaped island that sports lush greenery in the summer and vibrant colors in the fall. This makes for the perfect summer stroll on a shady lane of dense pine trees and redwoods. Being an island, you will have breathtaking views of the lake and plenty of Instagrammable opportunities. While it is small, it is filled to the brim with activities, including a riverside path and a zip line. Nami Skyline zipline offers the most exciting way to enter Nami Island, by an 80-meter-high zip line over the water. You can also visit Jara Island (Jaraseom) from the zip line.
While Nami Island is technically located in the Chuncheon district, it is conveniently included on the Gapyeong Tour Bus. You can spend all day at Nami Island, or include it on your sightseeing tour of Gapyeong, either way, it promises to be a memorable experience.
Gapyeong Rail Park | Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong
Looking for some mild exercise and a view of the Han River? Gapyeong Rail Park gives you the opportunity to peddle your way around the north of Han River through a romantic tree tunnel. On the tour, you will cross the Gapyeongcheon Stream Iron Bridge and Bukhanggang Iron Bridge, as well as, pass through the Zelkova Tree Tunnel. The scenery is so beautiful that it was showcased in the famous Korean movie “The Letter” (1997). The bikes are semi-automated, so you won’t find yourself working up too much of a sweat! The bikes are two-four seaters and are perfect for a couple or small group of friends. The pricing is 25,000- 35,000 won, depending on whether you would like a two or four-seater option. You will be riding a total of 8km and the tour will last approximately 90 minutes.
The Rail Park is included in the Gapyeong Tour Bus. If you find yourself at Gapyeong Station, you can also reach it quickly by an intra-city bus, a 5-minute taxi ride or a 30-minute walk!
Overall, the Gapyeong district caters to thrill-seekers, nature lovers, and adventurers. It is the perfect weekend trip away from Seoul and promises beautiful scenery. Summer is a great time to make the most out of Gapyeong, with everything in full bloom and optimal weather for swimming. Make sure you enjoy everything this district has to offer before summer passes you by!