Ganghwa Island

Gangwa Island: An island off the northern west coast

Summer has arrived and here’s a little adventure that is truly off the beaten path.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of us girls were looking for a little weekend getaway to enjoy some warm weather and green scenery. After a little research, we headed to Ganghwa-do, an island off the northern west coast. I went there a couple of years ago with my Korean friend’s hiking club to climb Mani San (the famous mountain on the island) and had vague memories of an ocean view, quiet farmland, and wishing I had better hiking shoes to climb the seriously rocky (and also seriously beautiful) paths up the mountain.

So we headed out on a Saturday morning from Sincheon Express Bus Terminal. The bus to Ganghwa-do leaves every hour, so we caught the 9:20am and were on the island a little after 11. We were greeted by a little Korean man from the pension we had booked rooms at (Dangmakvill Pension), and after throwing our backpacks in his car, we were driven to a cute little wood pension tucked in front of the mountain and a 5 minute walk from the seaside. The excitement from the fresh air, quiet roads, and serene ocean views were almost to much to handle!

We spent the afternoon strolling along the ocean, watching the tide come rolling in, and then watching it slowly move back to reveal stretches of glistening mud flats underneath. The little town along the ocean front was only a 15 minute walk from our pension, so we took the opportunity to enjoy a view of the sea while eating delicious sashima (raw fish) — it can’t get much fresher when it’s right by the ocean — and drinking magkeoli. And then we topped the evening off with the local noraebong! We woke the next morning and squeezed in a little hike before heading home in the afternoon.

Ganghwa-do is only an hour and a half from Seoul, so if you’re looking to get out of the city for a day or a weekend, it’s a great place to go. With mountains to hike, anocean to gaze at, freshfish to eat, and quiet rolling farmland to rejuvenate your spirit, it’s the perfect trip to get some space and take a break from the hectic pace of Seoul.

Dongmakvill Pension (016-286-8042) cost 120,000 a night for the 5 of us in one room. It was a great place to stay, and even has a pool in front that opens in the summer. There are a lot of pensions in the town and along the ocean, so you could probably just go and find one when you get there. Another popular place is Sea and Gallery “Sea & Gallery” (032- 937-0416). Most places there don’t seem to have someone who speaks good English, so if you’re booking before-hand, it’s probably best to have a Korean call for you.

With the weather warming up, and our pale skin itching for some sun, Ganghwa-do is the perfect place to add to your list of ‘Korean Summer Must-Dos.”

  • How To Get There: Buses to Ganghwa Island leave from Seoul’s Sinchon Bus Terminal, reached via Exit 7 of Sinchon Station, Line 2. The trip to Ganghwa Town takes about an hour and 10 minutes. From Ganghwa Terminal, you can take local buses to destinations throughout the island.
  • Info:

…brought to you by the Adventure Teaching Korea team…


Muuido: : The Island With It All


A little south of Ganghwa-do is an island called Muui-do that should be on everyone’s ‘Korean Summer To-Do’ list.

Muui-do, like Ganghwa-do, is an island that can be reached within a couple hours from Seoul.

From Incheon airport,  you can take a bus to the ferry, and then the very short ferry ride to the island. From there, a bus can take you to either Hanagae or Silmido beach. A big group of us spent a few days at Hanagae Beach last fall during Chuseok and had what was without a doubt one of the most memorable vacations we’ve taken in Korea. We strolled up to the beach with no expectations and found ourselves staring at a beautiful ocean view, waves smashing against scenic rock formations, a smooth sandy beach for us to dig our toes into, and rows of little huts lining the beach for us to sleep in.


One of the things that makes Muui-do such a unique place is the impressive mud flats you wake up to every morning. As we opened the door to our hut after a good night sleep on heated floors (bonus!), we fixed our gaze on the miles of mud flats that shimmered under the sun. Everyone took the opportunity to walk out into the mud, looking at the little crabs duck away into their holes and the wonders of what lies on the muddy ocean floor. In the afternoon, the tide comes back in, and you can swim or just lie on the beach and watch the waves crashing into the sand and the sun dip into the horizon.

We spent our days exploring on the rocks, gathering sticks in the woods to make a fire at night, eating fresh seafood at the little restaurant along the beach, and even managed to do some horse back riding and 4-wheeling! The set of the Korean TV drama, Stairway to Heaven, is still located there at Muui-do and when the tide is out, you can actually walk to Silmido Island, where the movie Silmido was filmed. Muui-do has it all!

Muui-do is a great place to spend a weekend out of the city. If you’re going on a holiday, I recommend getting there early in the day so that you can make sure to get one of the huts on the beach. Those little huts are what makes Muui-do so memorable! They cost 40,000Won per night. The only place to get groceries or supplies is a small shop next to the beach, so it’s not a bad idea to try to pack some food and snacks. In the summer, you can use a public shower for just a few won. Or you can rough it and not shower all weekend like we did!


Get a group together, pack your swimsuit, and hop on over to Muui-do!

  • How To Get There: From Dong-Incheon station (Seoul Subway Line 1) or Incheon Airport (F3 Platform No. 3,9), take city bus No. 306 bound for Eurwang-ri and get off at Geojampo. Walk 10 min to Jamjinnaru Ferry Terminal, Yeongjongdo Island. (4 minute, 1,000 won) Get off at Muui-do . Take the village bus and get off at Hanagae beach or Silmi-do beach.
  • Info:

…brought to you by the Adventure Teaching Korea team…