The beach bae-cation of your South Korean dreams.
Sokcho is a city on the eastern coast of South Korea, a popular tourist destination among Koreans but little-known to foreigners. If you’re staying in Seoul, and the city gets to be too much, head to Sokcho—just a few hours away by car—for new faces, nature, and perspective. Here’s what not to miss:
Watch the sun rise from the peak of Naksansa, a Buddhist temple founded in 671. As you climb the small mountain on the temple grounds, the views become increasingly more surreal: the temple’s blue roofs mix with the sky and the sea until you don’t know what is what anymore. If you can reach the peak before sunrise, you’ll be rewarded with catching the sky light up over the water. After reaching the peak and coming back down, you will have hours of buildings, statues, and restaurants to explore throughout the temple grounds.
2. Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan is one of South Korea’s national treasures and is a breathtaking showcase of the country’s famous mountainous terrain. It has numerous trails, each of varying difficulty—you can spend a few hours climbing a gentle incline, or dedicate a day or more tackling more difficult paths. Either way, Seoraksan is home to many flora and fauna that you can see in few other places in the world. Seoraksan is also popular with Korean travelers on weekend trips—brush up on your Korean, and you will easily be able to make some new friends as you take breaks on your hiking trips.
3. Sokcho Beach
Sokcho Beach is a gem worthy of multiple visits. During the day, the startlingly blue water provides a respite from the hot summer sun; during the night, the streets crowd with people and the sky lights up with beachgoers’ fireworks. For a final night out, bring a blanket to sit on and pick up cheap food and drink from one of the many convenience stores that dot the street lining the beach. The popping of fireworks and the lapping of the waves are the perfect soundtrack for a night reflecting on your weekend in Sokcho.