Sokcho has a population of around 84,000. It's quite a sleepy city and is known as a gateway to Seoraksan National Park, which is a 30 minute bus ride from the central hub. Also, the DMZ is located an hour north by bus, from the central hub. The city has many beaches and areas to view the East Sea, or Sea of Japan.
Buses leave from Seoul to Sokcho every 30 minutes.
No trains serve Sokcho.
Sokcho also serves as the terminal for Russian ferries.
Sokcho is a sprawling city. The buses are infrequent for a Korean city. The two bus terminals (intercity and express) are some distance from one another. City buses leave regularly for Seoraksan National Park. The bus leaves irregularly for Osaek (south Seoraksan) from the intercity bus terminal.
- See Abai Village A small village of North Korean expats. Located just off the main street, a hand drawn (called Gaetbae and only 200 Won) ferry will take you across the river to this charming village. You can even pull the boat across as a kind of "exercise." There isn't much to see in the village itself, but it served as scenery for the TV drama "Autumn in My Heart" and serves excellent Abai Sundae, a local speciality and probably the best sundae in Korea. It is made using large intestines of pig, rice, onions, blood, kimchi, pork, and tofu but no yam noodles. It's different in size and has a unique flavor from other sundae in Korea.
- Visit the Seoraksan National Park (two hours before sunrise to two hours before sunset), one of the most beautiful national parks in South Korea. Try and visit on a clearer day because if you climb to the peaks there isn't much to see from the top except for clouds when visibility is low. Buses get you from Sokcho to the park within 15 minutes. The park has a variety of routes which are well marked and i.e. lead to the Ulsanbawi peak, Biryong Waterfall, Geumganggul Cave, Biseondae, etc. Also, a cable car runs to Gwongeumseong Fortress and takes about 10 minutes to ascend to the top. The view is stunning except for cloudy days when you can't see much. It has stunning nature, beautiful temples, a giant Buddha statue and scenic rivers. The park can be quite crowded at ground level but the higher you get the less people you will see. A variety of food places provide with drinks and meals along all the routes.
- See the East Sea / Sea of Japan. The beaches are not the most beautiful in the world but at night you might get to see a lot of Korean groups burning fireworks at the beach. There are numerous pagodas and observation areas for sunsets with fishing ships in the foreground. Also, the Lighthouse Observatory offers a better-than-average view of the East Sea.
- Visit Sokcho Beach Only "open" from approximately July 10 - August 20, but still worth a visit when the beach is "closed", but you can still get on the beach.
- Take a bike ride around Yeongnangho Lake The lake funnels into the East Sea and takes about an hour on bike to get fully around the lake. Some stops along the way include Bombawi, a rock shaped like a crouched tiger which offers views of downtown, pagodas and temples.
If you're lost without an essential and are having trouble finding it try the E-mart near the express bus terminal. Also, fans of dried squid can find a whole package of squid for only 10,000 won, which is the same price, if not less, that most restaurants sell one squid for.
- Sokcho is known for raw fish. It can be quite expensive in restaurants (70,000 Won for two).
- Sundubu (soft tofu) can be found in the streets of the tofu towns such as Sinheung Sundubu and Haksapyeong Sundubu. Made from pure Mt. Seoraksan water and seawater, it's chemincal free, nutritious, tasty and only 5,000 won in some areas.
- Sokcho offers a unique twist to sundae by using suqid instead of pork intestines. The squid sundae consists of squid stir-fry, made with noodles and blood sausage, with carrots, onions, seaweed and spices mixed together, covered in egg yolk and fried. It runs about 10,000 Won per dish.
Sokcho is not filled with the plethora of hofs (restaurants with a drinking atmosphere), but almost all restaurants serve beer and soju (sweet potato wine, between 35-40 proof) for 3,000 Won per liter of beer, 500 mL of soju. Hofs do exist, but are scattered, and mostly empty.
- The House Hostel A three minute walk from Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal and City Hall. Cheap accomodation in the central hub of Sokcho. Facilities include free internet access, free laundry, free bike rentals, guest kitchen and common room. Also, comes with an excellent staff fluent in English and serves you with a smile. Address: 452-5 Dongmyeong-dong, Sokcho-si, Kangwon-do, Korea. Phone: 82-033-633-3477 or 82-017-713-0550. E-mail: email@example.com
There are tourist information kiosks beside both the intercity and express bus terminals.
- DMZ About an hours bus ride north is the De-Militarized Zone between North and South Korea.
- Seoraksan National Park is about a 30 minute bus ride and serviced by the 3 and 3-1 buses (as of August 2009)
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