Chuncheon Travel Guide
Nestled in the mountains of Gangwon more than an hour northeast of Seoul, Chuncheon is a popular weekend getaway.
Temples, festivals, gardens, and other attractions make this destination a must-see for those visiting South Korea.
Come check out our Chuncheon guide as we cover the best things to do in Chuncheon, Korea.
Start your time in the Chuncheon area by spending a few hours on Namiseom Island. Sitting in the middle of the Han River, it formed in 1944 after the completion of the Cheongpyeong Dam. It is most famous for being the backdrop of famed Korean drama, Winter Sonata – this not only draws tourists from around Korea but from across much of Asia including Japan as well.
While it can get crowded at times, the pristine natural atmosphere of this place marks a stark departure from the densely populated cities of this country. The roads of this isle are one of its biggest attractions, as they feature maple trees that turn ablaze in the Autumn.
Nami Island isn’t just about Instagrammable shots, though – it is also home to the final resting place of a former Korean general. In the 15th century, General Nami was buried here. Thanks to his actions, the royal court of King Sejo was able to repel a revolt that threatened its legitimacy.
Get in touch with the history of Buddhist worship in the Chuncheon area by visiting the Cheongpyeongsa Temple. After sailing across Soyang Lake on a ten-minute ferry, you’ll arrive at the foot of Obongsan Mountain, where this hall of worship sits.
Surrounded by incredible natural beauty, it’s easy to understand how this temple has existed here since the 10th century. It is most famous for being home to Lee Ja-hyun, a government official during the Goryeo Dynasty. During his self-imposed exile from mainstream Korean society, he built an incredible garden – even today, it magnifies the sense of peace felt by those who visit and live here.
Plan on being in the region around the end of May to the beginning of June? Make plans to attend the Chuncheon International Mime Festival. This cultural event is precisely what you think it is about – mimes come here from around the world to engage in their style of silent performance art.
However, the scope of the festival has expanded beyond its quiet origins – you’ll also find performers who interact with their audience as they dance, juggle fire, and manipulate marionettes. With children and adult performers, this is an event suitable for the whole family.
The Korean War was a ‘police action’ waged by the United Nations against the forces of North Korea. As a result, soldiers from 16 nations (in addition to South Korean troops) fought in this conflict, including a battalion sent from Ethiopia. To honour their contribution to the war effort, the Memorial Hall for Ethiopian Veterans in the Korean War was built in Chuncheon.
On top of monuments commemorating those fell, you’ll find exhibits that explain why Ethiopia joined the conflict, and the battles they participated in.
After paying your respects to the general who gave Nami Island its name, pedal around the island by visiting the Gangchon Rail Park. Set up on the rails of the former line that used to run to Seoul, visitors use pedal-powered rail cars to move along the tracks that used to exist on Nami Island.
If you are looking for a way to get in a little exercise while taking in the breathtaking views in the Chuncheon area, you won’t want to miss this attraction.
Fans of the Korean drama, Winter Sonata, will want to set aside time to check out Junsang’s House during their time in Chuncheon. Serving as the chief protagonist’s house, many implements present in the house during the filming (e.g. their piano) are there in the same way as the day they were filmed.
Feeling a bit rushed during your time in Chuncheon? Slow down by spending an hour or so exploring the Jade Garden Natural Arboretum. Influenced by European gardening styles and flora, this green space will impress you with over 3,000 different plant species.
It has also been a shooting location for some recent Korean dramas – these include “That Winter, the Wind Blows”, “Love Rain”, and “You Are My Pet”.
Spent your last moments in town enjoying the dish for which Chuncheon is famous on Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street. Along this stretch, you’ll find scores of restaurants that serve dakgalbi, a stir-fried spicy chicken dish. It is well-suited to its climate, as this region’s cold winter weather has made it the local favourite it is today.