Sokcho Travel Guide: Top 30 Things to Do, See and Eat in Sokcho

Welcome! Ready to uncover the charms of Sokcho? Tucked between the majestic Seoraksan National Park and the deep blue waters of the East Sea, this South Korean city is a sanctuary for those who love nature, seafood, and serene landscapes. Whether you’re here to hike, relax, or simply enjoy the local cuisine, Sokcho offers a picturesque backdrop to an unforgettable adventure.

Majestic Seoraksan Mountain Views - Sokcho, South Korea

Natural Attractions

Seoraksan National Park: A Hiker’s Paradise Right on Sokcho’s doorstep lies Seoraksan National Park, famous for its dramatic peaks, lush valleys, and clear mountain streams. It’s a playground for adventurers. Hike to Ulsanbawi Rock for a panoramic view that will take your breath away, or visit the ancient Sinheungsa Temple, a tranquil spot amidst the grandeur of nature.

Beachside Bliss Want to hear the waves? Head to Sokcho Beach where golden sands meet clear waters. It’s ideal for a summer swim or a leisurely evening stroll. As the sun sets, the fading light paints the sky in hues of orange and pink—a perfect day ends here.

Culinary Journey

Sokcho’s Seafood Delight No trip to Sokcho is complete without indulging in the local seafood. At the bustling Sokcho Fish Market, pick your favorite from freshly caught fish and have it prepared on the spot. Whether it’s grilled, stewed, or served raw, the flavors are as fresh as the ocean breeze.

Local Brews and Snacks Grab a seat at a local café and sample some squid sundae, a unique Korean sausage made of squid and various fillings. Pair it with a cup of traditional Korean tea for the full experience. Sokcho’s culinary scene is a delightful mix of tradition and local taste!

Sokcho traditional Korean pavilion detailed views in South Korea

Cultural Discoveries

Glimpse into History Visit the Sokcho City Museum and Folk Arts Pavilion to dive deep into the region’s history and culture. The exhibits showcase everything from ancient artifacts to modern art, illustrating the city’s journey through time.

Festivals and Fun Plan your visit during the Sokcho International Seafood Festival or the Seorak Cultural Festival for a taste of local life. These events offer a wonderful opportunity to mingle with locals, enjoy live performances, and sample regional cuisine.

Why Sokcho? Sokcho is not just a stopover; it’s a destination. With its rich blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and cultural heritage, Sokcho invites you to step off the beaten path and explore its many wonders. Pack your bags, bring your camera, and prepare for an adventure that will fill your soul and your photo album. Welcome to Sokcho!

Sokcho rugged coastline views overlooking the sea in South Korea

Sokcho City Guide: A Brief History Of Sokcho, South Korea

Ever wonder how Sokcho came to be? This coastal city, now known for its scenic landscapes and vibrant tourism, has a history as layered as its mountainous backdrop. Originally a small fishing village, Sokcho has witnessed many changes, evolving through the eras of war and peace, occupation, and finally, growth into the cultural haven it is today.

From Ancient Times to Modern Days

A Place of Strategic Importance Located near the border between North and South Korea, Sokcho has always been a place of strategic significance. Its history is marked by occupations—first by the Japanese during World War II, and later influenced by the proximity to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). These historical events have shaped not only the political landscape but also the cultural and social dynamics of the city.

Post-War Evolution After the Korean War, Sokcho found itself on the southern side of the border, leading to rapid development. The city became a sanctuary for refugees from the North, bringing a diverse mix of people and cultures that influenced the Sokcho we know today. This influx led to a boom in the local economy, primarily through fishing and tourism, laying the groundwork for future prosperity.

source: Cari Cakes on YouTube

Sokcho Today

A Thriving Tourist Destination Modern Sokcho is a testament to its resilient and adaptive nature. The city has embraced its rich historical tapestry and turned its natural and historical sites into attractions that draw visitors from around the world. From the serene heights of Seoraksan National Park to the bustling docks of the fish market, Sokcho offers a unique glimpse into Korea’s natural beauty and historical complexities.

Cultural Melting Pot The influence of its diverse population is evident in the city’s cultural festivals, cuisine, and everyday life. Sokcho celebrates its history with museums and cultural centers that narrate its past, inviting tourists and scholars alike to explore its heritage.

Looking to the Future Sokcho, once a quiet fishing village, now stands as a beacon of cultural tourism and natural beauty. It’s a city that has not only survived its turbulent history but thrived by turning its trials into opportunities. Whether you’re trekking its rugged landscapes or sampling its culinary delights, Sokcho offers a deep, enriching experience that connects the past with the present.

Sokcho large rock formations in South Korea

Sokcho Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in South Korea

Most people make the trek out to Sokcho to visit Seoraksan National Park, one of South Korea’s most beautiful nature reserves. Here, granite and gneiss peaks rise more than 1,700 metres above the surrounding landscape, giving fantastic views in every direction.

Seoraksan National Park Night Photography With Stars Trailing In The Sky

If you are short on time, ensure that you do the Ulsanbawi Rock hike. While it is described as ‘the StairMaster from hell’ by some trekkers, the dramatic views from the top and flora and fauna along the way will make the sweat you’ll shed worth it.

Waterfall fans will also love this park – ensure that Biryong Falls and Towangseong Falls are on your list, as these picturesque water features will take your breath away. Don’t leave Seoraksan National Park off your itinerary, as flowering trees, greenery, fall foliage, and snow make this place stunning in any season.

This national park isn’t just home to natural attractions – it also has cultural assets as well. While in the Sokcho area, make plans to visit Gwongeumseong Fortress. Built on Seoraksan Mountain by King Gojong in the 13th century, its impregnable position helped to keep the peace in the region for generations.

It sits in ruins in the present day, but that doesn’t stop tourists from visiting the site via a cable car. Want to head up the hard way? It used to be allowed, but the steep nature of the trail and sheer cliffs led to its closure, so you’ll have to ride the tram with day trippers.

More Attractions

While the foundations can be hard to pick out from the rocks at the summit of Seoraksan, the views of the surrounding area make up for it. Be ready to wait for at least a couple of hours during peak season – try to visit during the week, if possible.

The stunning natural beauty of the Sokcho region has made it the perfect place to build Buddhist halls of worship. Of them, Sinheungsa Temple stands out – built in the 7th century during the reign of Queen Jindeok, it has been destroyed numerous times over the aeons.

Sinheungsa Temple is best known for its statues – notable ones include the Bronze Jwabul Statue and four that honour former Cheonwang, or kings.

Sokcho is situated less than 100 kilometres from the North Korean border. As the first major city within easy reach of this frontier, it has become home to a substantial community of North Korean refugees during the Korean War.

The neighbourhood where they and their descendants live is popularly known as Abai Village. In a nation that had modernized rapidly over the past half-century, it stands out as a place where old Korean homes remain.

The charming nature of these streets made it a central shooting location for the K-drama, ‘Autumn in My Heart’ – key attractions include a supermarket where the lead actress worked and the boat she took to cross a nearby channel.

Hungry? Be sure to try some hamheung naengmyeon or Abai sundae – both dishes are familiar to this particular neighbourhood.

Sokcho golden sunrise and sunset views from a platform overlooking nature in South Korea

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Sokcho, Korea

Spent a couple of days hiking in Seoraksan with your family? Reward yourself and your kids with a relaxing day at Seorak Waterpia. A water park with indoor and outdoor features, it can be visited at any time during the year.

With water slides, wave pools, saunas, and pools that can be as hot as 49 degrees Celsius, this park is the perfect place to unwind.

Connect with locals shopping for dinner at the Sokcho Jungang Market. While it was initially a seafood market, this place has since become famous for its dak gangjeong, or sweet and sour fried chicken.

If you are jonesing for fresh seafood, though, there is no better place to go in Sokcho than Daepo Port.

Other Attractions

Here, the catch of the day is hauled off boats and is quickly prepared to be bought by restaurateurs and seafood enthusiasts.

In attached restaurants, everything from $100 fish to cheaper seafood tempura is served up – have the latter with some beer or makgeolli – thank us later.

If the peak days of summer have you drenched in sweat, seek sweet relief from the heat at Sokcho Beach. A white sand beach that extends for two kilometres (although, the public swimming area is only 450 metres wide), there are many places where you can roll out a towel to enjoy the sea breeze.

Afterwards, try some fresh sashimi, as there are countless spots along the waterfront where it is available.

source: A Couple of Nomads on YouTube

Top 30 Things To Do in Sokcho, South Korea For Visitors

Sokcho Travel Guide: Things to do in Sokcho, South Korea with city views

Here are the top 30 things to do in Sokcho:

1. Explore Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan National Park, known for its breathtaking landscapes, is a must-visit for nature lovers. Hiking trails range from easy walks to challenging treks, leading to scenic viewpoints, ancient temples, and stunning waterfalls. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including rare species. Don’t miss the cable car ride to Gwongeumseong Fortress for panoramic views.

2. Visit Sinheungsa Temple

Located within Seoraksan National Park, Sinheungsa Temple is a serene Buddhist temple with a rich history. The temple grounds feature a giant bronze Buddha statue, symbolizing peace and serenity. It’s a place for reflection amidst the natural beauty of the park. The temple also serves as a starting point for several hiking trails.

3. Enjoy Sokcho Beach

Sokcho Beach is popular for its fine sand, clear waters, and excellent facilities. It’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports. The beach offers beautiful views of Seoraksan Mountain in the distance. In summer, it’s a lively place with various events and activities.

4. Experience Sokcho Jungang Market

Sokcho Jungang Market is the heart of the city’s culinary scene, offering a wide array of fresh seafood, local snacks, and traditional Korean dishes. The market is famous for its dakgangjeong (sweet and spicy chicken) and squid sundae. It’s also a great place to buy local souvenirs. The vibrant atmosphere provides a glimpse into the daily lives of Sokcho’s residents.

5. Take a Stroll on Younggeumjeong Pavilion

Younggeumjeong Pavilion is located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, offering stunning views of the sunrise and sunset. It’s a peaceful spot for photography and relaxation. The pavilion is connected to Sokcho Beach by a scenic walkway. It’s especially beautiful during the lantern festival.

6. Visit Abai Village

Abai Village, inhabited by North Korean refugees from the Korean War, offers a unique cultural experience. The village is famous for its Abai Sundae (a type of Korean sausage) and other North Korean delicacies. Visitors can take a small hand-pulled ferry to reach the village. The village gained fame as a filming location for the popular Korean drama “Autumn in My Heart.”

7. Ride the Sokcho Cable Car

The Sokcho Cable Car offers a quick and scenic way to reach the top of Daepo Hill, providing panoramic views of the city, sea, and Seoraksan National Park. At the summit, visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along the well-maintained trails. It’s a perfect spot for capturing memorable photos of Sokcho. The ride is especially beautiful during sunset.

8. Explore the Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory

The Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory offers one of the best views of Sokcho’s coastline and the East Sea. The lighthouse is accessible by a picturesque walk along the breakwater. It’s a popular spot for watching the sunrise or the moonrise. The observatory also provides excellent views of Seoraksan Mountain.

9. Relax at Cheoksan Spa World

Cheoksan Spa World is renowned for its natural hot springs, believed to have healing properties. The spa offers various baths, saunas, and therapeutic treatments. It’s an ideal place for relaxation and rejuvenation after a day of hiking or sightseeing. The facility also provides views of the surrounding mountains.

10. Hike to Ulsanbawi Rock

Ulsanbawi Rock is a massive granite rock formation within Seoraksan National Park, offering one of the most challenging but rewarding hikes in the area. The hike culminates in a steep staircase leading to a summit with spectacular views. Legend has it that the rock was originally from Ulsan but traveled to Sokcho to be part of Seoraksan’s beauty. The panoramic vista from the top encompasses both the mountains and the sea.

11. Visit Dongmyeong Port

Dongmyeong Port is a bustling harbor known for its fresh seafood restaurants, lively fish market, and beautiful waterfront views. Visitors can watch fishing boats come and go, sample fresh seafood straight from the ocean, and enjoy leisurely walks along the pier. The port also offers boat tours around Sokcho and to nearby islands. It’s a great place to experience the local maritime culture.

12. Explore Teddy Bear Farm

Teddy Bear Farm is a unique attraction where visitors can see a wide variety of teddy bears in different settings, from historical scenes to modern-day Korea. It’s a fun and whimsical place for visitors of all ages. The farm also features outdoor gardens and picnic areas. It’s perfect for families and teddy bear enthusiasts.

13. Enjoy Water Sports at Yeongrang Lake

Yeongrang Lake is a scenic spot ideal for leisure activities such as paddle boating, kayaking, and biking around its perimeter. The lake is especially beautiful in the evening when it’s illuminated by surrounding lights. It’s a popular recreational area for both locals and tourists. The peaceful environment makes it a great place for a relaxing day out.

14. Discover Gwongeumseong Fortress

Accessible by cable car or hiking, Gwongeumseong Fortress is an ancient site offering stunning views of Seoraksan National Park and the surrounding area. Although only ruins remain, the site’s historical significance and natural beauty make it a worthwhile visit. It’s named after a legend of two generals who turned into eagles to protect the region. The fortress is especially picturesque during autumn when the foliage is vibrant.

15. Stroll Along Sokcho Expo Tower

Located within the Expo Memorial Park, Sokcho Expo Tower provides panoramic views of Sokcho city, the harbor, and the surrounding mountains. The tower features an observation deck, exhibition halls, and cultural performances. The park itself is a pleasant place for a stroll, featuring sculptures and themed gardens. It’s a landmark that commemorates Sokcho’s hosting of the International Fisheries Expo.

16. Visit Daepo Port

Daepo Port is another must-visit spot for seafood lovers, with its lively fish market and array of seafood restaurants. Visitors can buy fresh seafood and have it prepared on the spot at one of the nearby restaurants. The port also serves as a departure point for fishing trips and coastal cruises. It’s an authentic experience of Korea’s fishing industry.

17. Hike Biryong Falls Trail

Biryong Falls Trail in Seoraksan National Park leads to a stunning waterfall that cascades into a crystal-clear pool below. The trail is moderately easy and offers a refreshing break in nature. Along the way, hikers can enjoy diverse flora and possibly spot wildlife. The waterfall is most impressive during the rainy season when the water flow is at its peak.

18. Explore Oeongchi Beach

Oeongchi Beach is known for its dramatic coastal cliffs and clear waters, making it a popular spot for photography and relaxation. It’s quieter than Sokcho Beach, offering a peaceful retreat. The beach is also a great place for rock fishing. The walking path along the cliffs provides spectacular views of the sea.

19. Enjoy Sokcho City Museum and Displaced Civilians Folk Village

The museum and folk village offer insights into the lives of displaced civilians during the Korean War. Visitors can learn about Sokcho’s history and culture through exhibits and reconstructed homes. The site is both educational and poignant, highlighting the resilience of the Korean people. Traditional crafts and food demonstrations are occasionally available.

20. Visit the Seorak Waterpia

Seorak Waterpia is a popular water park offering a variety of pools, slides, and spa facilities against the backdrop of Seoraksan Mountain. It’s an ideal destination for families and those looking to cool off in the summer. The park also features hot spring baths for relaxation. Seasonal events and night pools add to the fun.

21. Walk Through Sokcho Central Market

Sokcho Central Market is a bustling marketplace where visitors can explore a wide range of goods, from fresh produce and seafood to Korean street food and souvenirs. The market is a great place to experience local life and sample regional specialties. It’s particularly known for its dakgangjeong (sweet and crispy chicken). The lively atmosphere is a cultural experience in itself.

22. Explore Seorak Cinerama

Seorak Cinerama is a unique attraction that offers immersive documentary screenings about Seoraksan National Park and its natural wonders. It’s an educational experience that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the park’s ecology and beauty. The high-definition screenings make viewers feel as though they’re exploring the park firsthand. It’s a great activity for those unable to hike the trails.

23. Visit the Sokcho Butterfly Museum

The Sokcho Butterfly Museum is dedicated to the preservation and display of various butterfly species. It offers an educational experience about the life cycle and habitat of butterflies. The museum features live specimens in beautifully maintained gardens. It’s a peaceful and enchanting visit for nature lovers.

24. Enjoy Golf at Seorak Plaza Country Club

Seorak Plaza Country Club offers a premier golfing experience with well-maintained greens set against the stunning backdrop of Seoraksan National Park. The club provides a challenging yet enjoyable course for golfers of all skill levels. It’s an opportunity to enjoy the sport while taking in breathtaking natural views. The clubhouse offers excellent facilities and dining options.

25. Try Local Delicacies at Dongmyeong Port

Dongmyeong Port, not far from the city center, offers a glimpse into the local fishing culture and an opportunity to try fresh local delicacies right by the sea. Restaurants around the port serve freshly caught seafood prepared in traditional Korean styles. It’s a perfect spot for foodies looking to experience authentic local cuisine. The port comes alive in the evening, with diners enjoying the ocean breeze.

26. Kayak in the East Sea

Kayaking in the East Sea offers a unique perspective of Sokcho’s beautiful coastline and the Seoraksan Mountain range. Several local operators offer kayak rentals and guided tours, suitable for both beginners and experienced kayakers. It’s a peaceful and invigorating way to explore the area’s natural beauty. Sunset kayaking trips are particularly magical.

27. Visit the National Mountain Museum

The National Mountain Museum in Sokcho is dedicated to the mountains of Korea, with a special focus on Seoraksan. It features exhibits on mountaineering, the ecological system, and the cultural significance of mountains in Korean culture. The museum offers interactive displays and educational programs. It’s a great place for those interested in mountaineering history and environmental conservation.

28. Relax at Cheongchoho Lake

Cheongchoho Lake is a scenic spot perfect for leisurely walks, biking, and picnicking. The lake is surrounded by walking paths and lush greenery, offering tranquil views and a break from the city. It’s also a popular spot for bird watching. The area around the lake features cafes and restaurants where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.

29. Experience the Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory

The Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory provides stunning panoramic views of Sokcho city, the harbor, and the surrounding mountains. It’s an ideal place to watch the sunrise or sunset. The observatory is accessible by a pleasant walk along the breakwater. It’s a romantic and peaceful spot for reflection and photography.

30. Adventure at Seoraksan Sogongwon Cable Car

The Sogongwon Cable Car in Seoraksan National Park offers a breathtaking journey to the Gwongeumseong Fortress area. The ride provides stunning aerial views of the park’s rugged terrain and lush forests. It’s an easy way to access some of the park’s scenic spots without a strenuous hike. The cable car ride is a highlight for many visitors to Seoraksan, offering unforgettable views throughout the year.

Must try dish in Sokcho is Bingsu

What to Eat and Drink at Restaurants in Sokcho, South Korea

Here’s a comprehensive guide to the must-try foods and drinks when visiting Sokcho, ensuring you savor the flavors that define this unique region.

Seafood Specialties

1. Grilled Fish (Gui)

  • What to Expect: Freshly caught fish from the East Sea, grilled to perfection over an open flame.
  • Popular Choices: Mackerel and squid are local favorites, often served with a side of spicy kimchi.
  • Where to Try: Head to Daepo Port, where you can choose your fish and watch it grilled right in front of you.

2. Raw Fish (Hoe)

  • What to Expect: Thinly sliced raw fish, similar to sashimi, typically served with soy sauce and wasabi.
  • Serving Style: Often accompanied by a hot bowl of spicy soup to balance the cold dish.
  • Where to Try: Sokcho Fish Market offers the freshest selections, direct from the sea.

Local Delicacies

3. Dakgangjeong (Sweet and Crispy Chicken)

  • What to Expect: Bite-sized chicken pieces coated in a sweet, slightly spicy sauce, deep-fried to crispy perfection.
  • Popular Variations: Some restaurants add nuts or green onions for extra texture and flavor.
  • Where to Try: Find this popular snack at street food stalls and local markets throughout the city.

4. Sundubu-jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)

  • What to Expect: A hot and hearty stew made with silky soft tofu, seafood, and vegetables in a spicy broth.
  • Serving Style: Typically served bubbling hot in a stone pot with a side of rice.
  • Where to Try: Visit the Abai Village area, known for its traditional Korean restaurants.

Street Food Favorites

5. Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancake)

  • What to Expect: A warm, fried pancake filled with a sweet mixture of cinnamon, honey, and nuts.
  • Ideal For: A quick snack while exploring Sokcho’s attractions or as a comforting dessert.
  • Where to Try: Look for food carts along Sokcho Beach, especially during the evening.

6. Ojingeo-twigim (Fried Squid)

  • What to Expect: Squid cut into rings or long strips, battered, and deep-fried until golden.
  • Serving Style: Often served in paper cups as a convenient, on-the-go snack.
  • Where to Try: Street vendors near the main tourist spots usually offer the freshest options.

Refreshing Beverages

7. Makgeolli

  • What to Expect: A traditional Korean rice wine, slightly sweet, milky, and effervescent, typically enjoyed in a bowl.
  • Pairing Suggestion: Delicious with spicy Korean dishes, as it helps soothe the palate.
  • Where to Try: Local dining spots often serve home-brewed versions that are a must-try.

8. Bokbunja-ju (Black Raspberry Wine)

  • What to Expect: A sweet, fruity wine made from local black raspberries, known for its deep, rich flavor.
  • Health Benefits: Often consumed for its health benefits, including improved circulation and vitality.
  • Where to Try: Specialty wine shops or traditional Korean bars (‘jumak’) often offer a variety of berry wines.

source: Kieun Choi on YouTube

Tips for Dining in Sokcho

  • Seasonal Offerings: Ask for the seasonal specialties when visiting restaurants, as Sokcho’s menus change with the fishing seasons.
  • Explore Beyond the Center: Venture into the smaller streets and neighborhoods to find hidden gems where locals dine.
  • Market Dining: Don’t miss out on experiencing a meal at the Sokcho Central Market, where you can enjoy a vibrant atmosphere and taste a bit of everything from various food stalls.

Sokcho businesses light up at night with reflections on the water in South Korea

Tours For Visitors To Sokcho, Korea

Here’s a full list of the best tours available in Sokcho, ensuring that you get the most out of your trip.

1. Seoraksan National Park Hiking Tours

  • Overview: These guided hikes cater to various fitness levels and take you through some of Seoraksan’s most breathtaking paths.
  • What to Expect: Enjoy the flora and fauna, panoramic mountain views, and historic temples nestled within the park.
  • Duration: Options range from half-day treks to full-day expeditions.
  • Why Go: A knowledgeable guide enhances the experience by sharing insights about the park’s history and ecology.

2. Cultural Heritage Tours

  • Overview: Explore Sokcho’s rich history through visits to ancient temples, traditional villages, and historical sites.
  • What to Expect: Stops typically include the ancient Gwongeumseong Fortress, Sinheungsa Temple, and the historical Abai Village.
  • Duration: Half-day or full-day tours.
  • Why Go: These tours offer a deep dive into the cultural tapestry that shapes Sokcho, providing context to the city’s historical and cultural landmarks.

3. Sokcho City Food Tours

  • Overview: Taste your way through Sokcho’s culinary scene with visits to popular eateries and hidden local spots.
  • What to Expect: Sample dishes like sundubu-jjigae (soft tofu stew), fresh seafood, and the famous Sokcho chicken.
  • Duration: 3 to 4 hours.
  • Why Go: Perfect for foodies looking to explore the local flavors under the guidance of an expert who can share the backstory and ingredients of each dish.

4. Fishing and Marine Life Tours

  • Overview: Get a hands-on experience with Sokcho’s fishing culture on a chartered boat tour.
  • What to Expect: Opportunities to catch fish and possibly prepare and eat your catch, guided by local fishermen.
  • Duration: Half-day tours available.
  • Why Go: It’s a unique chance to learn about the marine life of the East Sea firsthand and enjoy freshly caught seafood.

5. Photography Tours

  • Overview: These tours are designed to help you capture the best of Sokcho’s landscapes and urban scenes, guided by professional photographers.
  • What to Expect: Visit the most photogenic spots at the right times of day for the best light, including Seoraksan National Park and Sokcho Beach.
  • Duration: From sunrise or sunset shoots to full-day tours.
  • Why Go: Ideal for amateur or professional photographers looking to add stunning images to their portfolio.

6. Eco and Wildlife Tours

  • Overview: These tours focus on the rich biodiversity of Sokcho, including bird watching and nature walks.
  • What to Expect: Explore habitats of local wildlife and learn about conservation efforts in the area.
  • Duration: Typically half-day to full-day tours.
  • Why Go: Great for nature lovers and families interested in learning more about the environmental aspects of Sokcho.

7. Adventure Sports Tours

  • Overview: For those looking for a thrill, Sokcho offers a variety of adventure sports tours.
  • What to Expect: Activities include paragliding, zip-lining, or mountain biking in areas surrounding the city.
  • Duration: Varies depending on the activity; typically half-day.
  • Why Go: Experience the natural beauty of Sokcho from unique vantage points and get an adrenaline rush at the same time.

8. Relaxation and Wellness Tours

  • Overview: These tours combine visits to local spas and wellness centers with relaxation techniques and treatments.
  • What to Expect: Sessions may include traditional Korean spa experiences, meditation, and therapeutic walks.
  • Duration: Half-day to full-day options.
  • Why Go: Perfect for unwinding and rejuvenating while exploring the cultural practices of Korean wellness.

Tips for Booking Tours in Sokcho

  • Advance Booking: Many tours, especially those that are highly specialized, require advance booking to ensure availability.
  • Local Operators: Consider booking through local tour operators to ensure that you have an authentic and high-quality experience.
  • Check Reviews: Look up reviews and ratings to choose the best experiences based on past visitors’ feedback.

Sokcho street level views with cars driving on the road in South Korea

Sokcho Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Here’s a detailed travel guide to some of the best places to stay in Sokcho.


1. Seorak Kensington Stars Hotel

  • Location: Near Seoraksan National Park
  • Features: This hotel offers elegant rooms with views of the Seoraksan mountains, a gourmet restaurant serving Korean and Western cuisine, and easy access to the park.
  • Ideal for: Travelers looking for comfort and proximity to outdoor activities.
  • Unique Perk: Themed rooms that capture the local culture and landscape.

2. Hanwha Resort Seorak Sorano

  • Location: Central Sokcho
  • Features: Spacious resort-style accommodations with modern amenities, including a water park, spa, and dining options.
  • Ideal for: Families and groups seeking a fun and relaxing stay.
  • Unique Perk: On-site water park and proximity to local attractions.

3. Lotte Resort Sokcho

  • Location: Sokcho Beach
  • Features: Luxury suites with ocean views, an infinity pool, and multiple dining options.
  • Ideal for: Those looking for a high-end beachfront experience.
  • Unique Perk: Sky lounge with panoramic views of the East Sea.


1. The House Hostel

  • Location: Near Sokcho Express Bus Terminal
  • Features: A cozy, family-run guesthouse offering a warm, friendly atmosphere with clean and comfortable rooms.
  • Ideal for: Solo travelers and budget-conscious visitors.
  • Unique Perk: Personalized travel advice and homemade breakfast.

2. Egg House Sokcho Guesthouse

  • Location: Downtown Sokcho
  • Features: Simple, clean accommodations with a communal kitchen and lounge area.
  • Ideal for: Backpackers and young travelers.
  • Unique Perk: Central location with easy access to public transportation and local dining.

3. Miss Lee’s Guesthouse

  • Location: Near Sokcho Beach
  • Features: Private and dormitory rooms in a charming setting, with a cafe and bike rentals available.
  • Ideal for: Travelers looking for a quaint, beachside stay.
  • Unique Perk: Beach proximity and casual vibe.


1. James Blue Hostel

  • Location: Central Sokcho
  • Features: Budget-friendly, modern hostel offering both dormitory and private rooms, a shared kitchen, and social events.
  • Ideal for: Young travelers and groups.
  • Unique Perk: Organized tours and social gatherings for guests.

2. Sokcho & Guesthouse

  • Location: Near Sokcho City Centre
  • Features: A relaxed hostel with clean, comfortable rooms, communal lounge areas, and helpful staff.
  • Ideal for: Budget travelers looking for a central location.
  • Unique Perk: Close to major bus routes and attractions.

3. Marine Guesthouse

  • Location: Close to Sokcho Beach
  • Features: Offers a mix of dormitory beds and private rooms, with easy access to the beach and local markets.
  • Ideal for: Beach lovers and casual travelers.
  • Unique Perk: Beach gear rentals and storage for personal equipment.

Choosing the Right Accommodation

When selecting your accommodation in Sokcho, consider what type of experience you want. Are you there to relax by the beach, explore the mountains, or perhaps dive into the local culture and cuisine? Each area offers different advantages:

  • Near Seoraksan: Ideal for hikers and nature lovers.
  • Sokcho Beach: Perfect for those looking to unwind by the sea.
  • City Centre: Great for visitors who want to soak up the urban vibe and explore on foot.

Naksana Temple is a day trip from Sokcho, South Korea

Day Trips From Sokcho, South Korea

Here are the top 10 day trips you can embark on from Sokcho.

1. Seoraksan National Park

  • Description: Just minutes away from Sokcho, Seoraksan National Park is known for its breathtaking landscapes and rugged mountain peaks.
  • Activities: Hike to famous landmarks like Ulsanbawi Rock or enjoy the cable car ride to Gwongeumseong Fortress for stunning panoramic views.
  • Best Time to Visit: Autumn is spectacular with vibrant fall colors, but the park is a year-round destination with each season offering its own unique beauty.
  • Tips: Arrive early to beat the crowds, especially during peak seasons like fall when the foliage is at its best.

2. Goseong Unification Observatory

  • Description: Located at the northernmost point of South Korea’s east coast, this observatory offers a rare glimpse into North Korea.
  • Activities: View North Korean territory through telescopes and explore the exhibitions detailing the Korean War and the division of Korea.
  • Best Time to Visit: Clear days offer the best visibility for observing North Korean landscapes and villages.
  • Tips: Don’t forget your passport; it’s required for entry into this sensitive border area.

3. Naksansa Temple

  • Description: This ancient Buddhist temple, established in 671 AD, sits atop a cliff by the sea, offering peaceful ocean views.
  • Activities: Explore the temple’s beautiful structures, including the seven-story stone pagoda and the giant statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and fall are ideal for comfortable weather and fewer tourists.
  • Tips: Check for cultural events or temple stays that offer a deeper understanding of Korean Buddhism.

4. Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

  • Description: This winter festival takes place in Hwacheon county, about a two-hour drive from Sokcho.
  • Activities: Try your hand at ice fishing, participate in bare-hand fishing, and enjoy various ice sculptures and sled rides.
  • Best Time to Visit: The festival is held in January when the ice is thick and stable.
  • Tips: Dress warmly in layers and take advantage of the heated rest areas to stay comfortable throughout the day.

5. Yangyang Surfing Beach

  • Description: The nearby coastal town of Yangyang offers some of the best surfing spots on the east coast of Korea.
  • Activities: Take a surfing lesson, rent a board, or just enjoy the beach atmosphere.
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer is the peak season for surfing, with optimal wave conditions.
  • Tips: If you’re new to surfing, many local surf shops offer lessons for beginners.

6. Gangneung Coffee Street

  • Description: Gangneung, a city famous for its coffee culture, hosts this unique street lined with quaint cafes each offering a distinctive coffee experience.
  • Activities: Sip on specialty coffees, attend a barista workshop, or just soak in the aromatic ambiance.
  • Best Time to Visit: Visit year-round, but weekends can get particularly busy.
  • Tips: Try the local bean varieties and ask about the roasting processes used at different cafes.

7. Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street

  • Description: Chuncheon is renowned for its dakgalbi, spicy stir-fried chicken, which you can enjoy at its famous Dakgalbi Street.
  • Activities: Watch your meal being prepared right at your table and customize it with various add-ons like cheese and rice cakes.
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time of year is great for dakgalbi, but evenings offer a lively atmosphere.
  • Tips: Visit with a group to try a mix of different dakgalbi styles and side dishes.

8. DMZ Tour from Sokcho

  • Description: Explore the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea on a guided tour that educates about the ongoing conflict.
  • Activities: Visit tunnels dug by North Korea, observe life on the other side at the Dora Observatory, and explore the Third Infiltration Tunnel.
  • Best Time to Visit: Tours run year-round, but booking in advance is crucial as spaces are limited.
  • Tips: Bring your passport and follow all instructions given by the tour guides for a safe experience.

9. Baekdamsa Temple

  • Description: Nestled in the mountains, Baekdamsa Temple offers a serene retreat where you can learn about Korean Zen Buddhism.
  • Activities: Participate in a temple stay, meditate, or simply enjoy the tranquil mountain surroundings.
  • Best Time to Visit: Fall provides stunning foliage views, adding to the temple’s peaceful ambiance.
  • Tips: Respect the temple etiquette; speak softly, dress modestly, and turn off your phone.

10. Samcheok Marine Cable Car

  • Description: Experience breathtaking views of the East Sea and the surrounding coastline on the Samcheok Cable Car.
  • Activities: Enjoy the scenic ride, explore the coastal trails, and visit the nearby caves.
  • Best Time to Visit: Clear days offer the best views, making spring and fall ideal times for a visit.
  • Tips: Purchase tickets in advance during peak times to avoid long waits.

Sokcho lighthouse with seagulls flying around it in South Korea

Sokcho Transportation Guide

here’s everything you need to know about getting around Sokcho.

1. Intercity Buses

  • Overview: Sokcho’s intercity bus terminal connects it to major cities across South Korea, including Seoul, Incheon, and Busan.
  • Features: Regular services run by several bus companies ensure that travelers can find convenient schedules.
  • Cost: Prices vary depending on the destination; for example, a bus ticket to Seoul typically costs around 18,000 to 20,000 KRW.
  • Tips: Booking in advance can be wise during peak travel seasons or weekends to secure a seat.

2. Local Buses

  • Overview: A comprehensive network of local buses covers both the city and the neighboring areas, including Seoraksan National Park.
  • Features: Affordable and reliable, these buses are a great way to move around and explore local attractions.
  • Cost: A standard fare starts at about 1,200 KRW, depending on the distance.
  • Tips: Have small change ready as buses do not give change, and check the latest schedules online or at bus terminals as they can change seasonally.

3. Taxis

  • Overview: Taxis in Sokcho are readily available and can be hailed on the street, at taxi stands, or called via phone.
  • Features: They offer a fast and convenient way to travel, especially late at night when buses may no longer be running.
  • Cost: Base fare starts at around 3,300 KRW, with additional charges depending on distance and time.
  • Tips: Ensure the meter is running to avoid overcharging; most drivers do not speak English, so having your destination written in Korean can help.

4. Car Rentals

  • Overview: Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore Sokcho and its surroundings at your own pace.
  • Features: Several rental agencies are available at or near the bus terminal, offering a variety of vehicles.
  • Cost: Daily rentals can vary widely based on the type of vehicle and rental duration, generally starting from around 55,000 KRW per day.
  • Tips: International visitors will need a valid international driver’s license; be aware of local driving laws and mountainous roads.

5. Bicycles

  • Overview: Sokcho is a bike-friendly city with many scenic paths, including routes along the beach and to nearby attractions like Seoraksan.
  • Features: Bike rentals are available throughout the city, especially near major tourist spots.
  • Cost: Rental costs are generally inexpensive, around 10,000 KRW for a full day.
  • Tips: Check the condition of the bike before renting, and plan your route to include bike-friendly paths.

6. On Foot

  • Overview: Walking is an excellent way to explore Sokcho, especially the beachfront and downtown areas.
  • Features: Many of Sokcho’s attractions are located within walking distance from each other, particularly in the city center.
  • Cost: Free!
  • Tips: Wear comfortable shoes and carry a map or a GPS-enabled device to navigate easily.

7. Electric Scooters

  • Overview: Recently, electric scooters have become a popular way for locals and tourists alike to navigate the city.
  • Features: These scooters can be rented through apps and found in various locations around Sokcho.
  • Cost: Prices are usually charged per minute, typically around 100 KRW per minute.
  • Tips: Always wear a helmet, follow local traffic laws, and park the scooters in designated areas to avoid fines.

Useful Tips for Travelers

  • Local Maps: Always have a current map or a GPS navigation app on your phone, as some older streets may not be well-marked.
  • Language Barrier: Not all transport workers speak English, so having key phrases in Korean or a translation app can be very helpful.
  • Transport Passes: Look into any available transport passes or cards that offer discounts for multiple uses across different types of transport.

Seoraksan is a place to visit after Sokcho, South Korea

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Sokcho?

Here are ten excellent places to visit after your trip to Sokcho, each offering unique attractions and experiences.

1. Seoul

  • Description: The bustling capital city of South Korea is just a few hours away and offers an exciting mix of modernity and tradition.
  • Activities: Visit the historic Gyeongbokgung Palace, explore vibrant neighborhoods like Hongdae for art and fashion, and shop in the extensive Myeongdong district.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) are ideal for pleasant weather and colorful scenery.
  • Tips: Utilize Seoul’s extensive subway system to get around efficiently and affordably.

2. Gangneung

  • Description: Located on the eastern coast of Korea, Gangneung is famous for its beautiful beaches and the annual coffee festival.
  • Activities: Relax on Gyeongpo Beach, visit the Ojukheon House to see historical Korean architecture, and try local specialties at the Gangneung Coffee Festival.
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for beach activities and October for the coffee festival.
  • Tips: Don’t miss the sunrise at Jeongdongjin, one of the earliest viewing spots on the Korean peninsula.

3. Jeonju

  • Description: Known as the birthplace of bibimbap and a hub of Korean culture, Jeonju offers a charming traditional Korean experience.
  • Activities: Explore the Jeonju Hanok Village with its traditional houses, enjoy a bowl of authentic Jeonju bibimbap, and visit the Jeonju Hanji Museum to learn about traditional Korean paper.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and fall for mild weather and local festivals.
  • Tips: Stay overnight in a Hanok to experience traditional Korean living.

4. Busan

  • Description: South Korea’s second-largest city is famed for its dynamic coastline, vibrant nightlife, and rich history.
  • Activities: Stroll along Haeundae Beach, visit the bustling Jagalchi Fish Market for fresh seafood, and explore the historic Beomeosa Temple.
  • Best Time to Visit: Late spring and early fall when the weather is warm but not too hot.
  • Tips: Take a day trip to nearby Gamcheon Culture Village for colorful street art and stunning city views.

5. Gyeongju

  • Description: Often referred to as the “museum without walls,” Gyeongju is rich in Silla dynasty history with countless archaeological sites and cultural treasures.
  • Activities: Visit Bulguksa Temple, explore the ancient tombs in Tumuli Park, and see the impressive Cheomseongdae Observatory.
  • Best Time to Visit: Autumn when the weather is cool and the trees are ablaze with color.
  • Tips: Rent a bike to easily explore the vast historical sites scattered around the city.

6. Incheon

  • Description: Just west of Seoul, Incheon is a dynamic city known for its port, modern architecture, and the Incheon International Airport.
  • Activities: Walk through Chinatown for cultural sights and great food, explore the futuristic Songdo International Business District, and relax at Wolmido Island.
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round, with cultural events and festivals happening throughout.
  • Tips: Visit during the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival in August for live music and entertainment.

7. Jeju Island

  • Description: Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Jeju Island offers a stunning landscape of volcanic craters, lush green tea fields, and sandy beaches.
  • Activities: Hike up Hallasan Mountain, visit the Jeju Loveland for quirky art, and explore the underground lava tubes at Manjanggul Cave.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring for the blooming flowers and fall for the harvest season.
  • Tips: Renting a car is the best way to explore the island at your own pace.

8. Suwon

  • Description: Just south of Seoul, Suwon is famous for its well-preserved Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Activities: Walk the fortress walls, visit the traditional Korean Folk Village for a back-in-time experience, and explore the lively markets in downtown Suwon.
  • Best Time to Visit: Visit in October during the Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival.
  • Tips: Try the local specialty, Suwon galbi (Korean short ribs), at one of the many barbecue restaurants.

9. Daejeon

  • Description: As South Korea’s fifth-largest city, Daejeon serves as a hub of science and education with several universities and research institutes.
  • Activities: Visit the National Science Museum, relax in Yuseong Hot Springs, and explore the local markets and nightlife.
  • Best Time to Visit: Anytime, but especially vibrant during the Daejeon Science Festival in October.
  • Tips: Utilize Daejeon’s subway system to navigate between attractions easily.

10. Pohang

  • Description: This coastal city in the Gyeongsangbuk-do province is known for its steel industry and beautiful beaches.
  • Activities: Visit the POSCO Museum to learn about the steel industry, relax on Homigot Beach, and see the sunrise at the Homigot Sunrise Plaza.
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for beach activities and New Year for the sunrise festival.
  • Tips: Pohang is famous for grilled squid, a must-try while visiting the area.

Sokcho apartment building roofs with a colourful display in South Korea

Sokcho Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

As our journey through Sokcho comes to a close, it’s clear that this city is more than just a gateway to Seoraksan National Park. It’s a place where every visit reveals new surprises and hidden gems—a seaside city that truly embodies the beauty and diversity of South Korea.

Embrace the Adventure

Nature’s Playground Whether you’ve hiked the rugged trails of Seoraksan, strolled along the pristine beaches, or simply enjoyed the panoramic views from a cable car, Sokcho offers an escape into nature that is both exhilarating and soothing. The memories of these landscapes will linger long after you’ve departed.

Culinary Delights Await

A Feast for the Senses Sokcho’s culinary scene is a paradise for food lovers. From fresh seafood straight from the East Sea to spicy local stews that warm you from the inside out, every meal is an adventure in itself. Don’t forget to grab some hotteok from a street vendor—your taste buds will thank you!

Dive into the Culture

Rich Heritage The cultural tapestry of Sokcho, with its historic temples and vibrant festivals, offers a deep dive into the traditions that shape this unique region. Participating in local celebrations or simply observing daily life in the markets can provide an authentic glimpse into the soul of the city.

Plan Your Return

More to Explore One trip is never enough to fully experience all that Sokcho has to offer. Each season brings new activities and sights, making a return trip a must. Whether it’s to catch the cherry blossoms in spring, the fiery leaves in autumn, or the snow-dusted landscapes in winter, Sokcho is a destination that calls you back time and again. Farewell, Sokcho, until next time!

Sokcho autumn views overlooking the water with the city off in the distance in South Korea

Ode To Sokcho

In Sokcho, where the mountains meet the sea, A land of natural beauty, waiting for thee. With Seoraksan’s peaks and Sokcho’s beach, Adventure and relaxation are within your reach.

The Abai village, a glimpse into the past, A reminder of cultures that forever last. With fresh seafood and local delights, Your taste buds will be in for a delight.

The air is crisp, the scenery divine, The perfect place to unwind and dine. Take a hike, take a stroll, Let the wonders of Sokcho take control.

So come and visit this coastal gem, A place where memories are made, not just a whim. Sokcho welcomes you with open arms, A place of serenity and natural charms.

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