The eastern area of Korea has a perfect combination of mountains and beaches. Historical sites and beautiful scenery can be found not only in the small coastal towns, but also in the remote forested mountains, which boasts ski resorts and other recreational facilities. The major cities in the eastern area are Sokch'o and Kangnung.
Sokch'o is famous for its beautiful beaches and Mt. Soraksan National Park. Visitors can enjoy lush green valleys, Buddhist temples, shrines, and waterfalls.
Mt. Soraksan National Park
Mt. Soraksan National Park is considered one of the most beautiful national parks in Korea, with its granite peaks, lush green valleys and dense forests. Located west of Sokch'o, the park is divided into Inner (Nae Sorak) and Outer Sork (Oe Sorak). Tae-ch'ongbong, which towers 1,708 meters above sea level, is Sork's highest peak and is responsible for the separation of the park. Other attractions situated in this area include Pisondae Plateau, named after the legend of an angel ascending to heaven from the plateau, and Ch'oksan Hot Springs. Osaek Village, the starting point of the shortest and easiest route to Tae-ch'ongbong Peak, is also famous for Osaek Mineral Waters Springs, which are thought by some to bring relief to digestive ailments. The mountain's surrounding area has other attractions like the Shinhungsa Temple, Paektamsa Temple, and Alps Ski Resort. Mt. Soraksan is so large and varied that a minimum 3-4 days should be reserved to visit it and the surrounding areas.
Woljongsa Temple is one of the oldest temples built during the Shilla Kingdom. The Temple contains two national treasures: an eight-sided, nine-story stone pagoda, and a stone statue of Buddha. The approach to the temple passes through a dense fir forest that is stunning in the wintertime.
Naksansa Temple & Uisangdae Pavilion
Located southeast of Sokch'o, Naksansa Temple, which was built during the Shilla Kingdom, has a very old temple bell and a seven-story stone pagoda. Uisangdae Pavilion, which sits at the top of a sheer cliff near the entrance to the temple, is a famous place to see the sunrise over the East Sea.
Naksan Beach is famous for its clear water and fresh local seafood. The beach can accommodate 50,000 people, and the shallow water makes it very safe for swimming. A number of tourist hotels, restaurants and shops, including a youth hotel, line the seashore.
Kangnung is a village that has fostered the traditional culture and folklore since the old days. This city is famous for its beautiful natural scenery and its historical sites. Visitors can enjoy an excellent view of mountains and rivers. Kangnung is located south of Sokch'o.
Kyongp'odae Beach, 6km north of downtown Kangnung, is one of the three largest beaches in Korea. Silver spruce trees, as well as clean, white sand and blue waters of the East Sea border it. In summer you can lie on the warm sand or swim in the clear blue water. Many restaurants serve freshly caught fish, prepared according to the diner's special wishes.
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