Gangwon: South Korea’s winter wonderland

As incentive itineraries get creative, the snowiest province in Korea levels up with a curation of winter-themed activities and stays appealing to those who yearn adventure and experiential travel

Brought to you by Gangwon Provincial Office

Remarkable encounters

1. Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival

Arriving at Korea’s top winter festival makes the commute from Seoul worth the journey, as the high altitude makes for a picturesque and refreshing winter setting.

Although the festival at Taebaeksan Provincial Park plays up on snow sculptures featuring works by home-grown and international artists; don’t miss the opportunity to hike along a snowy stream and and catch the sunrise over East Sea at one of South Korea’s highest peaks!

A variety of activities from traditional folk winter games to popular attractions such as snow rafting and sledding are available. For a truly uniquely alpine gourmet experience, head to the igloo café onsite for a cup of coffee, and treat yourselves to an array of local produce.

2. Inje Icefish Festival

An eye-opener for visitors from the sunny tropics – catch icefish (also known as smelt, or anchovy) on the frozen Soyangho Lake. As icefish are nocturnal, this activity is best recommended after dusk, and before the crack of dawn.

Enjoy your catch sashimi-style, by dipping it in red chilli-pepper paste (gojuchang) – in bringing out a unique cucumber scent and taste – or explore deep frying and stewing options.

The festival site also caters to morning larks; with a gourmet food street, ATV rides in the snow, and a winter wonderland packed with cultural events, ice sports and snow sculptures.

3. Wondaeri Birch Forest

Also in Inje, is Wondaeri Birch Forest, a nature sanctuary of over 700,000 birch trees renowned for its snow-covered landscape.

Although this ecological tourism site has been named top 100 must-go destinations by Korea Tourism Organization, it is still relatively untouched by commercialisation – crowning it a hidden treasure for those who make their pilgrimage here.

To create a swoon-worthy social media post, embark on one of its three trails ranging from 900m to 3.2km for a forest immersion, or learn more about this birch habitat at the observatory.


4. Hongcheonggang Ggong Ggong Festival

Unique festival moniker Ggong Ggong – which translates to firmly frozen in Korean – brings the exhilaration of trout fishing with bare hands on the frozen Hongcheon River.

If plunging your hands into icy waters is not your cup of tea, a varied number of programmes and attractions await; including Vivaldi Park snow world, charming recreations of traditional thatched-roof houses complete with outdoor food market, and Korean heritage showcases.

5. Hongcheon Alpaca World

Away from the hustle and bustle of town is Alpaca World – the largest forest experience farm in the country.

Throughout this expansive park set amidst a scenic mountain valley, visitors of all ages can interact with free-roaming South American alpacas; along with other intriguing animals including deers, mules, and a variety of birds. For a wholesome experience – and memorable photo opportunity – embark on the Healing Walk, a 15-min stroll with one of the alpacas one-on-one.

On-site glamping accommodation is available, and comes with 2 admission tickets to Alpaca World.

6. Strawberry picking (various locations)

Winter months from December to April bring about the harvesting season for strawberries – another popular export from South Korea – in cities such as Gangneung, Chuncheon and Sokcho.

Visitors can collect fresh strawberries in baskets at the farms to eat, or take away after the programme.


Ski resorts in Gangwon offer foreigner-friendly ski lessons led by expert instructors, luxurious accommodation, a variety of entertainment and even wellness-themed attractions in the complex.

As hosts of the Winter Olympics, Yongpyong Resort boasts Korea’s first, and biggest ski resort, as well as breathtaking views on Korea’s highest skyway – Mt Balwangsan Skywalk. IHG chain Alpensia Resort commands fantastic views of Daegwallyeong, and features an all seasons complex to soak up the elegant atmosphere and pure nature.

Never a dull moment at High 1 Resort, the dynamic ski park features long runs and varying slope varieties, on top of entertainment options such at golf, firework shows and casino. Otherwise, the trekking trail at Untangodo – 1200m above sea level – makes for a refreshing forest-bathing experience overlooking the lush forest of Jeongseon.

With good accessibility from Seoul and a four-season leisure complex, SONO Belle Vivaldi Park proudly showcases Snowy Land, a 14-zone snow sled park that appeals to children, and the young at heart. The muslim-friendly resort comes with a halal restaurant and prayer room.

For more information on support and travel to Gangwon Province, email

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