Discovering Goseong, Gangwondo

If you haven’t heard about Goseong, Gangwondo, you’ve been missing out. The top right corner of the country sits above the 36th parallel and offers stunning views, beaches, and a rural atmosphere that takes you back in time. It’s one of our favorite parts of Korea.

About Goseong, Gangwon-do

The county of Goseong in Gangwondo borders North Korea above the 36th parallel. Due to its previously difficult-to-access location, the area has not developed as quickly as other parts of the country. Therefore, Goseong exists as a hidden gem nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of Northwestern South Korea. You can see its location in the following map.

Now that we have put Goseong into context, let’s explore the wonders of the area so that you can more easily plan your next trip.

Sustainable Forests

Goseong’s forests feel like some of the richest and most bio-diverse in Gangwondo. Their proximity to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) means that they are filled with wildlife and left remarkably untouched. The majestic pine, maple, and oak trees dominate the landscape, creating a symphony of colors that dance in harmony with any breeze that comes along. Every step taken amidst this natural forest paradise reveals new layers of beauty, as sun rays pierce through the leaves, sprinkling golden light upon the forest floor. In short, Goseong’s epic forests make it the place to let your mind rest.

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Camping in Goseong in the Fall

Gangwon Forestry Exhibition

In fact, in 2023 South Korea made Goseong the center for the Gangwon Forestry Exhibition. The exhibition lasts for a month between late September and late October. The event is dedicated to sharing information about sustainable forestry and promoting the natural beauty of Gangwondo. Learn more about the Gangwon Forestry Exhibition here.

A variety of the primary events for the Ganwon Forestry Exhibition are held at the Goseong exhibition area and sports park. Many other events may also be held there throughout the year. It’s a stunning space that can easily be converted for different events.

Goseong Exhibition Area/ Park

Goseong Exhibition Area/ Park0


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A exhibition in Goseong for various Gangwondo events.

Hangul Address

강원 고성군 토성면 잼버리로 244

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

A Tapestry of Fall Colors

Because of the forests in Goseong, the arrival of fall is nothing short of stunning. As the seasons transition, the landscape of this mountain and coastal county becomes a mesmerizing tapestry of vibrant hues. The dense forests, predominantly of pine interspersed with maple and oak trees, don a radiant cloak of greens, reds, oranges, and golds. The juxtaposition of these fiery autumnal shades against the serene backdrop of the East Sea is a sight to behold. Every year, nature enthusiasts and photographers feel drawn to Goseong, not just for its pristine beauty but for this ephemeral display of fall foliage that promises a unique blend of coastal and woodland panoramas.

Hiking in Goseong

Many consider Goseong a hiker’s sanctuary, offering trails that unravel through the area’s pristine forests. If you visit the hiking paths in the fall, a canopy of reds, oranges, and gold envelops you. The scent of pine and crisp air invigorates the senses. From tranquil forest trails dotted with historic temples to routes that offer breathtaking vistas of the East Sea, Goseong’s diverse terrains cater to both novice walkers and seasoned trekkers, promising an unforgettable journey with every step.

Hiking Safety Tips for Goseong

Keep in mind that hiking in Goseong also has additional safety considerations. Due to its location, the country has some issues that may not be as common in other parts of Korea. When planning a hiking trip in Goseong remember it has:

  • Varied Terrains: Some trails can be steep and rugged, requiring adequate preparation and suitable hiking gear.
  • Weather Changes: Given its coastal location, Goseong can experience sudden weather shifts. Fog might roll in swiftly, reducing visibility, or unexpected rainfall can make trails slippery.
  • Wildlife Encounters: While encounters with dangerous wildlife are rare, it’s always possible to come across animals. It’s essential to know how to react and to avoid feeding or disturbing them.
  • Proximity to North Korea: Being close to the North Korean border, there might be restricted areas. Accidentally straying into such areas can lead to serious consequences.
  • Isolation: Some trails might be less frequented, leading to isolated stretches. It’s always recommended to inform someone about your hiking plans or to hike with a companion.
  • Limited Cellular Reception: In certain remote areas, your mobile phone might not get reception, making it challenging to call for help if needed.
  • Dehydration and Fatigue: Stores and marts are more limited in Goseong. Always carry sufficient water and know the signs of exhaustion or heat-related illnesses.

We recommend always hiking with a partner in this part of Korea. In addition, always keep friends posted with your trail plans and coordinate check-in times. Finally, this is a very different hiking experience than the busy trails in other parts of the country.


You can also enjoy stunning bike rides in Goseong. So, pack up your bikes to enjoy the roads and trails. Here is a small bike course for a weekend adventure.

Seascapes and Sunrises

Goseong isn’t just about forests it also has stunning beaches. The area boasts breathtaking views of the East Sea with many long and expansive swimming beaches. Imagine autumnal mountains juxtaposed against serene seaside sunrises. We have been swimming there late into September.

One of many stunning beaches in Goseong.
Hwajinpo Beach

Hwajinpo Beach5

A rural beach with a lot of sand close to the North Korean boarder.

Hangul Address

강원 고성군 현내면 초도리 99

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

History and Sightseeing

Goseong’s geographical position places it near North Korea, making it historically significant. This proximity has seen the town play a pivotal role in Korea’s tumultuous history. Dive into tales of the past at the Hwajinpo Castle and other heritage sites.

Castle At Hwajinpo

Castle At Hwajinpo0


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Former vacation home for the leaders of North Korean

Hangul Address

강원 고성군 화진포길 280

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

This majestic villa, set against the backdrop of Hwajinpo Lake, was used by North Korean leaders before the Korean War. Preserved and converted into a museum, today, it showcases a fascinating glimpse into the lives of its former residents and the region’s history. Therefore, visitors can explore the castle’s beautifully landscaped gardens, intricate architecture, and historical artifacts that shed light on the period preceding the division of Korea.

Goseong Unification Observatory

Goseong Unification Observatory0

Observatory not too far from the museum where you can view North Korea.

Hangul Address

강원 고성군 현내면 통일전망대로 457

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Overlooking the Korean DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), Goseong Unification Observatory provides a unique and poignant perspective on one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders. From the observatory’s viewing decks, visitors can get close-up views of the DMZ and observe North Korean territory with binoculars. Information panels and exhibitions help visitors understand the ongoing tensions between North and South Korea and the desire for reunification.

Cretaceous Period Dinosaur Park

Cretaceous Period Dinosaur Park 0


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Hangul Address

경남 고성군 하이면 자란만로 618

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Located in the heart of Goseong, the Cretaceous Period Dinosaur Park brings visitors face-to-face with the fascinating world of dinosaurs. In addition, the museum showcases various fossils and footprints discovered in the area, including dinosaur eggs and skeletons. Through interactive exhibits and educational displays, visitors can learn about the geological history and the ancient creatures that once roamed the region. Nearby, Dinosaur Ridge offers an opportunity to see actual dinosaur footprints embedded in the rocky landscape, providing a sense of wonder and connecting visitors to the ancient past.



Hangul Address

강원 고성군 거진읍 건봉사로 723

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Scattered throughout the Goseong region, these serene and sacred sites offer insights into Korea’s rich Buddhist heritage and its influence on the local culture. Visitors can immerse themselves in the relaxing atmosphere as they explore the beautiful temple halls, intricate artwork, and peaceful gardens. Geonbongsa Temple was rebuilt due to the destruction that occurred during intense battles during the Korean War. Also, some other notable temples in the area include Cheongryongsa Temple and Jeongmyeongsa Temple, each with its architectural style and historical significance.

Art Galleries

In addition to natural beauty and historical interests, Goseong also hosts a number or art museums worth fitting into one of your trips.




Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

강원 고성군 토성면 원암온천3길 37

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Norang Dari Art Museum

Norang Dari Art Museum0

Healing time with works of art at the Yellow Bridge Art Museum where you can feel the special beauty of the four seasons!! Enjoy a cup of tea with your loved ones~

Hangul Address

경기 가평군 청평면 양진길 42-12

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Fall Tours with Plus Planner

Plus Planner, an SOS SEC travel partner as of 2023, often runs group and private tours to Goseong, Gangwondo in the Fall. Learn more about Plus Planner and why they can offer such great travel deals! They can help you plan trips in this area or they might have their own budget trips leaving soon.

Join The Pyeongtaek Travelers Group

You are also welcome to join our Pyeongtaek Travelers. The South of Seoul moderated community of active and friendly travelers (most of who live in Pyeongtaek, South Korea) sharing their adventures across the country.