Samcheok city is located at the southernmost region of Gangwon-do, reaches out to the east coast, and Uljin in Gyeongsangbuk-do to the south. You can enjoy a romantic time by the blue ocean and mysterious caves.
Next to the express bus terminal is an information booth, right on the sidewalk. They are extremely helpful and will give you maps and schedules in English.
Nonstop buses to Samcheok Express Bus Terminal leave every 40 to 50 minutes from Seoul Express Bus Terminal. On weekdays, the first bus departs at 6:30AM and the last at 11:30PM. There are also 15 services daily from Dong (East) Seoul Bus Terminal to Samcheok between 7:10AM and 8:05PM. Check to make sure the buses are the kind with three seats across instead of four, they are the same price but much more comfortable.
If you’re planning to drive from Seoul, take the Yeongdong Expressway to Gangneung junction, then get onto the Donghae (East Sea) Expressway to Donghae. National Road No. 7 will then take you to Samcheok.
There are city and regional buses that go to all of the tourist sites and usually leave every hour from a bus stop alongside the back of the city bus terminal. To get to the caves, a ticket must be purchased inside the terminal. For the penis park and Youngwha beach you pay on the bus. Taxis are also plentiful and relatively cheap. The main downtown area is a 10 minute walk from the terminal.
Although a number of caves have been discovered throughout Samcheok, their interiors are deceptively fragile, and so only these two, both part of Daei ri County Park, are open to the public. They are ‘Hwanseongul’ and ‘Daegeumgul’.
- Hwanseon Cave (환선굴). You can reach the entrance of Hwanseon Cave after passing the ticket office, several traditional houses, a bridge, waterfall, and 398 iron stairs. 448 wild plants grow around the cave. It is also possible to take a monorail ride after the ticket office (return ticket ₩ 5,000, one-way ₩ 3,000), but this is not really worth it, and if busy will take longer than walking (walk is about 30 minutes from the ticket office). It takes about 1 hour to see the inner side of the cave which is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm during the winter season (Nov.~ Feb.), and from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm during the summer season (Mar.~ Oct.). The price for an entrance ticket is ₩ 4,000. Stories surrounding the stream abound. One popular legend has it that a beautiful woman used to appear at a waterfall near Daei ri village to bathe. But when she was approached by the villagers one day, she disappeared. Lightning struck, rocks tumbled, and the lady turned into a cave. Believing that she must have been a seonnyeo (fairy), the villagers named the cave Hwanseongul or reborn deity. Also the Hwanseongul Cave has a bridge of confessions and you’ll see a sign inviting you to confess your sins.
- Daegeum Cave (대금굴). Daegeum begins with a monorail ride uphill. The Daegeum monorail offers a seven minute journey. Daegeumgul Cave’s monorail carries visitors into a hidden underworld, passing beautiful stalactites and rock formations on the way. Be sure to book this in advance, as in high season it might be fully booked. Booking can be done at the Tourist information booth outside the bus station.
There are several raw fish restaurants at the harbor along Sae-chun-nyeo Street. A local speciality is black goat soup, it can be found several places in the city, but outside at Mu-sa-ri village one can find country style goat stew with mountain vegetables.
- Ulreungdo Pumpkin House, 496, Osipcheon-Ro (From downtown go south to the Oshib Chun road, it follows along the Oshib river, go east towards the harbor.). This long established restaurant and rice wine brewer serves home made pumpkin rice wine (dong-dong-ju). Modestly priced side dishes and entres.
Quite a large number of motels can be found near the bus station. It is worth looking around a bit to find a decent priced room as the prices seem to vary quite a bit (ranging about ₩50,000 -₩150,000).
- Palace Hotel, ☏ . 105 rooms