Filled with an insurmountable amount of scenic beauty, Ganghwa Island is definitely a place like no other. For those who need a day out of the city, the island consists of many inhabited and uninhabited spots that will make your stay relaxing and unforgettable. Ganghwa is a popular destination for travelers who are looking for a place full of nature and culture. In fact, Ganghwa Island is filled with countless commemorative statues, temples, paddy fields, mountains, and beautiful beaches!
Ganghwa Island’s rural location and calm atmosphere are what adds to its mystical aura. So, where should you go and what should you do throughout your visit? Here are five very interesting activities that you can take part in throughout your stay in Ganghwa Island:
Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the dolmen is a European henge site from the Bronze Age. Seeing as this is the case, it is quite fascinating and unusual that this structure can be found on the other side of the world. On Ganghwa Island, the Bugeuni-ni dolmen is known as the largest dolmen on the island, consisting of three stones with the top stone weighing about fifty tons. Even though the Bugeuni-ni dolmen is just a stone slab for some, its true magnificence will shine if you get closer.
- BOMUNSA TEMPLE
Throughout your stay in Ganghwa Island, you might as well take advantage of its neighboring islands. In fact, one island that you should definitely visit is Seokmodo Island and its Bomunsa Temple — a place with lush green scenery.
At Bomunsa Temple, one can admire its huge bell, the temple itself with three golden Buddhas, a shop, another temple with a sleeping Buddha, and a cave temple. Aside from this, you will find a wide variety of small Buddha statues that can rival the might of the Terracotta Army. When you go to visit the stone-carved Buddha on the cliff, you will also be met with an amazing view of the island and the ocean. If you stay until late afternoon, you will be able to watch an unforgettable sunset.
- GANGHWA PEACE OBSERVATORY
Overlooking the Han River estuary, the Ganghwa Peace Observatory gives visitors the opportunity to lay their eyes on North Korea. As many know, North Korea is a secluded and mysterious country that is isolated from the rest of the world. This observatory gives its visitors a surreal experience that one definitely does not want to miss. If you have a strong interest in North Korea, give the Ganghwa Peace Observatory a visit. In this building, you can find an exhibition about the war, tanks, observatories with telescopes, and an auditorium. If you are feeling adventurous, you can go on an official tour of the DMZ and the Peace Village.
- GWANGSEONGBO FORTRESS
Even though it is not the most famous of Korean landmarks, Gwangseongbo Fortress has an interesting history. Dating back to the Goryeo Dynasty, this fortress has an elegant aura and a stunning architectural display. During the Battle of Ganghwa, it is said that this fortress was the location of one of the main battles that took place throughout the war. A very attractive place for a history buff to visit, isn't it?
In order to enter the fortress, you will have to pay a 1100₩ entrance fee, but after that, you are free to roam the premises to your heart’s content. As you walk along the fortress, you will be met with many memorial sites, military weapons, and the Yongdudongdae Observation Post. By the end of your visit, you would have traversed time and space in order to get a glimpse of the past and an understanding of the present.
- DONGMAK BEACH
When on a retreat, one must exploit the amazing places and atmosphere that it has to offer! Containing endless mudflats and an abundance of marine life, Dongmak Beach is the only beach on Ganghwa Island and one of the most popular tourist sites. Since this beach is famous for having quiet and shallow waters, you can let loose and swim when the tide comes in. When the tide comes out, you can play in the sand and watch different sea creatures on the mudflat (clams, lugworms, crabs, etc.). Even though the water is not that transparent, this beach is still a great place to spend some time by yourself or with some company while enjoying a beautiful view.
It is quite evident that Ganghwado Island offers a variety of unique activities that cannot be found elsewhere. Furthermore, it is a place that has a peaceful atmosphere, cultural aura, and unique history.
Are there any islands in your country that you believe are just as enticing? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Written by Valeria Voelkl