A small city on the eastern coast, Sokcho is the main gateway to Seoraksan National Park. In and of itself, it is a charming town with a beautiful beach and several attractions of its own. It is also one of the only towns in the area with a semblance of a nightlife.
Since there is no rail service and the small airport was closed recently, the best way to get here is by bus. There are two bus stations in town -- one is an express bus terminal and the other is the regular intercity bus terminal.
Yangyang is south of Sokcho and the first town you reach on the coast when you come east from Seoul. You can take a bus for Yangyang from the DongSeoul Bus Terminal. They run daily from 7am to 7:30pm about every hour and the trip takes about 3 1/2 hours. There is a small airport in Yangyang, but most people take the bus. Buses run to and from Osaek, Jangsu-dae, Seoraksan, and Sokcho.
The town and the county (gun) have the same name (making this a bit confusing). Yangyang is well known throughout the country for its songi beoseot (pine mushrooms). You'll even see a cartoon mushroom "mascot" statue at the entrance to the town.
Included in Yangyang county is Naksan Provincial Park, which has 24km (15 miles) of shoreline that extend through the Seonsa relic area, Dongho Beach, and Hajodae Beach. It is centered on Naksan Temple and Naksan Beach. Entrance to the park (which includes entrance to Naksansa) is W2,800 adults, W1,800 children, free for seniors 65 and over and children 6 and under.
A county on the western edge of Seoraksan, Inje (tel. 033/461-2122; www.inje.go.kr) is a rural county with about 90% of the land covered with forests. Most travelers just pass through it to get from Chuncheon to Seoraksan and the eastern sea. While most of the luxury hotels and condos are on the Sokcho side of Seoraksan, Inje has many of the more affordable and humble minbak (homestays). The Inje Bus Terminal (tel. 033/463-2847, Korean only) serves buses to and from Dong Seoul Station, Chuncheon, Sokcho, Daejin, Seoraksan, and local destinations.
Although the major tourist attractions here are part of Seoraksan, the main draw is the white-water rafting. The conditions on the Naerincheon River are ideal for the sport.
Every winter the Inje Ice Fishing Festival (tel. 033/460-2082) is held, usually in late January to early February. While the area is frozen over and covered in white snow, there are smelt-fishing contests and other winter fun, like sledding, ice bowling, and snowmobiling.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.