Sokcho is a coastal town in the Gangwon-do region of South Korea, in the northeast of the country. It is north of 38th parallel and was originally part of North Korea until the borders were rearranged following the Korean War (1950s). Sokcho is primarily visited because of its proximity to the DMZ (demilitarised zone) and because it is the gateway to the remote Seoraksan National Park. Bus number seven will take you right to the entrance.
There are regular buses from Seoul to Sokcho, it’s a two and a half hour ride. The bus terminal in Sokcho is right in the city centre, near plenty of hostels. Transport around the city can be somewhat sporadic; there are regular buses to the national park but not to many other places outside of the city. To visit the DMZ, you will need to get on a tour; your hostel staff can arrange one for you.
There are a few hostels in Sokcho. Some are in the city centre near the bus station, but others are closer to the shore along the East Sea. The Korean characters for hostel are “호스텔” and pronounced almost the same as the English word, but you’ll find that most tourist kiosk staff speak excellent English and can direct you.
Sokcho has a lot to offer the budget traveller, from the Yeongrangho Lake, with walking and biking trails and a great view back over the city, to the plethora of fish stalls and street food vendors. The National Park is only a few minutes bus ride from town and offers an extensive network of hiking trails, all adorned with statues of Buddha, temples, and more. The park is popular at the entrance but gets less crowded as you hike up to the peaks. In town, Sokcho has two unique attractions. After you visit the DMZ, visit the Abai Village, a neighbourhood of North Korean refugees-turned-expats. The other one is the Teddy Bear Farm, worth it for the oddity and creativity of the dioramas and gardens.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Sokcho hostels. Welcome.