Gwacheon Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to visit, food and drink scene, and local culture and customs of Gwacheon in this travel guide. Safety and health, transportation options, and nearby destinations are also covered.

Introduction to Gwacheon

Gwacheon is a small, charming city located in the province of Gyeonggi, South Korea. Known for its beautiful parks, rich cultural heritage, and proximity to Seoul, Gwacheon is a must-visit destination for travelers who want to experience the authentic Korean way of life.

List of Places to Visit in Gwacheon

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art: Offers an extensive collection of contemporary Korean art and modern artwork from around the world. A highlight of the museum is its outdoor sculpture garden.
  • Gwacheon Hanmadang: This traditional Korean market offers a wide range of local food, snacks, and souvenirs.
  • Seoul Grand Park: A sprawling park that is home to a zoo, amusement park, botanical garden, and hiking trails.
  • Gwacheon Government Complex: A beautiful and historic government complex featuring traditional Korean architecture.

Natural Attractions of Gwacheon: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Bongeun Temple: A stunning Buddhist temple with beautiful architecture, serene gardens, and daily chanting ceremonies.
  • Mt. Umyeon: A popular hiking destination offering spectacular views of the city in the fall and winter months.
  • Gwacheon Lake Park: A picturesque park featuring a lake, walking trails, and a variety of recreational activities.
  • Seoul Iris Garden: A beautiful garden featuring a range of local and imported irises.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Gwacheon

  • Bukhansan National Park: A popular hiking trail through a lush national park located just north of Gwacheon.
  • Seoul Trail: An 80-kilometer trail that takes hikers through various parts of Seoul, including Gwacheon.
  • Ongnyu Ecological Park: A beautiful park with walking and cycling trails, a fishing pond, and a wide range of flora and fauna.

Best Things to Do in Gwacheon: Activities and Tours

  • Gwacheon Cycling Tour: A guided cycling tour that takes riders through some of Gwacheon’s most beautiful and historic sites.
  • Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony: A chance to learn about Korean tea culture and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.
  • Kimchi-Making Workshop: A fun and immersive experience where visitors can learn to make this iconic Korean dish.

Week-Long Itinerary for Gwacheon

Day Activities
Day 1 Visit Seoul Grand Park and explore the zoo, botanical garden, and amusement park.
Day 2 Hike up Mt. Umyeon and enjoy the fall foliage.
Day 3 Take a cycling tour of Gwacheon and visit the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Day 4 Explore the historic Gwacheon Government Complex and visit the Seoul Iris Garden.
Day 5 Take a day trip to nearby Suwon and visit Hwaseong Fortress.
Day 6 Take a traditional Korean tea ceremony and kimchi-making class.
Day 7 Relax in Gwacheon Lake Park and enjoy a picnic with views of the lake.

Food and Drink Scene of Gwacheon

Must-Try Dishes

  • Bibimbap: A bowl of rice topped with mixed vegetables, meat, and egg. Gwacheon is famous for its bibimbap.
  • Jeon: A type of Korean pancake often filled with seafood or vegetables.
  • Tteokbokki: A dish of stir-fried rice cakes in a spicy sauce.

Local Beverages

  • Soju: A clear, distilled liquor made from rice, potatoes, or barley. Soju is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Korea.
  • Makgeolli: A slightly sweet and tangy rice wine that is often paired with jeon.
  • Green Tea: Korea is famous for its green tea, and there are many teahouses in Gwacheon that offer a range of different green teas.

Where to Stay in Gwacheon: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Hotel OUR: A modern hotel located in the heart of Gwacheon, with easy access to public transportation and several local attractions.
  • Cherry Blossom Guesthouse: A cozy guesthouse located in a traditional hanok house, offering a unique cultural experience.
  • Ivy Haeundae: A budget-friendly hostel located near Gwacheon Station, with comfortable amenities and a friendly staff.

What to Buy in Gwacheon: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Traditional Korean Crafts: Gwacheon is known for its traditional Korean crafts, including pottery, textiles, and woodworking.
  • Ginseng: Korea is famous for its high-quality ginseng, which is believed to have many health benefits.
  • Korean Beauty Products: Korea is also known for its innovative and effective beauty products, including face masks and skincare products.

Local Culture and Customs of Gwacheon

  • Respect for Elders: Korean culture places a strong emphasis on respect for elders. Visitors to Gwacheon should be respectful to elders and their traditions.
  • Slippers in the House: It is customary to take off your shoes and wear slippers in Korean homes and some public places.
  • Etiquette in Public Places: Koreans place a high value on courtesy and respect. It is considered impolite to speak loudly or to make too much noise in public places.

Best Time to Visit Gwacheon

The best time to visit Gwacheon is during the spring and fall months, when the weather is mild and the surrounding mountains and parks are full of color.

Do’s and Don’ts of Gwacheon


  • Use Chopsticks: Koreans favor chopsticks over forks and knives, so it is a good idea to learn how to use them before your trip.
  • Be Respectful: Koreans value politeness and respect. It is important to be courteous in all interactions with locals.
  • Try Local Food: Korean cuisine is delicious and varied, so be sure to try as much local food as possible.


  • Be Too Loud: Koreans prefer a quieter and more respectful approach to public spaces, so avoid shouting or making too much noise in public places.
  • Wear Shoes in the House: It is considered impolite to wear shoes inside Korean homes and some businesses.
  • Be Casual with Elders: Koreans place a high value on respect for elders. Always address elders with proper honorifics and show deference in your interactions with them.

Safety and Health

Safety in Gwacheon

Gwacheon is a safe destination with low crime rates. Visitors should exercise caution and common sense in all situations.

Health in Gwacheon

Korea has a high standard of healthcare and medical facilities. Visitors with pre-existing medical conditions should bring all necessary documentation and medication with them.

Getting to Gwacheon: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Gwacheon

The closest international airports to Gwacheon are Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport. Both airports have direct transport links to Gwacheon.

Bus Stations Near Gwacheon

Gwacheon has a comprehensive bus network that connects travelers to other parts of Korea.

Other Options

Gwacheon is well-connected to Seoul by the subway network, which is clean, efficient, and safe.

How to Get Around Gwacheon

Gwacheon is a relatively small city that is easy to navigate on foot, by bike, or by public transportation.

Where to Go Next from Gwacheon: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Suwon: A historic city located just a short train ride from Gwacheon, featuring a UNESCO-listed fortress and many traditional Korean hanok houses.
  • Bukhansan National Park: A sprawling national park located just north of Gwacheon, offering unparalleled hiking and scenic views.
  • Seoul: The capital city of Korea, Seoul is a dynamic, modern city that offers a wide range of cultural and tourist attractions.


Gwacheon is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring authentic Korean culture and heritage. With its beautiful parks, rich history, and friendly locals, Gwacheon is a hidden gem that is waiting to be discovered.