When thinking of the coastal city of Gangneung, many people conjure images of the white sand beach and summer sun. But, there’s way more than that and while Gangneung is an ideal summer destination in South Korea, it’s also great every other season because there is still plenty to do. Thus, here’s what you need to know about Haslla Art World (하슬라아트월드), and how to plan a trip to this awesome art experience on the east coast of Korea. Looking for things to do in Gangneung? This should definitely be on the list.
Plan a trip to Haslla Art World in Gangneung:
- How To Get There
- Basic Info
- Where To Stay
- What To See
- Inside The Museum
- Pinocchio Museum
- Outdoor Sculpture Park
- What To Eat Nearby
- KeunKiwa House (근기와집)
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How To Get There
Address: 1441 Yulgok-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 율곡로 1441)
By Train: Take a train out to the coast quickly and easily. Take a train from Seoul Station to Jeongdongjin Station which takes just over 2 hours and costs between W23,000 and W36,000. From there, you can get a quick taxi to Haslla which is just 5 minutes up the road. You could actually do Haslla, food, and the beach nearby as a daytrip from Seoul if you wanted. It’s that easy!
Admission: Adults: W12,000; Children: W11,000; Babies 36 months and under are free
- Discount Tickets: If you pre-purchase ticketsyou can get a discount and people with pre-purchased tickets get priority entrance and sometimes the line for purchasing tickets can be long so I recommend getting your tickets in advance if you can.
Hours: Every day: 9:00am ~ 6:00pm
Where To Stay
Not only is the Haslla Art World awesome to visit, but it’s even better if you stay there. The hotel features a restaurant and bar as well as a beautiful garden. There are family friendly rooms and of course a stunning view out over the ocean. It’d be a pretty fun place to stay if you ask me. Book a room at Haslla Museum Hotel on Booking.com.
What To See
Haslla Art World is one of the most Instagrammable places in Gangneung. There are immersive exhibits, art, and sculptures from the floor to the ceiling and in every room of the museum… and even beyond onto the mountainside nearby.
Inside The Museum
The first floor exhibition space is a bit of a mish-mash of pieces and we were a bit confused with what to look at first but turn around and you’re enveloped in a colorful room with dangling mirrors and rainbows. Curve around the rainbow facades and you’ll find steps that lead downstairs.
Down the stairs, you’ll find the restaurant to one side, and a corridor to the artwork on this floor. If you want to try and eat at the restaurant, they require reservations on the weekends, so keep that in mind. One of my favorite things on this floor was a massive pink/red installation made with common red packing string. But it’s wrapped around poles and through the walls and if you follow it, you’ll find a hidden cafe there too. Come back out the way you came, and you’ll see a door that opens and showcases a staircase that is lined with colorful yarn on every surface. To go down the tunnel or not… yes, do it. Always do it.
Down into another inner space, this one must be the basement because there were no windows. It’s a bit more cramped than the other floors and you’ll wind around finding rooms filled to the brim with flowers and seats for photos. Continue down the halls and you’ll find that you’re at a dead end and must circle back. Come back around and a hole in the wall leads to a tunnel with dazzling lights. One thing about the museum is that you never quite know where you’re supposed to go but each room opens up to another space or a tunnel naturally.
Once out of the tunnel, you see the daylight once again and end up on a terrace that wraps around the outside of the museum. The large Pinocchio leads you out to the next place to peruse.
When you first enter the Pinocchio Museum, you’ll notice a space where you/kids can actually partake in a little art class. If you don’t think you have time to hang around though, you can also buy little kits here to take home. The Pinocchio Museum is a bit of an oddity. It has an extensive marionette collection which is quite a contrast to the collection in the rest of the museum. I wouldn’t say we were exceedingly interested in these spaces. If you don’t like marionettes, you probably don’t need to see this space though they say it changes often.
A cool aspect of the marionette display, though, is that some of them are set up to move automatically when you pass by or stand on sporadically placed “footprints” on the floor.
The experiences you/your child can try here include:
- Pinocchio Marionette Kit & Constructing: W10,000
- Bird Mobile Marionette Kit & Constructing: W20,000
- Pop Up Book Kit & Construction: W6,000
- Wood Character Painting Kit: W5,000
- Character Coloring Kit: W7,000 ~ W15,000
- And more. There are other experiences like hand drip coffee, chocolate making, and a tea ceremony, but I think those are up in the cafe/restaurant area of Haslla Art World.
Outdoor Sculpture Park
Once you’ve walked through the massive museum and you’ve winded down, around, up and through all of the hallways, you end up outside where there is an outdoor cafe… and you might think you’re done. You could be. It is here that there is a choice to be made. You can go left, which is the exit, or you can go right and end up in the outdoor sculpture park that is on 33,000 pyeong of hillside. There are sculpture scattered on the side of the hill and along the sidewalks that go through the trees. The open-air art museum is a must so don’t stop just because you’ve spotted the exit.
Interesting things to see at Haslla Art Museums outside sculpture park:
- Sundial Square: There aren’t really signs but you’ll see this large metal tube that is sticking out of the ground and steps that lead into the center. When you come around suddenly you realize there are steps and you can go inside… but do you know where it comes out? No, you won’t. Should you go through though? Well, I’ve learned that if things are open and doors are unlocked, you should always open them and see what happens.
- Cow Dong Gallery: There isn’t much to say except that there are sculptures made from cow dung inside by artist Ok Young Choi. It’s interesting and my kid loved it. The kid inside of all of us would really.
- Into The Head: The red/orange metal sculpture is meant to depict the brain. Also by artist Ok Young Choi, this leads down to Ok Young Choi’s Art Garden and then actually brings you back up to the hillside again.
Where To Eat Nearby
KeunKiwa House (근기와집)
Just up the road, the best place to eat in the area is the KeunKiwa House. If you’ve got a car, there’s also plenty of parking and there’s a nice beach and forested area to take a walk after you’ve eaten too. If you’ve got picky eaters, go for the tofu dish and all of the side dishes. Tofu in this region is a specialty made from saltwater. If you’ve got seafood lovers, then go for the abalone stew.
Address: 3 Jeongdong Deungmyeong-gil, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원 강릉시 강동면 정동등명길 3)
Hours: Monday – Friday: 7:00am ~ 7:30pm; Weekends: 7:00am ~ 8:00pm
Hope you enjoy your trip to this fun art spot in Gangneung, Korea.