What To Expect
You will explore Ganghwado, a fascinating island that is often called a microcosm of Korean history. But, due to its strategic location, Ganghwado has historically been one of the first targets of many foreign attacks particularly in the late 19th century when Korea unsuccessfully sought to maintain its status as a "Hermit Kingdom."
Visit Ganghwa History Museum displaying historical records of the entire spectrum of Korean existence, from the mythical foundation of Korea to the opening port to the outside World marked by Ganghwado Treaty signed in February 1876. Near museum is Korea's first Anglican Church, which is a notably unusual church with Western, Korean, Christian, Buddhist and Confucian influences, and Goryeo Palace site where several Goryeo kings resided (1232-1270) during their tenacious 39-year resistance against Mongol invaders.
You will see Ganghwa Dolmen, one of the most famous dolmens in Korea. A 50-ton capstone, 7.1 meters long, 5.5 meters wide and 1 meter thick, rests on two sturdy supporting prop stones. This prehistoric dolmen including many others in Gochang and Hwasun has been registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage for their archaeological value.
Next, stop off at Ginseng market selling variety of ginseng products from raw roots to extracts. This mysterious root has historically been considered an empowering medicine and an aphrodisiac in Korea. It is effective in recovering the liver's functions, improving anticancer and immunity functions, and treating diabetes, hypertension, low blood pressure and stress. Ginseng also facilitates recovery from fatigue and the activation of nervous cells. Apart from the ginseng, you will see a typical example of local market where many elderly women selling fishes, home-grown vegetables and grains on the roadsides nearby.
Jeondeungsa dating back to the 3rd century is an active Buddhist temple providing a glimpse into the Buddhist culture. The temple came into prominence during the late Goryeo period (918-1392) when King Gojong commissioned the famous Tripitaka Koreana wood blocks to be carved there which are now preserved in Haeinsa temple. Within the main worship, you will see Sakyamuni Buddha who is flanked on the left by Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Perfect Wisdom, and on the right by Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva of Perfect Compassionate Action. As you approach the hall, look carefully way up in the eaves at the corners of the roof, and there you can just see tiny human figures, one at each corner. One version says that the forsaken carpenter carved his two-timing girl up in the rafters, eternally bearing the burden of her deceitfulness. It is also worth noting a dharma bell dating back to 1097. It is the only Chinese bell designated as a Korean treasure.
Lastly, explore one of the fortresses, Chojijin, that speaks to the battles against the French Navy led by Admiral Pierre-Gustave Roze in October 1866, the American Asia fleet under the commander Roger in 1871, and the collision with the Japanese ship Unyomaru in 1875.
Ganghwa History Museum
Goryo Palace Site
Full coverage of transportation
Tips and gratuities
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14 days / 13 nights
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