Gapyeong is a rural area about an hour or so outside of Seoul. It draws huge crowds all year long but especially over the summer. During the summer going anywhere is a huge pain, the one road in and out of my mountain town becomes backed up (it’s also the time that construction is done on that one road) and the whole place smells of bbq. Gapyeong has more Pensions (a bit like a bed and breakfast) then any other area of Korea. It’s not cheap, but there’s so many to choose from based on your interests. Want to go glamping? Bring your pet with you? Want an themed pension? One with a pool? Something simple? There’s all sorts.
Gapyeong doesn’t just include the small city of Gapyeong or the station, but includes several other train stops and bus terminals and small towns in the area.
Usually when people visit we’d take a taxi, just because waiting for the buses took forever and from where I lived it wasn’t easy to to get to where we wanted to go. I saw the shuttle buses a lot but wasn’t quite sure how they worked. All I knew was that the pick up was a different spot then where I took the local bus usually. But before I left my small town I made sure to take the shuttle bus for a day.
Tickets for the shuttle bus are 6,000 won. I suggest bringing cash as even the vacationing college kids were having trouble getting their cards to work. You pay on the bus, essentially paying the driver and unlike many transportation areas the driver does usually have change, but try and have the exact amount if you can to make everything easier.
You will be given a ticket, keep it safe, you can use it the entire day which is great if you’re planning to hop around.
There are two courses so make sure you know which one you want to take. Both courses stop at Gapyeong Terminal (this is a bus terminal), Gapyeong Station Terminal (where you catch the trains: Korail or ITX), Gapyeong Rail Bike, Cheongpyeong terminal (bus terminal), Cheongpyeong Station terminal (train station), Morning Calm Arboretum (Garden of the Morning Calm), the interactive Art Museum and Nami Island. So if you just want to visit Nami island and the Garden of the Morning Calm either A or B course is totally fine for you. But if you want to visit Petite France or one of the Recreational Forests or the Swiss Village you need to be careful of which course you take.
Both Gapyeong Train station and Cheongpyeong Train station have information booths where you can ask and pick up pamphlets for things you may be interested in doing as well as information on the shuttle bus. They also should be available on the bus. They at least have one in English. Inside it has all the time tables for the routes, as well as map of the area and a little bit more information about some of the stops. I hadn’t realized there were so many other places to stop in Gapyeong. I hadn’t known about the interactive Art Museum or that there was a giant pine nut recreational forest. I’d also heard about but completely forgotten about the Swiss Village. So if you’re in Gapyeong area and want to hit as many tourist spots in a hop on hop off style I highly suggest taking the bus.
When you board the bus pay the driver and let either the driver or the person standing up near the front know where you’re going. They’ll probably ask. At least one of them or both should speak enough English to understand.
Things to take note of: if you get car sick easily bring motion sickness medicine and take it before boarding. Many of the tourist destinations you will stop at or pass through are up and down winding rural mountain pathways that can make even the sturdiest a little queasy. Especially if you plan to use the bus all day. All the bus stops are marked with a giant poster so they should be fairly easy to find. It will tell you all about the routes, times, and have English available.