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Eastern Region of South Korea
Gangwon-do Province is located in the central eastern area of the Korean Peninsula. Most of the land is covered with thick forests providing an abundance of scenic vistas with fewer residential areas than in other provinces. Both its remote wooded mountains and ravines and small coastal towns are rich in scenic splendor.
With these natural conditions, Gangwon-do was the ideal site for the 4th Asian Winter Games in January 1999. The International Travel Exposition '99 was also held from September 11 through October 30, 1999. Over 2 million visitors from overseas as well as all around the country participated in these events. Under the theme, "Man, Nature and Life of the Future," it hosted not only fascinating exhibitions but provided useful information and presented a wide array of performances and events for visitors throughout the Expo period.
The eastern coastline, stretching 390 kilometers (234 miles) from Hwajinpo to Busan, is rugged and mountainous with breathtaking scenery. Skiing and other winter sports help make the area a year-round resort destination. To meet the needs of more than one million skiers per year, several ski resorts are now equipped with snow-making machines, which have extended the ski season from December to March. Other popular recreational activities in the region include swimming in summer and mountain climbing in autumn. The beaches here are perhaps the finest in Korea, gently sloping into shallow water and mild currents.
Mt. Seoraksan, which is part of the Mt. Geumgangsan Range, draws visitors with its magnificent splendor.
It is also inhabited by the half-moon bear, Gangwon-do's symbolic animal and one of the most endangered species in the world. Mt. Seoraksan, is truly an impressive and colorful all-season destination.
Other tourist sites include Cheoksan Hot Springs and Unification Observatory, which is located along the south bank of the estuary of the Hangang River and Imjingang River and offers an excellent view of the North Korean territory abutting the DMZ along the stream.
Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon-do Province, holds the Chuncheon Puppet Festival in August every year, which features the active participation of puppet theater groups from around the world.
Ulleungdo Island, lying 268 kilometers (161 miles) northeast of Pohang, is an extinct volcano rising prominently from the East Sea. Dokdo Island, the most easterly point of Korea, lies 92 kilometers (55 miles) to the southeast.
Mt. Geumgangsan is one of the most scenic tourist spots on the Korean Peninsula and considered one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders. It is located in North Korea near the eastern end of the Demilitarized Zone, dividing the peninsula. Luxury cruise boats capable of carrying some 1,000 tourists travel from Donghae in the South to the North's eastern port of Jangjeon, where the tourists take chartered buses to the mountain.