Museum SAN: A Beautiful Day Trip from Seoul
Chances are you’ve probably landed on this post after seeing pictures of an incredibly Instagrammable a bright red arch-like sculpture. Alexander Liberman’s “Archway” has pretty much become the landmark of Museum SAN and taken over Instagram feeds. However, this intriguing museum is unlike any other museum I’ve been to and has so much more to offer!
Here’s why Museum SAN is the ideal day trip from Seoul.
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Key Facts about Museum SAN
- Museum SAN opened in May 2013
- SAN stands for Space, Art & Nature
- This space balances art and architecture with natural surroundings
- The museum was designed by Tadao Ando, the master of minimalist architecture
- There are five main areas: the Flower Garden, the Water Garden, the Main Building, the Stone Garden and the gallery of James Turrell’s work
Opening Hours: 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM, last admission at 5PM *Closed every Monday
How to get to Museum SAN
Museum SAN is located in the green mountains outside of Wonju in Gangwondo Province. There are a lot of convenient and easy ways to reach the museum.
By Express Bus
Take the express bus directly to Wonju Express Bus Terminal. From there, you can take the “Oak Valley shuttle bus” straight to Museum SAN.
You can also take the train from Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station to Manjong Station northwest of Wonju and take a taxi from there.
If you have a car, driving directly to Museum SAN is also a great option – depending on where you are leaving from. I drove to the museum from Cheongju (Chungbuk Province), which was a smooth ride that took around 2 hours.
Address: Museum SAN, 260 Okeubaelli 2-gil, Jijeong-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do
What not to miss at Museum SAN
Museum SAN is really much more than just a museum. It’s a space where you can truly relax body and mind. It’s also the perfect day trip from Seoul if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can easily spend an entire day here – the museum has a lot to offer!
Alexander Liberman’s “Archway”
After purchasing your ticket at the Welcome Center area, you continue your journey on towards Museum SAN’s most Instagrammable landmark: the Archway. This modern statue is located in the so-called Water Garden. Here, the calm and clear surface of the water surrounding the main building creates a picture-perfect reflection of the bright red gate – a truly spectacular sight!
Museum Inside Galleries
Inside the main building – made of chic Paju stone – you can visit two galleries: The Paper Gallery and the Cheongjo Gallery. The former is mainly dedicated to the themes related to paper while the latter houses a permanent exhibition and two special exhibitions each year. The ceiling-high windows in the halls connecting the two galleries perfectly capture the changing beauty of nature throughout the four seasons.
Café Terrace is another hotspot at Museum SAN and makes for a great photo location. If you’re hungry after snapping a few pictures for your Instagram feed, you should try their pastas, risottos, steaks and sandwiches or the different pastries on offer. Don’t forget to hydrate! Grab one of the fresh fruit juices or the deliciously roasted coffee, sit down and take in the mountainous backdrop.
In my opinion, the Stone Garden is what truly sets Museum SAN apart from other museums. Wander around and you will find nine stone mounds inspired by ancient Shilla tombs. To complete the Feng Shui atmosphere, several sculptures are placed to get your relaxing Qi flowing.
The Museum SAN meditation hall was built in 2018 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the opening. Visitors can come here and try out a variety of different forms of meditations according to the museum’s goal to “enable visitors to retrieve power to live on.” The architecture of the hall is truly quite remarkable and the sound inside the mound is perfect to let singing bowls lead vibrations of relaxation through your body.
James Turrell is globally known for his use of light and space within his art. He primarily creates spectacular enclosed spaces that frame the sky. Visitors at Museum SAN have the opportunity to enjoy four of Turrell’s most distinguished works: Sky Space, Horizon Room, Ganzfeld and Wedgework.
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Ready for a visit to Museum SAN?
As you can see, any type of traveler can enjoy their visit at Museum SAN. Whether it’s a day trip from Seoul or another city in Korea, you shouldn’t miss your chance to visit this incredible masterpiece of a museum!
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