Korean East Coast Bicycle Route icon.

Mukho Lighthouse & Sky Valley

Gangwon Bike Path

Mukho Port (묵호항; map) sits on the coast of Donghae City. Just north of the port, on a hilltop above, rests three unique landmarks:

Mukho Lighthouse

Mukho Lighthouse (묵호등대; map) rises on top of the 67-meter tall hill just north Mukho Port. Though the port opened in 1941, the lighthouse wasn’t completed until 1963.

Overtime, Donghae and Mukho Port became a hub for trade between Korea, China and Russia. So in 2007, engineers rebuilt Mukho Lighthouse as a 22-meter tall structure with modern navigation systems. In 2014, workers raised the lighthouse by another four meters to 26-meters tall.

Visitors can walk up Mukho Lighthouse’s three-story spiral staircase and get a panoramic view of Mukho Port and its surroundings, including the East Sea, and Duta Mountain (두타산; map; 1,353m), and Cheongok Mountain (청옥산; map; 1,404m). Between these peaks, you can find Mureung Valley, where locals say immortals live.

Mukho Lighthouse isn’t just a navigational aid. It has been featured in Korean films and dramas like 1968’s “Hate But Once More,” “Brilliant Legacy,” and “The Heirs.” Workers installed monuments dedicated to the movies in the courtyard that surrounds the lighthouse.

  • Opening Hours:
    • Observatory: 9 AM to 6 PM
    • Outdoor Space: 6 AM to 8 PM (Summer)
  • Fee: Free

Nongoldam Street

Nongoldam Street (논골담길; map) is a collection of streets with murals that depict the history of Mukho Port on the hillside below Mukho Lighthouse.

Formed in 1941, the community along Nongoldam Street thrived for decades. Hill-bottom residents helmed the fishing boats. Hilltop citizens dried the fish. Locals say that the community was so wealthy, the lights never went out. Even dogs carried ₩10,000 notes in their mouths.

However, in the 1980s, as Korea developed, the younger folks moved to the cities. Mukho Port slipped into a slow decline.

In 2010, Donghae City embarked on a project to revitalize the community. A public art community named “Facing Each Other” descended on the Nongoldam Street, learned the local stories, and taught the elders how to paint murals. Over the years, professionals and locals created long-forgotten scenes of the daily lives and struggles of Mukho Port’s people on Nongoldam Street’s houses.

Nongoldam Street’s mural streets include Nongol 1-gil, Nongol 3-gil, and Lighthouse Ascent Path (map). From the port below, climb their winding paths and you’ll find yourself at Mukho Lighthouse.

Squid, pollock fish, and rubber boots are a recurring theme among Nongoldam Street’s murals. Why?

Decades ago, a fish drying yard sat on top of Nongoldam Street. But mud always covered the path leading up to it. The workers that climbed Nongoldam Street with the squid and pollock slipped so much they said: “You can live without a husband or wife, but not without rubber boots.”

The street’s name, “Nongol” comes from these walking paths, which were muddier than rice paddies or non (논) in Korean.

Dojebigol Sky Valley

Opened in 2021, Dojebigol Sky Valley (도째비골 스카이밸리; map) sits in a small valley beside Mukho Lighthouse. It features three unique attractions:

  • A 59-meter tall, 180-meter long skywalk (하늘산책로) that extends from the hilltop and connects to several lookout platforms. It offers views of the East Sea and valley below with a glass-bottom walkway.
  • Sky Cycle (스카이사이클) allows visitors to cross the valley on a bicycle that runs along a cable. An overhead wire secures both the bicycle and riders.
  • Giant Slide (자이언트슬라이드) is a 30 meter slide that spirals along the skywalk’s central tower.

The skywalk’s name, “Dojebigol,” derives from the local word for goblin. Legend tells that on dark, rainy nights, the people would see blue lights dancing along the water. They believed the lights were goblin fires.

Near Dojebigol Sky Valley, find a souvenir shop and Lighthouse Cafe (등대카페; map), with a outdoor seating patio overlooking the scenic coastline.

  • Hours:
    • April to October: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
    • November to March: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
    • Closed every Monday, and on Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays.
  • Fees:
    • Skywalk Admission:
      • Adults: ₩2,000
      • Youth/Children: ₩1,600
    • Sky Cycle: ₩15,000
    • Giant Slide: ₩3,000

Dojebigol Haerang Observatory

Dojebigol Haerang Observatory (도째비골 해랑전망대; map) is an 85-meter long pedestrian walkway extends from the road north of Mukho Port over the East Sea. It sits just below Dojebigol Sky Valley.

The observatory gets its name from two sources:

  • “Haerang” means “a place where the sea, the sun, and oneself meet.”
  • “Dojebigol” means goblin.

It is said that as visitors pass through a tunnel of blue frames that sits at the observatory’s entrance, they enter the goblin realm. In the center of the skywalk they can view a sculpture depicting the birth of a special tree by a goblin’s wand.

  • Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM
  • Fee: Free