Visiting the Home of the 2018 Winter Olympics?
What You Should Know About Pyeongchang, South Korea
In the U.S., the weather has been downright colder than normal… well at least in some places. And we’re already dreaming about planning those warm-weather vacations for the spring and summer, right? Although we want to wish the winter chill away, that hasn’t dampened our excitement to root for Team U.S.A. at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. We’re amped up to see the best athletes in action, including alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, pro snowboarder Shaun White and figure skating favorite Nathan Chen. And in case, you don’t know much about Pyeongchang, we’re about to reveal a few things you should know about the host of the 2018 Winter Games.
Where is Pyeongchang?
PyeongChang is a county in Gangwon province. It’s about 80 miles east from Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and about 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, which divides North Korea and South Korea.
How big is Pyeongchang?
It’s about the size of Houston, Texas, but has a population of 43,703 people. It’s also known as “happy 700” because it’s 700 meters above sea level, according to the Winter Games website.
Is it “Pyeongchang” or “PyeongChang”?
Both are correct, but for the 2018 Olympics, Pyeongchang is being marketed with the camel-case spelling, PyeongChang, so people won’t confuse it with the Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
Where will the opening and closing ceremonies be held?
Both ceremonies with be held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, and all the competition venues are located within a 30-minute drive from the stadium. Most snow sports will be held in Gangneung, and the alpine speed events will be in the held in Jeongseon.
What new events have been added for these Winter Games?
- big air snowboarding
- freestyle skiing
- mass start speed skating
- mixed doubles curling
Which resorts will be popular among the athletes in Pyeongchang?
Alpensia Ski Resort will get a lot of foot traffic as the main resort for athletes during the Olympics. The slopes here are more for beginners and intermediate skiers. For pros, take a five-minute bus ride to the Yongpyong Ski Resort – the biggest ski and snowboard resort in South Korea. You’re sure to catch the pros here. And the Daegywallyeong Sheep Farm and Hanwoo (Korean Beef) village are nearby if you want a little taste of small-town culture.
What are a few not-to-be-missed experiences in Pyeongchang or nearby?
Relax and Rejuvenate at a Buddhist Temple
Plan a stay at the Woljeongsa Temple! This historic Buddhist temple – located in a forest in the eastern valley of Odaesan Mountain – was founded in the year 643. Surrounded by dense forests with the Geumgang-yeon River flowing nearby, this is the perfect respite for you to reflect on your life and to participate in activities to help you return home reinvigorated.
Skywalk or Zip-Line: Pick Your Adrenaline-Pumping Thrill
Explore South Korea’s majestic landscapes and natural wonders from an amazing vantage point. In Jeongseon, take a cautious stroll along Byeongbangchi Skywalk’s U-shaped observatory perched more than 1,900 feet high for breathtaking views of Bamseom Island and the Donggang River. Afterwards, hop on one of the longest and steepest zip-lines in Asia. ($2 USD/2,000 won per adult, $1 USD/1,000 won per child)
Don’t Miss These Winter Festivals
South Korea is known for its fun winter festivals, including the Pyeongchang Trout Festival (from late December to the end of February), where you can experience catching fresh trout from a hole drilled through the ice. Most Midwesterners in the U.S. know it as plain ole ice-fishing. Anglers can take their catch to a nearby restaurant to feast on their catch of the day. Other activities include traditional folk games, sledding and snow rafting. In addition to the annual Winter Music Festival, the Daegwallyeong Winter Snow Festival is also popular here. The fun-tastic fest includes a snowman-making competition, snow sledge competition, and for locals who can brave the cold au natural, they can enter the international naked marathon.
Embark on an Immersive Korean Cultural Experience
Foodies can’t leave Pyeongchang without doing this! Let a Vacation travel agent arrange a hands-on, interactive day-trip excursion to the Korea Traditional Food Cultural Experience Center. Learn how to make traditional Korean foods, including kimchi, bibimbap, gochujang, mackerel ssamjang and red pepper paste. Visitors also get to try on a traditional Hanbok, too! ($3 USD/3,000 won for per adult, $2 USD/2,000 won per child)
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