What to do in PyeongChang during the Winter Olympics
With the start of the XXIII Winter Olympics (9 to 25 February 2018) less than two months away, it’s almost time for the world’s top winter sports competitors and enthusiasts to descend on the otherwise unsuspecting county of PyeongChang in South Korea.
While the Olympic itinerary will keep visitors busy, thanks to the vast array of events on offer, it would be a shame to miss out on sampling some of the local attractions while there as well.
So outside of the sporting action here are five activities the Flexicover team recommend sampling to make the most of a trip to PyeongChang.
Take the cable car to Gwongeumseong Fortress
For incredible views without the difficulty of hiking in Korea’s chilly February climes, take the cable car from Sokcho, a seaside city 100km from PyeongChang. For the price of a coffee, visitors are swept up the mountainous region to the remains of an ancient fortress. Once the obligatory selfies are taken, hike up the last ten minutes to reach the mountain peak and enjoy more incredible vistas. The cable car runs daily, weather permitting, and with Korean efficiency the official website is updated every day to reflect the status and opening times.
Visit the holy site of Woljeongsa
Deep in the forest near the Odasean Mountains, the Woljeongsa is a religious complex involving 60 temples and eight monasteries in the area. It also houses the Seongbo Museum, which uncovers the details of Buddhist culture from the Goryeo Dynasty through artefacts, scriptures and statues that survived the destructive Korean War. Plus there’s an incredible nine-storey octagonal pagoda, officially declared a national treasure, in its midst. While in the area, visit Jeokmyeolbogung, where Buddha’s bones are believed to rest. To tick both history and culture off the list, this is a must-visit.
Peer over to North Korea
Of course, South Korea sits uncomfortably next to the dictatorship of North Korea and a number of tour companies offer day trips which fill guests in on the practicalities of living next to one of the world’s most feared countries. Included in the trip are visits to a rail station, created to eventually connect the North and South, and the Dora Observatory. Here, binoculars are provided to check out Kijong-dong, North Korea’s 1950s fake town designed to attract South Koreans to move across, so you can get a taste of the other side without having to actually enter it.
'Disconnect to connect' at Wonju Museum SAN
With a flower garden, water garden and stone garden to admire too, this stunningly-designed museum invites visitors to retreat into nature to view art without background noise - thus their tagline of 'disconnect to connect'. It also hosts displays of the elegant art of hanji: the Korean craft of paper-making. An important and longstanding part of the culture, visitors can see fantastic examples of hanji, as well as spend an afternoon creating their own – a unique souvenir to remember Korea by. Combine it with a trip to Chiaksan National Park – one bus serves both these attractions.
Go gadget shopping
Korea gives Japan a run for its money when it comes to electronics. It’s the home of both Samsung and LG, two brands that have raced up the league in recent years. So seeing what the home country has to offer should be high on a traveller’s itinerary, though people will quickly find out that these brands lower their prices in other countries to compete internationally, but in Korea, an expensive country, they’re prohibitively high. Still, while in the capital of Seoul, be sure to check out Yongsan Market, a huge complex of 5,000 shops in 20 buildings.
So wherever your travels take you it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.