South Korea is setting up for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. February will be one of the coldest months in a while. It will also be one of the coldest winter Olympics. Therefore, attendance is low for many of the events. Many of the events will be held in different locations. For example, the opening and closing ceremony will take place in PyeongChang, a very mountainous region. However, events will also take place in Gangneung, a coastal area. Many will go to PyeongChang and decide not to go to Gangneung. So what can you do in PyeongChang? Those that are interested in seeing Korea’s culture rather than the events. Here are the Top 10 Places to see in PyeongChang.
10) Sangwonsa Temple
The Sangwonsa Temple is located in the Odaesan Mountains and has some of the best views of PyeongChang. However, getting to the temple is not very easy but well worth the walk/hike. Once up there you will see the beautiful traditional temples. It is a great place to take pictures. It also houses the oldest bronze bell in Korea which dates back to 725. This is a great place to learn about Korean culture and Buddhism.
9) PyeongChang Olympic Market
The Pyeongchang Olympic Market is one of the most authentic traditional markets for herbal foods. Therefore this market provides the best culture, food, and foreigner friendly people in Korea. It is common for sellers to explain the food as well as give a little bit extra as service. The prices are very cheap and you can find any kind of Korean food imaginable. Some dishes I would recommend would be buckwheat jelly and kimchi pancake.
8) Herb Nara Nongwon
The best time to visit Herb Nara Nongwon is in the spring. It is an eco-farm that is beautiful, full of flowers, and plants. There are shops that offer farm made products such as body lotions and candles. There is also a children’s park where children can chase butterflies and play on the playgrounds. I recommend you try the bibimbap for lunch as they are made from fresh veggies grown on the farm. There is also a bakery where you can eat bread topped with fresh herbs. The fee is only 7,000 won.
7) Odaesan National Park
You can spend the whole day walk and hike around Odaesan National Park. However, it is not for everyone. If you enjoy long walks and hikes, this place is for you. The view from the top is amazing. It is recommended to travel with local residents because it is easy to get lost. It will not be crowded in February, however with so many people coming for the Winter Olympics, who knows for sure. The entrance fee at the gate is 3,000 won per adult and 5,000 won per car.
6) Daegwanryeong Yangtte Ranch
Those that love sheep will love Daewanryeong Yangtte Ranch. Sheeps are scattered all along the hill. It is also a great place to hike the trails and paths which are great for beginners. Tickets are only 4,000 won for adults and free for children under 5. The sheep are very friendly and visitors can pet and feed them as well.
5) Ocean 700
Who says you can’t go swimming in the winter? Ocean 700 is an indoor water park where people can go to take a break from skiing. They have many different rides with floats and tires. You can even swim outdoors in heated pools. There are wave pools, lazy rivers, and even water massage pools. The facility is modern and very clean. I would recommend you try the Tornado four-person rubber ring slide. There is also a Korean sauna at the top level, however, you will need to be fully nude to enter.
4) Daegwanryeong Samyang Ranch
The views at Daegwanryeong Samyang Ranch are amazing. The scenic pastures, mountains, and fields are great for pictures. It could get very cold so make sure you take your jacket. It gets so windy that there are even wind turbines. People from all over Korea come for the food. I would recommend you try the noodles and cheese made from real cows. Kids will love the farm where they can see cows, sheep, and even ostrich. You can even buy blankets made from the fleece from their own sheep.
3) Phoenix Snow Park
Just how much access people will have to Phoenix Snow Park is uncertain because of the Winter Olympics that will be going on. It is possible most places will be blocked off. However, those interested in skiing at PyeongChang, Phoenix Snow Park is the place to go. The park provides 3 sessions for skiers: morning, afternoon and night. They also have a gondola ride but it is only open until 4pm. There are tubing experiences for kids as well as ski sledding. There is also the Blue Canyon Water Park (Indoor) with heated outdoor pools.
The Woljeongsa Temple is getting an upgrade before the startup of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Those that are interested in the history of Korea, this is a must-see. The temple was built in 590. It is best when it is covered in snow. The entrance to Woljeonsa costs 3,000 won and 500 won for children (7 years or under are free).
1) PyeongChang Trout Festival
The PyeongChang Trout Festival is great for the whole family. The weather is cold enough that people can ice fish! There are activities such as sledding, snow tubing, ice karting, and snow rafting. However what PyeongChang is known for the most is ice fishing. Chairs and fishing gear can be rented or bought at the location. Once you catch the fish you can choose to have it grilled or have it sashimi style for only 3,000 won. Bobsleigh rides will cost 24,000 won. Here are some other prices below:
Tent Fishing, ice and snow activities (Integrated): 30,000 won
Ice Fishing, ice and snow activities (Integrated): 25,000 won
Snow and Ice experience (Integrated): 22,000 won
(Tube sledding, Snow Rafting, Mini Train, Four Wheel Motor, ATV, Korea traditional sledding, ice-skating, ice four-wheel bicycle, ice kart, ice slide) Each snow or ice experience – 10 types (separately): 6,600 won each