At midnight on July 7, 2011 (Korea time), Pyeongchang was declared the host city of the 2018 Olympic Winter Game, gaining 63 out of 95 votes at the 123rd International Olympic Committee Congress held in Durban, South Africa.
Pyeongchang is located only about 182 kilometers, a two and a half hours drive, from Seoul. Its gorgeous natural scenery and favorable climate draw tourists all year round. In summer, people come to enjoy the refreshing mountains and valley streams; in the winter, the town comes alive with winter sport enthusiasts who rush to the area’s ski resorts, which are some of the best in the nation.
Venues where the events of the 2018 Winter Games will be held are located in Pyeongchang, Gangneung, and Jeongseon, all of which are within 30 minutes of each other by car. Apart from offering optimal conditions for the Olympic competitions, these areas are also treasure troves of activities and attractions.
Gangwon-do, a captivating travel destination 365 days a year
In the winter of 2018, all eyes will be on the towns of Pyeongchang, Gangneung, and Jeongseon, as athletic stars from around the world converge in Gangwon-do Province for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. In addition its widespread reputation as the epicenter of winter sports in Korea, Gangwon-do is also known for its pristine natural environment. Endless series of smooth sandy coastlines bordered by clear waters give way to clean, quiet mountains and valleys. With its abundance of natural resources, it’s no wonder that Gangwon-do is also home to the nation’s three top rafting spots.
Stranger to the concept of an “off-season,” Gangwon-do offers fresh delights with the coming of each new season. In summer, the cool forests and seas provide a refreshing escape; in summer, snow-topped mountains and ski resorts provide adrenaline-pumping sports and surreal winterscapes; in spring, thick carpets of flowers cover the land; and in autumn, the province clothes itself in brilliant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. No matter the season, visitors are sure to be captivated by the unspoiled natural charms of Gangwon-do Province.
Pyeongchang is home to the ‘Alpensia Cluster,’ a group of venues where most of the alpine ski competitions will be held during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games. The newly coined term ‘Alpensia Cluster’ includes the
Alpensia Resort Ski & Board,
Yongpyong Resort Ski & Snowboard, and
Phoenix Park Ski Resort, all of which had long been known nationally as winter sports centers even before being named venues for the 2018 Olympics. The Alpensia Resort, where most of the Olympic Games will be held, is a large-scale tourist complex with a ski resort, golf course, water park, hotels, and a convention center.
Also in Pyeongchang is the
Daegwallyeong Samyang Ranch, the largest highland farm in Asia,
Odaesan National Park,
Korea Botanic Garden, and
Farm Herbnara, a charmingly landscaped park popular among children and couples. .
-> Click here for more on Pyeongchang
Gangneung is home to the ‘Coastal Cluster,’ a group of venues honored to be hosting the ice competitions of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. In addition to these top ice facilities, the city of Gangneung boasts about a dozen different beaches including the famous
Gyeongpo Beach (the largest beach in Asia) and
Jeongdongjin Beach, an enchanting beach with a charming seaside train station. Also in Gangneung are the
Aranabi Zip Line, which gives riders a thrilling launch down over the sea, and the
Sea Train, a romantic ride with a view of the ocean.
Gangneung is also home to many cultural treasures, historical relics, and important Korean traditions. The
Gangneung Danoje Festival, a UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage, is held here every year. Also located in the region are
Seongyojang House, a 300-year-old residence of a noble family of the Joseon Era,
Ojukheon House, the birthplace of a leading scholar of the 16th century, and
Gyeongpodae Pavilion, which is famous for its view of the sunrise.
-> Click here for more on Gangneung
Jeongseon is one of the most beautiful areas of Gangwon-do Province and is also the projected site of Jungbong Ski Resort, to be developed by 2016 in preparation for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Full of alluring yet unassuming charms, Jeongseon is home to the traditional
Jeongseon Five-Day Market, the
Hwaam Cave (complete with an old gold mine from the mid-1900s), and the
Auraji Rail Bike.
Among the more modern attractions is the
High 1 Ski Resort, which serves as the venue for the annual ‘Fun Ski & Snow Festival’ hosted by the Korea Tourism Organization. Other attractions include
Kangwon Land Casino, opened to both local residents and international tourists, and
Unamjeong Restaurant, a filming location of the Korean drama Gourmet (Sikgaek) and an exquisite fine dining establishment serving traditional royal cuisine.
Other tourist sites in Gangwon-do
Seoraksan National Park, located across from the towns of Sokcho and Inje, is home to Seorak Mountain, one of the most representative and awe-inspiring mountains in Korea. Also located in Gangwon-do Province are
Naerincheon Stream Rafting (Inje),
Donggang River Rafting (Yeongwol), and
Hantangang River Rafting (Cheorwon), three of the most popular river rafting spots in the nation.
In Samcheok on the East Coast, are the
Daegeumgul caves, which are designated as natural monuments, and the
Ocean Rail Bike, a unique leisure activity that gives riders a view of the coastline. In Chuncheon, located only an hour from Seoul, one can find Namiseom Island, a popular romantic getaway, and
Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street, with its enticing mix of scents and flavors. Along with the sprawling
Soyangho Lake and
Jungdo lake island, there are a veritable smorgasbord of activities and attractions to discover in Gangwon-do Province.
Information on the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games
2018 Winter Olympics Dates: February 9-25, 2018 (tentative schedule)
Host Cities: Pyeongchang-gun, Gangneung-si, Jeongseon-gun in Gangwon-do
- Alpine competitions: Pyeongchang Alpensia Cluster (Alpensia Resort, Yongpyong Resort), Phoenix Park, Jeongseon (Jungbong Alpine Stadium)
- Ice competitions: Gangneung Coastal Cluster (Gangneung Indoor Ice Stadium, Gyeongpo Ice Hall Stadium, etc.)
Official Site of Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games: http://www.pyeongchang2018.org/ (Korean, English, French)