Remember when we couldn’t stop gushing over the winter attractions in South Korea? Yeah, we’re still not over it.
For the most part, we love making travel plans to places where we can escape the tropical heat, but we’re also on a budget. Hence, that’s why South Korea is perfect e.g. it’s not too far away to travel to, it’s not too expensive, the cost of living is still manageable.
And it’s absolutely gorgeous during winter ?
For about 66 days from November to March, Gangwon will have an average of 250cm of snow, with an average temperature of about -4.8°C throughout the winter. The winter throws a giant white blanket of snow over the mountainous regions of Gangwon, making it the perfect winter wonderland escape. Gangwon will also soon play host to 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics (평창 동계 올림픽), but we’ve told that story before.
So what can one expect from Gangwon or expect to do in Gangwon during winter? First things first, how does one get to Gangwon from Seoul? You can either take the bus, the ITX, or the KTX (South Korea’s high-speed rail system). More information here.
As for what to expect from Gangwon or what to expect to do in Gangwon during winter, well, Gangwon is the Mecca of the winter festival so definitely remember be prepared for a lot of snow and ice activities.
Let’s start with the type of accommodations in Gangwon. To be honest, ski resorts are a dime a dozen in the winter wonderland, but the good ones are a handful. Luckily for you, we took the liberty to pick out the best ones:
1. Alpensia Ski Resort (알펜시아리조트 스키장)
The Alpensia Ski Resort is an entertainment destination centre located at the highland which stands 700m above sea level. It was been designed by Cuningham Group, which participated in the development of the world’s famous theme parks such as Warner Bros. Movie World and Universal Studios. Alpensia features many fascinating facilities including the main stadium, ecological golf courses, world-class ski slopes, and ski jump slopes.
2. Elysian Gangchon (엘리시안 강촌 스키장)
It only takes 40 minutes by train to get to Elysian Gangchon from Seoul. Gangchon guarantees exciting and comfortable skiing with 1,000m for beginners, intermediate skiers, and experts on its valley slopes and ridgeline slopes. Its theme park, which consists of 10 themes, is another unique attraction of Gangchon, whereas the Gangchon Channel Park is an extreme park that takes anybody, from beginners to pro skiers, to the world of fantastic extremes. Night skiing operates until 2am.
3. Hansol Oak Valley (한솔오크밸리)
Hansoi Oak Valley includes 9 themed slopes, express lifts, and world-class half pipe courses. Oak Valley Snow Park is a fusion project that combines a ski resort, golf course, and condominiums. The resort features slopes along snow-covered oak forests designed by world-renowned Snow Engineering from the US and a golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
4. Welli Hilli Park (웰리힐리파크 스노우파크)
Welli Hilli Park’s slopes were designed by Paul Matthews of Canada’s ECOSIGN, one of the world’s most well-known designers who specialises in ski slopes, and has been recognised by the International Ski Federation for its size and safety. It’s also home to Korea’s greatest fun park, Terrain Park, an eye-catching area that allows both experts and beginners to perform “techniques”. All slopes are open to snowboarders; the Half Pipe Park, exclusive for snowboarding, is the most popular among snowboarders.
5. Daemyung Vivaldi Park (대명비발디파크)
Daemyung Vivaldi Park is a leisure complex that consists of a water theme park, a golf club, and a horse riding club. Due to its easy-breezy accessibility from Seoul, visitors often flock to Daemyung Vivaldi Park. In 2015, the park launched a program called “Viva K-Food Festival”, a combination of ski training and Korean food experience, where visitors can learn skiing as well as attend Korean food cooking classes! Visitors will have the opportunity to try street food-styled snacks such as “tteokbokki” (Korean rice cake) and a whole lot more.
6. Bokwang Phoenix Park (보광 휘닉스 파크)
Bokwang Phoenix Park boasts a natural valley slope of the 1,050m-tall Mt. Taegi with outstanding snow conditions. It’s the best ski resort in Korea with 12 world-class slopes, 8 ski chairlifts, 6 sun-kid lifts, and a modern gondola made by Doppelmire. Each of the 21 courses has a unique design, looking out to the 500m-wide panoramic ski base, and guarantees dynamic and exciting speed. Night skiing ends at 5am.
Psst. It was also one of the locations where “Autumn in My Heart” (가을동화) was shot.
7. Yongpyong Resort (용평리조트)
Yongpyong Resort is Asia’s 2nd ski resort to be certified by the International Ski Federation. It successfully held the World Cup Ski Competition in 1998 and 2000, as well as the 1999 Winter Asian Games, and has been very popular among skiers from Europe and other parts of Asia. With 27 slopes, including the Rainbow Slopes, and an average of 250cm of snow every winter, it is perhaps one of the best ski resorts in the world. Yongpyong Resort is also home to Korea’s first Terrain Park and Korea’s widest slope at 180m.
Psst. It was also one of the locations where “Winter Sonata” (겨울연가) and “Goblin” (쓸쓸하고 찬란하神 – 도깨비) were shot.
8. High 1 Resort (하이원리조트 스키장)
One of the major ski resorts in Korea, High 1 Resort has a short history but with amazing facilities. Its large complex includes accommodation, golf, themed park, ski, and casino. Visitors should also take part in the resort’s “Go! Go! Ski” program, which consists of 4 days. On the 1st and 2nd day, visitors will enjoy a basic ski lesson and a Gala dinner. On the 3rd day, there will be a competition that would allow visitors to complete and stand a chance to be awarded during the prize-giving ceremony.
For more details on fun, games, and activities in Gangwon during winter, check out the Korea International Ski Camp (KISC), which offers various customised schedules of ski lesson programs. KISC can be customised according to accommodations, meals, ski lessons (with level tests), fun activities, and a competition. Shorter programs are also available for those with less time.
Happy skiing ☃️
Special thanks to our friends from Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) for the opportunity!
Hype Malaysia is also an official “Wow! PyeongChang!” supporter in conjunction with the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. So keep a look out for our future posts as we’ll be gushing over places to go, things to do, and food to eat in Gangwon ?
Big shoutout to our friends from Travel Recommends for keeping us connected with unlimited data on our trip to South Korea, enabling us to update real-time for the entire duration without a hitch ?