Pyeongchang Travel Guide
Up until recently, it was common for foreigners to confuse Pyeongchang for Pyongyang. Home to the 2018 Winter Olympics, this resort town couldn’t be more different from the capital of North Korea.
Most of the world knows this place for being a hotbed of winter sports, and it does deliver. However, it is a solid all-season destination. It is close by to a national park that is a joy to hike through in the summer. It is home to tranquil farms that are popular with film directors. And yes, there is a historically significant temple in the area.
No matter the time of year, a trip to Pyeongchang will be a memorable one.
Come check out our Pyeongchang travel guide for curious visitors as we cover the best things to do in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Finding many cultural attractions in Pyeongchang can be hard. However, Woljeongsa Temple is a notable exception to that rule. Nestled in a forested valley, Monk Ja Jang constructed this Buddhist hall of worship in the 7th century.
It has a nine-storey pagoda, a museum boasting Goryeo Dynasty artifacts, as well as a Sitting Buddha statue. However, its biggest claim to fame is the fact that it is home to relics of the Buddha. Scholars say the abbot buried his bones within a hermitage on temple grounds. Even if you are skeptical, this old structure and its stunning natural surrounds make this attraction a must see.
The Pyeongchang area is a rare oasis of nature in a heavily-urbanized country. Experience the best of this wilderness by spending time exploring Odaesan National Park. This nature reserve protects thick forests that cover five peaks – Dongdaesan, Durobong, Horyeongbong, Sangwangbong, and Birobong.
As you walk through stands of yew trees and royal azalea, watch for musk deer and boars. Do take pictures if you encounter them, but keep your distance – their habitat is super limited in modern times.
Most visit Odaesan National Park as a day trip, but if you prefer, there are places where you can camp. Leave your site the way you found it – it will preserve the park and help others enjoy as well.
If you are into sports, you’re likely aware that Pyeongchang was the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Ride the runs that the world’s best athletes raced upon by paying a visit to Phoenix Snow Park. Of its seventeen runs, the FIS (Federation International de Ski) recognizes four as being suitable for competitions.
Even when you aren’t trying to channel Lindsay Vonn, this winter sports centre offers plenty to do. The base boasts a sauna, bowling alley, arcade, billiards hall, a karaoke bar, and other diversions. Accommodations are also available, with a luxury hotel and a condotel located on site.
Are you visiting the Pyeongchang area during late December or January? Celebrate winter with locals by checking out the Pyeongchang Trout Festival. As the name implies, ice fishing is the main draw, but this festival offers more than that.
This party also offers traditional folk games, sledding, ice skating, and sleigh rides. When those in your party catch fish, they can have on-site cooks prepare it, making for a fresh dinner.
South Korea is a mountainous country, with 70% of its land area taken up by elevated terrain. Most highlands are too steep for agriculture, but in Pyeongchang, plateaus have made farms like Samyang Ranch viable.
Their crisp, fresh air creates a perfect climate for grazing livestock. These pastures and its trademark milk cows has made this place a favoured shooting location for Korean dramas. These include Lover’s Concerto, Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War, When Romance Meets Destiny, and many others.
Herbnara Farm is another agricultural attraction that is well worth a visit on a trip to Pyeongchang. Situated in the Hongjeong Valley, this farm is popular among visitors in all seasons. In particular, people come in spring for its flowering royal azaleas, and in autumn for its outstanding foliage.
Summer is also a favoured time to visit, as this farm’s high elevation makes it noticeably cooler than Seoul. While here, check out more than 100 different herbs, a garden with fragrant plants, and their herbal tea cafe.
When you get back in town, be sure to check out the Pyeongchang Olympic Market. A traditional food market re-named to attract tourists during the Winter Games, be sure to come here with an appetite. You can find Korean favourites here with ease, but do keep your eyes open for local specialities.
These include buckwheat pancakes, tadpole noodles (made from corn flour), and sundae (Korean-style sausage). Let your nose guide you – believe us, you won’t be disappointed!
The bone-penetrating cold of a Pyeongchang winter can wear out even the hardiest traveller. Recover by spending a day enjoying Ocean 700. This indoor water park boasts waterslides, a wave pool, and more, making it ideal for travelling families.