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Blog

Inside PyeongChang

Things to See and Do While at the Winter Olympics

If you’re lucky enough to be heading to PyeongChang for the Winter Olympics, you’re in for an amazing immersion into both the world’s greatest sporting competition and a region rich with cultural heritage. A haven for outdoor adventurers seeking top-notch hiking and skiing, this South Korean region blends sport, culture and history — making it the perfect host for this year’s Winter Olympics.

We know the centerpiece of your trip will be any competitions you can get into — from alpine skiing to figure skating, ice hockey to bobsledding. It doesn’t matter what sport… seeing Olympic athletes compete is always an unforgettable experience.  

In between events, you’ll want to visit the Cultural Olympiad — an expansive festival of Korean food, music, art and more.

Hopefully, you’ll have a little extra time to explore the area in and around PyeongChang. With that in mind, here’s our list places you won’t want to miss:

Woljeongsa Temple
Located on Odaesan Mountain – Korea’s most sacred Buddhist place –  the Woljeongsa Temple, founded in 643, evokes a solemn air of quietness, reflection and wisdom. Tour the majestic grounds and ornate temples, learning about Woljeongsa’s important role in Korean history. Looking for a deeper immersion? Stay in the temple and experience a day-in-the-life of a monk in training.

Jumunjin Seafood Market
A favorite among both Koreans and international visitors, Jumunjin Seafood Market is an expansive, vibrant market with an array of seafood delicacies. Best bet: Peruse the market’s catch of the day then head to the restaurant across the street, where a chef will prepare a Korean feast with your personally selected fish.

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress dates back to the Joseon Dynasty in 1794. For history buffs, this fortress offers fascinating tours and hands-on experiences. Test your bow-and-arrow prowess or ride in a royal vehicle modeled after the one used by King Gojong and palanquins of the Joseon Dynasty. This massive architectural gem has walls that stretch 6.4 kilometers. Be sure to set aside time to see the north floodgate, the beacon tower and the east cardinal gate.

Insa-dong Market
Head to Seoul to explore the Insa-dong Market, home to wooden tea houses, boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, traditional Korean street food, and more. Consider visiting on a Sunday when the market is closed to traffic to make way for street buskers and pop-up performance art. This is the place to get authentic Korean gifts and crafts to take home, so bring your favorite SWIMS Holdall and fill your bag. Once you’re done shopping, sit back enjoy a meal at one of the market’s numerous restaurants. Relax and people watch while you absorb the music and infectious spirit of this quaint Korean neighborhood.

Alpensia Ski Resort and Ski Museum
If the Winter Games inspire your outdoor spirit, book some powder time at the Alpensia Ski Resort (often called the fantastic Alps of Asia), the main venue for the 2018 games. Situated 700 meters above sea level, reportedly an altitude ideal for the human body’s biorhythms, the resort offers panoramic views of the Daegwallyeong Mountain Range. Test the ski jumps, race down one of the six slopes, or join the bobsled team – via virtual reality – to zip down the new PyeongChang snow track in the 4D theater. There are also plenty of other attractions nearby, including Samyang Sheep Ranch, Korea Botanic Garden, Lee Hyo-Seok Literature Museum and more.

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