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Itching To Visit Pyeongchang After The Winter Olympics? Here Are Some Things To Do

The host of this year's Winter Olympics has been getting a lot of airtime recently. And if you want to visit the South Korean alpine town, here are some cool things to do.

#5: Roll In Buckwheat Flower Fields

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Buckwheat flower fields are a must-seen at Bongpyeong village. Photo: Gangwon Province

If you are visiting Pyeongchang in autumn, be sure to make a stop at Bongpyeong village to see its endless buckwheat flower fields. The beautiful sight of tiny white flowers glistening in the sun is captured in a 1936 romantic novel by the late novelist Lee Hyo Seok, whose works are on display in a cultural hall in the village. Foodies must try the wide variety of buckwheat dishes Pyeongchang is famous for – from buckwheat noodles to pancakes to steamed buns and more. These foods can be found at the Bongpyeong Market, which is open every second, seventh, 12th, 17th, 22nd and 27th day of the month.

#6: Relive K-Dramas At Film Sites

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A little girl puckers up next to a standee of Korean actor Gong Yoo in his hit drama 2016 Goblin, found at Yongpygong Ski Resort where the drama was partially filmed. St Photo: Chang May Choon

Pyeongchang’s beautiful winterscape was featured prominently in two hit South Korean dramas – the 2002 classic Winter Sonata and the more recent Goblin (2016 to 2017). Yongpyong, the first ski resort to open in South Korea in 1975, is a must-go for fans of both dramas. Standees of the dramas’ leading couples (such as Goblin’s Gong Yoo, above) have been placed at major film sites – including inside a cable car cabin – for fans to take selfies with. But if you are heading there during the Winter Olympics, note that the gondola ride to the famous Dragon Peak has been closed and will reopen only after the Olympics. 

#7: Enjoy A Spa, Sauna And Water Theme Park All Rolled Into One

Most major ski resorts such as Alpensia and Yongpyong have their own water theme parks and for good reason. They offer not only wave pools and water slides, but also jimjilbang (sauna) and spa services to soothe body aches after a long and strenuous day of winter sports. Just be prepared to get naked like everyone else in the changing rooms, bath houses and hotspring zones. Most resorts do provide T-shirts and shorts for the jimjilbang section that is popular with the locals, so you can chill there with peace of mind. A weekend day pass at Alpensia’s Ocean 700 water park is tagged at 57,000 won (S$69) an adult, while Yongpyong’s Peak Island water park charges 60,000 won for an adult ticket during peak season.

Getting There 

Singapore Airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines offer direct flights to South Korea. However, note that Korean Air has moved to the newly opened second terminal at Incheon International Airport, which is a 20-minute shuttle bus ride from the first terminal. From Incheon airport, visitors can take a high-speed rail on the newly launched Gyeonggang Line to Jinbu station in Pyeongchang. The direct KTX train will take two hours and 15 minutes. But, as it does not run every hour, check the train schedule before you travel. Travelling within Pyeongchang is best done by car.

However, most major car rental companies do not have offices within Pyeongchang, so most tourists travel via KTX train to the nearby Gangneung station and pick up their car from the coastal city. If you are visiting this month, you can take a free shuttle bus from Jinbu station to tour sites including Samyang ranch and Woljeongsa temple.

This story first appeared on www.straitstimes.com

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