South Korea Introduction
South Korea - Seoul
Seoul, South Korea

We assembled here for you some information for the amazing country you are going to visit and some key information so that you get oriented on the whereabouts of the venues... Most of the information is gathered from the valuable source of Wikipedia and other information from the various sites offering all sorts of information filtered through the experience of our team. We are at your disposal for any further information and/or assistance you might need.

South Korea,

an ancient and yet young country, pulsing from creative and growing up energy.
Korea was inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic, some millions years ago...

South Korea covers an area of approximately 100.000km with a population of approximately 50.000.000 people. The government is a Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic.

There are different names for this extraordinary country except from "South Korea" such as "Hanguk" and Choson as result of its complicated history. There is also a very poetic one: "Land of the morning calm". Once there you will easily understand why, as the term perfectly describes the sensation of waking up between peaceful luxurious green mountains and crystal clear sea waters, next to ancient welcoming Buddhist temples…

Where else you could get from the sea to the mountains and back to the seain only 3 hours?!
Enjoy it!

find out more at the dedicated links.
Winter Games Area
map of the area

The 2018 Winter Games will take place at PyeongChang Mountain Cluster and the Gangneung Coastal Cluster. Both are counties of the Gangwon-do province ("do" means province).

PyeongChang Mountain Cluster - 7 Snow Venues

  • Alpensia Sports Park:
    3 venues for: Cross-Country, Ski Jumping, Biathlon and 1 venue for Bobsleigh/Skeleton/Luge
     
  • Yongpyong Alpine Centre:
    1 venue for Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom/Slalom
     
  • Bokwang Snow Park:
    1 venue for Freestyle Skiing/Snowboard
     
  • Jeongseon Alpine Centre:
    1 venue Alpine Skiing Downhill/Super-G

Gangneung Coastal Cluster - 5 Ice venues

  • 5 venues for Speed Skating, Figure Skating/Shot Track, Ice Hockey, and Ice Hockey
    Names of the venues:
    Gangneung Curling Centre, Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Ice Arena, Gangneung Hockey Centre, Kwandong Hockey Centre.

 
Gangwon province

Do not confuse with Kangwon, the adjacent province of North Korea.

Gangwon province has 7 cities (in order of population: Wonju, Chuncheon (capital of the province), Gangneung, Donghae, Sokcho, Samcheok, Taebaek,

and 11 counties: Hoengseong, Cheorwon, Hongcheon Pyeongchang, Jeongseon, Yeongwol Inje, Goseong, Yangyang, Hwacheon, Yanggu.

The highest peaks of the region are Mt Seoraksan (1,708 m) and Mt Odae (1,563 m), both located in national parks and attract a large number of national tourists.

Hwanseongul, South Korea's largest limestone cave, receives over one million visitors a year.

The region west of the Taebaek Mountains is called Yeongseo, while the region east of the mountains is called Yeongdong. Respectively the names literally mean "west and east of the passes". Yeongseo is marked by high plateaus and mountains, with deep valleys and is where both Han and Nakdong Rivers have their headwaters. Whilst Yeongdong name is used much more frequently and may be taken loosely to refer to the entire region and also to the Yeongdong Railway Line and Yeongdong Expressway, which are the major transportation corridors connecting Seoul to Gangwon. Climate has many differences between Yeongseo and Yeongdong, because of the natural barrier of the mountains, Yeongdong's average temperature is higher than Yeongseo's, and its average amount of precipitation is more than Yeongseo's. Sometimes huge amounts of snow can fall, especially in Yeongdong. Violent winds are common in winter and spring in Gangwon-do's province.

Gangwon-do is known throughout Korea for its production of sundubu, a variety of soft tofu made with seawater. It is also well known for its tender beef.

The Taebaek Mountains form the main ridge of the Korean peninsula running along the eastern coast. To the east, the mountain range falls steeply into the sea, but to the west, there are more gentle slopes. The most important rivers of South Korea, the Han River and the Nakdong River, both originate in the Taebaek Mountains. It is also home to several Buddhist temples, including the well-known Woljeongsa.

The county’s territory is 84% mountains with wide-ranging altitudes. Average elevation: 750m (2,460ft).

Pyeongchang & Gangneung
Pyeongchang
Phoenix Park, Pyeongchang, South Korea

Pyeongchang,

Is located approximately 180km (110mi) east of Seoul and is one of the 11 counties of Gangwon province in the Taebaek Mountains region.

The Alpensia Resort is a ski resort, open all year around, approximately 2.5h from Seoul or Incheon Airport by car, predominantly all motorways. Alpensia has 6 slopes for skiing and , with runs up to 1.4km (0.87mi) long, for beginners and advanced skiers, and an area reserved for snowboarders. The resort is open year-round. Alpensia is only a 5-10 minute car ride to Yongpyong Ski Resort.

Alpensia will be also the focus of the 2018 Cultural Olympiad, with a new, purpose-built concert hall within the resort.

In 2013, Alpensia Resort was one of the venues of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

In addition, Alpensia will be the location of an Olympic Village and the nearby Yongpyong Ski Resort will be the venue for alpine skiing technical events (slalom and giant slalom). The speed events of downhill, super-G, and combined will be held at Jeongseon Alpine Centre, currently under development.

After the Olympics, Alpensia Resort will also host the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

Yongpyong Resort is found at the eastern edge of Asia, about 200km from Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. With an annual snowfall average of 250cm, the surrounding area possesses a beautiful environment, which allows for the enjoyment of a wide array of winter sports including skiing from mid-November to early April. On its 4,300 acres, you will find a 45-hole golf course, 31 ski slopes, premium hotels, European-style condominiums and many other leisure facilities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The Yongpyong Resort was born in 1975 as the first ever modern facility of its kind in South Korea. Now it is introducing a new leisure culture known as “Korea’s Ski Mecca” with a growing reputation as an internationally-renowned resort.

Both Alpensia and Yongpyong resorts are in Daegwallyeong-myeon (myeon means township) in Pyeongchang County.

Bokwang Phoenix Park is also a ski resort and is where the popular Korean drama “Autumn in my heart” was shot. It is located in the township of Bongpyeong-myeon, at the north-western part of the Pyeongchang County.

Jeongseon Alpine Centre is located in Bukpyeong-myeon (myeon means township) in Jeongseon County.


Gangneung,

is the largest coastal city in Gangwon Province, third largest overall. It is nestled at the east side of South Korea's longest mountain range, the Taebaek Mountains, facing the crystal clear waters of the East Sea. Geologically is isolated from most parts of the country keeping a rather distinct local culture.



Climate data for Daegwallyeong, Pyeongchang (1981–2010)

Month

Feb

Average high °C (°F)

−0.4
(31.3)

Daily mean °C (°F)

−5.5 (22.1)

Average low °C (°F)

−10.5 (13.1)

Precipitation mm (inches)

53.6 (2.11)

Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)

10.5

Average humidity (%)

67.0

Mean monthly sunshine hours

185.2



Did you know?...

Did you know about the "The Dream Programme"?

Dream Program is an annual training camp hosted by Gangwon Province to nurture young winter sports talents in countries without a winter season or where winter sports are not widely practiced.

http://www.dreamprogram.co.kr/upload/Application%20Guide_2015.pdf

Twelfth annual Dream Programme underway in South Korea: More than 170 athletes, including 26 from seven National Paralympic Committees, are taking part in the initiative which aims to develop winter sports.

http://www.paralympic.org/news/twelfth-annual-dream-programme-underway-south-korea

...On the 12th of January 2014 three boys Miguel Umali, Martin Mangongo and Brandon Sly from St Georges College accompanied by Mr S Nyamariwata left Zimbabwe for one of the most unique experiences of their lives to Gangwon Province in South Korea.  The trip was by invitation of the Korean Government who hosted the Dream Program 2014 in Alpensia Gangwon Province South Korea. Such meetings expose athletes from dry countries without winter sports (i.e. snow board, alpine skiing, bobsleigh and ice skating) to these unfamiliar disciplines...

http://www.stgeorges.co.zw/DREAM_PROGRAM_TOUR_SOUTH_KOREA_2014

 
The Appropriate Handshake

It is considered to be bad-mannered to give just one hand to shake hands and keep the other in your pocket or keep holding your suitcase. Please remember to offer both hands towards the person you greet and use both hands in case you need to give or take something to/from someone It will surely be appreciated.
 

Red Ink

Better avoid red ink for signatures and notes. Local tradition wants red ink to be used to write deads' names to keep away the evil spirits.
 

Elderly people

in South Korea enjoy a particularly high respect treatment. It is expected that you show the same kind of respect.

Shoes

It is common use to take off the shoes before entering someone's house and sometimes the same applies for the hotel rooms. Korean life in house is "very close to the floor"... Tables for food are very low and you sit on the floor to eat and people sleep on the floor on very thin mattresses, so keep the floor clean is of outmost importance and a natural habit.

Practical Info
  • Visa requirements: Visitors wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport with a visa stamp. There are 102 countries exempted from visa requirement and are issued a short term travel visa at the immigration desk when entering Korea. For detailed information and visa applications, please visit the official website of the Ministry of foreign affairs: http://www.mofa.go.kr/ENG/visa/application/index.jsp?menu=m_40_10
  • Getting around: The KTX, Korean Train Express, connects the heart of the peninsula to all major cities within 3h range at a speed of 300km/h. For detailed information please visit the Korail official website: http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfIndex_eng.do

    It is expected that a new high speed line will be operating by 2017, connecting Seoul and the two major airports of Incheon and Wonju to the area of the Olympic venues, directly and in about half the time it takes now.
    Read the official press release
  • Local currency, exchange and credit cards: Korea’s official monetary unit is the Won, Circulates in coins and notes. Notes of 1000, 5000, 10000 and 50000 and coins of 10, 50, 100 and 500mints. At present (April 2015) 1$ is approximately 1090won. Upon your arrival at the airport in Korea you can exchange cash money to Korean won at any of the bank desks at Incheon Airport – or debit card out of the ATM. Travelers checks are not accepted everywhere and are difficult to exchange. Debit cards with Cirrus or Maestro sign are generally accepted and credit cards like VISA and MasterCard are widely used.
     
  • Tipping: Generally not expected and could be eventually taken as insult. It would be appreciated by guides and bellboys in high end hotels, provided that the service worth it.
     
  • Electricity and voltage: The voltage in Korea is 220V and the frequency 60Hz. Wall sockets are as in the picture. Consider you might need an adaptor. Adaptors can be purchased at the airport and at the Yongsan Electronics Market in Seoul.
    plug
     
  • Wi-Fi available everywhere
     
  • International call code: +82
     
  • Drive: on the right
     
  • Colour Coded Taxis: A grey or white taxi: basic car. A black cab: a more luxury car and a higher cost. They are allowed to park in front of the hotels. Orange taxis: created for foreigners with operators and drivers that would speak English and/or Japanese. They would also cost more than a grey taxi if booked in advance but would cost the same if stopped on the streets. Whichever way you go the driver will probably be watching the TV in the cab.
     
  • Health: There are no specific health risks and no particular vaccinations and preventive medical treatment is necessary. In any case it is recommended that you consult your physician before visiting the country. The hygiene standards are high and medical facilities are widespread.
External Links
Kimchi making festival, Seoul Korea
Kimchi making festival, Seoul, South Korea