The host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, might not have been all that well-known to us Brits, but the 2018 Winter Olympics are set to launch in an even more obscure destination: PyeongChang.
So, where is PyeongChang, and what can you find there?
Where is PyeongChang?
PyeongChang County is a city in South Korea, which is itself a stunning but largely unknown cruise destination. Much of the city is mountainous, with two main ski resorts that will act as major hubs for Olympic events.
Alpensia – the main Olympic village – will host ski jumping, luge, bobsleigh and cross-country skiing. Yongpyong will host the Games’ downhill slalom events.
Things to do in PyeongChang
Odaesan National Park is one of PyeongChang’s most famous sights, and it is little wonder. Home to the largest expanse of natural woods in all of Korea, you can find countless animal and plant species here, making it great day trip for adventurous travellers. Keep your eyes peeled for the ghostly pale Ural owl and noisy wild boar!
PyeongChang is also home to a number of Buddhist temples, with several of the best nestled in Odaesan National Park. Why not drop into the stunning Woljeongsa Temple after walking the trails that criss-cross the Taebaek Mountains? With a nine-storey octagonal pagoda, it is a breath-taking sight.
Other attractions in PyeongChang include Lee Hyo-seok Culture Village, where the Korean author Lee Hyo-Seok was born. Stroll around the author’s house and through tranquil Gasan Park, and if you want to see the blossom at its height, visit the Culture Village from late August to early September.
You can see more beautiful flowers in one of the seven themed gardens of Herbnara Farm, on the Heungjeong Valley bank. The Valley is absolutely stunning; peppered with waterfalls and lush peaks.
How to get to PyeongChang
PyeongChang is located near central South Korea, so you can’t hop straight off your cruise ship and start exploring the city. The good news is that PyeongChang is close to a range of stunning cruise ports.
If you cruise to Seoul you can easily reach PyeongChang on a day trip – you could even build a bespoke cruise package incorporating hotel stays that mean you will have more time to discover this hidden gem.
Further afield you will find Kyoto, Shanghai and Tokyo – all close to PyeongChang and easily reached during cruises to South Korea and other stunning Southeast Asian destinations.
Are you excited about the 2018 Winter Olympics? Would you like to visit PyeongChang? Perhaps you already have and have some tourist tips of your own? Let us know in the comment box below!