Category Archives: South Korea

Best Ski resorts from Seoul

Hosting the Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea is indeed a great destination for winter sports! Check the best Korean ski resorts for the whole family accessible from Seoul for a day trip or more!

There is a multitude of resorts around Seoul and all the Gangwon-do Province. So how to make a choice?

Skiing in Korea
Source: Grace Travel

First of all, if you are advanced skiers familiar with European Alps resorts, don’t expect to find infinite pristine powder-snow-covered ski domains or great off-piste opportunities in Korea. The resorts are much smaller and lower but they are equipped with the latest facilities and still offer lots of fun, especially for ski-beginners. Usually there are rare occasions when you can enjoy natural fresh snow, however the artificial snow is of a very good quality and as the temperatures are pretty stable and cold the snow is not melting or turning to ice at nights.

You can but certainly do not need to bring your own equipment as you will find all you need directly down the slopes. Everything is available for day rent including skiwear from head to toe as well as the sliding equipment itself: shoes, skis and snowboards.

Keep in mind, that week-ends and holidays afternoons are very busy, so it’s always better to try to come to the resort early morning. Most resorts also provide night skiing options generally up to 11PM or Midnight – fun to try too !

Enjoy and have fun!

Skiing in Korea
Source: Phoenix Resort

Ski Resorts Around Seoul

  • Bears Town Resort is a fair option for a one-day ski and snowboard trip since it’s only about one-hour drive from Seoul. The resort offers a slope exclusively for expert skiers, two slopes for advanced skiers, two slopes for advanced/intermediate skiers, and three slopes for beginners. All slopes are open for snowboarding and there are 8 lifts, including one express lift. The resort is a popular family destination because of its long sledding hill measuring 400 meters in length.
  • Star Hill Resort  located only 32 km from Seoul is another great option for one-day trip. This small, cozy resort nestled in the foothills has well-developed facilities and a convenient location that made it popular for visitors from Seoul and the nearby metropolitan areas.
  • Konjiam Resort is the largest ski resort in the Seoul vicinity and is the first resort in Korea to limit the number of skiers per day  to 7,000. The Konjiam Resort has eleven double-width slopes for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
  • Jisan Forest Resort is located 56 kilometers from Hannam Bridge. There are seven main ski slopes and 3 sub-slopes, all of which are open to both skiers and snowboarders. Thanks to the 5 high-speed lifts, there is no waiting in line, and there is even an escalator for children and beginners.
  • Yangji Pine Resort Ski Valley  is an all-season recreational complex located in the magnificent Dokjosan Mountain in Gyeonggi-do Province. It offers a sledding hill, 6 ski lifts, and 10 slopes of varying levels of difficulty.

    Skiing in Korea
    Source: Your Korean Adventure

Ski Resorts in Gangwon-do Province

  • Yongpyong is the biggest ski and snowboard resort in Korea. It is great resort for every kind of skier. With 28 slopes – spread across beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert levels Yongpyong resort offers the best variety. Among the various slopes, the Rainbow, Gold and Mega Green slopes are the most popular, and cover most of the three mountains overlooking the resort, which is about three hours’ drive from Seoul.
  • Alpensia is a perfect family-friendly resort located just five minutes of drive from Yongpyong. In addition to its 6 different slopes (including one reserved exclusively for snowboarders) the resort employs a high-speed lift system that can transport 2,400-3,000 skiers an hour.
  • Daemyung Vivaldi Park Ski World was the first ski resort in Korea to offer nighttime skiing. It has become a favorite among young skiers in their teens and twenties.
  • Welli Hilli Park is located t is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Seoul in a region that often experiences heavy snow, making for great skiing conditions. It has a total of 19 slopes.
  • Located at 1,261 meters above sea level, Phoenix Park offers beautiful natural scenery, perfect powder, and special facilities (like the mountaintop Mount Blanc restaurant) all make for a stellar skiing and/or snowboarding experience.
  • Located in one of the most pristine regions of Gangwon-do Province, High 1 Resort offers 18 fantastic slopes each beginning at one of three peaks. For beginners, there is a 4.2 kilometer-long gently-sloping course that starts from 1,345 meters above sea level.
  • Elysian Gangchon is easily accessible from Seoul. Take the Gyeongchun Railway Line from Sangbong Station to Baegyang-ri (Elysian Gangchon) Station and you’ll find yourself walking through the doors of the resort in roughly an hour. The ski resort has 6 lifts, snowboarding facilities, and 10 slopes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers.
  • Located in beautiful surroundings, Oak Valley Snow Park offers two beginner, five intermediate, and two advanced level courses. It is a small cozy and family friendly resort.
  • The O2 Ski Resort has a particularly good location in Taebaek City, Gangwon Province, which not only receives the first snowfall in Korea, but also has the longest snow season. Even beginners can enjoy the 3.2km long course, which stretches all the way from the peak (1,420m high) to the base of the mountain.

    Skiing in Korea
    Source: Korea Tourism Organization

For locations, check Seoul Map for Kids & Families

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Petite France (쁘띠프랑스) in Korea

Settled in a beautiful environment and only sixty kilometres from downtown Seoul, Petite France is an interesting place for a short stop on your way to Gapyeong or Nami Island

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Petite France is an artificially-made village inspired by European style built in a beautiful and pristine natural area between Cheongpyeong Dam and Nami Island. Located on the busy touristic road to Gapyeong, Nami Island or Garden of Morning Calm, Petite France is usually quite crowded especially during the weekend afternoons.

The concept of the village is to bring European feeling and atmosphere accompanied with cultural experience programs and performances (street flea market with European antiques, melodies from the Orgel and marionette performances). The main theme of the village being  Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince, the statues and paintings of the young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid can be seen almost everywhere.


The village atmosphere with its colourful little houses gained popularity among filmmakers and Petite France became the filming place of many Korean TV dramas and entertainment programs. Today many Asian tourists are visiting to eagerly revive the scenes of “Beethoven Virus” ,“Personal Taste”, “My Love from the Star”, “Secret Garden”, “Running Man” and others.

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On Petite France official website, you will find the exhaustive list of exhibitions and things to do in the village. If you are really craving for an authentic European experience, just don’t expect too much. The first impressions of the site are pleasant and the views of the surroundings are amazing (particularly the view from the observatory and Butterfly Park), however the village is quite small and the indoor exhibition areas seemed to us rather outdated and disappointing. Most of the exhibits are a poor display of mismatched, kitschy and fake objects pretending to be part of European or French heritage. Another weak point in our opinion is that there is no restaurant (better said there used to be one but it closed its doors). On a sunny day, the wooden deck of Petite Terrace would be the best place to enjoy a good meal while overlooking the Cheongpyeong Dam and the mountains. You can still buy a coffee and slice of pizza in the wooden booth but no hopes for a European style lunch.

 

Even if we were not fully ‘sold’ on the authenticity and European feel of Petite France, the village may be worth a stop if you are in the area and want to enjoy the beautiful nature with the mountains in the background – particularly now in a wide array of autumn colours.

If you are looking for a restaurant we tried Dakgalbi restaurant 성희네집 – located 5 km west from the village and loved it (경기도 가평군 청평면 고재길 86-297, tel: 031-584-3695)

 

Directions:

616 Gosung-Ri Gapyeong-Gun, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

경기도 가평군 청평면 고성리 616

Tel: 031-584-8200

Beware… returns back to Seoul during the weekend late afternoons or evenings can be very very crowded. On the shorter itinerary, the route 75 connecting to the Cheongpyeong-Geumnam section (route 46) can frequently be fully blocked. It took us more than an hour to make the first 15 kilometers. You may consider alternatively to take the longer way through Gapyeong connecting to Gangchon IC. The full trip will be longer, approximately 110 km, but it might be faster if traffic on the Chuncheon-Seoul Highway 60 itself is fluid.

Opening hours:

09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing)
* Seasonally late night opening hours can be extended

Admission:

Adults: 8,000 won
Teenagers (Middle & High School Students): 6,000 won
Children (ages 3-Elementary School Students): 5,000 won
Seniors (ages 65 & above) / People with Disabilities: 6,000 won

Old Sanmaki Road 산막이옛길 and Goesanho Lake 괴산호

Beautiful wooden deck trail passing by mountains and streams with scenic views of Goesan Dam…  Enjoy the nature at its best along this 4km-long eco-friendly path

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If you take a ride to the Korean countryside of Chungcheongbuk-do, make sure to stop by  the Old Sanmaki Road 산막이옛. This spectacular trail is connecting Saorang Village (located in Waesa-ri, Chilseong-myeon, Goesan-gun Chungcheongbuk-do Province) to the small mountain village of Sanmaki.

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Start walking from the main parking lot passing the local merchants stands until you reach the main entrance of the trail marked by a huge stone at the top of the hill. This is the first spot from where you can observe the hidden beauty of the Goesanho Lake (dam built in 1957).

The trail continues for around 4 kilometers and leads you approximately half way around the lake. The path is almost completely prepared as a wooden deck and fits very naturally in the environment. You’ll probably stop many times to take pictures and admire different sceneries and views of the mirror-like Goesanho lake. The highlights of the trip will probably be the wooden suspension bridges or the three-meter-high observatory with tempered glass on the floor.

Once you reach the picturesque Sanmaki village, you can continue to walk or take a short boat trip on the way back to admire the lake and the mountains from different point of view.

You’ll find many coffeeshops and local restaurants at the beginning – around the parking lot but also in Sanmaki village if you need to stop for lunch or just a quick snack.

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How to get there:

546-1, Saeun-ri, Chilseong-myeon, Goesan-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do

충북 괴산군 칠성면 사은리 546-1

Transportation:

  • From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Goesan (괴산).
  • From Goesan Bus Terminal, take a local bus bound for Sujeon (수전) and get off at Oesa-ri (외사리).

Admission Fees:
Free for the trail – boat fee 5,000/3,000 won (adult/child)

Parking Fees:
2,000 won

For more information go to http://sanmaki.goesan.go.kr