Travel to Pyeongchang: Where Buddhist Temples Meet Winter Sports

Visa to Pyeongchang

If you’re visiting South Korea, make sure to travel to Pyeongchang —a quiet mountainous region about 180 km, roughly 110 miles, from Seoul. Pyeongchang is home to breathtaking Buddhist temples and world-class skiing resorts.

Nestled in the Taebaek Mountains, this barely populated region’s main attraction is its beautiful blanket of white snowcovered mountains, so dress accordingly and prepare to go zipping down the hills.

Although it’s mostly known for its snowy peaks —including Yongpyong, the oldest ski resort in South Korea— Pyeongchang’s gardens and temples make it a lovely destination during the rest of the year as well.

Read our expert travel recommendations to learn the best time of year to visit Pyeongchang, how to get there and move around, as well as the most worthwhile tourist attractions.

How to Travel from Seoul to Pyeongchang

If you are visiting South Korea, you must be wondering how to get to Pyeongchang from Seoul:

  • By car: The trip from the country’s capital to this mountainous region takes about 2 hours. You can easily get there by driving along the Yeongdong Expressway
  • By train: If you prefer using public transport in South Korea, you can hop on the new KTX railway. The Gyeonggang Line takes passengers from Seoul to Pyeongchang in under 80 minutes

Getting Around Pyeongchang

If you are wondering about transport options within Pyeongchang, rest assured, you will be able to get around easily using its intercity buses at the following locations:

  • Pyeongchang Bus Terminal
  • Jangpyeong Bus Terminal
  • Jinbu Bus Station
  • Hoenggye Bus Station
  • Daehwa Bus Station

You can also use transit buses in Pyeongchang. Local transit operators connect different communities in the county to hubs at the following locations:

  • Pyeongchang Bus Station
  • Jangpyeong Bus Terminal
  • Jinbu Bus Station

Pyeongchang Climate

Pyeongchang has a short summer with a warm and humid continental climate. Its winters are long and very snowy.

The average temperature of Pyeongchang ranges from -9 degrees celsius in the colder months and 25 degrees celsius in the warmer season.

The warm months fall around July and August, while the coolest weather always happens in January and February.

Visiting Pyeongchang in the Warmer Months

Although it is famous for its skiing resorts, Pyeongchang has plenty to offer when it’s not snowing:

  • Endless fields covered in pink and yellow flowers, buckwheat, or bright green rice paddies
  • Samyang Ranch highlands farm’s a petting zoo and pastoral landscape
  • The traditional buildings of the Jeongseon Ararichon Folk Village
  • The local rice wine and Hanwoo a Korean beef barbecued and served with kimchi
  • Odaesan National Park’s mountains covered with the largest natural forest in South Korea offers hiking opportunities

Pyeongchang in the Winter Events

Pyeongchang hosted both the Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics in 2018. The region built multiple facilities you may want to visit:

  • A ski resort
  • The PyeongChang Olympic Plaza
  • The Gangneung Olympic Park
  • The Alpensia concert hall
  • An indoor water park

Pyeongchang Ski Resorts

The 2018 Winter Olympics took place in South Korea’s 2 major ski resorts:

  • The Alpensia ski resort boasts 6 slopes for skiing and snowboarding, with runs up to 1,400.0 meters, roughly 4,600 feet long. It is suitable for beginners and advanced skiers and has a reserved area for snowboarders. It is open all year round
  • The Yongpyong ski resort is the oldest in the country and has a total of 28 ski slopes. It is one of Northeast Asia’s best ski resorts

There is no public transportation between the 2 resorts, however, taxis can be arranged by a hotel concierge on either side and take about 15 minutes to get you from one to the other.

Buddhist Temples in Pyeongchang, South Korea

There are many beautiful, ancient temples around Pyeongchang. Most of them have been partially destroyed in the past and then restored. Aside from temples in Pyeongchang, there are other historic and cultural heritage sites you may want to visit during your stay:

  • Sangwansa
  • Woljeongsa
  • The Pyeongchang Odaesan Historic Archive
  • The Lee Seung-bok Memorial Hall

Pyeongchang Festivals

The Pyeongchang region is home to a series of public events that may interest you:

  • Daegwallyeong Snow Festival that includes skiing competition, making snowmen, snow sled competitions, the international naked marathon, traditional folk performances, and Hwangbyoungsan Mountain hunting game
  • Hyoseok Cultural Festival which is held in honor of Korean novelist Lee Hyo-seok in Lee Hyo-Seok Culture Village, where he grew up

While you are planning your trip to this country and your visit to Pyeongchang, you may want to check out the travel visa requirements for South Korea. Make sure to apply for a Korean visa ahead of time to avoid long lines at the airport.