Saturday, January 13, 2018

Join Jang Keun Suk at the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics in Gangwon Province - 2018-01-13

2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games Are nearly here!

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The last time the Olympic Games were held in So. Korea was 1988. Thirty years ago…and even though So. Korea has tried three times over the ensuing decades to win the Olympics, this is their win. And it’s a huge deal to Koreans! 

cr: PyeongChang 2018 Ollympics
cr: PyeongChang 2018 Olympics

The Olympics and Paralympics (Special Olympics) are being held in the ancient city of PyeongChang, in the northwest province of Gangwon. PyeongChang was the ancient capital of the Three Kingdoms era of Korea and Goguryeo before the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392 and before the capital city was moved to what is now Seoul. 

Seoraksan National Park
Naksana Temple and Park
Needless to say, Gangwon Province, where PyeongChang is located, has many of Korea’s most ancient sites that are revered by both North and South Korean alike. No. Koreans view Gangwon Province and PyeongChang specifically as the rightful home of Korea’s capital. As a result, for history lovers, Gangwon Province is a “must see”. 

Gangwon-do Province

Gangwon Province is located in a mountainous region of So. Korea and abuts the Sea of Japan. The result is that PyeongChang is a perfect location for winter sports…and has a reputation for being the place to go skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating and enjoying all the other winter sports activities in So. Korea. So. Koreans flock to PyeongChang during the winter, especially since it’s such a short commute from Seoul. 

The area is home to many fine hotels and Korean restaurants. If you haven’t tasted true Korean foods, you’re in for a mouth watering real treat when you visit Gangwon Province! Aside from the unbelievable taste of real Korean barbecue, there are restaurants that feature fresh seafood (some even showcase the fish live for your choice), and the very best in vegetarian Temple foods, as well as traditional Palace foods that were made solely for the Joseon Kings. The variety is endless, including dishes that are familiar to international tastes. But, for my money, visitors must try true Korean food. There’s nothing like it anywhere! 

Moreover, once you arrive in Gangwon, and more specifically Pyeongchang, you’ll discover any number of fine accommodations. Many resort hotels spent lavishly renovating and upgrading their facilities this last year to accommodate the international tastes of guests coming to the Olympics.
These days, you can take a high-speed Korail train from Seoul to PyeongChang. The cost is both very reasonable and tickets are easy to obtain. Check out the website ( Plus, the train is very comfortable, and even though Korean highways and streets signs are also in English, it’s really so much easier to let someone else do the driving for you. And never fear, all Korean trains, subways, and buses announce stops and other information in English as well as Korean. 

photos cr: Gnagwon-do Province and PyeongChang 2018 Olympics

However, if you prefer to drive so you can visit more of what Gangwon Province offers, you can easily rent a car at Incheon Airport, at a very reasonable price, and drive to Gangwon Province and PyeongChang. All vehicles come with GPS and all street and highway signs are both in Korean and English. The driving system is based on the US system, i.e, with the driver being to the right of the highway or road divider. As someone, with very limited Korean speaking skills and who spent over two weeks driving all over So. Korea, south of Seoul to Busan, across the country and back to Seoul again, I can attest to how easy it is to drive in So. Korea. 

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So, if you’ve been wanting to go the 2018 Winter Olympic Games but thought the differences and fears were to many to overcome, rest assured. So. Korea is one of the safest and most comfortable places you will ever visit. The people are extraordinarily considerate, thoughtful, kind and generous. I remember accidentally leaving my bag, with my passport, wallet, and everything else, on a bench in Seoul, only to discover I’d left it about 10 minutes later. When I got back to the bench, my bag was still there, completely untouched. There’s ancient attitude in So. Korea that prohibits stealing. Plus, the generosity and consideration of the people often overwhelmed me. 

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Not only will you have a great time at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, you can watch Jang Keun Suk carry the Olympic torch from Chuncheon towards PyongChang. 

Photo credits: PyeongChang 2018

My hope is that thousands, if not millions, of people from around the world will take the #PyeongChang2018 Olympic Games as a perfect time to visit So. Korea. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

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Thank you for sharing with us, Cri!