South Korea’s premier ski resorts may only be two and a half hours away by car or bus, but they feel a world away from the capital. Contrasting the constant energy and glitz of Seoul, PyeongChang offers a quaint, rural atmosphere where traditional Korean culture and architecture is much more prominent. Traveling to PyeongChang by road provides the opportunity to see the hills and mountains of the Korean countryside up close.
To truly explore these areas, visitors may want to consider renting a car. Rates as low as $10 USD a day for a week-long rental are easy to find, but the bus will always be cheaper and takes paperwork and complicated booking arrangements out of the picture.
While there is always some risk of running into traffic, especially around Seoul, the journey is worth it because of its unique beauty. Going by road allows you to experience some of the same mountain passes and valleys traveled by the peddlers in the stories of beloved Korean writer Lee Hyo-seok. Lee’s short story “When the Buckwheat Blooms” is both an important part of the country’s literary tradition and a touching glance at what life was like in PyeongChang more than 80 years ago. Those particularly interested in culture should consider visiting the Lee Hyo-seok Culture Village, a well-preserved traditional village near Lee’s birthplace.
Of course, the scenic route and long drive may not be right for everyone. Luckily, there’s good news for those who just want to get slope-side as fast as possible. Korea’s newest high-speed railway should be available to whisk visitors from Incheon International Airport in Seoul directly to a station near Olympic Village in PyeongChang. Currently under construction, the $3.7 billion USD railway will feature a bullet train that will reach a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). With that speed and a journey of only 113.7 kilometers (70.6 miles), the ride is expected to take around an hour.