Korea travel and tourism destinations are not limited only to Seoul and Busan. The recent Olympics in Pyeongchang literally and visually opened up an entire new Korea to the world, and local tourism professionals hope the momentum will continue.
eTurboNews publisher Juergen Steinmetz went to Gangwon, the Korean province where the Olympics was held, and Mr. Jee, the Manager for the Gangwon Provincial Government Tourism Marketing Department, showed the best the region had to offer – this is Korea at its finest.
A two-hour train ride connects the province with Seoul and directly with Incheon International Airport. There are also excellent roads connecting this province with the rest of South Korea.
Across the northern border of South Korea is, of course, North Korea, and the eastern coastal region of South Korea has many harbors.
National parks & natural monuments
Thanks to the blessing of Taebaek Mountains, Gangwon Province has 4 national parks and several natural, cultural, and historical monuments.
- Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park has beautiful rocky terrain around the peak, Daecheong-bong.
- Odaesan National Park
Odaesan is located in the center of Baekdudaegan, and it was assigned as a national park in 1975. Odaesan is one of the holy places of Korean Buddhist cultures.
- Chiaksan National Park
Chiaksan is derived from the southwest side of Odaesan, and it’s close to Wonju. In 2014, Wonju city & Korea National Park Service collaborated to make walk routes.
- Taebaeksan National Park
Taebaeksan is a traditional and historical “holy mountain,” and it was assigned as a national park on October 22, 2016.
Gangwon is a mountainous, forested province in northeast South Korea. Ski resorts, Yongpyong, and Alpensia in the county of Pyeongchang were host sites of the 2018 Winter Olympics. In the east, Seoraksan National Park has mountainside temples and hot springs. Odaesan National Park’s gentle slopes lead to the Stone Seated Buddha, while the steep cliffs of Chiaksan National Park offer more challenging trails.
Due to the global exposure the province received from the Olympics, there is the opportunity now for this region to develop into an international travel and tourism destination not only during the winter season, but all year around. The infrastructure is set, excellent hotel options are available everywhere, the original flair from the Olympics is kept, and there is so much to explore.
Because of its geographical environment, Gangwon Province is composed of mountains and basins. For this reason, the climate makes it conducive for locals to mainly make food from buckwheat, potatoes, and soy. Locals and visitors enjoy tasty comforting foods – from noodles to gelatin (or mook) to crepes, to soft tofu stew, and potato dough soup.
Mr. Jee told eTurboNews, “Anyone visiting Seoul should come out to Gangwon and enjoy the local Korean flair with a global touch.”
During the 6-hour visit, Steinmetz was treated to a delicious Korean lunch, watched a breathtaking performance in the Olympic village, visited several cultural sites, and enjoyed local artists sporadically performing in a public square at the Olympic cultural center.