Cool breezing experience watching athlete

PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Lu Wei Hoong | 13 March 2017

Ever thought about escaping the hot and humid weather of Malaysia for something different? Perhaps somewhere with winter for a change of scenery?

PyeongChang, 180km east of the South Korean capital of Seoul, would be a timely destination as it gears up for the Winter Olympics 2018.

The city is busy preparing a hospitable welcome for visitors with a new high speed rail, upgrades to hotels as well as a brand new stadium.

It is a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Incheon International Airport.

From there, the new Korean Train Express bullet train service, due to be completed in late 2017, will allow visitors to get to PyeongChang in just two hours.

Pyeongchang

At PyeongChang, visitors can enjoy the sights of snowy mountains and smell the breeze of fresh air.

PyeongChang is located within the province of Gangwon-do, which has a thriving agriculture industry.

Apart from the natural sights PyeongChang has to offer, the city is also pulling all the stops for an Winter Olympics experience to be remembered.

The upcoming Winter Olympics will take place from Feb 9 to 25, 2018.

Ahead of the games, the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Centre, (address: 131, Nanseolheon-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, 25466) offers an early experience.

The sporting events are split into two clusters, namely the PyeongChang mountainous cluster and Gangneung coastal cluster.

PyeongChang will be the focal point of all snow sports, hosting the Alpensia Sports Park, Alpensia Sliding Centre, Yongpyong Alpine Centre, Jeongseon Alpine Centre and Bokwang Snow Park.

Within the Alpensia Sports Park are a ski jumping centre, biathlon centre and cross-country skiing centre.

Most importantly, it is also where the 35,000-capacity Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium is located.

A main attraction within the PyeongChang cluster is the Bokwang Snow Park. (Address: 1095, Myeonon-ri, Bongpyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Kangwon), a popular resort for ski sports lovers.

With an annual snowfall of 210cm, visitors can enjoy uninterrupted skiing from November up until March.

Skiing and snowboarding are common sports for locals at the resort which has opened its doors for 22 years.

It will also be the place where athletes show off their free style skiing and and snowboarding skills for the Winter Olympics.

The Alpensia Sports Park (Address: 225-3 Yongsan-ri, Daekwallyeong-myeon,Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do) will play host to six sports, namely cross-country skiing, nordic combined, biathlon, bobsleigh, luge and ski jumping.

The ski-jumping range has the stunning Baekdusan Mountain ridges as backdrop, a major national park in South Korea.

Organisers have made it a point to ensure that all venues are accessible within a short drive.

The Olympics Centre’s public engagement team project manager Jasmine Lim said the compact concept was a result of lessons learnt in two previous unsuccessful bids to host the Winter Olympics in 2010 and 2014.

In the two previous bids, PyeongChang narrowly lost the to Vancouver and Sochi respectively.

From the PyeongChang mountainous cluster, it is around a 30 minute ride by coach to the Gangneung coastal cluster.

In Gangneung, much of the venues are concentrated within its Olympic Park which hosts a hockey centre, oval, ice arena and curling centre. It also hosts the Kwandong Hockey Centre.

At the Gangneung Ice Arena, visitors can witness graceful skaters taking to the ice to the tune of soft musics and if they wish, toss flower bouquets or soft toys into the arena as a sign of appreciation for the performance.

After three tries, PyeongChang is set to become only the second Asian city to host the Winter Olympics after Japan’s Sapporo.

The city aspires to capitalise on the prestigious sporting event to become an Asian winter sports hub.

So if you’re up for a unique getaway, PyeongChang beckons.

This trip was sponsored by Gangwon-do Province and Korea Tourism Organisation

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