Showing posts with label Pyeongchang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pyeongchang. Show all posts

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Winter Ski in Korea

Winter is probably my favourite season; partly attributed by the fact that I'm born in the last month of the year. There is just something magical about winter; the streets are decorated with beautiful illuminations and romance is in the air.  Living in Singapore meant that we don't get to enjoy the 4 seasons but that doesn't stop me from traveling to other countries to experience the winter season, even though packing for winter travelling is a chore. There are tons of fun activities to do in winter, such as skiing, building snowman (my fave, by the way) and ice-fishing. Most of us living in the tropical countries will have little experience in winter sports, but fret not - take the opportunity to learn something new. After all, it is all part of the unique traveling experience! 
Ski slopes are often cold and snowy. The temperature is about -6°C degrees celsius on average but can drop below -10°C. Hence, we must be prepared at all times to enjoy skiing/snowboarding to the fullest. Before we start, here's a checklist of the items on what to prepare for skiing:
  • Ski goggles: protect your eyes from direct sunlight and light reflected from snow-covered fields. Extremely useful for shutting out wind and cold air.
  • Beanie, gloves and scarfs: prevent skin from being exposed to too much sunlight. Also to keep warm.
  • Lip balm, sunscreen: moisturise your lips since winter weather is mostly cold and dry. 
  • Heat pack: extremely handy in keeping your hands warm.
  • Ski jacket and pants: prevent wind from entering the body since they are mostly made from wind-resistant and waterproof materials. 
  • Skis and snowboarding: plenty of rental shops available within or outside the resorts.
Our 2-day ski trip at Yongpyong Resort. 
Besides skiing, we also visited the famous Dragon Peak at Yongpyong Resort. This is the filming site of K-dramas such as Goblin, That Winter, the Wind Blows and Winter Sonata. Well, no Gong Yoo by my side so have to make do with Leecher, lol! Stay tuned for more as I will be sharing more of our adventures in Yongpyong resort :) 

Visitors can also discover a whole new experience in skiing through the Ski Korea Festival, which combines 4-day ski festival and a 2-day snowtube race festival. You can refer to here for more details on the various festivals - something to check out on your next winter trip to Korea! Speaking of winter sports, there will be 15 winter sports disciplines included in this Winter Olympics. These are divided into snow, ice and sliding sports.
Snow Sports
*pic credits to PyeongChang2018 official website
  • Alpine skiing: a sport where a skier speeds down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed heel bindings.
  • Biathlon: combined sport of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The athletes ski around a certain distance with a rifle carried on their back and have to shoot at targets in a designated shooting area.
  • Cross-Country Skiing: a sport in which athletes ski along a designated course on snow-covered hills and fields. It emerged from a need to travel over snow-covered terrain and was developed as a sport at the end of 19th century. 
  • Freestyle Skiing: combines speed, snowman-ship and the ability to perform aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe and slope-style tricks while skiing.
  • Nordic Combined: brings cross-country skiing and ski jumping together. It requires techniques and great physical strength. 
  • Ski Jumping: athletes descend a specially constructed ramp and takeoff with as much power as they can generate, to fly as far as possible down a steeply sloped hill.
  • Snowboard: a sport that uses a board attached to athlete's feet to speed down a specially designed slope.
Cross country skiing and ski jumping are probably the oldest ski sports in the games, having debuted in the first Winter Games in 1924. For ski jumping, my heart tends to skip a beat when the skiers glide down the ramp to jump and fly as far as they can go from the launching zone to the landing section. They must have enjoy the excitement and imagine the adrenaline rushing through the body as they fly through the air. 
Sliding Sports
*pic credits to PyeongChang2018 official website
  • Bobsleigh: teams of two or four athletes make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score. 
  • Luge: athlete slide down a frozen track lying on a sled in the supine position. 
  • Skeleton: athlete slide down a frozen track on a sled in the prone position. The sled is controlled by the shoulders and knees.
In this category, athletes start with a 'push' phrase where the athlete sprints, pushing the sled to generate as much speed and acceleration as possible over the short distance to propel their body down the ice track. Speeds of 140km/h is common and at these speeds, it is inevitable that forces of gravity will hit 5G's and possibly, 6G's. Not everyone can withstand these type of forces. 
Ice Sports
*pic credits to PyeongChang2018 official website
  • Curling: two teams, each with 4 curlers, take turn sliding heavy, polished granite stones across the ice "curling sheet" towards the "house", or the target area.
  • Figure Skating: where skaters perform jumps, spins and artistic performances skating on ice to music.
  • Ice Hockey: contact team sport played in a rink, in which two teams of six skaters use their sticks to shoot a rubber puck into the opponent's net to score goals.
  • Short Track Speed Skating: where skaters skate on an oval ice track with a circumference of 111.12m.
  • Speed Skating: where two competitors race each other as fast as they can on a 400m ice rink. 
******
Now that we have learnt more about the various winter sports, it's time to mark the calendar for the event dates of these sports so we can cheer for the athletes as they compete against one another for the highly coveted Olympics medals! 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fun facts about Pyeongchang + Winter Olympics Event at Korea Plaza

Pyeongchang has been in the limelight ever since they won the rights to host the Winter Olympics games. As we talked about Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, we should also mention about Pyeongchang, the county at which the games will be held. Here are some fun facts about Pyeongchang:
  • "Happy 700 Pyeongchang" is the slogan of Pyeongchang. It takes the slogan from the city's average elevation, which is approximately 700m above sea level. This altitude is considered optimal for the human health and wellness. 
  • The city is marketed with CamelCase spelling of "PyeongChang" so as to avoid confusion with Pyongyang, the capital of neighbouring North Korea.
  • A KTX line will be built between Wonju and Gangnrung via Pyeongchang, which will shorten the traveling time from Seoul significantly. 
  • While the county of Pyeongchang is the host city of the Olympics, none of the events will be held in the actual city of Pyeongchang-eup (평창읍). This city is located on the left bank of the river Pyeongchanggang.
  • Dried pollock is considered the national delicacy. The fish is left to dry for weeks under the winter sun and it get as tough as cowhide. 
 
******* 
Here's a shout-out for those who are interested to know more about Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Pop by the Korea Plaza for a day of fun-filled activities as we countdown to D-200 days of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics! 
The activities look interesting; I'm particularly interested in taking part in the curling experience and also, sinking my teeth into those yummy street food! Besides engaging in the fun activities, you can also get more information in preparation of your Korea trips. The friendly staff are always available to help. Refer to the map below for more information on how to get there.

Address: 3 Church Street, #01-02 Samsung Hub, Singapore 049483
Opening Hours: 10AM till 7PM (Mon-Fri), 10AM till 1PM (Sat)
Tel: 6533 0447

Monday, June 26, 2017

Snippets of Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018


We are 228 days to the opening of Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. This is the XXIII Olympics Winter games and will be South Korea's first winter games, after hosting the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. Scheduled to take place from 9-25 February 2018, this major sport event will capture the attention of media around the world. While most of us will read about the coverage online, it would be an interesting experience to be at the event and watching the athletes competing for the medals. 
KTX to Pyeongchang
With the introduction of a new line on the KTX, visitors will be able to travel to Pyeongchang from Incheon Airport or Seoul area in just 86 minutes. The fuss-free journey will aid in increasing the number of visitors who are visiting Gangwon province - not just for the Olympic games. Gangwon province is also well known for other attractions such as Nami Island (my fave!), Seoraksan National Park and many more. I will cover these attractions in another post, so stay tuned for that.
The Venue
The games will be gathered around two main venues: Pyeongchang mountain cluster for outdoor sports and Gangneung coastal cluster for indoor sports. Both the opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, which boosts a seating capacity of 35,000. For those who are interested in attending the games, the online general sales will commence on 5 September. So, hop over to the official ticketing site to purchase your tickets! 
The Games
Athletes will compete in 102 events across snow, ice and sliding sports with over 100 gold medals to be won. 6 new events such curling mixed doubles, speed skating mass start etc will be added to the program. This will be the stage for the most number of mixed events in the history of Olympics Winter Games. 
The Olympic Flame
The Olympic flame will arrive in Incheon City 101 days before the start of the games. It will make its way around the regions of Korea, where a total of 7,500 torchbearers are expected to take part. A series of events/activities will be held in the cities, so people can share the excitement of the Olympic Torch Relay. 
The Olympic torch was revealed earlier this year. Designed by Korean designer Young Se Kim, the torch measured 700mm in length signifying the altitude of Pyeongchang which lies 700m above sea level. Dressed in white and gold tones, the torch mirrored the main colours of Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games Torch Relay while the 5 pronged shape of the flame is based on the Korean symbol for Pyeongchang, which is also engraved around the top and bottom half of the torch. The torch has been designed to withstand all weather conditions, so the flame will be kept lit throughout the relay.
Honorary Ambassadors for the Games
A total of 30 ambassadors have been selected for the games, with Taeyang (from Bigbang) being the latest to join the list. I was really glad to see Lee Min Ho on the list. Not forgetting Kim Yuna, the queen of figure ice-skating. 
Korean athletes in Pyeongchang Olympic Games
While watching the Olympic Special on Infinite Challenge, I got to know several athletes through the various games such as bobsleigh, curling and ice hockey. The bobsleigh team will be led by Yoon Sung Bin, Seo Young Woo and Won Yoon Jong. Yoon Jong appeared on the show, alongside with Lee Yong who is their coach and 3 of their team mates. 

Speed Skating Mass Start will be introduced for the first time as an Olympic event at Pyeongchang 2018 Games. Lee Seung Hoon will be the man to watch out for, having won the gold medal in the mass start race component of the World All Round Speed Skating Championships, hosted in Russia.  

Having read about their personal stories in interviews, I was impressed by the devotion of the athletes. They trained hard for many years and scarified a lot of family and personal time to be where they are. Hats off for their passion and let us cheer all the participating athletes in the coming games; get ready to scream "Daehanminguk"!

*all images are courtesy of Pyeongchang 2018 official website unless stated otherwise

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018: Singapore Supporters' Goodies Bag

30 years after hosting the summer Olympics in 1988, South Korea will once again play host to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics which will take place from 9-25 February 2018. I was lucky to be selected as part of the Pyeongchang Olympics Supporters team, hence I was gifted with these official merchandise from KTO Singapore.  Thank you for the love! 
The Official Emblem
The official emblem draws inspiration from Hangul, with the shapes that form the logo stemming from the first consonants from each syllable in the word "Pyeongchang" when written in Hangul. The symbol ㅍ expresses the harmony of Heaven, Earth and Man. The 2nd character  signifies ice and snow and also symbolic of the athletes' performances. In short, the official emblem symbolises a "grand gathering of people from all over the world in celebration of Olympic winter sports, which is taking place in the harmonious land of Pyeongchang". 

Unveiling The Mascot
Soohorang, a white tiger which served as a guardian for its people, is the official mascot of the Olympics games. In traditional Korean folk tales, the tiger is often seen as a symbol of trust, strength and protection. Bandabi, an Asiatic black bear which is symbolic of strong will and courage, is the official mascot for the Winter Paralympics games. Their names are symbolic too; let's break it down further:

"Sooho" : the Korean word for "protection". To protect the athletes, spectators and all participants of the Olympics games.
"Rang" : derives from the Korean word "ho-rang-i", which means tiger. It also appears in "Jeongseon Arirang", the traditional folk music of Gangwon Province, where Pyeongchang the host city is located. 
"Banda" : comes from "bandal" meaning half-moon, indicating the white crescent on the chest of the bear.
"Bi" : to celebrate the Games.

*image courtesy of google
Interestingly, the tiger is also used in the 1988 Seoul Games. "Hodori" was an orange Amur tiger, portraying the friendly and hospitable traditions of the Korean people. "Dori" is a diminutive for "boys" hence Hodori is a male tiger. The female version was known as "Hosuni", even though she was seldom used. 
Fun fact: If you have watched Reply 1988 (strongly recommended! I super love this series man, esp with Park Bo Gum!), you would have caught snippets of the Olympics games on the drama. 

The Official Slogan
Under the official slogan "Passion. Connected", the game aims to bring together the athletes and game participants across 95 countries and gather in Pyeongchang, a place where everyone is connected with shared passion for the winter sports. 

You can purchases these merchandises from the official Pyeongchang 2018 stores in Seoul. The first store opened to public in last Friday at Lotte Myeongdong branch. Two more official stores will open next month at Lotte's department store and duty-free shop in Seoul. Currently, there are over 300 items available but the number of products will reach 2000 by October. So be sure to grab an item or more when you are in the vicinity! 
Lotte Department Store, Myeongdong Main Branch (9th Floor)
Address: 30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul

Lotte Department Store, Avenuel Branch (B1F)
Address: 81, Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Cycling at Yeouido Hangang Park

I spent the weekend catching up on my fave K-variety shows and I watched the Pyeongchang Olympics 2018 special on Infinite Challenge, with my eye-candy Park Bo Gum as the special guest (*.*) Having hosted the summer Olympics in 1988, South Korea will now host the Winter Olympics in 2018. In this special, they challenged winter sports such as bobsleigh, ice hockey and curling with the national Olympic team members. For those who have missed it, you could catch the specials on Viu (ep. 524 to 526) and witness the effects of "Bo-Gum" magic. I will be focusing more on Pyeongchang Olympics 2018 in future posts too. 
Now that the harsh and freezing winter has subsided and the weather has turned warmer, there is an increase in outdoor activities for friends and families prefer to spend their time outdoors after being in the cold for so long. Yeouido Hangang Park would be one of the top choices, for there is a wide range of activities to do in the park. We exited from Yeouinaru Station (Line 5, exit #3) and were greeted with this sight! 
It was a beautiful day and I'm glad we came out for this trip instead of spending our time indoors. During cherry blossom season, this place will be packed with people, who will set up "camp" on the open spaces with families and friends, bonding over drinks and food while enjoying the scenery. This park also plays host to the fireworks festival during fall. If you had watched "Legend of the Blue Sea", you would be familiar with the scene where Joon Jae and Shim Chung witnessed the fireworks display in this park. 
The main agenda for today's trip: renting a bicycle and exercise our butts, ha! There are plenty of bicycle kiosks scattered around the park. It was easy to rent the bikes even if you don't understand Korean: you just need to indicate the number of hours, how many bikes and surrender a photo ID as deposit. Also, try to use your driving license or student pass instead of passport just to be safe.

BIKE RENTAL INFORMATION
Min rental: 1h
Single/Child: 3000KRW/hr, 500KRW for every 15 min
Tandem/Advanced: 6000KRW/hr, 1000KRW for every 15 min
We selected our bikes which came with baskets so we can dump our stuff and ride with ease. 
Leecher testing out his bike and he looked like he's having fun!
We cycled for awhile; peddling furiously up the slope while cruising down slope. At this point, I was starting to curse under my breath for choosing this route. Well, we didn't exactly chose this but we just followed where the majority of the cyclists were heading, ha! I was beginning to feel the strain in my leg muscles, so we decided to stop for a quick break. Thankfully the weather was superb so I wasn't feeling sweaty even though I had a great workout. With Hangang Railway bridge as our backdrop, we took a couple of pictures before embarking on our return journey. 
That's the fun part, to feel the breeze in your hair after the intense workout of peddling up slope. 
Yeouido Hangang Park
Address: 8 Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Tel: 02-3780-0561
Directions: Yeouinaru Station (Line 5, exit #3)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter in Korea: From Incheon to Pyeongchang + Lepovill Pension + 그곳에가면

Hello December baby, my favourite time of the year! Oh, did I mention that my heart is still in Korea even though we have been back for almost a month? Ha, serious withdrawal symptoms. My life feels so empty recently; is this what they call mid-life crisis? To make things worse, Facebook reminded me of my winter memories from 2-3 years ago. Can I just hide in a hole and hibernate? That seems like an excellent idea now. By December, most of the ski resorts would be opened and there are several ski resorts which you can explore - Jisan, Yongpyong, Alpensia (just to name a few). Being an avid K-drama fan, Yongpyong was my top choice since this is the filming location of Winter Sonata, tsk tsk. We decided to save costs by staying at the pension instead of the resort itself, for a room within the resort could easily set you back by at least KRW200,000/night, which I will touch on later. 
Our tired faces after a long flight. After immigration, we hurried to the nearest convenience store and bought some snacks/drinks for the next leg of the trip. I'm not a coffee drinker, but somehow I always ended up drinking coffee in Korea. I think I'm more attracted to the packaging than the drink itself, ha. From Incheon airport, we headed directly to Pyeongchang where the ski resorts are located. 

How to get to Pyeongchang from Incheon Airport?
The ticketing office is located outside of the airport, opposite the arrival terminal. Hence, you will need to head outside, cross the road and look out for the office at 9C. 
The pension that we will be staying at was nearer to Alpensia ski resort (알펜시아리조트 스키장), hence we booked tickets from Incheon to Alpensia. A single trip ticket is KRW$29,000. The whole journey takes around 3 hours, with several stops along the way including one at the rest point for toilet break. We arrived at Alpensia and called Mr Kim, the owner of the pension for pick up. While waiting for Mr Kim's arrival, we booked our return journey (back to Seoul) from the concierge at KRW$17,000/pax. The bus will bring us directly to downtown Seoul, where we can then transfer to metro for the next part of the journey. 
We stayed at Lepovil pension for KRW$100,000/night, way cheaper than staying at the resort. Well, the downside is that we will have to call a cab whenever we head out or Mr Kim will give us a lift if he happened to head out at the same time. Cab rides mostly cost us around KRW$15,000 max (from city back to the pension) so it was still more affordable to stay in a pension. Plus, we had a great interaction with Mr Kim and his family/friends, hence it was a great experience for us too. 
The river flowing through the pension, which froze overnight due to the cold. We took a stroll around the compound on our last day, which I will share later in another entry. 
We were shown to our home for the next couple of days. I fell in love with the house and the surrounding, which reminded me of our Europe vacation. Mr Kim gave us a mini room tour, then left us to unpack/settle down. 
Our room came equipped with a small kitchen but we didn't cook anything apart from boiling water for cup noodles. We loved eating cup noodles whenever we travel, for it was so convenient to curb hunger pangs. Especially in cold weather, slurping up hot noodles just warms the body. 
레포빌 보드하우스 Lepovill Board House
Address: 대관령면 횡계리 14-343, 232-950 Pyeongchang, South Korea
Tel: +82 10-5755-8698
Our tummies started protesting once we settled in comfortably. We have not had a proper meal since we landed, for we were rushing from place to place. We asked Mr Kim for recommendation and he kindly drove us to this restaurant serving BBQ. 
Choice of floor or table seating; of course we had to go for floor seating - just for the fun of it. 
The standard drink for every meal. These are so cheap in Korea that it was hard to justify buying these in Singapore for personal consumption.
Check out the tray of meat; I'm so hungry looking at this.
I absolutely love the range of banchans that were served. Meanwhile, the fire is ready for cooking; can't wait to start! 
The most agonising part was waiting for the meat to be ready. Ahjumma helped us with the cooking while our duty was just to eat. 
All ready to eat, yum! I normally wrap it with half a lettuce, meat with a bit of gochujang and alternate between either kimchi or garlic (heck the smelly breathe). The meat was so tender that we devour ate pieces after pieces without stopping. 
그곳에가면
Address: 대관령면 대관령로 192
Tel: +82 033-336-9290 
Ahjumma helped us to call for a cab. With our tummies satisfied, we headed back to the pension for another round of gathering at the cafe with Mr Kim & friends; I will leave that for another time. Stay tuned for more of our adventures in Pyeongchang (^^)

  ☃☃☃ Read the rest of our Winter adventure here  ☃☃☃

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