The setup for the Pyeongchang Paralympics is similar to the Olympics, with events split between the Coastal Cluster and the Mountain Cluster. However, the smaller number of events means things are more compact, and the Mountain Cluster events are in two places (rather than 4), namely Alpensia and Jeongseon Alpine Centre. For more detail on venues see here
Pyeongchang Paralympics Accommodation: overview
Accommodation is available at Alpensia and neighbouring Yongpyong Resort (with regular shuttle buses between them); skiing’s available at Yongpyong (but with the upper slopes closed), but not at Alpensia. Additionally, there are a couple more ski resorts in the region which aren’t Olympic venues, but which have accommodation, are open for skiing, and aren’t too far away – namely, Welli Hilli Park (along the KTX line) and High1 (2 hours south of Gangneung by road). The KTX also makes it possible to stay in Seoul and visit Gangneung/Pyeongchang for the day to attend events.
Pyeongchang 2018 Accommodation: where to stay
As there’s plenty of availability your best bet is probably to stay in Gangneung itself, or at Alpensia if you prefer to be in the mountains. If you’re wanting to stay somewhere you can hit the slopes yourself, stay at Yongpyong and use shuttle buses to get to the events (or you could stay at Welli Hilli Park and use the KTX)
Red line: Gangneung KTX
Green: venue clusters
Blue: main regional cities
1: Oak Valley (check accommodation and see resort guide)
2: Welli Hilli Park (check accommodation and see resort guide)
3: Bokwang Phoenix Park (check accommodation and see resort guide)
4: Jeongseon Alpine Centre (no accommodation; see details)
5: Yongpyong/Alpensia (many accommodation options; see resort guide for full details & links)
6: High1 (many accommodation options; see resort guide for full details & links)
Gangneung (Coastal Cluster): search for Gangneung hotels here. Gangneung’s well-placed for any of the events – if you find something within your budget, snap it up!
Mountain Cluster ski resorts: the in-resort accommodations at Alpensia and Yongpyong have rooms available, and there are some small pension-style places and motels in the nearby towns. See here for options in & around Yongpyong / Alpensia.
Other ski resorts in the region: Welli Hilli Park is located near Dunnae Station on the Gangneung KTX, two stops from Jinbu Station (the station for the Mountain Cluster). You can check their accommodation availability here; a nice point if you stay at Welli Hilli is you’ll actually be able to ski there as it’s not hosting any Olympic events so is open as usual.
One more option is High1; it’s not so well-placed for reaching the event venues, but if you want to hit the slopes High1’s by far the best place to do it during the Olympics & Paralympics. There’s a lot of accommodation in and around High1, see here for details.
Seoul: another option is to stay in Seoul and travel to your events on the new Gangneung KTX bullet train line. The line started regular service in December 2017, taking around 2 hours from Seoul Station to Gangneung Station (a handful of trains per day will start & finish at Incheon Airport). Bear in mind that you’ll also need to take a shuttle bus between the train station and the venue you’re heading to, and there’ll also be a subway or taxi ride in Seoul, depending which part of the city you stay in.
Of a total of 22 to 28 trains per day during the Paralympics (Friday & Saturday have extra services), 8 to 16 will start from Cheongnyangni, 10 will start from Seoul Station (and also stop at Cheongnyangi), and 4 will start from Incheon Airport (and stop at Seoul Station but not Cheongnyangi).
Cheongnyangi therefore has the best frequency of service, though it doesn’t have much by way of accommodation. The best place to stay near Cheongnyangi is the popular Dongdaemun district, four stops away on subway Line 1. Seoul Station has a good number of hotels close by and is more central for sightseeing etc, so may be more attractive.
If you stay south of the river in e.g. Gangnam, you’re looking at a 30 to 40 minute subway ride just to reach Seoul Station or Cheongnyangni, so try to avoid that.
For getting back to Seoul, the last trains are 21:50 from Jinbu Station and 22:30 from Gangneung Station. The Mountain Cluster events all finish well before 21:50 so that’s fine, but I’d advise caution for late-finishing ice events which run to 22:00 – if you’re attending the wheelchair curling, or the later-finishing para hockey sessions, it’s probably best to stay in Gangneung. And for those attending the opening & closing ceremonies, they finish at 21:50 and 21:20 respectively so there’s no way you can make that last train from Jinbu to Seoul (other than leaving early) – definitely stay in Pyeongchang or Gangneung if attending those.
(Note: 청량리 is correctly romanised as Cheongryangri due to Korean spelling rules but the correct pronunciation is Cheongnyangni. Bit of a mouthful either way! You’ll see it written both ways)
It’s advisable to book your train tickets in advance on the Korail site – advance booking is available one month before the travel date. If you’ll be doing this journey repeatedly, take advantage of the Pyeongchang Rail Pass to keep costs down (sales deadline is January 31st).
Other Potential Bases
Wonju: the largest city in Gangwon-do, Wonju is halfway between Seoul & Gangneung and fairly close to the Mountain Cluster venues, so if you book accommodation there it’s a workable base.
Donghae: this port city 20km south of Gangneung makes for a potential base if you’re attending Coastal Cluster events in Gangneung but don’t want to actually stay in Gangneung. For Mountain Cluster events though, the dogleg through Gangneung makes the transportation tricky (Wonju would be better)
Sokcho: as with Donghae, the port of Sokcho should work well enough for Coastal Cluster events, though it’s a bit further away (50km) than Donghae is. Yangyang is just south of Sokcho and is home to the nearest (very small) airport to the venues, so that’s another possibility.
Airbnb: it’s worth checking Airbnb as well as the hotel listings. It’s a particularly good option in Seoul, where there’s a huge number of places available, and Airbnb’s really convenient in Korea – hosts usually have it set up so you can arrive & check in by yourself without having to wait around or meet anyone, and the housing standards are good with underfloor heating and excellent internet connections as standard. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can get a 35-dollar discount off your first rental by signing up through Snow Guide Korea; simply click on this link and register!
Pyeongchang Paralympics Tickets
You can search and buy tickets here; wheelchair users should select Wheel Chair on the booking purchase screen, and for those accompanying them to sit together you can select one Guardian ticket per wheelchair ticket.
Pyeongchang Paralympics Transportation
The KTX, Korea’s bullet train system, was extended to Gangneung in time for the Olympics & Paralympics; it started service in December 2017, drastically reducing the travel time from Seoul to the Olympic venues (and several other ski resorts) in Gangwon-do. See here for details of the Gangneung KTX.
Free shuttle buses will transport spectators to the venues from the train stations and park & ride facilities, and will also enable visitors to move around & between Pyeongchang and Gangneung. Some shuttle buses will be wheelchair accessible – but not all, so if required make sure to allow extra time to get from the station to your event in case you have to wait a bit longer for a shuttle.
Any questions about accommodation for the Pyeongchang Paralympics? Leave a comment below!
Snow Guide Korea’s Pyeongchang 2018 page; more details on the Gangneung KTX; and the best Korean resorts to ski at during Pyeongchang 2018