If you’re looking for information on where to stay for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, see this page
for a full breakdown
Olympic Shuttle Buses
We have a clear picture of the shuttle bus system, which you can see here
(scroll down). The drop-down arrows below the diagram show the journey times & departure frequency.
Lunar New Year situation: the Korean New Year holiday of Seollal falls on February 14th – 18th, so those dates will be very busy and have a different reservation system. Unfortunately, it was finally announced that bookings will be available from January 17th at 6:00 (Korean time) for people in Korea but not until 16:00 for people outside Korea.This essentially means that the seats will likely be sold out before Olympics visitors have a chance to try and reserve them. This is obviously causing a good deal of anger & frustration, especially for Pyeongchang Pass holders who’ve already paid only for other passengers to probably buy the very seats they thought they were paying for.
Standing room tickets are also available though there’s no clear information about how many exactly, so a lot of people are concerned they won’t be able to make it to their events on those dates.
Update: trains didn’t end up being instantly fully-booked by local passengers on the 17th (probably due to it being a rural region with low population density), and there was still reasonable availability when tickets became available to overseas customers at 4pm; seems like most people who got online at that time were able to book at least workable train times (though in many cases not their 1st choice options). However, by now (24 hours later) the trains are mostly booked out on the Seollal dates. If you’re still searching, remember to also check Cheongnyangi & Sangbong stations (in eastern Seoul) as they have more departures & arrivals than Seoul Station; and if that’s no good, there’s still (hopefully) hope as Korail have announced a second special reservation period for Pyeongchang Pass holders (see the announcement here). Remember there’s also standing room on the train, but we don’t know what the capacity will be. If you have events on those dates and haven’t booked accommodation yet, you should probably consider options other than Seoul (see here)
Opening Ceremony: there’s also been some concern for those wanting to get back to Seoul from Jinbu after the opening ceremony on the 9th; although not shown on the schedule here (page 4), trains were also made available at 0:44 to Sangbong Station and 1:24 to Cheongnyangni Station (originating at 0:20 and 1:00 from Gangneung). Seats are now fully booked on all of them, but for standing tickets you can try 22:54, 0:44, and 1:24. Again, if you’re attending the ceremony but haven’t booked accommodation yet, you should probably consider options other than Seoul (see here)
Gangneung KTX latest update (January 2018): The line started service on December 22nd, and you can see the full schedule here (scroll down to see the schedule during the Olympics). Tickets for KTX trains are available 30 days in advance (60 days for the Olympics, except Feb 14th – 18th as above), and you can search & book online here. Also check out this video of the KTX in action
Shuttle buses: schedule from Pyeongchang Station to Phoenix Park here. Schedule from Dunnae Station to Welli Hilli Park here. Yongpyong has shuttle buses from Jinbu Station, but the schedule isn’t online yet; Alpensia doesn’t have a shuttle from the station, but there’s now an hourly shuttle connecting Yongpyong & Alpensia as per here. High1 have confirmed they will have no extra arrangements for the KTX. Note that (with the exception of Welli Hilli) these resort shuttles won’t be running during the Olympics – see ‘Olympic Shuttle Buses’ above.
A special Pyeongchang Pass is presently available allowing unlimited travel for 5 or 7 days during the Olympics & Paralympics. This is exactly what you need if you’re staying in Seoul and travelling back & forth repeatedly to the events. Full details here; sales period is October 10th to January 31st.
The newly-built Gangneung KTX bullet train line (officially called the Kyungkang or Gyeonggang Line) links Incheon Airport to the port of Gangneung, crossing the north of the country from coast to coast and connecting Seoul to the Winter Olympic venues in Pyeongchang.
Construction of the line formed a key part of the Pyeongchang 2018 bid, shortening the Seoul – Pyeonchang travel time from 2.5 hours on the highway to just an hour by train. The line was actually planned regardless of the Olympics, but the awarding of the Games to Korea provided the impetus to finally get it built; the Gangneung KTX is therefore arguably the main legacy of Pyeongchang 2018, along with the purpose-built Jeongseon Alpine Centre.
The new line runs from the city of Wonju across to Gangneung; trains will run along existing tracks from Incheon & Seoul to Wonju, and then onto the new tracks from there.
The stations on the new line are:
Manjong (in Wonju)
The stops in Seoul – Incheon are Incheon Airport, Geomam, Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, and Sangbong (Incheon Airport & Geomam are only included during the Olympic period). During the Olympics 35 trains per day will originate from Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, or Sangbong; Cheongnyangni (in the northeast of the city) has the highest frequency of service. Furthermore, 16 trains per day will originate from Incheon Airport and stop at Geomam plus Seoul Station and/or Cheongnyangni on the way through to Jinbu and Gangneung.
There’s an accurate map here (and that’s a cool site if you’re interested in Korea and a bit of an infrastructure geek!). The other maps on this page are approximate (I knocked them up on Google Maps):
This line will of course be of great benefit to the population in the region, but also game-changing for us skiers and boarders wanting to get to Korea’s best ski resorts from Seoul – travel times will be significantly reduced for a number of Gangwon-do resorts, including but not limited to the Olympic host resorts, as follows (with closest station in brackets):
1. Oak Valley (Manjong Station)
2. Welli Hilli Park (Dunnae Station)
3. Phoenix Park (Pyeongchang Station)
4. Jeongseon Alpine Centre (Jinbu Station)
5. Yongpyong & Alpensia (Jinbu Station)
6. High1 (via Gangneung, but still requiring a highway bus from there)
Click on each resort name for its Snow Guide Korea review, with full access details including how the journey is expected to work using the Gangneung KTX.
The journey time from Seoul Station to Gangneung is just under 2 hours, for a fare of 27,600 won ($30 US); Cheongnyangni to Pyeongchang is just over an hour.
Tickets can be booked up to 30 days in advance (extended to 60 for the Olympics), and you can do this on the Korail website. If you’re planning on staying in Seoul for the Olympics and taking the train to the venues, there are three key bits of advice – take advantage of the Pyeongchang Pass if you’re making repeated round-trips, reserve your train seats ASAP (i.e. 60 days before) as they’re likely to be at capacity, and try to stay as close as possible to Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station (in the northeast of the city) if you’re concerned about journey times or late arrivals back in the city after late-finishing events. If you’re more concerned about being close to good nightlife, sightseeing etc (and don’t mind having to take taxis if you end up back at Cheongnyangni after the Metro finishes), it’s better to stay near Seoul Station.
If you’re trying to work out your Pyeongchang 2018 transportation & accommodation options, see here for more details
For more on Pyeongchang 2018 generally, click here
Any questions about the Gangneung KTX? Leave a message below!