Seollal update: multiple visitors have reported being unable to even obtain standing tickets out of Seoul on the 14th & 15th, and back to Seoul on the evenings of the 17th & 18th. If you’re still looking for KTX tickets on the remaining days of the Seollal holiday (until the 18th), remember to also check availability to/from Cheongnyangni Station & Sangbong Station. If that’s still no good, try buses from Dong Seoul Terminal (next to Gangbyeon Station on Line 2)
The Pyeongchang 2018 opening ceremony is now just a week away, but plenty of tickets are available and it’s still possible to put a last-minute plan together to come to the Olympics. Reasonable accommodation is pretty booked up in Pyeongchang, but there’s loads available in Seoul and the new KTX bullet train makes Seoul a feasible base (note: perhaps not so feasible between Feb 14th – 18th due to the Lunar New Year holiday, see red box below)
Pyeongchang 2018 Accommodation
Rooms remain available in Pyeongchang and Gangneung, but at steeply inflated prices. Donghae and Wonju are mostly booked out; Sokcho still has decent (and reasonable) availability, and Seoul has plenty.
See here for a full guide on where to stay
Pyeongchang 2018 Transportation Updates
Opening Ceremony: obviously this should’ve happened weeks ago (and would’ve saved a lot of hair-tearing if it had!), but better late than never I suppose – Korail have put 4 more trains on back to Seoul after the opening ceremony, departing Jinbu at 23:29, 1:10, 1:15, 1:45. Jump on it!
Closing Ceremony: the closing ceremony is also in need of extra trains, though these haven’t materialised yet. Watch this space… update: trains have been added, post-ceremony departures from Jinbu now scheduled for 23:49, 0:10, 0:34, 1:45
Lunar New Year situation: the Korean Lunar New Year holiday of Seollal falls on February 14th – 18th, so those dates had a separate reservation system and are mostly booked out.
This caused a good deal of anger & frustration, especially for Pyeongchang Pass holders who bought their passes without realising priority booking for those dates would then be given to people booking from within Korea.
Hopefully you’ve managed to get workable reservations on the dates you need; if not, you’ll have to try and get standing tickets. These can only be reserved in person in Korea, and there’s no clear information about exactly how many are available on each train so if you do need standing tickets it’s probably a good idea to make that the first thing you do after arriving (i.e. go straight to the KTX counter at the airport to book the trains you need)
Korail are confident the capacity is high enough for the combined demand from Seollal travel & Olympics spectators; let’s hope they’ve got their calculations right.
Update: multiple visitors have reported being unable to even obtain standing tickets out of Seoul on the 14th & 15th. If you’re still looking for tickets out of Seoul, remember to also check availability from Cheongnyangni Station & Sangbong Station. If that’s still no good, try buses from Dong Seoul Terminal (next to Gangbyeon Station on Line 2)
Olympic Shuttle Buses
You can see the shuttle bus diagram here
(scroll down). There are also some free shuttle buses from Seoul to the venues for ticket holders, but advance reservation is required and you need a Korean phone number to register on the app. See here
The new KTX line to Pyeongchang & Gangneung started service in December; you can see the full schedule here (pages 5 & 6 for the Olympic dates, and page 9 for the Paralympic dates), and you can search & book online here
For full details on the new KTX see here
Where to Eat & Drink in Gangneung
If you’re spending some time in Gangneung during the games, there’s a handy list here of places to eat & drink
Where to Ski
With the Olympic host mountains being closed (or partially closed in the case of Yongpyong), if you want to do some skiing yourself while in Korea see here for the best places to do so.
Visiting Seoul in Winter
Check out the Snow Guide Korea guide to visiting Seoul in winter!
Olympic Hospitality Houses
See here for a roundup of what’s on offer at the various hospitality houses.
Any questions? Leave a comment below!