Seolnal Adventures With Adventure Korea
21 – 24 January 2011
By Sarah-Jayne Coutts
Long weekends like this past four day Seolnal break are a great opportunity for foreigners to get together and have a good time. What better way to do this than with Adventure Korea, which had so many additional enquiries for the ski trip this year that a third bus was added to the trip specially to accommodate all interested parties.
To beat the Seolnal traffic out of Seoul, we left bright and early and headed to Phoenix Park, Pyeongchang. This is the location for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and a great ski resort that offers a little of everything. Shortly before arriving at the resort, we stopped at the rental shops to pick up our boots, skis and snowboards that had already been pre-arranged for us. We could also rent the necessary ski suits and goggles at this shop for extremely reasonable prices before getting back on our busses and heading to the slopes.
At Phoenix Park, we wasted no time in hitting the slopes. The experienced skiers and snowboarders immediately took to the various slopes while the beginners were given a lesson on the basics. Considering how expensive ski and snowboard lessons can be, the free English ski/snowboard instruction provided by the Adventure Korea staff is a great bonus! Before long, we were all heading to slopes of varying difficulties, from Beginner to Professional levels, where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying a new sport.
After an adventurous afternoon on the slopes, we were ready to check into our hotel and relax. The nearby Blue Canyon Water Park offered a great variety of hot pools, slides and massage jets where we could relax our aching muscles. Even better was the fact that Adventure Korea could get us a 50% discount to the water park! It was great to relax with new friends before heading to karaoke, bowling or back to our rooms to hang out. Sunday offered another great day on the slopes and similar partying in the evening.
On Monday, it was time to say goodbye to Phoenix Park and the group members who had signed up for only the three day ski trip. Back on a warm and comfortable bus, we headed two hours north to the Hwacheon Ice Festival in Gangwon Province. Here, there were a variety of ice activities on offer.
For our first activity, we were provided with fishing poles and a specially designated area on the frozen lake where we could fish for delicious Sancheona Trout. Next, we headed to the enclosed pond for bare hand fishing where many of our group members braved freezing temperatures in just a t-shirt and shorts while they attempted to catch fish with their bare hands. Many fish were caught quickly as people hastened to get out of the frigid waters and into the hot tub provided so that they could get warm once more.
After the bare hand fishing, we were free to enjoy the activities on offer at the festival. We could also return to fishing where the festival organisers had re-stocked the water with fish for us to catch. Before long, several of our group members had caught some delicious trout for their lunch.
The snow tubing, skating, sledding, and ATVs were all great fun and the enticing smell of trout being cooked beside the river was pleasant throughout the day. The enormous ice sculptures – especially the dragon – were also impressive.
Our final group activity for the day, before heading to our hotel for the night, was ice soccer. Similar to regular soccer but played on ice, it was clear that everyone who participated in the game had a great time!
At our new hotel, we enjoyed a delicious barbeque dinner followed by a bonfire. For those who were too cold, karaoke was again a highlight of the evening as an ever increasing number of people joined in the singing that continued into the early hours of the morning.
The next morning, after a delicious breakfast provided by the Adventure Korea staff, we had two options: Join a short but scenic hike or take a short walk to another small ice sculpture festival. The hike was beautiful! Those of us who chose to do the hike also got to attend the festival where we had a quick lunch before heading back to our hotel to pack our bags. Sadly, this fantastic four day adventure had come to and end and it was time to head back to Seoul.
Spending the holiday with Adventure Korea was an excellent decision! Everything was well-organised and the staff were always helpful and friendly. Thank you Adventure Korea for a great trip and for the new friends I met!