If you’re wondering whether it’s too late to get to the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Korea, from February 8 to Feb 25, 2018, the answer is no! There is no shortage of airline tickets, and lodging options abound, too.
To get to PyeongChang, you need to fly to Seoul, the capital of Korea. You can fly nonstop to Seoul from many cities on airlines such as American, Asiana, Delta, Korean and United. Pricing for nonstop round trips from the U.S. usually range from $1200 – $2000+, and nonstop flights from the West Coast or East Coast take around 13.5 – 14.5 hours.
Connecting flights to Seoul can be cheaper, although they’re longer and less convenient. If you’re leaving from the West Coast, check out Hong Kong Airlines. They just launched a service between Hong Kong and Los Angeles in December 2017, and often have lower airfares than competitors.
It’s a Long Flight
Some airlines are more comfy than others. For instance, Korean Air offers above-average legroom of 34 inches, while ANA (All Nippon Airlines, with a connection via Tokyo) provides a super-generous 38″ cradle recliner.
Note that not all airlines have wifi service available (Korean, Air China), and some don’t offer power to charge your personal devices. To dig deeper check Routehappy. The site shows the legroom variations and tells you which onboard services you can expect on any given flight.
From Seoul to PyeongChang
You can use a train, bus or rental car to travel from the airport (Incheon) or Seoul to PyeongChang, but if you’re willing to forgo a rental car, the train might be a better option. There are two main clusters for the Olympics – PyeongChang /Jeongseon and Gangneung. A new high-speed rail can take you from Incheon to PyeongChang or Gangneung in under two hours.
Lodging: Where and What Kind
Where to stay mainly depends on what your favorite sports are. Stay near PyeongChang Mountain Cluster (PyeongChang, Jeongseon) if you like snow sports and sliding:
- Alpine skiing
- Cross-country skiing
- Freestyle skiing
- Nordic combined
- Ski jumping
Stay near Gangneung Coastal Cluster for ice sports:
- Short track speed skating
- Speed skating
- Figure skating
- Ice hockey
Not sure which events you’ll hit? No problem. The clusters are in close proximity, and the organizers will provide free shuttles to the sport venues, which you can pre-book online or at the front desk of your accommodation.
For more information on transportation and accommodation options, check the official PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games website.
Hotels, Motels, etc.
Korean designations of lodging options might be confusing, especially when you’re booking online.
If you’re looking for standard western-style accommodations, stick to hotels, guest houses and B&Bs for a private room with familiar accommodations.
If you’re considering motels, be aware that some of them can be rented by the hour and may not be the type of lodging you’re looking for. This might not be evident on a booking website, so ask questions, read reviews and do your due diligence before booking.
Non-hourly motels can have nice, clean rooms with flat-screen TVs and wifi. Expect to pay around $150 per night during the Games.
You also have the option of luxury hotels or resorts. They’re exactly what you would expect – very comfortable with a lot of amenities and the prices to match, starting at a few hundred dollars per night.
If you’re looking to rent a house, check out a traditional Korean guesthouse rental or hanok. These houses are peaceful and relaxing, but that also means there is often no TV or Internet. The bathroom may be a shared one, and you’ll likely sleep on a traditional soft Yo mattress on the floor. There are several hanoks in PyeongChang, and they’ll cost you around $90 per night. Being cheaper than pensions, they’re selling out fast.
Another option is a pension, which you’ll see a lot of in and around PyeongChang. Unlike a hanok with a shared bath, a pension entails renting a house or a part of the house with a private bathroom and a kitchen. During the Olympic Games, the cheapest pensions will cost you between $150 – $200.
How to Buy Event Tickets
You can see the locations for all the sporting venues and facilities on the official PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games website.
Ticket prices and seat availability vary by the type of sports event. You’ll pay $37 for a curling competition, but a figure skating competition might cost you as much as $517. The cheapest opening ceremony seats go for $206, and the most expensive ones cost $1,410. The website provides maps for every cluster and seating area for every event.
You can buy tickets online on CoSport and Jet Set Sports. Remember that you can only use Visa cards for all your Olympic Games purchases, as Visa is the sponsor of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and has exclusive rights to credit and bank purchases.
It’s not too late to go ahead and enjoy the winter wonderland in PyeongСhang. Give yourself some time to research your options, then pack your bags and go on what may become the most memorable winter break of your life.
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