중앙데일리

Weekend train trips to snowy territory

Satisfy your need for romance or stimulate your inner adventurer

Jan 28,2010
Gangwon is a snow-covered winter wonderland at the moment, and a train trip through this serene territory is a good way to enjoy pastoral scenes such as the one pictured. This photo was taken near Jeongseon, Gangwon. By Cho Young-chul
The rainfall in much of the country late last week has all but cleared the record snowfall accumulated earlier this month. However, those looking for a romantic railroad trip through a snow-covered landscape are in luck as Korail is offering 12 different packages to various areas of snow-filled Gangwon.

The following are representative of the winter train tour packages departing from Seoul offered by the Korail Tourism Development.

Hwangsang line

The Hwangsang line tour departs from Seoul and passes through Jecheon, North Chungcheong, before going on to Yeongwol, Jeongseon and Taebaek in Gangwon. The train then heads south towards Bonghwa and Youngju in North Gyeongsang before making its way up towards Jecheon again.

A Korail train winds its way towards Shimpyeongri Station. Located in a remote mountainside, the train station is difficult to reach by car.
The train makes its way around the rough terrain of Mount Taebaek, Mount Sobaek and the Simsanyoo Valley along the Baekdudaegan range. This provides for a scenic view of areas that would otherwise be hard to see. The trip is only offered in the winter and makes three stops.

The first stop is at Chujeon Station. At 855 meters (2,805 feet) above sea level, it has the distinction of being the train station with the highest altitude in Korea. The next stop, Seungbu Station, is nestled deep in the mountainside and quite remote from major roads. Finally, the stop at Danyang Station gives tourists a chance to explore the pungmul market in the vicinity that sells instruments related to the traditional Korean music form and other items.

The Hwangsang tour is one of the most popular winter railway tour in Korea but it also receives the largest number of complaints. While a heavy snowfall makes for a scenic ride, the course can prove to be a rather long and dull ride without any snow. Visitors do not have to worry about that this winter, however, as the Gangwon region has had plenty of snow.

The tour is available every day Jan. 23 through 31 and on Feb. 6. The train departs from Seoul Station at 7:20 a.m. and returns at 9 p.m. The price is 39,000 won ($33.97) for adults and lunch and dinner are not included.

Jeongdongjin

One of the perks of travelling by train is a comfortable ride with many stops along the way. The Jeongdongjin tour package gives travelers plenty of flexibility. The train station is just minutes away from the beach and provides a picturesque view of the sunrise.

The train departs from Seoul Station late in the evening and arrives in Jeongdongjin early the next day to allow visitors to take in the sunrise. After the stop in Jeongdongjin, visitors are given the choice of either hopping on board the East Sea train tour, the Jeongseon rail bike tour, the Daegwallyeong tour or can go to Yeongwol Dahanu Village to sample dishes made with hanwoo (Korean beef). The package is highly recommended for those looking for a compact schedule.

The Jeongdongjin tour is a two-day tour. The price is 94,000 won for adults and breakfast at Jeongdongjin is included, but the price can vary depending on the course taken from Jeongdongjin.

Taebaek

The Taebaek tour includes a physically-demanding trek up Mount Taebaek. Those who opt for this trip are rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

There are two different tour packages. One tour departs from Seoul Station in the morning and makes a stop at Taebaek Station for a hike up Mount Taebaek with a return to Seoul later in the day. The other option is a late night departure from Seoul with a stop at Jeongdongjin the next morning and a hike up Mount Taebaek in the afternoon before returning to Seoul.

The hike up Mount Taebaek takes about four hours; those who are not big on hiking can pass the time near the foot of the mountain.

Those looking to get away this weekend can also take in the Taebaek Snow Festival, which continues through Sunday. Visitors should take note that trains bound for Taebaek are packed at this time of the year with avid hikers who head to Mount Taebaek to traverse the scenic trails blanketed with snow.

The one-day tour package departs from Seoul Station at 7:20 a.m. and returns at 9 p.m. The price is 39,000 won for adults and meals are not provided. The two-day package, which makes a stop at Taebaek Station and continues with stops on the East Coast or other destinations, ranges in price from 69,000 won to 49,000 won.

*For more information, visit the Korail Tourism Development Web site at www.korailtravel.com (Korean) or call 1544-7755.


By Sohn Min-ho [jason@joongang.co.kr]



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