On the Right Track to See a Countryside of Snow

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On the Right Track to See a Countryside of Snow

It is almost the end of December, but - until the Christmas Eve dusting - there was no snow in Seoul this season. While waiting for that really white winter, how about planning a final holiday trip?

Taking a train across a snow-covered mountain is one way to enjoy the winter scenery without worrying about purchasing snow tires. The Korean National Railroad Company is currently running its annual train ride, the "Fantastic Snowflake Train," through February. The winter train ride, which connects the Chungang line, Taebaek line and the Yongdong line, is the most popular tour organized by the railroad company.

Now that those snowflakes finally have come, views from the train of the South Han River and of the snow-covered trees in Gangwon-do will be marvelous. The train passes through the loop-shaped Geumdae 2 tunnel, often called tharigul, and stops at Chujeonyuk station, the highest station in Korea at an elevation of 855 meters. Another stop is Seungbuyuk station, which can only be reached by train. Near Seungbuyuk station are pebbled beaches and the Nakdong River.

The train departs at 8:35 a.m. at the Cheongryangri station in Seoul, and stops at Jecheonyuk station in Chungchungbuk-do, Chujeonyuk station in Gangwon-do, Seungbuyuk station in Kyungsangbuk-do and then on to Bukyounjuyuk station, the final stop before returning to Cheongryangri. Since this is a day trip, the tour is a good choice for couples who cannot spare much time for a longer vacation.

According to a recent survey taken by a travel agency, 30 percent of the participants wished to go to the sea when the first snow of the year arrives.

It may be better to travel to the west coast rather than going east and traversing icy, curving roads for five hours. The west coast of Korea has been receiving much attention lately since the opening of the Seohae Grand Bridge and the completion of the Inchon International Airport.

Wolmi Island is a well-known spot off the west coast, but is by far not the only one. The west coast has many small islands, one of them being Mueui Island. It is connected to the coast by the Inchon International Airport Expressway and the Yongjong Grand Bridge. The island's tourist sites include Hanagae beach and Mt. Hogokryoeng.

The west coast is also spotted with wharfs, where people can enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset. Among these wharfs, Maryangpogu and Ohegokmaeul are the most popular.

If that is not enough for the adventurous tourist, there are many hot springs, temples and bird habitats to visit as well.

The Fantastic Snowflake Train tour costs 27,000 won ($22) during the weekend. Tickets are sold out this month. For more information, call 02-392-7788.

by Park So-young

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