Here at Roadtrips, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into creating our amazing sports travel getaways. In order to make sure our clients have the best experience possible at the world’s biggest sporting events, we travel to host cities numerous times to prepare. We spend time scouting out accommodations, interviewing local partners, testing out transportation options, and other fun things like discovering the best restaurants, attractions, and places to shop. Our lead event planner, Sam Buffie, just returned from South Korea in preparation for the 2018 Winter Games and was happy to share her South Korea travel tips.
Welcome back Sam! Let’s talk about Seoul, where you started your travels in South Korea. What were your impressions of the city?
Seoul struck me as modern, dynamic and colorful, with its culture and traditions still very much evident. There was just so much to see, from massive, glass-enclosed skyscrapers to small, authentic markets, with everything in between. The sheer variety of restaurants and cafes, unique sights and attractions, green spaces and parks – not to mention the shopping – truly make Seoul a leading, international city.
You stayed at our host hotel, the Four Seasons Seoul. What can our guests expect from their stay there during the 2018 Winter Games?
Guests can expect first class service; spacious, luxurious rooms with views of the city; and outstanding restaurant selections. The Four Seasons has top class amenities such as its fitness facilities, Korean-style sauna, deluxe spa treatments and onsite virtual golf experiences. There is also a great “hidden” lounge onsite – our staff will help our guests find it!
We saw some enviable pictures of you exploring the city on Roadtrips’ social media pages. What were your favorite places to visit in Seoul?
Strolling down Cheonggyecheon Stream, running through the center of the city and close to the Four Seasons, is a great way to spend an hour or two. It’s picturesque and a little retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. N Seoul Tower has great views over Seoul, and the areas of Myeongdong and Dongdaemun are a shopper’s paradise. You can find everything from designer brands to quirky local markets. There’s also the grand Lotte department store and a plethora of street food vendors. These areas are teeming with locals and visitors alike. Those travelling to Korea in 2018 are sure to find plenty to pique their interest.
Sam with the Love Locks at N Seoul Tower and Cheonggyecheon Stream
All of us foodies want to know: what can visitors expect from the restaurant scene in Seoul? What was your favorite meal?
Two words: Korean barbecue! It’s such a unique experience to have this meal prepared right at your table, with skilled chefs grilling delicious cuts of meat and bringing a variety of accompanying side dishes. Visitors can enjoy traditional Korean foods like Bibimbap (a rice bowl topped with seasoned vegetables, chili pepper paste, a fried egg and sliced meat), buckwheat noodle dishes and flavorful soups and stews. Kimchi is a mainstay there; visitors must give it a try. The restaurants at the Four Seasons Seoul were outstanding as well, incorporating a mix of traditional Korean dishes with international cuisine. Be warned through – Koreans love their spicy foods!
Your travels in Korea also took you to the 2018 Winter Games regions of PyeongChang and Gangneung. Can you tell us what guests can expect from these destinations at the Winter Games?
It’s going to be a great event. I was taken by how scenic the PyeongChang resort area of Alpensia was, and Gangneung is a small, vibrant city with a variety of great restaurants and pretty scenery, due to its location on the coast.
The newly built high-speed trains are running test runs and it was a treat to see this taking place. Renovations and dedicated construction have been well underway for months and it was exciting to see it all coming together.
Did you have any concerns about safety during your travels?
Not at all. I felt incredibly safe travelling in South Korea. There is a strong (but not intimidating) police presence, many solo travellers, and even families out for late meals and visits to night markets. Public safety is a priority in South Korea and visitors will certainly feel secure there.
What are you most excited for Roadtrips’ guests to experience at the 2018 Winter Games?
I think South Korea will be showcasing itself to the world with these Games. The country has so much to offer and I’m happy and excited to be welcoming our guests in Seoul. Korea in 2018 will be at its best. With state of the art Winter Games venues, innovative restaurants, and world class shopping, all anchored by our host hotel, the luxurious Four Seasons, they won’t be disappointed.
If you want to experience the beauty of South Korea and the excitement of the Winter Games for yourself, we’d love to help you get there. All of Roadtrips’ 2018 Winter Games packages are fully customizable and include the famous high touch service we’ve become known for.