Contents

8-seater van is the standard & cheapest car for 1-7 passengers.
Some people asked “Can we get the cheaper car by switching with smaller size?”
Unfortunately, our reply is “No”.

In Korea, this car (called GRAND STAREX manufactured by HYUNDAI MOTOR) price is just 20% more expensive than normal sedan (let’s say HYUNDAI SONATA with 2,000CC engine). As a travel agent, no need to buy normal sedan because normal sedan cannot accommodate 1) more than 3 people (except for the driver) and 2) more than 2 travel luggage.

If you look the photo below, the total number of seats is 11. Therefore, we need to call this car as 11-seater van. But, because our clients need to bring the travel luggage, the 4th row seat should be folded for the luggage space.

Also, our company doesn’t allow the client sit on the middle seats* on 2nd, 3rd row. Therefore, assuming you carry the travel luggage, the suitable number of seats is 5 (one person next to the driver, two people on the 2nd row and two people on the 3rd row. But, if you travel without the big luggage…for example, NAMI ISLAND DAY TOUR…additional two people can sit on the 4th row. Then, the total number of passengers including the driver is 8. That’s why we call this van as 8-seater van.

*But, your children can sit here.

No, our tour is characterized by No forced shopping, No compulsory tipping, which are commonly included in the group tours. But, we welcome your small money in return for gratitude.

By the number of your family/group, we would provide one of following three size cars.

▪ 8-seater van* for 1-7 passengers
▪ 15-seater bus* up to 14 passengers
▪ 45-seater bus* up to 44 passengers

Also, you can choose one of following variations.
▪ Luxury sedan up to 3 passengers
▪ Luxury 15-seater bus up to 14 passengers
▪ 30-seater bus with Wider seats

*The difference between van and bus
In the van, you cannot stand up. Therefore, you need to bend your body forward if you get on the van.

For details, please see the photo below.

Korean food consists of Basic Part and Optional Part.

Basic Part is composed of rice, soup(s) and several side dishes such as kimchi.

Optional Part means a menu at each restaurant.

Therefore, whatever you order at the restaurant, you will have rice, soup(s) and side dishes.

In our tour, you can choose a meal grade among Basic Meal, Weekend Meal and Special Meal.

(1) Basic Meal (US$10 per person); Basic Part + a la carte (e.g., soup with sea food, bibimbap, or noodle)

(2) Weekend Meal (US$20 per person); Basic Part + grilled fish, or grilled pork

(3) Special Meal (US$40 per person); Basic Part + course menu (i.e., Hanjeongsik), grilled beef, or special atmosphere

Contract

Unfortunately, the answer is no. For the last 9 years, we had been providing the itinerary and quote in response to your tailor-made request. But, we realized some people contacted us to get the itinerary/information only. Because our itineraries and quotes are very detailed, our sales desk staffs need to spend the time at least 2 hours unless your request is just simple like “How much is the price for 8-seater van for 6pax between your hotel and NAMI ISLAND?”

Therefore, we decided to provide the itinerary and quote with a kind of consulting fee of US$30 (up to 5 days), or US$50 (more than 5 days). After receiving our output, you can request to customize the itinerary further without any cost.

Absolutely, we don’t charge any amount for this service for our repeating clients.

Here is our policy about refund and cancellation.

CANCEL and REFUND POLICY

Sure, you can.
Though you don’t hire an English, or Chinese speaking guide, we can accommodate your family/group.
Then, our driver will drop off & pick up your family/group as per the itinerary.

Some people misunderstand that our transfer service is similar with taxi. So, they expect the ah-hoc direction such as “Let’s go to Myeong-dong”, “Let’s move to Hongdae”,…is possible.

But, unfortunately, we don’t accept the transportation without the itinerary…because we need to calculate the cost in light of logistics, parking fee, the driver’s lunch time slot,…

Especially, the logistics at JEJU ISLAND should be considered in advance because the space of JEJU ISLAND is 1,848 km2 (714 sq mile).

If you don’t have the itinerary, don’t worry, we can assist you to formulate an itinerary.

Our company has two business divisions.

The one is KOREA PRIVATE TOURS, the website you are looking now.

The other is KOREA TOUR BANK, which is selling group tours to several proven destinations in the scheduled departure basis. Therefore, why don’t you visit http://www.koreatourbank.com if you don’t mind joining the group at per person price.

Places

There are two types of DMZ tours, Type I is the tours visiting the places consist of the infiltrated tunnel and observatory, Type II is the tour visiting Panmunjeom (or, called JSA; Joint Security Area).

To visit Panmunjeom, you need to join a group tour and you should get on the tour bus at Seoul. The child under 11 cannot join the tour. Sometimes, it is not easy to get a seat even though you try to book the tour in advance (e.g., very early sold out in October).

In the past, this Panmunjeom tour was worth to join because you ‘might’ have the chance to watch the North Korean guards. But, now days, only one guard is looking us at a distance of several hundred meters.

For type I tours, we have 3 places; Paju, Cheorwon and Yanggu in the order of the distance from Seoul.

If your friend mention a DMZ tour while she/he was at South Korea, she/he probably visited Paju DMZ tour because 99% of travel agents are selling DMZ tours visiting Paju.

Why common? Paju is the closest place among several DMZ tour places and there is no restriction on the booking.
But, all people get on the shuttle bus after buying the ticket. (i.e., No one can use their private car in the DMZ zone.)
Also, this place is very crowed because too many tourists are visiting. (now days, getting worse because this tour is included as a program in the group tour itinerary for Chinese tourists) Furthermore, to look inside 3rd Tunnel, you need to walk down/up steep 350m tunnel to reach the original tunnel dug by North Korea. That’s why we don’t recommend Paju DMZ tour especially for seniors, or any person who has cardiopathy problem.

Then, which tour do we recommend? We recommend DMZ tour to Cheorwon, or Yanggu.
These DMZ places are not popular comparing to Panmunjeom, or Paju because it take longer time to reach there, and not many people are familiar with these places.

But, if you go to either of these places, you can feel the real atmosphere, which arises from the military tension between South and North Korea has continued for more than sixty years.

■ DMZ places

Sometimes, whenever our desk submit the itineraries, we used to get the concern like “Why several folk villages are included in the itinerary?”

Korea use own character system called Hangeul and most of our places names, people names are written in Hangeul. Therefore, we have no choice but to write down ‘village’ for ‘마을’ in Korean.

Let us explain three villages; Bukchon Hanok Village, Namsangol Hanok Village and Korean Folk Village.

▪ Bukchon Hanok Village

en.wikipedia.org >> Bukchon Hanok Village is a Korean traditional village in Seoul with a long history located between Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. The traditional village is composed of lots of alleys, hanok and is preserved to show a 600-year-old urban environment. Now it is used as a traditional culture center and hanok restaurant, allowing visitors to experience the atmosphere of the Joseon Dynasty.

add-on by HAPPIMIZE >> This residences complex consists of 40-60 years old houses with traditional hanok style*, not few hundred years old. Under the rule regulated by Seoul City, it is impossible to build the Western style house, or more than 3 floor building because it is the neighboring area next to Blue House (Korea President office and residence) and two palaces. In addition to traditional houses, there are about 100 artistic shops and cafes.

* Root layer system on top of wood pillar

▪ Namsangol Hanok Village

en.wikipedia.org >> Namsangol Hanok Village, also known as “A Village of Traditional Houses in the Namsan Valley”, is a Korean village located in the area of Pil-dong neighborhood in Jung-gu, a central district of Seoul, South Korea where hanok (한옥) or Korean traditional houses have been restored to preserve the original atmosphere of the area.

Namsangol Hanok Village offers one the opportunity to experience a wide cross-section of Joseon-era citizenry and activities, from royalty to commoners. A great effort has been made to accurately furnish each dwelling with appropriate era and social status appointments.

add-on by HAPPIMIZE >> For the last 20 years, whenever the old downtowns need to be destroyed for urban redevelopment, the most hanok style houses were torn down. But, some hanok houses were too precious, or very meaningful in terms of the history. In that case, Seoul City purchased those houses and brought into Namsangol Hanok Village. Therefore, in our opinion, this is just complex of few big houses, no story as a whole.

▪ Korean Folk Village

en.wikipedia.org >> Korean Folk Village is a living museum type of tourist attraction in the city of Yongin, a satellite city in the Seoul Metropolitan Area in the province of Gyeonggi-do. Korean Folk Village is a popular tourist destination for both Koreans and foreigners. It is located near Everland, South Korea’s largest amusement park.

The purpose of Korean Folk Village is to display elements of traditional Korean life and culture. There are multiple sections to the park. There are numerous replicas of traditional houses of the different social classes (peasant, landowner, yangban) from various regions.

add-on by HAPPIMIZE >> This is private property and the chargeable place. This is a kind of amusement park and it’s theme is Joseon dynasty. They also show some performances such as Nongak (farmer’s music and dance), traditional wedding and Acrobatics on a tightrope. Overall, this looks like small town; there are upper class people (called yangban) houses, lower class houses, regional governor office, market,…

Last updated: Dec/13/2017

Preparation

You can see the cherry blossom during 4th week of March and and 2nd week of April.
Cherry flowers come into blossom as the temperature reaches around 15C degrees. Therefore, cherry blossom is moving to north from JEJU ISLAND.

Whereas, the autumn color moves on the contrary.
Maple, or gingko leaves trees turn yellow/red around 10C degrees from north-east mountain.
Therefore, we need to go to Mt. Seoraksan around 2-3rd week of October. But, if you cannot make time in October, you can go to Mt. Naejangsan during 1-2nd week of November because this mountain is located at south.

The space of JEJU ISLAND is 1,848 square KM. (FYI, the space of SEOUL is 605 square KM and the space of SINGAPORE is 719 square KM according to https://www.wikipedia.org.)

JEJU ISLAND consists of two cities; JEJU and SEOGWIPO. So, the north-half is JEJU CITY and the south-half is SEOGWIPO CITY. But, the majority of both cities are scenery of a countryside. I.e., JEJU CITY is condensed residential area at north coast and SEOGWIPO CITY is the other city-scape place at south coast.

Therefore, if your hotel is within JEJU CITY, you can reach your hotel by public transportation such as taxi, or bus.
But, if you hotel is outside JEJU CITY, you might consider to use private transportation.

We hope following photo could be helpful for the preparation of your clothing.

Ski

This page is prepared for our valuable clients who have been waiting for the ski tour (or the tour including ski resort) for upcoming winter season.

Please understand that We cannot guarantee the information on this page is 100% accurate. But, we believe this information would be helpful for your budgeting and scheduling.

1. Itinerary

Following is typical itinerary for 3 days ski tour.

Day 1

08:00 Meet our driver, or guide at Seoul, or Incheon Airport
08:00 ~ 11:00 Transfer to Yongpyong Resort or, Alpensia Resort (to High One Resort, need to consider additional 30 minutes)
11:00 ~ 11:30 Ski gears & clothes rental (Optional. If you have own gears/clothes, no need to rent)
※ Your ski gears and clothes (if need) will be rented at our partner rental shop near ski resort. Their rental prices are lower than the prices of ski resort. And you don’t need to return the ski gears daily if you ski more than one day.
12:30 ~ 16:30 Skiing (need to buy lift pass unless (1) you are just beginner, (2) you just play on the snow)

Day 2

08:30 ~ 16:30 Skiing

Day 3

08:30 ~ 12:30 Skiing
13:00 Return ski gears and ski clothes
13:00 ~ 15:30 Transfer to Seoul (to Incheon Airport, need 30 minutes more)

2. Cost

Following is the price table of Yongpyong Resort (released for 2016-2017 season). We would like to explain the components of skiing with this table.

– Ski lift pass: KRW76,000 per day/adult (‘child’ is the child who is under 13 years old)

※ This is major financial source of ski resort. If you want to ski, you have no choice but to buy ski lift pass. Otherwise, you cannot go up the hill wearing ski boots, where you can slide from.

Mostly, ski resorts split the lift operation hours into three parts (or four parts) as below.
08:30 ~ 12:30, 12:30 ~ 16:30, 18:30 ~ 22:00

Normally, ‘1 day pass’ covers two sessions. (e.g., 08:30 ~ 16:30 or 12:30 ~ 22:00)
So, if you want to ski just for 4 hours, you can buy the half day ticket and its price is KRW59,000.

The following rental prices are being offered for our clients. If you rent the gears inside the resort by yourself, the prices might be different with ours.

– Ski gear rental price: KRW 20,000 per day/person ※‘Ski gear’ is comprised of three parts; 1) ski plate, 2) ski pole, and 3) ski boots.

– Ski clothes rental: KRW 10,000 per day/person

– Ski globe: There is no ski globe for rental. (why? too cheap to rent) Normally, people would buy new ski glove at a price KRW 15,000 ~ 30,000. If you have ski gloves, just bring yours.

– Ski goggle: sun glasses are OK, but ski goggle is better than sun glasses for a safety. You can rent this at a price of KRW3,000 ~ 5,000 per day.

– Ski lesson: If you are a beginner of ski, you had better get a ski lesson. ‘1 day ski lesson’ is comprised of 2 hours lesson in the morning, 2 hours lesson in the afternoon and your self practices in between. The price is KRW350,000 for 1 day lesson (i.e., 4 hours) up to 3 people.

※ Since 2014-2015 season, Yongpyong and Alpensia Resort prohibit an instructor teach more than 3 people. So, you have no choice but to split the trainees into sub groups if the total trainees is more than 3.

※ To increase the efficiency of ski lesson, we don’t recommend more than 3 people take a lesson together. For example, if one of trainees were beginner, your instructor will need to take care of him/her while the other skiers are waiting the instructor be ready to continue appropriate level of teaching.

If you don’t have enough time, you can take ‘Half day lesson’ for 2 hours at KRW200,000.

There is no price difference between ski instructor and snowboard instructor.
If you want to get a ski lesson, you need to let us know in advance. Then, we will arrange English speaking ski instructors among our proven-quality pool.

3. More than than ski

Restaurants
Normally, there are 5 ~ 10 restaurants in ski resorts. Its prices are KRW 7,000 ~ 20,000. And you can buy some snack or food at convenience store inside the resort.

Spa
Most ski resorts have spas inside resort. There are two types of spa. One is ‘Water theme park’ style, it has some rides/attractions. (e.g., http://www.peakisland.co.kr/) And the other is conventional public bath style, where you can see sauna & big bathtub.

4. FAQs regarding ski tour

What are the differences between ski resorts near Seoul and ski resorts in Gangwondo area?

From our experience, the ski resorts near Seoul have characteristics as below.

– More people, so more time to wait ski lift…long queue!

– Less snow than ski resorts in Gangwondo province.

– Due to geographical reason, ski season the resorts nearby Seoul begins in the beginning of December. Whereas, ski resorts in Gangwon-do open their slopes in the end of November. But, we recommend you ski two weeks later than their opening date. (i.e., not too cold to keep snow, and not enough snowing)

Why a clerk at Greenpia Condo doesn’t know my name as a booking guest?

Please understand that we are providing rooms under our private company name, not under your name name.

Because the condominiums (Greenpia, Villa, and Tower Condo) at Yongpyong are the private owned membership accommodation (I.e., time sharing), we are offering rooms with our 16 units of memberships.

Why do you stress on the number of trainees for ski instruction?

– Ski instruction is comprised of 1) morning session for 2h and 2) afternoon session for 2h. (or, afternoon for 2 hours, night session for 2 hours). This 4 hours’ instruction a day is widely accepted ski instruction length. And this is 50% of total length of ski lift operation hour.

– Most our instructors are free-lancers and we have been cooperating with 8 proven instructors who have been teaching at Yongyong and Alpensia.

– We recommend max. 3 people for a group. If more than 3 people, the efficiency would be dropped. We saw many group tours who are attending ski instruction by the guide (or, at least not-professional instructors) at Yongpyong, or Alpensia Resort. Most cases, more than 10 people formed a group….yes, this is common situation for group ski tours business. Actually, there is no problem even though more than 4 people (let’s say 8-10 people) join a group. But, because we are focusing on the private tour, we have no choice but to comment on ‘efficiency’. Otherwise, you might not get a result just after repeating standing-up and falling-down.

Do we need to make reservation in advance for the ski lesson?

– This is the matter of the assurance.
Even though you request to include ski instructor at the last minutes, we can assign EN speaking instructor.
But, probably, he/she will be outsourced, not from our regular members who have been serving to our clients…because our qualified & proven (quality) instructors got several reservation already.

Why do you prefer Yongpyong Resort to Alpensia Resort?

– This is not our personal preference, but the preference by most Korean people. The reason why Alpensia Resort is being popular is…they are selling the rooms through online booking site. But, Yongpyong cannot sell the rooms through online because most of their rooms are belong to private. (i.e., time-sharing membership)

– Yongpyong Resort has more number of slopes and the most slope are higher than Alpensia. Absolutely, the quality of snow (this is related with the maintenance) at Yongpyong Resort is better than Alpensia Resort. Roughly speaking Yongpyong Resort is 5 times bigger than Alpensia Resort.

– But, the weak point of Yongpyong is the accommodation. Even though there are several grade of accommodation at Yongpyong, the quality of accommodation (except for expensive private condominium,or chalet) is lower than Alpensia.

– In Alpensia Resort, there are three levels/types of accommodation.

 there are three levels/types of accommodation.

Holiday Inn Resort (4* hotel)

Intercontinental Resort (3.5* residence hotel)

– In Yongpyong Resort,  there are three levels/types of accommodation.

Dragon Valley hotel (4* hotel, but bit old and small)

Greenpia Condo (3* residence hotel, 25Type Room (1 bedroom+1 living room+1 restroom), or 38 Type Room (2 bedrooms+1 living room + 2 restrooms)

Villa Condo (3* residence hotel)

Tower Condo (3* residence hotel, but only studio type)

Just for your information, we uploaded the videos of the rooms at Yongpyong Resort.

(One queen size bed will be prepared in 25, or 38Type Room at Greenpia Condo)

18Type Room at Tower Condo, Yongpyong Resort

25Type Room at Greenpia Condo, Yongpyong Resort

38Type Room at Greenpia Condo, Yongpyong Resort

Last updated: Dec/10/2017

For this question, there is no particular answer.

It depends on your preference/plan.

If you are intermediate/advanced skier, we would recommend you visit Yongpyong Resort.

But, if you want to stay at hotel with nice breakfast, you need to go to Intercontinental Resort at Alpensia Resort.

Or, if you have only one day, you have no choice but to visit the ski resort within 1.5h from Seoul. Then, one of Elysian Gangchon, Jisan and Yangji Pine Resort might be selected.

One of criterion for choosing ski resort is the your visiting timing. If you visit the ski resort in the beginning of December, or the beginning of March, you need to go to Yongpyong, or Alpensia Resort because those are located at 700 meters from sea level. (I.e., During these periods, the nearby ski resorts from Seoul might not have enough low temperature. For skiing, the temperature should be lower than +3C degrees.)

Sometimes, we felt some foreign tourist who is going to visit Korea were disappointed with our proposal/recommendation because ours are not familiar with their anticipation. For this kind of communication, we need to advise them again;

“The most English information on internet is written by foreign tourists, or expatriate because Korean people don’t need to blog in English on internet. Therefore, these are a bit biased and written on the limited information. For example, Yongpyong Resort doesn’t sell the rooms during peak season (e.g., Christmas, or Year-end) whereas Alpensia sells the rooms. But, if advanced Korean skier, never go to Alpensia because of not-enough height of the top (i.e., only sliding for 1-2 minutes) and the limited number of slopes.”

Yongpyong
Resort
Alpensia
Resort
High One Phoenix Park Vivaldi Park Elysian Gangchon Resort Jisan, or Yangji Pine Resort Legend
(1) Number of slopes 5 2 5 3 3 2 2 5: most, 1: smallest
(2) Density of slopes 5 4 4 3 2 2 2 5: less skiers, 1: more skiers
(3) Quality of rooms 3 5 4 4 5 Not available Not available 5: best, 1: least
(4) Price of rooms 3 4 3 4 4 Not available Not available 5: less expensive 1: more expensive
(5) Degree of altitude (altitude/1,000) 1.46 0.80 1.30 0.90 0.58 0.30 0.30 Just coverted (7) for the chart
(6) Degree of distance (1/distanceX500) 2.56 2.56 2.20 3.07 5.38 5.81 8.93 Just coverted (8) for the chart
(7) Altitude of the peak 1,459m 800m 1,300m 900m 580m 300m 300m The altitude of the top slope
(8) Distance from Seoul 195km 195km 227km 163km 93km 86km 56km
(9) Water park Yes No No No Yes No No
(10) Booking is available during Christmas, Year-end Available Available Available Available Available Not available Not available Not available
This is our subjective presentation based on our experiences.
Therefore, we are not responsible for any unagreed citation, or listing.
Because Elysian Gangchon and Jisan, or Yangji Pine Resort are nearby Seoul, you don’t need to stay overnight.HAPPIMIZE TRAVEL ©

Ski resorts earn money from 1) selling lift passes, 2) renting ski gears & clothes, 3) selling food and 4) selling the rooms (if they have accommodation facility).
The ski lift pass is a kind of free-ride pass to amusement park and this is the major financial source for ski resort company. I.e., Anyone who want to ski on the slope…have to buy the lift pass.

By the same reason, any 3rd party cannot do business by ski lesson without the permission by the ski resort company.

Until few years ago, some tour guides who lead the group tourists coming from South Asian countries used to provide the group lessons though they are not professional level. But, this is not allowed anymore.

Our company cooperates with few number of English, or Chinese speaking ski/snowboard instructors.
They are qualified ski/snowboard instructors, which means 1) their skill should be higher than some required level, 2) they bought special instructor passes from the ski resorts.

Whenever our clients request to arrange the ski, or snowboard lesson, we hire this kind of instructors. (Some are our regular employees) Therefore, these are the private lessons.

If you want to let your children join the group lesson. We can contact the official ski school (running by the ski resort, but they are also outsourced business entity under the contact) on behalf of you. But, 1) we need to wait to get their reply until the ski resort open, 2) there are not English speaking class everyday.

Apart from above financial reason, the ski resort started to prohibit ‘one’ ski, or snowboard instructor teaches more than 3 trainees at the same time…for the safety reason.

Why? The ski lift carry 4 people. I.e., One ski or snowboard instructor can sit with (maximum) 3 trainees.
Assuming the trainee is the beginner level, taking the lift by the trainee without the instructor…is regarded as not safe.

Korea has 4 seasons.
From Dec to Feb, it is regarded as winter. From Mar to May, it is regarded as Spring,…

You can enjoy the skiing from 2nd week of December to the end of February. But, this is bit conservative advise. For example, you can see the snow from the last week of November as long as you visit north-east mountain side such as YONGPYONG RESORT, or ALPENSIA RESORT.
But, under our strict standard, we have no choice but to tell you “You can enjoy the skiing from 2nd week of December” because the temperature should be ‘not higher than’ 3C degrees during daytime.

In addition, please refer to the following seasons for different fruits.

▪Strawberry: 3rd week of Dec – 3rd week of May

▪Apple: 1st week of Sep – 3rd week of Oct

▪Tangerine: 1st week of Nov – 4th week of Feb

▪Cherry blossom: 3rd week of Mar – 2nd week of Apr

▪Autumn color: 2nd week of Oct – 1st week of Nov

Last update: Dec/13/2017

 

Normally, local Korean skiers buy the discount lift passes by credit card because most credit card companies are offering the membership program such as 30-40% discount prices.

If they plan to visit the ski resort more than 10 times during the season (the beginning December – the beginning March), they probably buy the season pass at 400,000-500,000KRW.

Unfortunately, the foreign skier cannot get the benefit except buying the season pass.

But, if you become our customer booked the ski tour, our company will give you the chance of buying 30% discount lift pass.

For your information, please look the lift pass prices table of YONGPYONG RESORT for 2016-2017 season.