It was sometime in April this year when I was looking for ideas to join a competition that I had stumbled upon the O-train and V-train. And I was so fascinated with it that we literally planned a 10-day itinerary around these trains. Can you believe it, 10 days? Although our proposal didn’t get through to the competition in the end, it still remains as one of the things to check off my list before I graduate.
So what is so attractive about the O-train and V-train? Basically, I would say that these trains would appeal greatly to you if:
1) You are a great fan of train travels. Meaning not just trains as a means of transportation, but relishing in the process of travelling where you enjoy the beautiful sights.
2) You have always wished to visit the inland areas of Korea but due to language constraints, inconvenience for travelers who can’t drive, etc, is unable to.
3) You love the mountains and would love to have the chance to go to see the mountains of Korea!
And guess what, I meet all 3 requirements! Which is why this O-train and V-train is a must-do for me!
After saying so much, you must be wondering what exactly these trains are. Basically, the O-train and V-train are public sightseeing trains with selected day-passes to commute back and forth from inland regions in Gangwon-do (강원도), Chungcheongbuk-do (충청북도) and Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도). Changing the idea of the train in Korea as merely a means of transportation where speed is key, these sightseeing trains travel at slower paces bringing passengers up close to nature, and are furnished according to various themes to make the trains an attraction in itself. These trains also increase the accessibility of inland regions, bringing more tourists to historical and cultural sites in these regions.
The O-train travels in a loop, connecting the provinces of Gangwon-do, Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do and bringing you to various inland regions that are usually difficult to access otherwise. There are even family rooms and couple rooms, and individual observatory seats for you to enjoy your journey!
There are many attractions located along the way, here are a list of some attractions I would recommend you to take a look:
1) Sobaeksan National Park and Huibangsa, Punggi. You can attempt to conquer one of the notable mountains in South Korea, enjoy the beautiful Huibang falls, as well as explore the nature and local Buddhist temple!
2) Seonbichon Village, Yeongju. As the cradle of Korean Confucianism, this place offers a variety of fun and exciting exhibition, events and hands-on program.
3) Danyang. It is famed for its “Eight Best Scenic Spots”, so why not make a stop and explore all of them?
4) Arii Hills Resort, Jeongseon. The famous Skywalk provides a view of the valley and its wave-shaped stream, and it also has a zip line where you can get to the bottom of the hill!
The V-train, interestingly, has large portion of its train walls made into glass windows in order to provide clear views of the cliffs and valleys as the train travels through the remote mountainous areas.
Unlike the O-train which travels across a wide distance, a one-way trip on the V-train takes only 1 hour 10 minutes. The V-train is non-stop and makes only 5-10 minute stops at Yangwon Station, the smallest train station in Korea, and Seungbu Station, which has particularly beautiful scenery, so that passengers have time to take pictures.
If you are coming from Seoul, you can start your journey conveniently from Seoul station!
Ticket information and price information (from VisitKorea):
For more information, refer to http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=1829036
Enjoy your train travel with O-train and V-train! (I will definitely blog about it if I have a chance to go ^^)