Guides + Tips Winter in Korea

Anifore: Your Ultimate Winter Escape to a Spruce Forest in Gangwon-do

This winter, something absolutely magical caught my eye on Korean online platforms: a yellow hut nestled among pine trees, wrapped up in a thick layer of powdery snow. It was so enchanting that I couldn’t resist investigating further. Turns out, this dreamy spot is none other than ‘Anifore,’ a brand new recreational wonderland within Yongpyong Resort. So, in the second week of February, I decided to take the plunge and visit this winter wonderland, even though it might not have been the absolute best time for top-notch snowfall. And guess what? The forest was still breathtakingly stunning! In this post, I’m going to share all my amazing experiences at Anifore, so you can plan your own unforgettable visit to this ethereal forest when the chilly season comes knocking. Get ready for some serious winter wonder!

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    Introducing Anifore:

    Derived from the amalgamation of “Animal” and “Forest,” Anifore (애니포레) emerges as a captivating oasis snuggled within the renowned Yongpyong Resort, South Korea’s oldest ski resort, located in the picturesque Gangwon Province. While the world slowed down during the pandemic, Yongpyong Resort seized the opportunity to enhance its facilities, promising visitors a thrilling experience once travel restrictions were lifted. The efforts bore fruit, and the resort’s success soared. Among the new additions, the Energy Skywalk was unveiled at the summit of Balwang Mt. in mid-2020, while in 2021, the charming Anifore was born. This expansive forest of European spruce not only boasts stunning natural beauty but also plays host to adorable alpacas, reminiscent of those found in the famed Matchu Picchu.

    The Winter Magic of Anifore:

    Anifore is perched at an elevation of 900~1000m above sea level, nestled right at the foot of Balwang Mt., just a stone’s throw away from the resort’s Gold lift station. More than 1,800 spruce trees, lovingly planted by the resort’s own employees, have flourished here, making it the largest coniferous forest in all of Korea. Throughout the warmer months, Anifore exudes a sense of tranquility and relaxation, but it’s during the snowy season when the real magic happens. With the region experiencing abundant snowfall, the forest transforms into a breathtaking spectacle, its spruce trees adorned in a pristine white cloak that lasts well into March.

    Getting Ready for Your Anifore Adventure:

    Want to make the most of your winter visit to Anifore? It’s all about proper planning! Here are the essential aspects to consider:

    Best time to Witness the Winter Wonder:

    When it comes to experiencing the winter wonder at Anifore, timing is everything! While my mid-February visit was still quite delightful and showcased some snow in the forest, I must admit the quality wasn’t at its peak. I noticed spots where the snow had started to thaw already. So, if you want the best snowy spectacle, I highly recommend planning your trip in January when there’s a higher chance of abundant snowfall in Gangwon Province. That way, you’ll be guaranteed to witness Anifore in all its pristine, snow-covered glory! 

    Anifore Operating Hours:

    Anifore dances to its own beat when it comes to operating hours, even though it’s nestled within Yongpyeong Resort. You’ll be thrilled to know it’s open all year round! However, do keep in mind that the operating times might shift based on the season and weather, especially during winter. So, before you plan your adventure, it’s wise to double-check official sources. Here’s a general idea of Anifore’s operating hours:

    • Days: Open every day
    • Hours: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (ticketing period)
    • Last Admission: 30 minutes after ticket sales close
    How to Reach Anifore from Seoul:

    Getting to Yongpyong Resort and Anifore is a breeze with various transportation options at your disposal. Whether you prefer driving, taking public transport, or booking a convenient package tour, reaching this stunning forest sanctuary is a delightful adventure waiting to unfold.

    By Car:

    If you decide to drive to Anifore, you’ll have the flexibility to make it an amazing day trip. The journey from downtown Gangnam in Seoul to the Anifore parking lot takes just around 2 hours and 30 minutes, making it a convenient and scenic drive. If you’re considering renting a car for the adventure, check out the following options to make your journey even smoother:

    Public Transportation:

    To get to ANIFORE from Seoul using public transportation, follow these simple steps:

    • Begin your journey by taking a bus from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Gangbyeon Station Exit 4) to Hoenggye Intercity Bus Terminal (횡계시외버스터미널). The bus ride typically takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes and costs approximately 21,000 KRW.
    • Once you arrive at Hoenggye bus terminal, it’s best to hop in a taxi to reach the forest, which usually takes about 10 minutes and costs around 11,000 won.
    • For your return trip to Seoul, take a taxi from the forest to the intercity bus terminal, and then catch the intercity bus heading back to Seoul.
    Explore Anifore Effortlessly with Tour Packages:

    Looking for a stress-free way to reach Anifore? Consider booking a tour package to Yongpyong Resort! Several tour platforms, such as Klook and Trazy, offer convenient shuttle bus packages to the resort, bringing you closer to the enchanting Anifore with ease. Don’t miss out on this hassle-free adventure!

    Admission Fee:

    With a variety of ticket options to suit every adventurer, you’ll have the chance to explore the enchanting Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch, roam through the serene Spruce Healing Forest, and take an exciting ride on the Alpaca Monorail. Here are the ticket options available to make the most of your visit to this winter wonderland:

    • Adults (Monorail round trip + Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch + Spruce Healing Forest): 18,000 won
    • Children (Monorail round trip + Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch + Spruce Healing Forest): 15,000 won
    • Adults (Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch + Spruce Healing Forest): 7,000 won
    • Children (Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch + Spruce Healing Forest): 6,000 won
    • Adult (Monorail One Way): 8,000 won
    • Children (Monorail One Way): 6,000 won
    All About the Monorails:

    While you can access the spruce forest by trekking up a narrow trail located by the Gold slop ski lodge, taking the Alpaca Monorail is another way to go. The monorail station is located right next to the ticket box. Located right next to the ticket booth, the monorail station offers a thrilling 11-minute uphill ride from the ticket office to the forest entrance, and another gripping 9-minute downhill trip back. During the snowy months, when the trail is hidden beneath thick layers of snow, you might be encouraged to try the monorail ride. Here’s some essential info about monorail operations:

    • Monorail operating hours: 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM
    • Last train returning from the forest: 6:00 PM
    • Monorail riding time: 20 minutes (round trip)

    Discover the Wonders of Anifore (Must-See Attractions):

    As you explore Anifore’s enchanting forest floor, you’ll come across several trails leading to different delightful checkpoints. Keep an eye out for major stopping zones like The Sonamu Café, the adorable Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch, and a cluster of coniferous trees known as Spruce Square. Along these walking trails, prepare to be delighted by an array of whimsical decorations and art installations, adding a playful touch to the winter scenery of this lush forest. Beyond these picture-perfect splendors, let’s delve into the exciting experiences each attraction at Anifore has in store for you:

    The Sonamu Café (더 소나무카페):

    As you disembark from the monorail train, the charming Sonamu Café is the first thing to welcome you with open arms. Nestled in a small but neat tent-shaped wooden house, this cafe has a unique twist—it’s entirely staff-less! Prepare to be delighted by a robotic arm that gracefully serves your chosen beverages, complete with cute facial expressions displayed on a small screen. With the chilly weather outside, this cozy spot becomes the perfect haven to take a break and warm up your frozen hands and feet. Oh, and don’t miss the chance to snap some shots around the cafe—the brilliant yellow facade adds a burst of vibrancy to your pictures!

    Spruce Square (가문비광장):

    Tucked away in the heart of the dense spruce forest, you’ll discover the hidden gem that is Spruce Square. To get here, simply take the first trail on your right after disembarking from the monorail. During the winter, the allure of Spruce Square lies in capturing countless stunning pictures against the breathtaking backdrop. However, as the warmer months roll in, this space comes to life with an array of activities to enjoy. You can relish in reading and picnicking areas, practice meditation and yoga amidst nature’s serenity, and occasionally, be treated to delightful small concerts.

    Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch (발왕산 알파카목장):

    Follow the Raon Ranch Road (라온목장길), the direct path from the monorail station, and you’ll arrive at the delightful Balwangsan Alpaca Ranch. Here, you’ll encounter a charming menagerie of animals, including alpacas, sheep, goats, rabbits, and parakeets, all joyfully grazing and enjoying their leisure time. One of the highlights is the feeding experience center, where you can interact with alpacas and sheep while indulging in the joy of feeding them. It’s an absolutely wonderful spot, especially if you’re exploring with kids—definitely a place to cherish those heartwarming moments!

    Raon Ranch Road Leads up to Alpaca Ranch

    Tips for an Unforgettable Experience:

    • Bring along some hot packs to keep warm during your visit. The winter chill can be invigorating, but staying cozy with hot packs will make your time at Anifore even more enjoyable.
    • Make sure to wear appropriate footwear, especially if you plan to explore the forest trails. Comfortable and sturdy shoes will ensure a pleasant journey through the winter wonderland.
    • If you’re hoping to witness the magical moments of snowfall in the forest, be sure to check the weather forecast before your visit. Planning your trip around potential snowfall will add an extra touch of enchantment to your experience at Anifore.

    My time at Anifore was an absolute blast! Having more picture-perfect spots to visit during winter in Korea was a real treat. With this guide in hand, I’m confident that you now have a great idea of where to plan your winter adventure in Korea too! So go ahead and have a fantastic time exploring the enchanting forest – I know you’ll love it just as much as I did! 

    Gallery: More Winter Shots of Yongpyong Resort’s Anifore

    Access Map:

    Quick Info About Anifore:

    Address: 강원 평창군 대관령면 올림픽로 715 애니포레
    Naver Map: Link
    Hours: 9:30AM~5:00PM (Everyday)
    Website: Anifore
    Visit Date: February 10, 2023

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