10 Things To Do This Winter in Korea

The chills are here to stay, but don’t let them keep you indoors and away from the fun. Like any other season, there’s still plenty to do across the country. Grab a coat, a parka, or whatever you call the warmest thing in your house, top it off with a hat and some mittens and grab some friends for some frolicking in the snow to come!

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1. Amusement Parks

Lotte World Christmas FestivalIf you haven’t been to Lotte World, Everland or Seoul Land yet, this might be just the right time to head to one of these amusement parks in order to experience some great Christmas Festival madness. Celebrating Christmas in Korea is a little different than back home, but head to any of these amusement parks for lots of red, white and green, jingle bells, carols blasting and Santa Claus’s ho-hoing to put you right in the merry spirit. Lotte World (W25,000 for an adult) and Seoul Land (W18,000) run until December 25th, while Everland (W33,000) will continue festivities until December 31st.

2. Skiing & Snowboarding

Pheonix Park SkiingWith easy access shuttle buses from Seoul, three ski resorts that you should not miss out on this winter are Pheonix Park Resort, Yongpyong Resort and Bears Town for your ski and snowboard urges. Bears Town is the closest and Yongpyong the furthest, but as they’ll be open from the end of November until March, there is plenty of time to visit all three. Whether or not it has snowed in Seoul, these three resorts will have plenty of snow to go around.

3. Ice Skating

While there are ice skating rinks that are open year round in Seoul, come winter some special rinks are put together for those in the outdoor skating spirit. Special rinks that are only open during the winter season include the very popular Seoul Plaza Ice Rink that runs from early December until the end of February outside of City Hall Station exit 7 at a steal for only W1,000. Sangam World Cup Rink at World Cup Stadium Station and Olympic Park Ice Rink at Olympic Park Station also open from early December and are two more cheap options at around W3,000 including skates. Get a little exercise in on the rink outside and get some awesome photos while the snow falls from above.

4. The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker

 

To get some of the Christmas spirit that you may be missing from back home, head to the ballet for a show that is sure to get your jingle bells ringing. The Nutcracker will be playing in Seocho-gu at the Seoul Arts Center in December and tickets range in price from W5,000 to W90,000. The ballet is also being performed at the Universal Art Center in Gwangjin-gu in December as well and tickets there range from W10,000 to W100,000. Both shows should be a treat for the eyes and the ears.

5. The Yeongdong Dried Persimmon Festival 영동곶감축제

Yeongdong Dried Persimmons FestivalIt seems like the fruit festivals should be done this late in the year, but there is still one more to go for the fruit lovers in the country. Yeongdong is known as the “Holy Land of Fruit” since it produces the most fruit in the nation and the persimmons are exceptionally delicious from this area. Visitors can make their own jam at the festival, practice peeling persimmons, get a foot bath in persimmon peels as well as enjoy traditional performances and delicious Yeongdong delicacies. If you want a great weekend away, here’s where to go!

6. A Sunrise Festival

Homigot Sunrise PlazaAcross the country there are numerous locations that these festivals take place to ring in the new year on January first. If you’re looking for something less late into the night and more early morning, this is where you should head. Find the one that’s nearest to you: Homigot Sunrise Festival, Samcheok Sunrise Festival, there’s also an Ulsan Ganjeolgot Sunrise Festival, a Yeosu Hyangiram Sunrise Festival, a Seongsan Sunrise Festival, a Maryangpo Sunset & Sunrise Festival and a Gyeongpo Sunrise Festival. Check them out and ring in the new year a little differently this year with the sunrise on the first morning of the year.

7. Korea Grand Sale 코리아그랜드세일

Korea Grand Sale

As if you needed an excuse to go shopping. But, if you did, here it is: 45 days, 92 companies and over 27,000 stores including department stores, hotels, outlets, malls and other entertainment events on sale! The Korea Grand Sale will be even bigger and offer even more savings than ever before, so if you’ve been saving up for something special now’s the time to get the best prices. Go go go! Myeongdong downtown is calling and is the place in Seoul to find all of the best shops in one place selling everything from skin care products and make-up to fashion threads and more!

8. The Hwacheon Mount Trout Festival 얼음나라 화천 산천어축제

Hwacheon FestivalKnown as the first area in Korea to freeze over every winter, this festival gets visitors into the winter weather with ice fishing, ice sculptures, sledding, ice trains, ice skating and pretty much as many icy events as they can muster for the month of November. Pack your camera, grab some friends and make your own memories on ice.

9. Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival 태백산 눈축제

Taebaeksan Snow FestivalIf you’re only going to partake in one winter festival this season, this is the one to plan for. Taebaeksan means “great white mountain” and for good reason, it’s famous for the heavy snowfall that it gets every year. Attendees can get an eyeful of ice sculptures and other winter-themed artwork as well as take a ride through a snow tunnel, get a dog sled ride, sled, make a snowman and more. There are also twinkling light displays for night time jaunts and really avid outdoorsy people will hike up into the mountain to get the best views of the snow covered trees and peaks.

10. Uljin Snow Crab & Red Snow Crab Festival 울진대게와 붉은대게 축제

Uljin Snow Crab FestivalThe winter ice is thawing, or so we hope by the end of February, and it’s time for some of Uljin’s specialty, snow crabs! Snow crab eating contests, fishing for snow crabs, tug-of-wars, yacht rides and giant crab kimbab are only a few of the things that can be enjoyed at this festival. “Say goodbye to the snow while eating snow crab with friends,” should be the motto of this end of the winter festival. Eat up and say goodbye to winter.

Planning a trip to Korea? I’m always asked about places to stay. Check out Ramada Hotel & Suites Seoul, Royal Hotel Seoul or Lotte Hotel Seoul. All three are located downtown close to the palace and numerous other can’t miss locations.

10 things to do this winter in Korea

 *All photos from the websites provided.

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42 Responses

  1. Geo says:

    Hi. I just want to ask if there’s snow in Korea starting December? Or is it just the month where its starting to snow? How about January?

    • Hallie says:

      Yes, theres usually snow in Korea by December, but not everywhere. For example, here is snow at the ski resorts and on the mountains but not in Seoul right now. It does not usually snow that heavily in Seoul.

  2. Geo says:

    Thanks. How about now? Is there a snow in Seoul? We are planning to visit Korea next year around 2nd or 3rd of week of January and we want to experince winter/snow. Is that possible? And by the way, how far is the mountains from Seoul if just in case we are going there to experience real snow.

    • Hallie says:

      There isnt any snow on the ground in the city now but there have been some flurries off and on the past month. Usually more snow comes in January and February. Last yesr i had some friends visit and we got quite a bit of snow in the city while they were here. There are mountains within the city limits. It depends what you want to do on the mountains though. The skiing resorts are outaide of the city. The mountains in the city are mostly for hiking. I would recommend hiking along the fortress walls. Not so difficult and beatiful in the snow.

      • Geo says:

        Alright. Thanks for that. I thought there will be snow in the while city during winter (Dec-Feb).
        We are now planning to book a flight for January2016. Main reason is we want to see/experience a snow. Do you think wjatever happens we will still get the chance to experience snow next next? Either in the city or in the mountains? This is a very big help for us in planning if we will still book to seoul or not. Thanks in advance. 🙂

  3. Geo says:

    And thats in the mountains? How far is seoul city from thwe airport? How about seoul to hwaseong fortress? And seoul to everland?
    by the way are you a korean Citizen?

    • Hallie says:

      It depends on the weather. Last year there was quite a bit of snow on the ground on the city streets. This year not so much yet. I can’t say for sure about next year. Incheon airport is about 45 minutes outside of Seoul. Hwaseong and Everland are 2-3 hours away. No, I’m not a citizen. ^^

  4. Geo says:

    Alright. Thank you so so much! We’ll still give it a go. Are you in Korea? I’ll contact you again for more info about travelling in seoul. Is that ok?

  5. Geo says:

    Oh thats great! Whatvwe’re planning is to visit seoul for only 4days. Is it possible to visit jeju island as well even if we only have 4days stay in korea? And what is the best option to go to jeju from seoul?

    • Hallie says:

      If you’re only here for four days, you should definitely fly there. You can get fairly cheap flights from Gimpo Airport to the island.

      • Geo says:

        Another thing, i read a couple of blogs about visiting korea in winter. They said that you will not enjoy it because you cant go outside because of the cold temperature. Is it true? Or is it still possible to go to some tourist destinations in and out of seoul city?

  6. Geo says:

    Thanks. Thats gimpo airport? How about a specific airline?will it be worth it to fly there in the morning and fly back to seoul in the evening?

    • Hallie says:

      If you’re going to rent a car on Jeju, then a one day trip might be worth it but if you are depending on public transport there, it’d be almost impossible.

      • Geo says:

        Hi hallie, any suggestion/information you might give. How about transportation from seoul to busan? Will it be by plane? Is there a cheap flight/airline?

        • Hallie says:

          There’s a train from Seoul to Busan that costs around $60. A flight is pretty similar in cost and saves time but the airport in Busan isn’t actually in Busan so you end up losing time getting from there to the center of the city. All in all the best option for you is probably a KTX train. The train station is central in both cities. The trip by train is about 3 hours.

          • Geo says:

            Thanks Hallie, im just trying to help friend. Their flight to Busan was cancelled by the airline company so she’s trying to set up a new set of itinerart for their vacation.

  7. alaatika says:

    Hi Hallie,
    Im a muslim lady from Malaysia and excited to visit Seoul in this December ’15.
    Can you pls help to suggest me the suitable accomodation for a muslim like me?

    Anyway, my trip will be 3 days 2 night. Maybe you can advise me attract place to go during these 3 days?

  8. Deezed says:

    Hi Hallie, I am planning to go to Seoul on 25 dec – 5 Jan with my family..there’ll be 5 adults and 2 babies….. can u suggest the best accomodation to stay? Also, how is the rental of accomodation be during winter as I know using heater can be expensive during this time. i’ve look at AirBNB website for apartments… but very unsure which area best to stay… my preference would be entire apartment for the whole duration..

    • Hallie says:

      I’m not sure about exact accommodations. Since I live here, I’ve always stayed in my home. I can say for areas: Bukchon/Anguk area is know for traditional Korean homes to stay in and provide lots of cultural and historical things in the area, Myeongdong is downtown and great for shopping, Hongdae is great for nightlife, art and life music. I hope that helps.

  9. Steven says:

    Hi Hallie,

    i’m planning to go to korea on 17-26 January 2016.
    do you know what i can during that time?
    what other city is great beside seoul to travel?

    • Hallie says:

      A lot of people like to travel down to Busan. But there are also places to go skiing not far from the city if you want to do that too. There are also some great winter festivals you can enjoy during that time.

  10. emmaysf says:

    Hello ^^ I will be visiting Seoul in 1 – 14 January 2016 and I am currently searching guesthouse and what kind other activities can I do ^^ can you give me recommendation and suggestion?

    • Hallie says:

      There are some fun ice fishing festivals, snow festivals and other winter things to do. If you check out http://www.visitkorea.or.kr they have an events section that might be able to help you. Some of them would mean a day trip out of Seoul, but they’d be worth it. Often there are buses that leave from downtown in the morning and return in the evening to these festivals too to help tourists.

  11. Florina says:

    Hi.. Me and my friends will be visiting Seoul and Busan by January 2016.. May I know there is any activities will be going on.. Our date of travel between 10-16 January 2016. Thank u

  12. maria says:

    HI there! vising Seoul in January 6-8. Can you help us to arrange our stay? we love to discover old & new Seoul & korean drama tour packages.

    • Hallie says:

      Hi Maria, I would suggest that you look for hotels/ guest houses in the Jongno area. You’d be near old Seoul, but right downtown so you’d also be near new Seoul too.

  13. andy says:

    Hi Hallie, will there be any sales during Dec21-37 in Seoul? Thanks.

  14. andra says:

    Hi Hallie, I’m visiting Seoul this January.
    I want to try hiking but since it’s my first time doing it in winter, can you recommend me some place that the trail is not too tough, the best time to hike and what to wear?
    Thank you so much!

    • Hallie says:

      The trails along the Seoul Fortress Wall and Namhansanseong Fortress Wall are great as their are always cleared of debris and snow and you can’t get lost since you just follow the wall. I would recommend this if you’re not sure of the trails here. In January, there may or may not be snow. This winter has been unseasonably dry so there’s been little snow and rain. That may change though. Just wear hiking gear that is warm and hiking shoes to be sure you can maneuver on any paths that are icy or gravel. I would recommend getting up early and getting out to hike so that you will be in by mid afternoon so that you’re not accidentally out when it becomes dark. Hope you have fun!

  15. Alpha says:

    Hello Hallie,
    I just booked a flight to Seoul this coming December 12,2016 and will be staying for 7 days. It will be my first time in Korea and I have apprehensions regarding communication. Will it be easy for me to ask around when I only speak english?

    Alpha

    • Hallie says:

      It depends where you want to go. The big tourist spots, you’ll have no problem. The traditional markets and so on though might be a bit more difficult. You can just use a bunch of hand motions and smiles though and maybe a “hello” and “thank you” in Korean and people will try to help. ^^

  16. Gerald says:

    Hi, planning to visit Seoul between Christmas stay till after new year. My wife have never seen snow and snow fall….is there any nice small town that would surely have snow besides going to ski resort? If ski resort, which one would you recommend?

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