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
If 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
With 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
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
It 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
Across 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
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
Known 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
If 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
The 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.
*All photos from the websites provided.