Amazing Places to Visit in Korea During Winter in 2019
South Korea has already so much to culture, attractions, and experiences to offer during the warmer months but it completely transforms once the winter season arrives. The landscape changes and the energy of the places and the people shifts when the snow season comes around. Winter in Korea is a whole other experience that you can’t miss as unique sites, attractions, and culture become available with the change of season. It’s a great place to spend your winter holiday. In this post, we listed some of the places to see and things to do in Korea during winter.
Winters in South Korea can be cold and in certain places, temperatures can drop as low as -20°C or -4°F but that does not deter travelers to experience the beauty and wonder South Korea has to offer. So dress appropriately because here is a list of the best places to visit in Korea during winter in 2019.
Vivaldi Park Ski World
Located in Hongcheon one and a half hours away from Seol, Vivaldi Park Ski World is the most popular ski resort in Korea. It has state of the art facilities such as ski lifts to take you up the resort’s many slopes, free shuttle buses to take you in and out of the resort, hotels and even a water park. You can sign up for a tour of the ski resort for an entire day and take skiing lessons from expert skiers. It’s a perfect winter holiday destination if you want to stay near Seol.
Everland Theme Park
Everland Theme Park in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do is home to one of the steepest wooden roller coasters in the world and five themed zones. During winter, the theme park transforms into a winter wonderland. It’s a great place for families and couples to visit during the winter when a huge towering Christmas tree is erected and the whole theme park is decorated for winter. Countless bright lights and a few winter-themed attractions are added such as sledding, fireworks, and special parades.
For those who want to experience the beautiful scenery that nature can offer during winter, Nami island just for you. The island is located just outside of Seoul and it’s considered to be a great romantic winter destination as the landscape transforms into a picturesque snow village. The island is full of birch trees and redwood trees that look just serene and magical when covered with snow. It’s a popular shooting location due to its picturesque landscapes especially during the winter and its already been featured as the main location in several Korean romance dramas.
The Garden of Morning Calm
The Garden of Morning Calm is a huge private garden that you can visit in any season for its serene and beautiful atmosphere. It’s also the oldest in South Korea originally founded by Professor Han Sang-Kyung. It’s home to over 5,000 different kinds of plants and during the winter, you can witness it Famous Lighting Festival that showcases vibrant lights and colors in the winter nights. The festival lasts from December to March and it’s one of the biggest Lighting Festival in Korea that you shouldn’t miss.
Gangchon Rail Park
Gangchon Rail Bike Park is another great place to witness the beauty of Korea’s nature during the winter. The rail course is on an abandoned railway line that you can cycle through with friends or family while viewing the scenic winter landscape of the countryside. You’ll get to see and pass through snow-clad forests and cycle along the side of the Bukhanggang river which freezes over during the winter. You can book a ride for two for 25,000 won or 35,000 won for a ride for four.
During the winter months, Taebaek hosts the most amazing snow festival that offers 6 months of snow rafting exhibition, dog sledding, and even a very charming snow igloo cafe. Taebaek is a must-see in account of the amount of snow it accumulates during the winter months alone but add in the many activities you can during its snow festival will make it one of the highlights of your winter vacation in Korea.
Take a hike to the top of the Seonjaryeong Mountain during the snowy season to witness stunning winter views of the landscape below. The mountain is 1157 meters high but the hike is surprisingly made for amateurs and is considered an easy climb to the summit. Scaling the mountains can be done by beginners and amateurs as the slopes aren’t so steep and don’t require an experienced hiker to follow the trail. It’s a great experience for amateur hikers, especially for those who never hike on a snowy trail before. The scenery is peaceful and makes you feel like you’re in a romance movie.
Petite France is French Themed Park in Gyeonggi-do that’s one of it’s kind in Korea. For a unique experience for the winter, visit Petite France. It emulates what a European village looks like and can offer you the experience of a European winter experience. You can attend their lighting festival where the European inspired buildings are decorated with fairy lights that, along with the snow, will make you feel like you’re in a European fairy tale.
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
In Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do a three-week-long ice fishing festival that starts in early January takes place on the frozen-over Hwancheon Stream. Koreans from all over the country come together and use their traditional fishing methods to catch fish on the icy Hwancheon Stream and visitors are all encouraged to participate. Other than fishing, everyone can take part in activities such as skiing, sledding, ice football, and many more winter activities.
Camellia Hill, also known as Camellia arboretum, is located in Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do where during winter a curious thing happens. In December the 6000 Camella Trees will be in full bloom over the 20-hectare arboretum along with vibrant wildflowers reminiscent to the blooming of the sakura trees in Japan during the spring. The walkway where you can admire the vibrant colors and lily pond adds to the majestic and mesmerizing beauty of the site.
DDP LED Rose Garden
For another lighting show in South Korea, head on over at Jung-gu at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza where you’ll see thousands of LED rose flowers. The LED Flower Garden is free to view and is a stunning selfie spot for visitors. It’s open every night except for the third Monday of each month. There are over 27,000 LED rose flowers to symbolize the days since Korea gained its freedom and independence.
To really feel the holiday winter spirit, head over to Jung-gu, Busan where there is a centerpiece in the form of an 18 meter tall Christmas tree that is a sight to behold. Along the streets are carolers and street folk performers showing off to the public as part of Busan’s Christmas Tree Festival. You can also catch Busan’s Polar Bear Swimming Festival at Haeundae Beach where you can witness or join Busan’s Polar Bears take a dip in the cold waters as a show of toughness. Participation costs 20,000 won.
Seogwipo is the charming and second-largest city on Jeju Island. It’s a great pick to go for your winter holiday vacation with your family or friends. One of its main attractions during winter is their somewhat bizarre Penguin Swimming Festival. Locals and tourists alike can join in to take a swim along the cold icy waters for a race. Afterwhich the daring participants are given treats such as fish cakes and warm soup as congratulations for their bravery and participation.
Bukhansan National Park
Bukhansan National Park is one of if not the most popular national parks in the world with the number of visitors reaching up to 5 million a year. It’s truly a beautiful place to be all year round and during the winter, you can practically have the park to yourself along with a few stray tourists. The somewhat challenging hike up the mountain is worth it as you’ll pass by and get to visit Buddhist temples and the Bukhanseong Fortress that used to protect Seoul from foreign invaders dating back to 132 AD. At the end of the hike, you’ll get to admire the stunning views of the city and treetops covered in snow.
Pyeongchang Trout Festival
Another place to visit to experience Korea’s fish festival is Pyeongchang where the 2018 Winter Olympics was held. Pyeongchang has its yearly Trout Fishing Festival held from December to January. Visitors can go ice fishing for trout, skiing, sled riding, and even ride 4-wheel ATVs among other ice activities. For those brave enough, they can join a competition of bare hand fishing on the icy waters.
Do you have other recommended places to visit and things to do in Korea during winter? Please feel free to share by posting a comment below and follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, and Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.