One biggest ‘complain’ for those living in the tropics would be the lack of changing seasons, especially when it comes close to the Christmas season; we have always been dreaming of a ‘White Christmas‘, but dreams can only stay as dreams (to be honest, if it really snows in the tropics one day, we should be afraid). Many who live in the tropics yearn to head out there, despite the biting cold of temperatures under zero, to see and feel snow for themselves. Being in Singapore with summer all-year round, I am no different.
For me personally, I have experienced almost all seasons in Korea when I was there for studies, but unfortunately by some twist of fate, I was never able to be there during the height of winter, nonetheless see snow. There are various festivals in Korea all-year round for all seasons, and the winter festivals definitely stand out for its quirkiness (in the point-of-view of someone from the tropics) and thus, we have put together a wishlist of things that we wish to try if given the chance to, and also things we would like to recommend everyone to try if you are in Korea this winter.
#1: Skiing / Snowboarding
There are ski resorts located at different parts of South Korea, but the popular ones are located at Gangwon-do, as the area experiences the highest snowfall in the entire country. Most ski resorts have both skiing and snowboarding facilities, so you can go for your own preference! VisitKorea has an extensive list on Ski Resorts to visit, you may wish to check out more information here.
(If you are more of a beginner, you may wish to check out Daemyung Vivaldi Park Ski World for its wide range of slopes with different difficulty levels – a close friend of mine visits the resort every winter with her family to ski, and I have been to the resort in summer as well; the views from the top are breathtaking, and the atmosphere is good for fun and relaxation.)
#2: Outdoor Ice-Skating (that is so affordable you will regret not going!)
Many of us may be used to the concept of indoor ice-skating with controlled environmental conditions, but outdoor ice-skating just brings it to a new level. You have the sun in your eyes and the chilly winter breeze on your skin, which brings more ‘real-feel’ to the entire ice-skating experience. And guess what? You don’t even have to pay too much for the entry – just a mere 1000 won per 1 hour or 1-and-a-half hour session respectively at the two rinks below!
Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink
Location: Seoul Plaza (nearest to City Hall station)
Open Period: 17 Dec 2016 to 9 Feb 2017
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 10:00 ~ 21:30; Fri, Sat & PH 10:00 ~ 23:00
Price: 1000won for 1 hour (Inclusive of ice skates rental)
Yeouido Hangang Park Ice Skating Rink
Location: Yeouido Hangang Park Cultural Square
Open Period: 9 Dec 2016 to 14 Feb 2017
Opening Hours: 10:00 ~ 21:30 daily
Price: 1000 won for an hour-and-a-half’s skating (Skate and helmet rental at an additional 1000 won)
#3: Ice-fishing at Pyeongchang Trout Festival
If you wish to do something different from the usual snow sports – why not try ice-fishing? Pyeongchang, which is also the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics, is one of the most popular places to go in winter. They annually hold the Pyeongchang Trout Festival, where there are fun activities such as ice-fishing, sledding, ice-skating and more.
This year, the festival will be held from 23 Dec 2016 to 31 Jan 2017, at Odaecheon Stream, Jinbu-myeon in Pyeongchang-gun district. More details will be posted on their official website (Korean) hopefully, you may wish to check back. Or you can check out last’s year’s info on VisitKorea (the location is the same).
#4: Visit a Theme Park
Soak in the Christmas spirit with all the Christmas celebrations at the theme parks! When we think about theme parks in Korea, Lotte World and Everland are usually the popular ones that come to one’s mind. Both theme parks will be holding their respective celebrations filled with music, dance, performances and even fireworks! More details below:
Lotte World “Christmas Miracle”
From 12 Nov 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
More info at website (English)
Everland “Christmas Fantasy”
From 12 Nov 2016 to 1 Mar 2017
More info at website (English)
#5: Warm up with a hot cuppa
With Korea’s extensive coffee culture, one should not be surprised at the beautiful coffee art that could be served on one’s latte – but who can help but fall in love with these deliciously pretty Christmas drinks and cakes?
Stumbled by this article 10 Lattes in Seoul To Get You in the Holiday Spirit, which actually fueled the inspiration behind this article! Check it out for some recommendations of cute cafes to visit in Seoul!
*Plus! Extra tip – Visit Nami Island with your loved one and reenact the famous scene from Winter Sonata!
And I just can’t help but wish I can be in Korea this winter after recommending all the above! It would definitely be great to make a trip to Korea, if there’s a chance to! We would love to bring more travel articles to you guys, if you guys would like to read them. Do leave us comments, tweet us, write to us on our Facebook page if you have more to add, or are going to try any of the suggestions above! We’d love to hear your experiences in Korea too.
Have a great winter ahead!