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Seoul Searching | Top 8 Winter Activities in Korea.

One thing I have learned from spending the holidays in South Korea for the past two years is that there's always something fun to do in Seoul (and in the neighboring provinces) - even in the dead of winter. Festivals, for one, are aplenty, and despite frigid temperatures and the bitingly cold air, you'll see people lots of people out and about, finding ways to enjoy the hard frosts and icy drafts of the winter season.

If you're visiting South Korea this time of the year, or perhaps spending your first winter in the country, here are some fun activities that you need to try. Make sure you're all bundled up though, or you'll run the risk of getting a cold!

Outdoor Ice Skating at the Seoul Plaza.
Every winter, Seoul's picturesque plaza transforms into an outdoor skating rink - the cheapest and the most popular among all the outdoor skating rinks in Seoul.
Ice skating at the Seoul Plaza.
Located in the heart of the city, near the City Hall and Deoksugung Palace, the Seoul Plaza outdoor skating rink houses one rink for for beginners and another for advanced skaters. Training lessons are offered to those who are serious about learning how to skate, and can be booked online in advance.

The skating rink officially opens on December 22, and will be operational until February 25, 2018. Admission rates are at 1000 won per person, per hour. Skating equipment can also be rented on a per hour basis.

Sledding at Supia/Ttukseom Hangang Park.
A year-round family theme park, the Ttukseom Hangang Park - also known as 'Supia' - holds the 'Snow Flower Village' program every winter.  The main attractions of this annual event is the 90 meter long and 15 meter wide Sledding Field, which offers a thrilling experience for adults, teens, and even tweens.
Sledding fun at Supia/Ttukseom Hangang Park.
The younger kids, on the other hand, can enjoy a more relaxed sleigh ride at the Fun Snow Hill, or build a snowman and join the Snowman Building Competition.
Fun Snow Hill.
The sledding hill will be open to the public starting December 16, with the admission rate at 6000 won per person. Kids under the age of 3 can enter free of charge.

Skiing at Vivaldi Park.
In a country that's blessed with shapely topography - 70% mountains, 30% coffee shops and cosmetics stores (lol), skiing is perhaps one of the best ways to take advantage of the landscape when the country freezes over.
Skiing at Vivaldi Park.
The Vivaldi Park Ski Resort in Gangwon Province is one of the most popular destinations during this time of the year. The first ski resort to offer nighttime skiing, Vivaldi Park is also the filming location of the 2016 hit Kdrama 'Legend of the Blue Sea', making it a 'pilgrimage' destination for Kdrama addicts and Minoz, aka fans of Lee Min Ho.
As seen on Legend of the Blue Sea.
Ice Fishing at Hwacheon.
If it's a laid-back winter activity that you want, then ice fishing might be your cup of tea. Hwacheon, a county in Gangwon province and of the first places in South Korea that freezes come winter time, hosts one of the most popular winter festivals in the country.
Ice fishing at Hwacheon.
Dubbed as the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, this annual event offers multiple snow-related activities which includes ice fishing and even bare-handed ice fishing. If you're lucky enough to catch a fish, you can have them grilled or prepared as sashimi at the grill area/ restaurants on site.

Lighting Festival at the Garden of the Morning Calm.
One of the biggest festival of lights in South Korea, the Lighting Festival at the Garden of the Morning Calm is one of the best ways to enjoy the nippy winter evening.
Lighting Festival at the Garden of the Morning Calm.
Located in Gapyeong, a two-hour bus ride away from Seoul, the Garden of the Morning Calm spans 30,000 square meters and is considered to be the oldest arboretum in the country. It is home to 5000 species of plants, flowers, and trees, making it a gorgeous sight in the spring and fall.
Like a miniature Christmas village come to life.
And while the trees may be naked and barren during the winter, the gleaming lights and lovely decorations add a festive glow to the garden. If you chance upon some (heavy) snowfall while visiting the garden, the place will look even more magical with the snow-covered foliage. It's like winter wonderland right before your very eyes!

Strolling around Nami Island.
Whether you're a Kdrama fan or not, no trip to South Korea would be complete without stopping by Nami Island. It's located within the direction of Chuncheon and is easily accessible via the Gapyeong City Tour Bus, the same bus that runs to the Garden of the Morning Calm. 
First trip to South Korea, December 2015.
Famous for its scenic tree-lined walking paths, Nami Island has more than 20 themed gardens, each with a unique story behind it. Nami is also home to countless types of animals, all of which roam freely within the island. Birds, ducks, geese, rabbits, squirrels, and even ostriches - Nami Island has it all.
Meeting the ostriches at Nami Island. :)
Winter Concerts.
The Korean music industry is also buzzing with activities during the last few days of the year. From Christmas concerts to music awards show, and even the Korea leg of your favorite Kpop group's world tour, there's bound to be one while you're enjoying winter in Seoul. And if you do chance upon one during your visit, don't miss this opportunity to catch your favorite Hallyu stars and Kpop idols in the flesh!
Super Show 7!
Two of my favorite Kpop groups will actually be having a concert this month. Super Junior's worldwide concert tour, 'Super Show 7', kicked off yesterday at the Jamsil Arena. The concert was originally scheduled to run for just two days (December 16 and 17), but due to popular demand, they decided to add another day, much to the delight of Super Junior fans.
Posters within the vicinity of Jamsil Arena.
Big Bang, on the other hand, will be holding the final leg of their concert tour on December 30 and 31 at the Gocheok Sky Dome. Aptly named as 'Last Dance', this will be their last concert before going on a hiatus as the boys will be rendering their 2-year mandatory military service. TOP will not be joining them though, as he has already started his military service last February.
Big Bang 
No tickets yet to the Last Dance? Get yours at Trazy!

Winter Street Food.
What better way to stay warm in the winter than treating yourself to some piping hot street food? Bungeoppang (red-bean filled pastry), hotteok (cinnamon sugar pancake), and eomuk (fish cakes) are some of the most popular street foods in Korea and they're available any time of the year. 
Eomuk, best served with lots of piping hot soup!
However, there are some snacks that are available only during the colder months and I try to enjoy them as much as I can while they're in the market. Carts and stalls selling these food items proliferate across the country as the temperatures drop, and you're bound to find one at every street corner, especially areas near bus stops and subway stations.
An ahjussi selling baked sweet potatoes.
Oddly enough, they taste sweeter than our regular 'kamote'. 
Roasted chestnuts.
Not only are these street food tasty, they're inexpensive, too! Perfect for sharing with your family and/or travel buddies!

13 replies:

kelly reci said...

I am actually planning to visit Korea next year and I am looking for some activities or place where I can go to. Those are so wonderful and it looks so enjoying.

Unknown said...

I would love to go and visit Korea! I've never been there before and it's good to know what you can do there during this season!

Lou Lou Girls said...

my husband served in Korea for our church several years ago and fell in love with it. I have wanted to go because of his stories!

Ronnie said...

Seoul is so beautiful in the winter! We are planning to visit and enjoy it ourselves next year. <3 One of my closest friends lives there, too.

Lavanda Michelle said...

I never had a chance to visit Korea, however I’m inlove with these activities. Winter concerts are my absolute fav!!

Agnes Vazhure said...

This is very timely. My twins and I are planning to visit Korea this 2018 after the new years eve. and I am pretty sure that my twins will really excite if I show her this post.

brit said...

Those lights look beautiful! What a fun time.

Anonymous said...

This looks like such a fabulous and gorgeous place to visit!! I love your gorgeous photographs! Shell

Unknown said...

The light festival and I’ve skating look amazing. I have to be honest it’s not somewhere I would have thought for a holiday until reading this post.

Unknown said...

Never knew there was such great winter fun there! The sledding hills, ice sculptures, and food all look so fabulous

ifillLife said...

sled and ice Fishing would be fun! I want to visit places with snow this winter but I have to be tough with cold so I can do a lot of activites too.

Unknown said...

I went to Seoul last year. I really enjoyed the game and the food here. Skiing and attending music live shows my first choice.

Anonymous said...

I really want to do all of these activities, this is a great list of things to do. I have never been here but I would love to go now. Thanks for sharing!