11 MORE Things to do in Korea This Winter
Just when I thought it might be getting the slightest bit warmer here in Seoul, Mother Nature went and blasted us with temps so cold, I was afraid to leave the house. To add insult to injury, we awoke a few days ago to the drabbest of skies and a severe pollution alert.
That doesn’t mean you should hibernate till the cherry blossoms bloom though (no matter how tempting it is). There’s plenty of activities that you can ONLY do during winter, so throw on your long padding coat and your vogmask and venture forth bravely into the frostiest of Korea’s seasons.
If you missed it the first time around, be sure to check out my original post on 11 Things to do in Korea this winter, for more cold weather ideas and activities.
GET YOUR SPORT ON
Don’t turn into a couch potato watching the Winter Olympics, when there’s tons of sporting options you can get involved in yourself.
In Seoul, you can take your pick from a huge range of municipal, university, indoor, or hotel skating rinks with prices ranging from a few thousand won to upwards of 40,000 KRW.
But I’ve got my eye on the newly opened ice rink at Seoul’s very own spaceship in the city, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Opened in partnership with Hyundai Motor Company and Pyeongchang 2018, the ice rink is open until February 25th from 1:30-9:30, every day except Monday, as part of the Hyundai Live Site which aims to pump up Olympic spirit in the city.
[2018 평창 현대 라이브 사이트] 서울에서 2018 평창 동계올림픽 대회의 열기를 느낄 수 있는 특별한 공간,🤗 2018 평창 현대 라이브 사이트가 #DDP #어울림광장 을 중심으로 펼쳐져요❄️ 평창올림픽을 도심에서 색다르게 즐겨보세요⛸⛸ #디디피아이스링크 #예약폭주중 #2018평창 #PyeongChang2018 #Livesite #Lightup . – ✔ 일시 : ~ 2018.2.25(일), 13:30 ~ 21:30, 월요일 휴무 ✔ 장소 : DDP 어울림 광장 일대 ✔ 프로그램 : Light Up 아이스 링크 체험 및 스테이지 관람 ✔ 자세한 내용은 홈페이지 참고 > https://lightupyourenergy.co.kr/live_site/ – DDP will set up the PyeongChang 2018 Hyundai Live Site, a special place right here in Seoul to help visitors feel the passion brimming over at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, at Oullim Square and other surrounding areas across DDP. Enjoy the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in a unique way at the heart of the city.
It’s totally free to enter, but limited to 50 people per hour (25 on a walk-up basis). Skates and gloves can be rented on site for 1000KRW each, and coin lockers are available for 500KRW. Get there by taking Exit 1 at the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station.
Ensure a spot on the rink by making a reservation for your ideal time and date.
There are a plethora of options for sledding, snowboarding and skiing in the country, and even a basic online search will yield a million results. But how about trying ice climbing for something new. With its mountainous terrain, Korea has climbs for all levels where you can try this challenging sport.
Sanirang offers beginner ice climbing courses for individuals who have never climbed before. It’s pricey, but it might start you on a lifetime of adventure, scaling heights you never thought possible.
ESCAPE THE COLD
Visit a VR Game Cafe
It’s no surprise that virtual reality game cafes are popping up left, right and centre in a country so hell-bent on technological advancement. Yes, you might look like a fool while playing, but you definitely won’t be cold.
There’s a lot of VR game cafes to choose from, but if you want a little privacy while fighting demons, chopping fruit (yes, Fruit Ninja in VR), or kart racing, try the VRIZ VR Game Cafe, which has locations all over the city.
There, you can book private rooms for 20,000 -30,000KRW/hour, depending on the number of people playing.
Eat at a Food Court with a View at Sky31 Food Avenue
If you’ve wanted to get inside Korea’s tallest building, the 124 story Lotte World Tower, but can’t stomach the 27,000KRW ticket price to go all the way to the top, you can head up to the new Sky31 Food Avenue instead.
Sure, its 31st floor location is a long way down from the 124th, but you’ll still get incredible views of the city and Han River, totally free of charge. Just visit the information desk on the first floor of the Tower, and obtain a pass card that allows you access to the building and the 31st floor.
@lotte_worldtower's Sky31 Food Avenue is a food court with a view. * Located on the 31st floor of the 124 story super tower, anyone can visit by getting a pass card on the ground level at the Info desk. Don't expect any fancy food though… despite its super cool location and views of the city and Han River, it is is still JUST a food court. Think Lotteria and Natuur. 😂 * * * * * #iseoulu #visitkorea #ig_korea #photogsinkorea #seoulkorea #visitseoul #seoul_korea #southkorea #imagineyourkorea #seoulite #seoulinspirit #seoullife #seoullovers #lifeinkorea #travelasia #seoulsnap #koreanwinter #송파 #송파맘 #sky31foodavenue #sky31 #foodcourt #lotteworldtower #jamsil ##잠실
MORE SPARKLING LIGHTS
Shimmering lights in a rainbow of colours aren’t just for Christmas in Korea. You can see lighting festivals right up until the end of February. Here’s a few more options.
Petite France Lighting Festival
From December 1st – February 28th, Gapyeong’s Petite France will do its best imitation of Montpellier, with fairy tale lights strung throughout the village.
Ticket prices range from 5,000 (child) – 8,000KRW (adult). Find more performance and transport info on their website.
Boseong Green Tea Plantation Light Festival (보성차밭 빛축제)
Located in the south of the country, the Boseong Green Tea Plantation is wonderful to see in every season, but starting from December 16th, the entire plantation gets a festive facelift with twinkling lights and sculptures adorning its fields.
If you arrive before dark, take in views of the tall cedar trees and nearby bamboo forest while sipping a green tea, or matcha latte (of course).
Find more info on their website (Korean only).
If traveling out of the city is a distant dream for you, you can still see incredible light displays at all the Hyundai and Lotte Department stores. Each year, the displays seem to get more and more extravagant. The best part is that they’re absolutely free to check out.
The Lotte World Tower next to Jamsil subway station has an over-the-top display with literally thousands and thousands of bulbs, a huge Christmas tree, and lights strung up over a full 2 block length.
🎄Christmas came early at the Lotte World Tower. 🌟 * There must've been thousands upon thousands of lights and bulbs strung up all around both malls and the grounds around them. Check it out if you're in the area…it's worth seeing. * * * * * #seoulite #seoulsnap #seoullife #seoul_korea #seoulinspirit #imagineyourkorea #iseoulu #seoulkorea #christmasdecorations #lotteworldtower #jamsil #잠실
MORE WINTER FESTIVALS
So many festivals, so little time. Here’s a few options that DON’T involve ice-fishing. 😉
1st Ever Snowman Festival at Nami Island
Nami Island will be transformed into a Snowman Village until February 2018. During its inaugural Snowman Festival, visitors will be able to sled, bobsleigh, curl and slide their way across the island. With an icebreaker crossing the frozen Bukhangang, an ice carving competition and an ice-wall photo zone planned, you’re sure to find something to entertain you.
For transport info and more details, check out this LINK.
Taebaeksan Snow Festival (태백산 눈축제)
Taking place this winter from January 19th – February 11th, this festival takes over tiny former coal boom town Taebaek City, and its namesake mountain Taebaeksan, with non-stop winter activities.
This is the festival to go to for large scale snow sculptures, sledding, and hiking.
Visit their website HERE. (Korean only)
The changing of seasons in Korea is so definitive, it’s violent. And the transition from autumn’s crisp, blue skies, warm days, and gorgeous leaves to the freezing winds and negative temperatures of Korea’s insanely cold winter might be the worst of all.
Here’s what you can do to rejuvenate mind and body from the brutality of winter.
Get some skincare
The dry air and freezing winds of Seoul’s winter are seriously bad for the skin. There’s no better time to hop on the K-beauty bandwagon and pamper yourself with a super moisturizing facial than now. Added bonus: the heated bed you get to lie on while your skin is getting spoiled.
Have you ever had a facial massage? Well they're an important component of any Korean facial, hitting acupressure points, shaping the face and boosting circulation. * If I could find someone to do this for me for an hour, I'd sign up right away 😂, but usually it's about 10 minutes of utter relaxation. * * * * * #kbeauty #koreanbeauty #koreanskincare #facialmassage #kspa #jamsil ##잠실 #seoulite #seoullife #lifeinkorea #kbeautyskincare
Visit a Jjimjilbang or Mogyoktang
A weekly visit to the humble neighbourhood mogyoktang or bath house is on most Koreans’ agendas, for relaxation, revitalization and a skin-bruising scrub. Consisting of hot tubs, saunas and a cold plunge pool, it’s an ideal way to recharge the body and spirit in the depths of winter.
A visit there is not for the faint of heart though, since the entire experience is enjoyed completely in the buff. If that thought is too much for you, you can check out a jjimjilbang, which offers both the naked bath house area PLUS a clothed area with various dry saunas and entertainment areas.
Be sure to get your Korean sheep head on (양머리) and try some sikhye (식혜) while there. You’ll blend right in. 😉
What else can you do in Korea in winter? Have I missed anything? Add your tips in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! <3
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