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sanjeong lake sledding festival | duck sled

The Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival quacked onto everybody’s radar last winter, with wonderful snowy landscapes, and a ridiculously adorable duck sled. I must admit that I was among the many who couldn’t resist the epic cuteness, so I planned a trip to Pocheon tout de suite.

sanjeong lake sledding festival | duck sled / train

The duck train at the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is beyond adorable.

Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed in the least. In fact, the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival ended up being one of my all-time favourite winter festivals in Korea ever! I know you’ll love it just as much as I did.

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Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival | 포천 산정호수 썰매축제

Pocheon is one of the regions of the country known for freezing temperatures and avalanches of snow, so if you’ve planned a trip to South Korea hoping to experience some of the white stuff, the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is a great place to try your luck. I was honestly surprised by the incredible amount of snow there. I almost felt like I was back in Canada!

sanjeong lake sledding festival

Is this Canada? There is a ton of snow in Pocheon!

Just imagine walking out onto a crystal clear frozen lake, your breath freezing into the air around you, surrounded by spectacular snow-covered scenery, and you have an idea of what to expect.

The Sanjeonghosu Sledding Festival started in 2010 and it’s been completely organized by residents of the village from the start. It definitely has an authentic feeling, and you’ll see tons of local Koreans out enjoying the snow.

sanjeong lake sledding festival | rubber duck sled / train

I’m pretty sure this tractor driver lives in the nearby village.

With super-cute duck sleds, penguin bicycles, a nearby amusement park, easy access to amenities, and enough snow to build a massive snowman, it really is the perfect activity for anyone looking for a wonderful winter experience in Korea.

In my opinion, the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is one of the best winter festivals near Seoul. Don’t miss it!

sanjeong lake sledding festival snow

Enough snow to build a proper snowman.

There’s so much to do that we easily spent hours and hours on top of frozen Sanjeonghosu Lake, with breaks for warm odeng and sweet hot chocolate to warm up. As the sun faded away, we capped off our perfect winter day with a stop at Herb Island (also in Pocheon) for gorgeous sparkling lights, and more snowy landscapes.

herb island in winter

We capped off our day in Pocheon at the Herb Island Light Festival.

ULTIMATE WINTER DAY IN POCHEON |  Want to feel some real snowy, winter vibes in Korea? Then Pocheon is the place to go! This excellent day tour takes you to the top of frozen Sanjeong Lake, to dramatic Pocheon Art Valley, AND the Herb Island Light Festival. Check full details here.

When is the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival

FESTIVAL DATES: December 30th, 2023 – February 12th, 2024

This sledding festival in Pocheon is understandably a winter event. After all, it takes place on top of a lake that has to be frozen solid into a thick sheet of ice that’s safe enough for all the sledding activities.

pocheon | sanjeong lake sledding festival

This ice needs to be frozen solid for all the sledding activities.

In 2023 / 24, the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is scheduled to take place from December 30th, 2023 until February 12th, 2024. Keep in mind though that these dates can change based on weather conditions – meaning that if Sanjeonghosu isn’t frozen solid, they aren’t going to let you on the ice… and that’s a good thing.

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bukchon hanok village in seoul

What to Wear to Sanjeong Lake in Winter

Well, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s freezing cold in Pocheon. But really, that’s how you want it to be. After all, you’re standing on top of a frozen lake, hoping it won’t crater and take you down to its icy depths, right?

Be sure to gear up with parka, snow pants, warm gloves or mittens, hats, earmuffs, scarf, and winter boots to fully enjoy your time at the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival without feeling too cold. Even better if everything is waterproof – or at the very least, water resistant.

sanjeong lake sledding festival

These 2 were all geared up and played comfortably on top of the frozen lake for hours.

Hot packs for your pockets are perfect for an extra bit of warmth on your hands, after hours of playing in the snow. You could also consider getting some small ones to stick into your boots next to your toes, because this was honestly the only part of my body that felt cold.

There are also hot patches that stick to your clothes. These are easy to find at convenience stores and at Daiso in Korea. One of these stuck near your lower back or belly does wonders to keep the rest of your body warm – just remember to stick it to your clothes, and not directly on your skin.

sanjeong lake sledding festival | pocheon korea

There’s nothing like some odeng to warm you from inside out.

I recommend bringing a change of clothes with you for the end of the day. No matter how hard you try, snow is going to end up inside your boots, or snow pants somehow, and start melting. That way you’ll be prepared for whatever winter adventures come next!

This is basically what we wore to the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival. It was enough for our kids to play comfortably outside for literally hours and hours, without complaining about the elements.

Limited Edition Winter Tours in Korea

Korean winter might feel downright frosty, but there’s plenty of fun things to do to help you forget the sub-zero temperatures. Don’t miss these special events and activities that are only available for 2 or 3 months of the year.

vivaldi park snowy land

Vivaldi Park Snowy Land is the best snow park near Seoul.

garden of morning calm lighting festival in winter

The Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival is sure to brighten a cold, winter night

How to Get to the Sanjeonghosu Sledding Festival

Address: 104, Sanjeongho Lake-ro 411beon-gil, Yeongbuk-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 포천시 영북면 산정호수로411번길 104 

Sanjeong Lake is located in Pocheon, about 65-km north east of Seoul, in Gyeonggi-do Province.

sanjeong lake in winter

Pocheon is the land of snow and ice.

Whether you choose to drive, join a day tour, take public transit, or charter a car, there are many ways to get to Pocheon and Sanjeong Lake from Seoul. I’ll cover all the different options available to you, so you can decide what’s best for you.

By Car

If you have your own vehicle or decide to rent a car, driving is probably the easiest way to get to Pocheon – especially when it’s freezing cold outside. There’s parking on-site (free for an hour, small fee afterwards – although no one was checking when we went).

Under normal traffic conditions, it takes approximately 90 minutes or so to reach Sanjeong Lake from popular locations in Seoul. Click any of the following Naver map links, for detailed driving directions.

myeongdong night view

Myeongdong is one of the most popular places to stay in Seoul © Camelpress, Korea Tourism Organization,

Word of warning though – if you’re not used to driving in winter conditions, exercise caution, especially if it’s snowing when you go. The roads can become really slippery.

pocheon | snowy road in winter

Drive carefully if there’s snow on the ground!

Group or Private Tour

Joining an all-inclusive tour to the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is undoubtedly the most convenient and simplest way to enjoy the festival along with all the other fun winter activities in Pocheon, if you don’t have your own transport.

sanjeong lake sledding festival

Tours to the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival are available in January and February.

Here are a few good options to check out:

Sanjeong Lake, Pocheon Art Valley, and the Herb Island Light Festival: This is a great tour for those wanting to see all the highlights of Pocheon in a single day. It has a later start time, so that you end up at the Herb Island Light Festival, when it’s dark.

Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival + Hantan Ice Canyon: With a full 3 hours at Sanjeong Lake, this is a better tour for those who want to spend more time taking part in various activities at the festival. You’ll also walk atop a frozen river, inside an incredible ice canyon.

Private Van Tour to Pocheon: If you’re traveling with a group, this van for up to 7 people is excellent value. No-stress from start to finish, with pick-up from your hotel, and stops at Sanjeong Lake and Herb Island, on your own timing.

herb island lighting festival

Herb Island is another worthwhile stop in Pocheon.

Seoul to Sanjeong Lake in Pocheon using Public Transit

Unless you’re on a serious budget, I don’t recommend using public transit to get to the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival. It takes a minimum of 3 hours from Seoul to reach Pocheon. Keep in mind that you’ll also likely have to wait around at a bus stop in icy cold weather. Dress warm, if this is your planned transport option.

winter in seoul | bus in the snow

Public transit during winter is an adventure!

If you must take public transit however – here’s how to do it.

1
Take a subway or bus to Dobongsan Station | 도봉산역. This is a transfer point for subway lines 1 and 7.
2
Take Exit 1, cross the street, and find the Dobongsan Station Wide Area Bus Transfer Centre | 도봉산역광역환승센터 정류장. It's approximately a 5 minute walk from the subway station.
3
Get on red bus number 1386, ride 44 stops, and get off at Hadong Parking Lot | 하동주차장. The interval between these buses is pretty long - it only comes every 30 minutes or so. You can check Naver Maps to see when the next bus is coming.
4
Walk straight until you reach the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival. This should take approximately 15 minutes.
sanjeong lake | amusement park

If you see this amusement park, you’re in the right place.

Things to Do at the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival

The Sledding Festival in Pocheon surprised me, with just how many excellent winter activities were available. While the sledding activities on the lake are paid for individually on-site (no pre-booking), there’s also plenty of fun, free snow play on hand too.

sanjeong lake sledding festival

There’s plenty of snow to play with at Sanjeong Lake

After you arrive at the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival, I recommend checking out the scene to figure out what you want to try out. When you’ve decided, find the ticket booth and grab passes for your selected activities.

I’m pretty sure they accept cards for payment, but I’d maybe have a little cash on hand – just in case your international credit card runs into issues.

sanjeong lake sledding festival ticket booth

This is where you get tickets for sledding activities (yes, some of the prices have gone up since last year).

Not a big deal if you can’t decide right away – you can always go back to the booth and get more passes for different sleds if required. We picked the rubber duck train (of course), and pedaled a Tricycle + Santa sled around frozen Sanjeong Lake.

Rubber Duck Train | 러버덕기차

Despite the festival being in its 13th year, this rubber duck train is what really put the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival on the map last year. I mean who can resist these 7 undeniably adorable ducks? Definitely not me.

sanjeong lake sledding festival | rubber duck train

With just 7 seats, the line for the rubber duck train is slow. Prepare to wait.

This is THE can’t miss activity at the festival, so grab tickets and get in line ASAP. You’ll probably have to wait quite some time before it’s your turn to board the duck train, but it’s worth it. My daughter was obsessed with sitting in the front, but I’d aim for a spot at the back of the duck train personally.

Cost: 7,000 won for one spin around Sanjeong Lake.

sanjeong lake sledding festival | rubber duck train tickets

The first thing we did was grab tickets for the rubber duck train.

Tricycle + Sleds (Pooh, Penguin, Santa or Duck) | 세발자전거 + 썰매

Costs: Tricycle ONLY, 7,000 won per 30 minutes | Tricycle + Pooh, Penguin, or Santa Sled, 12,000 won per 30 minutes | Tricycle + Duck Sled, 15,000 won per 30 minutes

While the rubber duck train is pulled across the ice by a tractor, the Winnie the Pooh, Penguin, Santa and Duck sled are attached to tricycles and pedaled around Sanjeong Lake using your own power (mostly).

sanjeong lake sledding festival | tricycle with duck

Ducks are the stars of the show at Sanjeongho Lake.

If you select any of the Pooh, Penguin, or Duck Tricycle combos, you’re required to remain pedaling in a large loop close to where you hop on board. I’m not 100% sure why this is, but my guess is that it’s because only the Tricycles pulling the Santa sleds have been fitted with a little electric power. Just a guess though!

sanjeong lake sledding festival | tricycle and santa sled

Definitely got a workout, riding this around frozen Sanjeong Lake

I have to say that the Santa tricycle is not overly easy to pedal on ice – especially if the electric power isn’t working properly (like my friend’s wasn’t). Make sure it’s on and functional – otherwise you might struggle to get anywhere.

One big advantage of the Santa sled though, is that you can to take it far out into the isolated expanses of Sanjeong Lake. We chose it for exactly this reason, and it really was such a humbling experience to be surrounded by all that nature and stillness.

sanjeong lake in winter

Nobody here but snow, ice, and us.

EOBI ICE VALLEY + NAMI ISLAND TOUR  |  Enter a crystalline world at Eobi Ice Valley, find serenity in the snow at Nami Island, then check out all the sparkling lights at the Garden of Morning Calm Light Festival. Check full details here.

Ice Sled | 얼음 썰매

Cost: 6,000 won per 30 minutes

There are also ice sleds to try out at the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival, but it’s probably not what you think it is. It involves squeezing your butt onto a tiny piece of wood, and trying to maneuver around on ice, using ski poles made for miniature people. If you’re up for the challenge, go for it!

ice sled

Ice sledding is common at winter festivals around Korea.

Free Activities

The best thing about the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is that you don’t actually have to spend an extra dime to have fun. In fact, we spent the bulk of our time there, just hanging out and playing with ice and snow. And um…. eating a lot of odeng (unfortunately, not free).

sanjeonghosu sledding festival | odeng

The odeng there was so delicious! The empty skewers are the evidence.

Snow Sledding | 눈썰매

We threw our cheap, plastic sleds into the back of the car last minute, and am I ever glad we did. This incline was irresistible to the kids. They must’ve spent at least an hour trudging up the hill, and flying back down, over and over again.

I admit, I had a few tries myself. So much fun!

sanjeong lake sledding festival | snow sledding

Bring your own sled!

As far as I could see, there weren’t any of these types of sleds available for rent or sale at Sanjeong Lake, so better to bring your own if you have one. Many local residents had done the same.

Stroll the Sanjeonghosu Dulle-gil | 산정호수 둘레길

Korea loves its dulle-gils, so it’s no big surprise that Sanjeong Lake has one too. Follow the curves of the lake atop an enclosed walkway, enjoying the ice kingdom around you.

sanjeong lake sledding festival | rubber duck train

Say hello to the ducks on your stroll.

Be prepared for a 4.58-km long walking path, which takes about 90 minutes to complete (maybe a bit longer, if there’s a lot of snow). Of course, given that Sangjeonghosu is frozen solid, you could just jump off the pathway at any point, and walk back across the lake to your starting point, instead of making the whole loop!

Enjoy the Snowy Winter Wonderland

It doesn’t actually snow that much in Seoul. When it does, it tends to melt on contact. Much of the snow you see at ski resorts and other winter attractions in Korea, are usually a mix of artificial and natural snow. But believe me, there is a difference between the two!

sanjeong lake sledding festival in pocheon

I’ve never seen this much natural snow in Korea.

Coming from Canada, I didn’t think I’d ever miss snow, but it was actually SUCH a pleasure to be surrounded by mounds and mounds of fluffy, natural snow in Pocheon.

The Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival has done a great job of setting up pretty photo zones, where you can get excellent winter wonderland shots to commemorate your visit. Enjoy!

sanjeong lake sledding festival in pocheon

There are plenty of pretty photo spots at Sanjeong Lake.

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Sanjeong Lake: Essential Info and FAQs

1
Where is the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival? Sanjeong Lake is located in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul. The festival takes place on top of the frozen lake, and surrounding area.
2
How much does the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival cost? There's no admission fee, but separate tickets are required for each of the sledding activities. It's not expensive though, and you can pick them up on-site.
3
When is the Sledding Festival in Pocheon? The Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival is a winter event. It usually takes place from late December to mid-February, but exact dates can change based on how frozen the lake is.
4
What amenities are available at Sanjeong Lake? There is limited parking, washrooms, food stalls, cafes, and an amusement park at Sanjeong Lake.

Do you just HAVE to ride that duck sled? I admit, I felt exactly the same…

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