Things to do in South Korea during Winter

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Walk with Cham in Winter South Korea.

Every tropical girl dreams of experiencing WINTER. I've been fantasizing about it since I was young - like walking on white snowy pavement, looking at the snowflakes dropping from the sky and wouldn't mind freezing to death because I got to wear the cutest winter outfits. So at last, that long time dream came into reality just last December. My family (parents and brother) got to tick White Christmas off our bucket list. The good thing about it was that we didn't go that far. In Asia, there are several countries that have 4 seasons - China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. And because we just went to China last year (Read Things to do in Beijing China) while Japan and Russia's airfare were way beyond our budget we opted to settle for South Korea for 10 days (yes, this was where we celebrated Christmas and New Year). To make the most out of our trip we visited 2 cities and 2 provinces, entered in Incheon (Seoul) and departed from Busan.

Because it was all our first time, we tried as many winter activities as possible. Here is our winter checklist that you might want to try.

Try Winter Sports Activities
If it's your first time to experience snow, winter activities are a MUST! 

Skiing, Snowboarding and Sledding at Bearstown Ski Resort
Among the many ski resorts in South Korea, Bearstown Ski Resort is the closest from Seoul so this was our destination of choice. They offer skiing, snowboarding and sledding, from the three we tried skiing (for me) and snowboarding (for Kuya). Honestly, being an amateur skier my experience was slightly a disaster but I couldn't care less as I had the time of my life even more so when it started snowing. The experience was surreal! (for more of my experience click HERE)

Skiing at Bearstown Ski Resort

Ice Fishing, Snow Tubing and Snow Rafting at Pyeongchang Trout Festival
The main goal why we traveled for 2.5 hours from Seoul to Pyeongchang Trout Festival via bus was to try Ice Fishing, sadly ice fishing wasn't operational the time we were there since the ice from the lake was too thin and would cause it to break making it unsafe. We were all devastated but were able to cope with it when we tried other winter activities in store like snow tubing and snow rafting(for more of my experience click HERE)

Ice Fishing
Snow tubing is FUN!
Snow Rafting, one heck of a ride!

Holiday Illumination
During the holidays, it is always nice to visit places with festive Christmas lights so you can feel the Yuletide vibe. In Seoul there are several spots where you can appreciate the holiday illumination like malls, city hall, hotels and theme parks. There are also Lighting Festivals such as Garden of the Morning Calm and Boseong Green Tea Plantation Light Festival. For us, we visited three beautiful places that dazzles during the Christmas season.

The most famous river in Seoul illuminates at night during Christmas season making it a nice place to visit while having a chilly stroll along the stream. And for an affordable fee of 3,000 won (P120) you can light a Hope Lantern where you write down your wishes then release it on the river. (for more of my experience click HERE)

Period: December- January | 6 pm - 10 pm

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Rose Garden Dongdaemun Design Plaza
The beautiful 2,000 LED Roses are a feast to everyone's eyes and will be open until February 2016. What's even better is that it's for free. (for more of my experience click HERE)

Period: April - February | 7 pm - 12 am

LED Rose Garden DDP
Busan Christmas Tree Festival
In Busan, we visited a Nampodong, a plaza full of holiday illumination. Your winter trip to Busan will not be complete without a walk here.

Period: November - January | 6 pm - 11 pm

Busan Christmas Tree Festival

Busan Christmas Tree Festival

You can check the complete list of South Korea Winter Festival here

You can skate all year round but you can only skate outdoors during winter. After 10 years I was able to try skating again but this time in an open area. For a cheap fee of 1,000 won (P40) I was able to skate for an hour. You'd enjoy this more when you're with a partner or friends. (for more of my experience click HERE)

Outdoor Skating

Eat Winter Food
There are certain foods that's only available during winter like chestnuts. Chestnut vendors are just scattered in the streets of Seoul, we saw several of them at the Seoul Plaza City Hall, Hongik University and MyeongdongFor 3,000 won (P120) you can ultimately fulfill your Holiday cravings. 

Chestnuts for sale

Go to a Warmer City
Like Busan perhaps where the weather is more tolerable during winter. Honestly, sometimes we couldn't stand the biting cold in Seoul especially during evenings when the temperature drops big time and it was such a relief when we went to Busan (temp is 10 to -4 the time were there). The weather was more pleasant, no gloves needed :) (Listed down the Things to do in Busan)

Busan City

Other activities we tried that you can try [winter or not]

Kimchi Making at Kimchi Academy
Kimchi is a staple food (banchan) in South Korea, they serve this everyday even during Christmas. If you're a fan of Kimchi (like us) and would want to learn how to make them, attend a 30 minute cooking class at Kimchi Academy. Maybe you can serve Korean cuisine next Christmas season. Why not? (for more of my experience click HERE)

Mama making Kimchi

Visit Myeongdong
Christmas or not, a trip to Seoul wouldn't be complete without a visit to the streets of Myeongdong. Myeongdong is a bustling area where you can see tons of restaurants, cafes, shops and street foods. People, tourists and locals flock here especially during night time making you feel you're in a yuletide trip all year round. 

Food trip in Myeongdong

Famous landmarks in Seoul
If you're a first timer in Seoul you can visit its many famous landmarks like Nami Island, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bokchon Hanok Village, DMZ among many others. We skipped these activities as I've already visited them.

#ChaMike during spring at Bukchon Hanok Village
Fulfilling all these activities in my winter checklist made me want to travel to South Korea again, maybe during autumn? We'll see, as long as my multiple visa isn't expired yet!

Check out our Winter Wonderland adventure on youtube

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  1. Hi! Your blog is amazing! 😉 Just want to ask for your suggestions when in comes to winter outfits. Hehe. Will be in Korea Feb next year and I want to plan ahead my ootd's. Haha. Thanks! ☺

    1. Hi Christine! Thank you for the kind words.
      I have a separate blog for that. check this out

    2. Yay. Will check this out. Thank you! ☺

  2. Hi! May I ask how you went to Busan from Seoul? Are buses always available even during the holiday season? Can you recommend a hotel in Busan? Thanks!

    1. Hello Cat!
      Kindly check this posts
      Train to Busan
      Instead of hotel we booked at an airbnb. check this out

      Hope I was able to help you!

    2. Your blog is indeed very helpful and useful. Thanks so much!

  3. I found this post really helpful, glad you and your family had a great time. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  4. Awesome blog Cham! This is really helpful. Thank you :)

  5. hi. What's the weather like in Korea between the 1st and 2nd week of December? Do you know where we can catch snow at that time? Thanks!

    1. Not sure if you can catch a snow during that time :( haven't traveled in Korea on those weeks.


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