Travel Highlights

Discover Korea's Winter

  • Tag Event Tour
  • Date12/19/2019
  • Hit1651512

Discover Korea’s Winter campaign image

Throughout the world, the end of one year and beginning of a new one is filled with events, parties, and gatherings. This year, the celebrations are bigger than ever, celebrating not just the New Year, but also ringing in a new decade! If your travel plans have you spending time in Korea in the next few weeks, be sure to check out some of the ways Koreans enjoy year-end celebrations!

Hit the slopes at a ski resort

Korean ski resorts (Credits: Yongpyong Resort (top), High1 Resort (left), Alpensia Resort (right))

Ski resorts are popular all winter, but many Koreans plan their trips around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you come from a country that doesn’t get snow, Korea is a great place to enjoy skiing and snowboarding! With multiple ski resorts all offering slopes of varying skill levels, it’s easy to find one to enjoy, especially in Gangwon-do. Some of the resorts even served as official venues for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, including Yongpyong Ski Resort, Alpensia Ski Resort, Phoenix Snow Park, and High1 Ski Resort!

Related content:
- Spend an Exciting Winter at Korea’s Ski Resorts
- Step-by-step Guide to Ski Resorts!
Yongpyong Ski Resort
☞ Ski season: November 15, 2019 – Early March 2020 (Subject to change depending on weather conditions)
☞ Address: 715, Olympic-ro, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 평창군 대관령면 올림픽로 715)
☞ Directions: Take the free shuttle bus from Jinbu (Odaesan) Station
* Shuttle bus operating period: December 2, 2019 – February 29, 2020
* Refer to the website for more details
☞ Inquiries: +82-33-335-5757 (한, 영)
* Availability of foreign language assistance varies by staff work schedule
☞ Website: www.yongpyong.co.kr (Korean, English, Chinese)
* Slope map available on the website
Alpensia Ski Resort
☞ Ski season: November 22, 2019 – Early March 2020 (Subject to change depending on weather conditions)
☞ Address: 325, Solbong-ro, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 평창군 대관령면 솔봉로 325)
☞ Directions: Take the free shuttle bus from Jinbu (Odaesan) Station
* Shuttle bus operating period: July 1, 2019 – February 28, 2020
* Refer to the website for more details
☞ Inquiries: +82-33-339-0000 (Korean, English)
☞ Website: www.alpensiaresort.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
* Slope map available on the website
Phoenix Snow Park
☞ Ski season: November 22, 2019 – Early March 2020 (Subject to change depending on weather conditions)
☞ Address: 325, Solbong-ro, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 평창군 대관령면 솔봉로 325)
☞ Directions: Take the free shuttle bus from Jinbu (Odaesan) Station
* Shuttle bus operating period: July 1, 2019 – February 28, 2020
* Refer to the website for more detailsv
☞ Inquiries: +82-33-339-0000 (Korean, English)
☞ Website: www.alpensiaresort.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
* Slope map available on the website
High1 Ski Resort
☞ Ski season: November 22, 2019 – Early March 2020 (Subject to change depending on weather conditions)
☞ Address: 500, High1-gil, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 정선군 고한읍 하이원길 500)
☞ Directions: Take the free shuttle bus from Gohan Station or Sabuk Station
* Shuttle bus operating period: Year-round
* Refer to the website for more details
☞ Inquiries: +82-1588-7789 (Korean, English, Chinese)
☞ Website: www.high1.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
* Slope map available on the website

Enjoy romantic lighting festivals

Boseong Tea Plantation Light Festival (Bottom credit: Boseong-gun Office)

There are many lighting festivals in Korea, with Boseong Tea Plantation Light Festival being perhaps the start of it all; the festival first took place in 1999 with a Millennium Tree. In the following 20 years, the festival has grown to include colorful lights on the terraced tea plants and media façade shows. This year’s festival takes place from November 29, 2019 to January 5, 2020 in the area of the Korean Tea Culture Park.

SEOUL LIGHT (Credit: ⓒ Refik Anadol Studio, Seoul Design Foundaion)

If Boseong is a bit too far to include in your travel itinerary, you can still enjoy fantastic lights at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul! Every evening from December 20 to January 3, the exterior of DDP will be transformed into a giant canvas for SEOUL LIGHT. The light show is designed by Refik Anadol Studio, and uses DDP’s signature silver color and fluid lines to create a mesmerizing performance of moving lights and music.

Fireworks Cruise (Top & right credit: Eland Cruise) / Lotte World Tower Seoul Sky Countdown (left credit: Seoul Sky)

If you happen to be in Korea on New Year’s Eve, be sure to join one of the countdown celebrations taking place in Seoul! Seoul Sky, the observatory on 118-123F of Lotte World Tower, is holding a special countdown event on December 31, complete with videos and events for a complete party atmosphere.

Additional events taking place on New Year’s Eve include Eland Cruise’s fireworks cruise on the Hangang River and fireworks & music cruise in Sokcho, and a small firework & campfire festival at Sampo Beach. More lighting festivals include Ulsan Grand Park Light Festival, Seoulland Winter Light Festival, Haeundae Light Festival, and First Garden Light Festival.

Boseong Tea Plantation Light Festival
☞ Event period: November 29, 2019 – January 5, 2020
* Lighting: 18:00-22:00
☞ Event venue: 775, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 보성군 보성읍 녹차로 775)
☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 10 min from Boseong Bus Terminal or Boseong Station
☞ Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Children, senior citizens & groups 2,000 won
* Adults (ages 19-64) / Children (ages 7-18) / Senior citizens (ages 65 & older)
*Preschoolers (ages 6 & younger) enter free
☞ Website: www.boseong.go.kr/tour (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
SEOUL LIGHT
☞ Event period: December 20, 2019 – January 3, 2020
* Light show: 8 times daily 18:00-22:00
☞ Event venue: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 을지로 281)
* Light show takes place outside Art Hall, Museum & Design Lab buildings
☞ Directions: Connected to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 4, 5) through underground passage
☞ Admission: Free
☞ Website: www.ddp.or.kr (Korean, English)
Seoul Sky Countdown
☞ Event period: 23:00-25:00 December 31, 2019 (Last admission 23:50)
* Ticket sales: Online December 2, 2019 until sold out on first-come, first-served basis
☞ Event venue: 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 300)
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 1 min from Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 8), Exit 1 or 2
☞ Admission: Free
* Fees apply to special countdown event; refer to website for details
☞ Website: seoulsky.lotteworld.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Do something unique

Haeundae Polar Bear Festival (Credit: Polar Bear Festival Organizing Office)

If you really want to make memories of your winter trip, do something wild and crazy, like take a dip in the ocean! Listed as one of the 10 most unique winter festivals by the BBC, Haeundae Polar Bear Festival will take place January 4-5 at Haeundae Beach. The festival is an annual event, with hundreds of people taking the plunge each year. If you’re brave enough to join them, it will definitely be an experience you won’t forget!

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival (Top credit: Nara Foundation)

If an ocean swim is too extreme, head to Hwacheon for the annual Sancheoneo Ice Festival. Located in Gangwon-do, the festival focuses on all things snow and ice, with both ice fishing and bare-handed fishing for mountain trout, ice sledding, ice and snow sculptures, and exciting performances. The festival is planned to take place January 27 - February 16,  2020, when the river is solidly frozen over.

There are many winter festivals taking place throughout the country, including Inje Icefish Festival, Pyeongchang Trout Festival, Yangpyeong Icefish Festival, Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival, Ganghwado Icefish & Trout Festival, Sansuyu Village Icefish Festival, Paju Trout Festival, Baegungyegok Valley Dongjangkun Festival, Anseong Icefish Festival, and more!

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
☞ Event period: January 27 - February 16, 2020
☞ Event venue: Area of Hwacheon-eup, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 화천군 화천읍 및 3개면 일원)
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 20 min from Hwacheon Bus Terminal
☞ Trout fishing fee: Adults 10,000 won / Children 8,000 won
* Fee based on non-Korean nationality; must present passport on site to receive discounted rate
* Refer to website for additional experience fee details
☞ Main events: Ice fishing, trout experience, snow & ice experience, cultural events, street lantern festival, etc.
* Foreigner-exclusive fishing site located below the suspension bridge at the festival grounds; limited to 1,000 people per day; Refer to website for details
☞ Website: www.narafestival.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish)
Haeundae Polar Bear Festival
☞ Event period: January 4-5, 2020
* Registration accepted until December 20, 2019
☞ Event venue: 47, Dalmaji-gil 62beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan (부산광역시 해운대구 달맞이길62번길 47)
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 10 min from Haeundae Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 3
☞ Participation fee: 20,000 won
☞ Main events: Snow bubble party, polar bear Olympics, food booths, Norazo performance, etc.
☞ Website: bear.busan.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Celebrate a classic Christmas

Christmas in Seoul (Right credit: Lotte World)

If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas away from home, a visit to Myeong-dong is a must! The department stores, shopping malls, and restaurants all try to out-do each other with elaborate Christmas displays and decorations. Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the birth of Christ; Myeongdong Cathedral has a reenactment of the nativity scene, followed by midnight mass. Both events are open to the public for free.

For families traveling to Korea with children, the best place to celebrate the magic of Christmas is at Lotte World! Take pictures in front of the indoor Dream Castle or the elaborately decorated Magic Castle, which has been transformed into Snow Castle for the holidays. Children and adults alike will fall in love with the cute characters of Lotte World as they perform stage shows and participate in parades.

Related content:
- Very Merry Christmas in Seoul
Myeongdong Cathedral
☞ Address: 74, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 명동길 74)
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 10 min from Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 5 or 8
☞ Operating hours: 06:00-21:00
* Christmas Eve event planned to start at 22:30 on December 24, 2019
☞ Website: www.mdsd.or.kr (Korean, English)
Lotte World Make a Miracle Winter Festival
☞ Event period: November 23 – December 31, 2019
* Stage show schedule: 15:20 / 18:30
☞ Event venue: 240, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 240)
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 10 min from Jamsil Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 8), Exit 3
☞ Admission
- 1Day: Adults 56,000 won / Teenagers 50,000 won / Children & senior citizens 46,000 won
- After4: Adults 45,000 won / Teenagers 40,000 won / Children & senior citizens 35,000 won
* After4 applies to admission after 16:00
* Adults (ages 19-64) / Teenagers (ages 13-18) / Children (ages 3-12) / Senior citizens (ages 65 & older)
* Babies (ages 2 & younger) enter free
* Must present proof of age to receive discounted rates
* Refer to website for more detailed admission information
☞ Main events: Photo zone (Dream Castle, Miracle Tree), stage show (Lotty’s Adventure), etc.
☞ Website (Lotte World): adventure.lotteworld.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Follow the stars

Hallyu shops (Top credit: Lotte Palatte)

For hallyu fans, a trip to Korea wouldn’t be complete without checking out the latest stars and stocking up on idol goods. You can find many K-pop products at shops in and around Myeong-dong, such as Palette, located within Lotte Young Plaza, or in places such as I Doll Look and SP-Factory in Hongdae. For more than just shopping, head to hallyu experience centers such as SM Town or K-Style Hub. SM Town, located within the COEX complex in Gangnam, in particular focuses on idols signed with SM Entertainment. Visitors can purchase goods, desserts, and even watch hologram concerts of their favorite stars!

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K-Style Hub
☞ Address: 2-5F, KTO Seoul Office, 40, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 청계천로 40 한국관광공사 2~5층)
☞ Directions
- Walk for approx. 5 min from Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 5 or Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 2
- Walk for approx. 10 min from Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5
☞ Operating hours
- 2F (TIC): 09:00-20:00
* Travel Café: Weekdays 09:00-19:00 / Closed weekends & public holidays
- 3F & 5F: Weekdays 09:00-19:00 / Weekends & public holidays 09:00-20:00
* Craft experience: 09:00-18:00
- 4F: 10:00-20:00
☞ Admission: Free (Fees apply to experience programs on 4F)
☞ Main programs: Tourist information, travel product exhibition, cultural experiences (hallyu, VR, crafting, cooking), etc.
☞ Inquiries: +82-2-729-9457 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Website: www.visitkorea.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Russian)
SM Town
☞ Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513)
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 10 min from Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6
☞ Operating hours: 11:00-21:00
* SM Town Museum: 11:00-20:50
* SM Town Theater hours vary by show; refer to website for schedule
☞ Admission
- SM Town Museum: Adults 18,000 won (Online pre-purchase 16,200 won)
- SM Town Theater: Varies by show; refer to website for details
☞ Inquiries: +82-1670-6330 (Korean only)
☞ Website: www.smtownland.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Palette – Lotte Young Plaza
☞ Address: B1, Lotte Young Plaza, 67, Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 남대문로67본점 영플라자 지하 1층)
☞ Operating hours: 11:30-21:30 / Closed when Lotte Young Plaza is closed
☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 5 min from Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 7
More Info
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

* This column was last updated in January 2020, and therefore some information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.