Winter in Korea – This year’s summer has been extremely punishing, and will only get worst in years to come with global warming. Can’t do much about the weather, but we can start “imagining” the cooling white winter holidays to come in a couple of month’s time. No point looking back on all the #throwbacks of holiday destinations now, start keeping eyes glued on those winter season air tickets to #flymetokorea. With JejuAir now also flying from Singapore to Busan, it gives us more options to fly in addition to the likes of Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, and Singapore Airlines.
Visit Jeju Island
If you are concerned with the extremely cold winter, Jeju is a good choice as it remains warmer than the rest of Korea. All you really need to do is rent a car, book your lodging, book your wifi and you are probably on your way!
Rule of thumb, the further North you go the colder it gets. Pyeongchang that hosted the winter olympics is up in the North. A hike up the gorgeous Hallasan will still give you the picturesque views for that drone or instagram photo, and cafe hopping at various sea-facing cafe for a laid-back holiday. Apart from these, winter is also a good time to head to the Tangerine farms to enjoy the sweet tangerines Jeju is famed for.
“Ga” what you said? Gapyeong is where the famous Nami Island is at, and all the famous attractions at Gapyeong gives off a very different vibe across the different seasons. Be it the white trees on Nami Island reminisce the scenes of all-time favourite drama “Winter Sonata”, or a winter ride on the Gapyeong Rail Park (가평레일파크) to inhale the scenery of Gapyeong, and of course not missing out on the ever gorgeous The Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원) at night where all the trees lights up.
If you find that public transport is too much of a hassle, and your group is rather big (< 9 pax), you can consider booking a private vehicle that will bring you around the key attractions in Gapyeong at your convenience. Just like how many people are used to touring countries like Taiwan and even Malaysia.
Luxury Glamping in Gapyeong
If the usual stuff is not good enough for you, how about some #trending experience of winter glamping in Korea? 67 Village Resort is probably just the thing for you, and the more comfortable kind of outdoor experience that we pampered city people can accept.
How can we ever miss the abundance winter festivals for you and I to busk in the festivities within the locals. You are used to winter skiing in Hokkaido and Europe, but ice fishing should be an experience not to be missed. There are various winter festivals every year from late December to January, and you should really try to get yourself to one of these for your winter in korea holidays.
- Pyeongchang Trout Festival – Pyeongchang Trout Festival annually takes place in Pyeongchang-gun, the largest trout producer in Korea. Trout cultivated in the clear waters of Pyeongchang are popular for their rich and chewy texture. At the festival, visitors can enjoy ice fishing along with other fun activities such as barehanded fishing and sledding.
- Taebaeksan Snow Festival – Taebaek City is back with its annual Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival this January, ever since it first started out in 1994. Watch as Taebaeksan Mountain transforms into a magical Winter Wonderland covered in blankets of white snow. Just like Daegwallyeong, Taebaeksan Mountain receives a lofty amount of snowfall each year which is used to make gigantic snow sculptures. Though they may seem quite small in photos, they are the main attraction of this festival for a reason. Be impressed by the snowy works of art that come in all shapes and sizes. There’s much more to enjoy such as sledding down an enormous snow sledding hill and making your own mini snowman. If you’re up for a challenge, why not have a go at the Taebaeksan Mountain Snowflake Hiking Competition? For a little break from the cold, check out the literally “cool” Igloo Cafe for a warm cup of tea.
- Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival – The Sancheoneo Ice Festival is held in the pristine natural environment around Hwacheoncheon Stream, the natural habitat of mountain trout and otters. One of the most popular programs at the festival is ice fishing, where people cut a hole through thick ice and try their luck at catching trout. Visitors can also brave the icy water and try catching fish barehanded. Helpful staff are available to ensure that even first-timers get a catch. Freshly caught fish can be consumed either raw or grilled on site.
- Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival – The Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival is famous for ice fishing for trout, and your catch can be eaten right away, raw or grilled! Other activities include ice sledding, riding bumper cars on snow, traditional experiences, and more.
- Inje Icefish Festival – It’s already been a whopping 20 years since the first Inje Icefish Festival was held and all this experience has sure made it one of the most popular ice fishing festivals. As a much-anticipated festival, there are expected to be more than 2,000 holes available for people to fish at Soyangho Lake, the largest man-made lake in Korea. That should be enough to cover the flocks of ice-fishers visiting, right? Apart from fishing are many other Winter activities that everyone can participate in such as sledding and ice soccer. There will also be various educational events for the public to take part in to learn a little more about fishing. So, don’t worry if you’re an ice-fishing newbie. Make sure to stop over at the Inje Icefish Festival for a truly memorable winter experience!
- Daegwallyeong Snow Festival – Daegwallyeong, a.k.a the “Alps of Korea with its noteworthy snowy mountain tops and sheep farms, is a definite must-visit Winter destination. Daegwallyeong Snow Festival has been a continuous success for many years since 1993 thanks to the heavy snowfalls in this area that provide it with sufficient “resources”. This also makes it the perfect place for snow-sculpting which is the main attraction of this spectacular snow-white festival. Marvel at the colossal snow sculptures displayed throughout the festival and take part in many winter activities and programs prepared for an unforgettable day at the Daegwallyeong Snow Festival!
- Mt. Deogyusan & Maisan Winter Wonderland – Ever wanted to visit a real Winter wonderland where everything is literally covered in a blanket of glistening white snow? Well, you might just be able to make your wish come true at Mt. Deogyusan & Maisan Winter Wonderland during your trip to Korea. Though some of the lesser-known mountains, Mt. Deogyusan & Maisan provide some of the most beautiful views of Nature. The iconic Sangjeru at Mt. Deogyusan and Tapsa Temple at Maisan are certainly a sight to behold. Against a backdrop of snow-capped mountain tops, the magnificent temples go in perfect harmony with the surroundings, creating the most picturesque view of Winter ever. Create that perfect snowy-white Winter memory with your family and friends at Mt. Deogyusan & Maisan this Winter!
What is winter when you experience snow, but do not hit a ski resort to have some fun speeding down the snowy slopes and mountains? Here are some of our recommendation and deals to go along.
- Alpensia Ski Resort – The Alpensia Resort (알펜시아 리조트) is a ski resort located in Pyeongchang, where the annual Pyeongchang Trout Festival takes place. Alpensia’s a tiny ski hill with just 3 chairlifts and 6 runs down 160m of vert. To be honest, if you’re looking for Gangwon-do’s best skiing, it isn’t at Alpensia… it is a good choice for beginners though, as the gentle terrain and small size make it suitable for learning.
- Yongpyong Ski Resort – Spanning 4,300 acres and 29 km of marked trails, Yongpyong is South Korea’s biggest ski resort. Built in 1974, it was also Korea’s first purpose-built alpine resort, and to this day remains its most popular. Yongpyong is serviced by 15 cable lifts (totalling 13.7 km) including an 8-person high-speed gondola, which whisks skiers from base level to Dragon Peak (1,438 m), the resort’s highest point. Rainbow Gondola is open to tourists all-year-round, and provides an excellent platform from which to soak up the views of Balwangsan and surrounding mountains.
- Vivaldi Park Ski World – Vivaldi Park is the flagship resort of the Daemyung leisure resort group, and is pretty much the textbook example of the typical ski resort business model in Korea; a huge hotel, condo & mall development nestled in the mountains, with a golf course, a water park (Ocean World, apparently modelled on Ancient Egypt for some reason), and the ski area all attached.
- Jisan Foest Ski Resort – Jisan Forest Resort, which opened in December 1996, makes for the perfect one-day trip from Seoul. It is located only forty minutes from the capital and is covered with beautiful white pines. Furthermore, Icheon ceramics complex is a mere 15 minutes away, offering a variety of sights to see and ceramicware experience programs to enjoy. Everland Amusement park and a hot springs complex are also located very close by.
- Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort – Elysian Gangchon is a comprehensive resort combining condominiums, a golf course, and ski slopes. Sports and leisure can be enjoyed amid nature all year round. The greatest advantage of Elysian Gangchon is that it is connected to Seoul by subway. The metropolitan city subway connects people to Chuncheon and the ski resort allowing skiers and boarders to enjoy the snow without the hassle of having to go through traffic.