Visiting Seoul in winter?
I know. Traveling in winter can be tough. When it is cold, I just want to stay indoors and do not really want to adventure. I definitely prefer visiting a new place in warmer seasons. But, sometimes I go on a trip in cold seasons. Likewise, you might want to experience winter in Seoul or you just happen to visit to Korea in colder and darker months. In any case, don’t worry! There are still plenty of things to do in a vibrant city like Seoul.
So, when does winter start and end? In Seoul, winter lasts for about 4 months from November to February. The coldest month of the year is January with an average temperature of -6℃~3℃. In December sun rises at around 7.30 am and it gets dark at about 5 pm. The temperature is pretty low but you will have enough sunshine during the daytime, which is really nice.
KOREAN SPA, JJIMJILBANG (찜질방)
There is nothing like going to jjimjilbang in freezing temperatures. Koreans go to a jjimjilbang to relax, hang out with friends, take a nap or just to have fun. Jjimjilbang opens for 24 hours a day and is equipped with saunas, heated communal resting rooms, restaurants and huge lounges. Some places have a noraebang (a karaoke box), a movie theater and a gym. You can stay in there for hours or even for the entire night.
LOTTE WORLD & LOTTE WORLD MALL
Lotte World is commonly regarded as the best theme park in Korea. It consists of two main parts, the outdoor amusement park and the world’s largest indoor theme park. Parades, performances or festivals are usually held indoors, so rain or shine, hot or cold, you can always enjoy their offers.
Lotte World also has a Folk Museum and an ice skating rink which is the largest one in Korea.
Next to Lotte World is Lotte World Tower, which is the tallest building in Korea with 123 floors and 556 meters (1,824 ft). You can enjoy shopping at Lotte World Mall. They have basically all kinds of brands and goods. In addition, there are a movie theater, an aquarium, a gallery, and more.
SKIING & SNOWBOARDING
Korea mostly consists of mountains and forests and many of them are suitable for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The closest ski resort to Seoul lies just an hour’s drive from the city. Most ski resorts provide slopes covering all levels from beginners to advanced.
HOTTEOK, BUNGEOPPANG, AND ROASTED CHESTNUTS
Street food stalls are on almost every corner of Seoul. Among delicious specialties Hotteok, Bungeoppang and Roasted Chestnuts are best Korean street food you must try in winter. Hotteok (호떡) is a pancake filled up with brown sugar and syrup. Children and adults all love this very sweet treat. Bungeoppang (붕어빵) is a fish-shaped pastry with red bean paste. Roasted Chestnuts (군밤) are also the typical winter snacks. You can see chestnuts being roasted on charcoal and buy the warm sweet chestnuts.
ICE SKATING IN SEOUL PLAZA SKATE RINK
Seoul Plaza Skate Rink is probably the most famous ice skating rink in Seoul. Seoul Plaza Skate Rink is not in service this year due to the weekly protests against the president, but it will re-open as usual next winter. Alternatively, you can visit Sangam MBC Skate Rink, Seoul Art Center, Lotte World Indoor Ice Skating Rink or Olympic Park Ice Skating Rink.
Winter is the perfect season to visit the museums. My favorite museum in Seoul is Daelim Museum which is specialized in modern art. Seoul Arts Center, an art and culture complex, is the popular cultural destination as well. There are museums, concert halls, an opera house, outdoor stages, restaurants, and shops. Besides, check out National Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관), Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (삼성미술관 리움), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (국립현대미술관) and Seoul Trick Eye Museum (서울 트릭아이미술관).