Korea in Glistening Winter

by - 21 December

Whatever season you choose to travel to Korea, you will definitely have a great time discovering this lovely countryside all throughout the year.

After the passing of beautiful cherry blossoms in spring, the charm of invitingly warm summer and colourful season of autumn’s falling leaves, Korea is then transformed into a glistening winter wonderland.

The winter season in the Korean Peninsula usually starts from December until mid-March of next year. It’s characterized to be extremely cold due to the influx brought by the freezing air from Siberia which ranges between -6° and +3° celsius.

During the coldest season of the year, Korea is blanketed with heavenly, white snow. With the popular parks, tourist attractions and the great mountains painted with glittering snow, like any other season, winter is cherished for its own merit.

Lounging in hot spring spas, heading to the snow-capped peaks, paying a visit to theme parks, and or trying out seasonal food, wintertime in Korea is sure a treat to indulge and experience.

Give winter sports a shot.

With the northern and eastern parts of Korea wrapped in heavy snow, the mountains in these regions make promising conditions for winter activities and sports. Since Korea is a mountainous state, there really are a lot of ski resorts that are equipped with state of the art facilities in which guests get to experience an exciting session of skiing and snowboarding. In addition to the popular winter sports, there are also recreational packages that are worth a try as offered by these world class ski resorts, such as snow sledding and tobogganing.

Snowboarders and skiers spending a day on the snow carpeted slopes. © Korea.net

Besides, ice skating is as well one of the top activities to try during the cold season. You can try it out any time of the year but to experience the ice and snow fall in an outdoor ice rink is far different and one of a kind in the winter.

Experience the sauna culture.

Keeping warm is another way to make sure that you stay well and healthy during wintertime. Natural hot springs are often visited and can be found in every corner of the country. Although most of the mineral-enriched hot pools are situated outside Korea’s bustling cities, many Koreans are still looking forward to visiting these seasonal destinations.

Jjimjilbang is a gender-separated bathhouse where one can enjoy various wellness facilities such as hot pools and saunas. © Korea.net

One particular relaxation facility that’s so popular and enjoyed during the season is the Korean-style, gender segregated bathhouse known as jjimjilbang찜질방. These bathhouses are commonly offer different types of saunas, including hot tubs and sleeping rooms for you to relax and get warm.

Whether you want to spend soaking in a hot spring, stay the whole day in a steam room, or trying some of the most unique spa treatments, it surely will not just keep you warm but also make your winter vacation a rejuvenating one.

Try something too hot.

With the splendid shifting of the weather, restaurant menus also changes for seasonal variations of delicious Korean diet. Spicy foods are best in the winter to heat up your taste buds. Hot seafood noodles jjamppong 짬뽕 and stews such as kimchi jjigae 김치찌개, yukgaejang 육개장 and maeuntang 매운탕, heavily spiced chicken buldak 불닭 as well as tteokbokki 떡볶이 rice cakes in sweet red chili sauce, are just some of the spicy yet healthy Korean food that you will absolutely enjoy in the winter as it can improve your health and help the body to stay warm.

Maeuntang is a hot spicy fish stew cooked with gochugaru chili powder, gochujang or red chili pepper paste and various vegetables. © Korea.net

Moreover, although it isn’t cooked in a spicy sauce and steaming hot pots, the popular fish-shaped waffles with sweet red bean paste and or chocolate fillings called bungeoppang 붕어빵 is also a must-try snack dessert to fancy at during the cold winter days.

Relive childhood memories in a theme park.

Aside from the beautiful sunrise and scenic snowy peaks every morning of the winter, witnessing the attractive illuminations decorated in the parks and along the streets is but as well a great experience and breath-taking setting for a perfect winter date. Not to mention the famous N Seoul Tower which is situated atop the Mt. Namsan illuminates the surrounding park each night in the heart of the metropolitan city.

The Everland, one of the most popular theme parks in Korea, decorated with Christmas ornaments in glistening snow. © Everland

Winter experience in Korea will not be complete if you will miss out visiting one of the country’s popular theme parks. Lotte World, Everland and Seoul Land, three of the well-known and largest theme parks in Korea are also great places to drop by as for sure they have exciting festivities prepared just for the winter season. Skating and tubing are some of the things to anticipate when dropping by the amusement parks but expect the most celebrated and wonderful performances as the white Christmas draws near during the winter.

Celebrate the winter festival.

Furthermore, Korea also offer various winter events and festivals like the annual Yeongdong Dried Persimmon Festival, Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival, Pyeongchang Trout Festival, and the different sunrise festivals such as the Homigot and Jeongdongjin Sunrise Festival which are showcased across the nation.

Participants of the Pyeonchang Trout Festival enjoy fishing in a frozen lake pond. © Jeon Han, Korea.net Photographer

Korea is home to large shopping malls. While enjoying the snow and Christmas season, it’s also best to check out the country’s biggest shopping festival in which many of the participating centres, shops and establishments bargain huge deals and discounts for your leisure and shopping needs this coming holiday.

It’s beyond doubt you will experience the best of what Korea has to offer all year round. Korea’s winter, even though sometimes it gets bitterly cold and gives you a freezing nose, is an experience you will get to appreciate especially if you’re living in the tropics.

"It’s winter time in Korea: What is it like?" was first published in the Korea.net blog. All photos used herein are from the official Flickr page of the Republic of Korea which are for general educational and informational purposes only. All other forms of media included in this article are property of their respected owners and protected under applicable copyrights.

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