Seoul Travel: 12 Things to Do on a Winter Trip to Korea

The games might be over, but winter magic and Seoul travel adventures never end! With the city snow-capped and prices – as well as crowds – at all-time lows, any winter is a fitting time to team up with Agoda and plan a winning holiday!

Tongin Market_Seoul_South Korea

1. EAT, EAT, EAT AND EAT!

Whether you like to eat it with your hands, on a stick or in a bowl, Korean food is designed to warm you up from the inside out. Experts agree that any of these street food staples are stick-to-your-ribs satisfying and completely “Seoul-warming.” Judge for yourself at Tongin Market or Gwangjang Market, where the competition never ends.

Stand-outs in street food categories:

Hand-held: Chi-maek (Korean fried chicken), Tokkebi (fried corn dog), Hotteok (pancake filled with syrup), Gyeran Bbang (egg muffin)

On a stick: Odeng (fish cake served with dipping broth), Dakkochi (marinated grilled chicken), Tteokgalbi meatballs (sweet and sour beef rib meatballs)

In a bowl: Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), Tteok-mandu guk (rice cake dumpling soup), Tteokbokki (rice cakes in spicy sauce)

Check In to Nuri Hanok Guesthouse, Step Out to Tongin Market

Nuri Hanok Guesthouse

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Jjimjilbang_spa

2. SKINNY DIPPING AT A JJIMJILBANG

All athletes need time to recoup, and visiting one of Seoul’s jjimjilbangs is considered a team event. With sleeping facilities, wide-screen TVs and exercise rooms, Korea’s steaming hot public baths and saunas are the perfect place to rekindle your fire. If you’re not much of a team player, go on a weekday because families fill up these hot spots every weekend.

Competing for the gold:

Dragon Hill Spa, 40-712 Hangangno 3(sam)-ga, Yongsan-gu

Spa Lei, 8-22, Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu

Siloam Spa, 49 Jungnim-ro, Jungnim-dong, Jung-gu

Check In to Hotel the Designers Seoul Station, Step Out to Yongsan

Hotel the Designers Seoul Station

Discover more guest houses and serviced apartments near Central City shopping mall

E-World Starlight Festival_Daegu_South Korea

Source: @star_light_festival

3. SEE WINTER ILLUMINATION

Rather be a judge than a participant? See if you can find a perfect 10 during a trip outside of Seoul, where you can march through some of the most fascinating light shows in the nation.

Competing for the gold:

Lighting Festival at The Garden of Morning Calm, Gapyeong

Boseong Green Tea Plantation Light Festival, Korea Tea Culture Park near Yulpo Beach

E-World Starlight Festival, Daegu

Animal & Heart Village Light Festival at Ansan Starlight Photo Land, Ansan

Check In to Hotel Square, Step Out to Ansan

Hotel Square

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Bukchon Hanok Village_Seoul

4. GET ON YOUR FEET

Pull up your long socks, and generate your own heat during a winter walking expedition through the city. Whether you participate as a speed-walker or a chilled-out spectator, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a finish line at any of Seoul’s most popular venues.

Stand-outs in sightseeing categories:

Art and historical districts: Garosu-gil Road; Bukchon Hanok Village

Markets and shopping: Samseong-dong; Insadong Ssamjigil

Sightseeing: Gyeongbokgung Palace; Cheonggyecheon Stream

Check In to Hotel Aventree Jongo, Step Out to Bukchon Hanok Village

Hotel Aventree Jongo

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Lotte World_ice skating

Source: Kang Jenny

5. HIT THE HILLS AND ICE-SKATING RINKS

Ice-skating is both an indoor and outdoor sport in South Korea, and rinks fill up fast during winter months. Likewise, with dozens of freshly-packed, snow-covered hills to conquer, sledding is a national winter pastime as well!

Stand-outs in winter recreation categories:

Indoor skating rinks: Lotte World Indoor Ice Skating Rink

Outdoor skating rinks: Seoul Plaza Skating Rink; Seoul Arts Center

Sledding and winter activities: Everland Resort; Seoulland Character Park

Check In to Signiel Seoul, Step Out to Lotte World

Signiel Seoul

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Drinking and dancing in Seoul_Gangnan nightlife

6. DANCE THE COLD AWAY, GANGNAM STYLE!

If dancing were a winter sport, South Koreans would definitely receive a medal. These K-pop fanatics know how to heat up an entire stadium! Dress for success, and bring your A-game if you join a competition because Gangnam Style invites some stiff competition.

Stand-outs in nightlife categories:

Younger crowds: NB2; Cocoon; Brown

Gangnam: Octagon Club; Club Arena; Monkey Beach; DSTAR, Glad Live; Club Avenue 535

Cultural vibe: Cakeshop Seoul; Boombar; Monkey Museum

Check In to Glad Live Gangnam, Step Out to Gangnam

Glad Live Gangnam

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Skiing_snowboarding_Seoul_South Korea

7. PLOW DOWN THE SLOPES

There are a thousand reasons why winter is the perfect time to visit Seoul, but the first-class slopes you’ll find outside the city may be the best one of all! Snowboard or ski down snow-packed trails, designed for rookies and pros alike, and give yourself a medal because Olympiads competed on the exact same mountains!

Competing for the gold:

Yongpyong Resort

Alpensia Resort

High1 Ski Resort

Konjiam Resort

Vivaldi Park

Muju Deukyusan Resort

Phoenix Snow Park

Check In to Phoenix Park Hotel & Condo, Step Out to Phoenix Snow Park

Phoenix Park Hotel & Condo

Discover more resorts and motels in Pyeongchang

Yeouido_skyscraper_Seoul

8. SOAK UP WINTER SCENES

At the top is where you’ll find trophy views while the city is blanketed in snow. Savor Seoul’s beauty in an atmosphere that might require a winter hat but is guaranteed to generate loads of warm, fuzzy feelings.

Stand-outs in scenic view categories:

Towers: Seoullo 7017; Gwanghwamun Square; Fortress Wall of Seoul; 63 Building; Lotte World Tower

Natural viewpoints: Nam Mountain (Namsan); Pugakszan Mountain; Maebongsan Mountain; Seokchonhosu Lake; Haneul Park

Bridges: Banpo Bridge; Seonyudo Park Rainbow Bridge

Check In to Kensington Hotel Yoido (Yeouido), Step Out to Yeouido

Kensington Hotel Yoido (Yeouido)

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Museum Kimchikan_Kimchi Field Museum_Seoul

Source: @thekoreandreamfr

9. ESCAPE THE CHILLS WHILE CHERISHING THE ARTS

Warm up to Seoul’s rich history and culture by indulging in the vast selection of museums that feature everything from ancient history to life in the future, and even … kimchi! Take several victory laps inside each location, not just because viewing Seoul’s exhibits will make you feel like an award-winner, but also because, baby, it’s cold outside!

Stand-outs in museum categories:

History: National Palace Museum of Korea; National Folk Museum of Korea; Ewha Womans University Museum

Art: Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP); Seoul Arts Center; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art; ARA Modern Art Museum

Weird and wacky: T.um – SK Telecom; Kimchi Field Museum (Museum Kimchikan); LEEUM, Samsung Museum of Art

Check In to Somerset Palace Seoul, Step Out to Jongno

Somerset Palace Seoul

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Seoul_traditional home_hotel_accommodation_garosugil

10. TAKE COVER IN A COZY BED

The sport of curling might not be on your winter games playlist, but curling UP during winter in Seoul is a serious pastime! Cozy up with the entire family in a traditional, yet luxuriously modern, Korean home, or go for the gold in a premium suite with a private onsen, sauna and even a heated toilet!

Stand-outs in accommodations categories:

For the whole team: Dormy Inn Premium Seoul Garosugil

Individual participant: Hotel La Casa Garosugil

Traditional: Ihwa Hanok Stay

Check In to Ihwa Hanok Stay, Step Out to Bukchon Hanok Village

Ihwa Hanok Stay

Discover more guest houses and serviced apartments in Gangnam

Dongdaemun Market

11. SHOP LIKE A CHAMP

Shopping in South Korea is so popular that the country’s tourism committee made it a national event! Experience the Korea Grand Sale each January in shopping districts across Seoul and in municipalities throughout the country. Every major retailer participates by offering free gifts, discounts on products and services, cultural experiences, and best of all, warm surroundings.

Stand-outs in shopping categories:

Shopping districts: Ewha Womans University Fashion Street; Dongdaemun Market; Myeong-dong; Hongdae; Gangnam Underground Shopping Center; Insa-dong

Shopping malls: COEX Mall; Parnas Mall; Famille Station; IFC; Times Square; AK Plaza, Suwon

Check In to Hotel Skypark Dongdaemun I, Step Out to Dongdaemun Market

Hotel Skypark Dongdaemun I

Discover more guest houses and apartments in Myeong-dong

Makgeolli_Korean Rice Wine

12. BOTTOMS UP!

Sip it or shoot it like locals, but don’t leave without tasting Korea’s national drink, soju. Described as a sweet and mild spirit akin to vodka, soju is so much a part of Korean culture that some locals perform a ceremony while partaking and only drink it with specific foods. You don’t have to follow all the rules, but sampling is a must. Warm up your insides with a pub crawl to discover dozens of varieties of soju as well as Seoul’s other most famous beverage, makgeolli.

Stand-outs in nightlife categories:

Makgeolli bars: Moon Jar; Mui Mui; Wolhyang; Chin Chin

Soju bars: Vinga; Vinyl; The Timber House; The Flower Shop that Serves Alcohol

Jeontong-ju (traditional Korean alcohol): De Chou; Mingles; Saebal Jajeongeo (Tricycle); Soobul

Unlimited drinks: 401 Lounge; Makgeolli Salon; Hanguk Galbi; Cactus; The A Lounge

Craft beer: Bonny’s Pizza Pub; Magpie Brewing Co.; Craftworks Taphouse; The Springs Tap House

Check In to Glad Mapo, Step Out to Yeouido

Glad Mapo

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