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What To Do In Korea For The New Year

Traveling to South Korea during the winter season is beautiful and fulfilling. As the snow covers the entire city in a white blanket and embraces everyone in its cold winter air, many tourists are drawn to the beautiful sights and activities the city has to offer.

Winter activities, of course, are at the top of our list. Skiing, snowboarding, ice diving, and ice skating are some of the most popular activities in Seoul and other South Korean cities when the water freezes over and snow covers the entire country. Many tourists and locals also keep warm and comfortable during winter time through saunas or jimjilbang, and eating sweet potatoes and chestnuts—Korean street food delicacies that only pop up during the winter season.

But while all of these activities and more are best enjoyed during the months of December to February, there are special activities that can make your New Year in South Korea one of the most special and enchanting.



Lighting Festival at The Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong-gun is a popular destination outside Seoul any day of the year. But during the winter season approaching the New Year, the garden is transformed into an illuminated wonderland as 30,000 lights cover the entire garden. The winter-long festival is the biggest festival of lights in Korea and runs from December 8 to February 25, 2018, with performance times every day from 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m.



Boseong Tea Plantation Light Festival

Another beautiful lights festival in South Korea is the Bosong Tea Plantation Light Festival, where the green tea fields of Korea Tea Culture Park and Yulpo Beach (Solbat Beach) are transformed into a colorful, illuminated canvas. It is a great destination to experience all sorts of light-up mechanics as different lighting exhibitions are open throughout the day and special performances happen during certain times and days. The Boseon festival runs from December 15 to January 14, 2018.


New Year’s Sunrise Festivals

There are many New Year’s sunrise festivals spread out the country so you can get to welcome the first sunrise of the year wherever you are.


At the Seongsan Sunrise Festival, parades, performances, firework shows, and the distribution of tteokguk (traditional rice cake soup) accompany the beautiful sunrise of the new year. The festival is celebrated at the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, one the most beautiful sunrise locations in Jeju and a certified UNESCO World Heritage.


At the Ganjeolgot Cape Park in Ulsan, a similar sunrise festival is also held with the same sunrise-greeting ceremony, fireworks, and festive performances. Greeting the first sunrise at Ganjeolgot is also quite popular among locals and tourists since it is located in the easternmost part of the Korean Peninsula. This means that the sunrise in Ganjeolgot is literally the first sunrise in the whole of Korea.

Several sunrise festivals are also scheduled in the beautiful beaches of South Korea. There are sunrise festivals celebrated at Homigot Sunrise Square, Jeongdongjin Beach, and Gyeongpo Beach. The Yeosu Hyangiram Sunrise Festival is held at the areas of the Impo Village and Hyangiram Hermitage (an age-long site built way back in the year 644), where fire shows, wishing lanterns lighting, and candle ceremonies are organized for visitors.