설날 (Seollal), known as the Korean Lunar New Year is one of the most celebrated national holidays in Korea.
During this period, many Koreans head back to their hometown to see their families and pay respect to their ancestors. Although the city of Seoul becomes much quieter than usual, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some quiet time in the city!
Here are some options of what you can do to make the most of your trip if you’re staying in Seoul for Seollal.
1. Hit the Mountains for a Ski Trip
Visiting Korea during the holidays is the greatest opportunity to enjoy a ski trip. You’ll be able to get to the mountains easily as there are many ski resorts near Seoul.
Most ski resorts in Korea are huge, situated in breathtaking natural environments and usually opened all year round.
The common amenities include sledding for children, gondolas and walking trails to take in the winter scenery, and spas to relax the body. The resorts also have slopes for different levels of skills, from beginner to expert level.
2. Take a Tour in Seoul by the City Tour Bus
The Seoul City Tour bus is the perfect transport for getting out and about in Seoul. You can hop on and off at any interesting place you want to enjoy and also choose the tour time as well as boarding location.
If you’re wondering about the locations, the city tour bus takes you to popular tourist spots such as the Royal Palaces, N Seoul Tower, Cheongwadae, Namsangol Hanok Village, Insadong, Daehakro, National Museum of Korea, Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, Gangnam, COEX, Lotte World Tower and more.
3. Visit The National Folk Museum of Korea
Museums might be boring but you’ll find it quite fun when you visit during Seollal.
You can anticipate various interesting programs and exhibitions such as arts and crafts as well as traditional folk games that visitors of all ages can enjoy.
You can also try playing fun Korean traditional games such as “팽이치기 Paengi Chigi“ (top spinning)”, “제기차기 Jegi Chagi ” (hacky sack)” and “윷놀이 Yut Nori “ (a board game where you throw sticks)”.
4. Visit the Korean Royal Palaces
Seollal is the perfect time to visit the Korean royal palaces. And before head to the palace, you can head to Insadong area or the Bukchon Hanok Village and visit a tea house.
The palaces (Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, and Deoksugung) will be open, so you can enjoy the various activities they showcase.
The activities include traditional rituals and games, performances like the famous “changing of the guards” ceremony. You’ll also get a free entry if you’re wearing a Hanbok!
5. Visit the Namsangol Hanok Village
Located around Chungmuro Subway Station, the
Namsangol Hanok Village comprises five traditional Korean houses from the Joseon Dynasty, which have been restored.
During Seollal, you can enjoy and participate in fun activities such as making kites, spinning tops and eating up a serving of rice cake. There will also be traditional performances and demonstrations of ancestral ceremonies.
6. Visit the Korean Folk Village
A visit to the Korean Folk Village is the perfect opportunity to discover more about the Korean culture as it will also be hosting events such as folk games and traditional Korean music performances during Seollal.
There are also performances like tightrope walking, horseback martial arts and role-playing by actors donned in makeup and outfits that make them look like they’re really from the Joseon dynasty.
7. Enjoy a Cruise Trip at the Han River
Going on a cruise trip at the Han River (Hangang River) is the best way to enjoy the scenery of Seoul. You’ll get to see some of the most famous landmarks on the cruise such as the N Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, and the Sports Complex.
Seollal is the best season to enjoy the Han River (Hangang River) Ferry Cruise trip as special activities will be hosted such as live music performances and a spectacular firework show.
You can also indulge yourself in luxurious buffet cruise. Consider having a nice dinner with your special someone along with the live music and fireworks to celebrate Korean Lunar New Year!
8. Have Fun at Theme Parks
For something not so traditional but fun, head to any of the amusement parks in Seoul! Some of the best theme parks you can find in Seoul are Everland, Lotte World and Seoul land.
The parks will not only have their year round rides open, but there will also be Seollal-themed events such as sledding, light shows, and parades.
Hopefully, this list will give you some ideas on your next destination! If you’ve been to all these places before, which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!