South Korea, Travel

South Korea: Things To Do 2019 (Winter)

The first thing you must know when planning for a trip is the weather during your visit. Always check how many seasons a country has, what season does the month of your visit fall into, what is the weather forecast during your visit, etc.

Why? Because this will help you prepare to bring the right set of clothes, shoes, and any other seasonal must-haves that are essential.

Moving on, winter was my season of visit. Personally, the cold bothered me (lol, if you know what I mean) haha! Anyway, I easily freeze when cold, that’s why I searched prior for the weather forecast on my date of arrival to departure — that way, I will come prepared! haha

To fully feel the winter season, the itinerary included a snowland visit. 🙂 As much as I would have loved to try out skiing, there were a lot of people there that time, and it was too cold for me. Next time maybe!!

 

ITINERARY & MY MUST-HAVES

Tips:

  • Book the DISCOVER SEOUL PASS HERE, guarantees free entrance to 55 tourist spots in the city and even Nami. Also used as Tmoney for purchases and transportation.

 

Klooked our way through Korea, you could too! 😉 For comparison and other choices, you may also check out KKDay to see which fits your schedule better.

  • Research on how much is the average daily cost for a tourist — but keep in mind that accommodation is already taken care off.

Planning your itinerary varies from interests, also season. Listing here the places that first-timer’s must visit — sadly, we haven’t done as much but looking forward to going back and doing more!

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Located at the newly appointed capital, Seoul, the palace was not only the the first and largest built royal palace but also served as the main palace of the Joseon dynasty. (it is also the largest among the five grand palaces).

    • Opening Hours : March to October 09:00-18:00 / November to February 09:00-17:00. Closed on Tuesday
    • Admission Fees : Adult 3,000 KRW / Child 1,500 KRW (free admission with Klook’s Discover Seoul Pass)
    • Getting there by subway : Gyeongbokgung Station Line 3 – Exit 5

 

  • Myeong-dong

The busy area of Myeong-dong is packed with both local and international fashion, luxury, and cosmetic brands — making it a shopping go-to place for both locals and tourists. The Myeong-dong night market is complimented with casual eateries (Korean BBQs, fast food chains, etc) and street food snacks (shrimps, squids, corn, tofu, pancakes, etc)

    • Opening Hours : 10am to 10pm everyday
    • Getting there by subway : Myeongdong Station Line 4 – Exit 5, 6, 7, or 8

 

  • N Seoul Tower

Commonly known as the Namsan Tower, it is a communications and observation tower and was the firsr tower-type tourist spot in Seoul. As it has become an iconic symbol of Seoul, this place has also become a popular date spot for couples and have their Paris version of Pont Neuf where they leave love locks — wishing for their love to last forever.

    • Opening Hours : Sunday-Friday: 10:00-23:00 / Saturday: 10:00-24:00
    • Getting there by Subway & Bus :

        • Chungmuro Station Line 3 or 4 – Exit 2. Take Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus No. 2 or 5 (in front of Daehan Cinema) to N Seoul Tower.
        • By Subway & Cable Car : Myeongdong Station Line 4 – Exit 3. Walk for about 15 minutes following the street on the right side of the Pacific Hotel.
        • The cable car boarding place will be seen ahead.Fare: Round-trip – 8,500 won / One-way – 6,000 won
    • Cable Car Opening Hours: 10:00~22:30

 

  • Bukcon Hanok Village

The go-to traditional village in Seoul located on the top of a hill between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. It is composed of alleys, hanok and preserved 600-year old urban environment.

    • Getting there by subway: Anguk Station Line 3 – Exit 2. Walk straight for about 300m

 

  • Gwangjang Market

Built in 1905, Gwangjang Market is the first traditional daily marketplace of Seoul. Locals may visit because of its silk and tailored hanboks, but the food is what draws tourists to the place. You can get Korean signature dishes: kimchi variations, bindaetteok, bibimbap, kimbap, japchae, and sundae (soondae) to name a few.

    • Opening Hours : Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 10.00pm

    • Getting to Gwangjang Market

    • Subway :  5-ga Station (Line 1), Exit 8.
    • Subway : Euljiro 4-ga Station (Line 2 & 5), Exit 4

 

  • Changdeokgung

One of the “Five Grand Palaces” built in the Joseon dynasty, the Changdeokgung palace gained its importance when a number of kings had used it as a palace of residence and now has been declared a UNESCO world heritage. It is the second palace built, and had become the most well-preserved among the remaining Joseon palaces.

    • Admission Fees :

    • Individuals: Adults (ages 19-64) 3,000 won/Children (ages 7-18) 1,500 won
    • Huwon Tour (Secret Garden area) – Adults (ages 19 and over) 8,000 won / Young adults 5,000 KRW / Children (ages 7-18) 2,500 won
    • Opening Hours : Changdeokgung Palace & Huwon Course : Tuesday to Sunday 9.00am to 05.00pm. Closed on Monday
    • Getting there by subway : Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 3. Walk straight from the exit (towards east) for about 5-min to arrive at the palace entrance

 

  • Hongdae (Hongik University)

Known for its youthful and and romantic ambiance, the neighborhood of Hongdae has become a place for freedom of self-expression and a place to showcase its underground culture of indie music, unique cafes,  urban arts, clubs and entertainment. It is also the home of Hongik University. There are three main tourist spots in the area:

* Hongdae Walking Street: Main spot of Hongdae area which has an outdoor stage for indie band performance and dynamic culture of young people.

* Hongdae Mural Street: Mural street stretching from Kanemaya restaurant by the back gate of Hongik University to Four Seasons House (Wausan-go 22-gil) and featuring various arrangements of painting from graffiti to artistic design. It is also referred to as ‘Picasso’s Street’ and is famous as a dating spot.

* Hongdae Free Market: The market is held every Saturday from March to November at Hongik Children’s Park in front of the main gate of Hongik University. All people can sign up to sell their hand-made products and other exhibitions created by artists will be shown.

(from https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1326972)
    • Getting there by Subway – Hongik University Station Line 2 – Exit 9

 

  • Insadong

Mainly visited for its hanok village, Insadong is also the place where you will find street after street of traditional Korean houses that are mostly unchanged since they were built in the 1920s. Although some of these houses are still occupied by families, most of it had been converted into cafes, shops, and restaurants in the recent years.

    • Getting there by Subway

      • Exit 6 – Anguk Station Line 3. Walk straight 100m & turn left
      • Exit 3 – Jonggak Station Line 1. Walk 300m straight, turn left. then 100m straight & veer left into Insa-dong alleyway

 

  • Dongdaemun

Composed of row and row of shopping centers and markets, DOngdaemun has become one of the shopping havens in Seoul — and the largest shopping district in Korea. However, there’s more to the place than just stores that lasts until 5 a.m. — it is also a designated historical and cultural area that homes a variety of interesting spots: Cheonggyecheon Stream, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Ihwa Mural Village, Dongdaemun (Heunginjimun) Gate, and Naksan Park and Seoul Fortress Wall to name a few.

    • Getting there by Subway : Dongdaemun History & Culture Park St Line 2,4,5

 

  • Everland

Everland is South Korea’s largest theme park which is located at the Everland Resort in Yongin. It is also the home of the Korean pandas (which can be found at the Zootopia area in the park), White Tigers, and more. Spend a day and be a kid again in this place!

    • Opening Hours : Sunday to Friday – 10am to 7pm
      • Saturday & Public Holidays – 10am to 8pm. Check the daily time on their website.
    • Getting there by Subway and Bus : Jeondae-Everland Station (Yongin EverLine) – Exit 3. Take the free shuttle bus to Everland

 

  • Itaewon

Designated as the first ‘Special Tourism District’ to highlight Itaewon as a destination for tourists to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences.

    • Opening Hours : Daily 10am to late at night
    • Getting there by Subway : Itaewon Station Line 6

 

  • Nami Island, Petite France, and Garden of Morning Calm

 

HOW MUCH IS THE FOOD PRICE RANGE IN SOUTH KOREA?

  • Convenience store

– You can actually live off convenience store food if your are trying to save some cash for shopping. I was able to buy dinner and breakfast for KRW 7,000 – 9,000 (Php 330 to Php 420) This includes bottle of water, bottle of juice, yogurt for breakfast, side dishes, viand and rice, instant noodles, and fruits. I got stocks of food for the following days, really depends on your consumption and preference.

 

Fast Food

–  During the day, if you are looking to cover more grounds on touring, fast food will always be a choice. KFC, McDnalds, and Burger King is widely scattered in the city for your enjoyment. A meal on these fast food chains can range from KRW 5,0000 – 10,000 (Php 230 – 420), again depending on your preference.

– Also, try out Shake Shack! can be found in two locations in Korea, one in Gangnam. Price range for a burger is from KRW 5,400 – 12,900 (Php 250 – 600), add in some fries (worth it!) for KRW 3,900 (Php 180) and you are good to go!

Street food

– You cannot visit Korea without trying their street foods — which you can find easily in Myeongdong and Dongdaemun. Like those in Taiwan, the Korean street food can get you full! My personal favorites would have to be the steak and bean sprouts, shrimps on stick, squid, corn and sweet potato filled pancake. Cost range for street food in Myeongdong is KRW 2,000 – 7,000 (Php 92 – 420).

Fruits

– One of the must tries and buys in Seoul are the fruits. Personal favorite is the strawberry — sweet and sour (just right). The prices of the fruits ranges from KRW 5,000 – 9,000 when bought underpass right out of the subway or in night market streets. Other fruits you’ll find are: kiwi, grapes, blueberry, raspberry, etc.

 

WINTER IN KOREA QUICK FACTS:

  • Winter starts on mid-November and ends by mid-March
  • Winter temperature in South Korea ranges from -6 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius on average but can drop to -10 degrees Celsius
  • Yes, it snows in South Korea
  • South Korea winter is pretty sunny but really cold
  • Yummy winter food: sweet potatoes and chestnuts
  • You can go sledding at Everland
  • Ski activities are only available during winter season

 

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