Winter fun on Jeju Island
That doesn’t mean you have to hide indoors under thick blankets and hibernate until the tress start sprouting new buds. However, as there are still numerous outdoor activities to keep you warm and active throughout the colder months (which will be really really cold), I promise you. Surprisingly, many tourists visit Jeju Island over winter specifically to enjoy its seasonal delights it offers, such as the snowcapped Hallasan and the winter landscapes that the rest of Korea can’t compete with. If the cold is a problem, then warm yourself up with some thrilling sledding, horseriding, walking and hiking. There are also fewer tourists running about, so you can have more of those solitary and perhaps zen like moments out in the Jeju countryside.
Here are the best options for the wintry months from December to February.
Jeju Snow World festival and shuttle bus
Every year up at Eorimok Square, The Jeju Tourism Organization organizes a winter bonanza of winter sports and Korean culture experiences. The Jeju Snow World festival runs on weekends from Christmas Day to the end of January and includes a free shuttle bus bringing visitors to and from the city center.
When: Weekends Dec 25th – Jan 31st
Where: 10am-4pm at Eorimok Square, San 220-1 Haean-dong, Jeju-si
Skiing, sledding, Korean food corner, games, souvenirs and more.
There will be a shuttle bus running between the festival site and Jeju City. Check out the route and timeable at the Jeju Tourism Organization site.
Mt. Hallasan New Year hiking
Where: Seongpanak Trails
When: Midnight on New Year’s Eve
A specialNew Year’s Eve only experience, hikers are allowed to ascend Mt. Hallasan at night to welcome the new year in. Around midnight, walkers can ascend the dormant volcano for a uniquely different experience. The Jeju Tourism Organization will also be holding some celebratory events.
Jeju Horse Riding Park:
Where: 152-1, Nokgome-gil, Aewol-eup, Jeju City
When: Tues-Sun, 9am – 6pm
At over 1 million square meters, this is easily biggest horse riding park in all of Korea. You can also ride the Hallama, Jeju’s native breed. Worth your time and money.
Beginners: From 30,000 won (20mins) to 100,000 won (1hr 10mins)
Intermediate/Advanced: From 150,000 won (1.5hrs) to 200,000 won (2hrs)
Despite the severe cold chill, this is the optimal time for outdoor bathing and the hot herbal and sea waters to relieve your body and mind of all the impurities and badness. Watch the steam rise off the water and your skin as you look out across Jeju’s rural southwest. (expect awesome nature scene)
Sanbangsan Tansan Hot Spring
Where: 192 Sagyebuk-ro 41-beongil, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si / 064-792 8300
When: Indoor hot spring: 6am – 12am
Outdoor hot spring: 11am ~ 11pm
Adults: 11,000 won
Children: 3-8,000 won
(Open-air bathing 3,000 won extra.)
Where: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Seongsan-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo City
When: Dec 31st (Wed) to Jan 1st (Fri)
The most iconic location to take in the very first sunrise of the new year is none other than Seongsan Ilchulbong. From Dec 31st to Jan 1st, the Seongsan Ilchul Festival will have fireworks, performances, festival foods and drinks to warm your chilly bones. On Jan 1st, crowds of people will ascend the castle-like peak to see in the first sunrise of the year.
Where: Jungmun Saekdal Beach, 3039 Saekdal-dong, Seogwipo-si
When: 9:30am to 12pm, Saturday, Jan 2, 2016
Dive head on into the freezing winter waters and brave the cold with plenty the locals! Other events include traditional wrestling, musical performances, raffles and free winter snacks to munch on.