South Korea Travel Tips From My First Winter Experience!

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This post is written by Giselle from the Philippines. Check her blog at the bottom of this post. 

Korea is not just all about Kdrama, Kpop, and K-Beauty fascinations. It is also about cultural charm, food, and adventures. Experiencing Korea during winter is the other side that you will surely miss during the popular seasons of spring and autumn.

South Korea has been my dream destination since the very first Kdrama I’ve watched and it came true last February 2018 during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. My friends and I decided to visit Korea during winter to experience snow since we were from a tropical country. The moment we went out from the plane, we felt the winter breeze that was way different from where we came from. We were delighted by the smoke coming out from our mouth when we spoke and we couldn’t stop ourselves from talking.

 

 

South Korea Travel Tips

 

Where to stay

This depends on the preference of what your neighborhood will be like. The location is important so that you will not be exhausted from traveling to your desired destinations. If you want to be near to Korean nightlife area, you may choose between Hongdae and Itaewon. If you love to shop late nights you may consider staying near Myeongdong and Dongdaemun. And if you want a quiet and cozy neighborhood like us, we choose to stay in Jongno-gu area near the Gyeongbukgung Palace and other museums that can be accessed just by walking. During winter, heated flooring is very convenient because winter in South Korea can be harsh.

We did not have any problems when we came home late at night as the atmosphere was so secured that is also good even for solo travelers. It is important that we consider our safety as we are maximizing our time in exploring our destination in a specific amount of time.

 

Transportation and Communication

South Korea Travel Tips - Magnetic Levitation

Korea has the most convenient way of transport. There are subway stations everywhere and also buses that can get you to the destination of your choice with just a tap of a T-money card. Navigating between stations is easier if you download KOREA SUBWAY APP.  It calculates the fare and time frame from one station to another.  Just be mindful of the signs inside the subway as they are very particular in areas designated for pregnant women and elderly.

In terms of communication, most young Korean people can somehow speak and understand the English language. We were able to reach our destination just by asking strangers for directions. Just remember to be always polite in asking for help.

 

Our First Snow

South Korea Travel Tips - Our first snow experience

We decided to try skiing in the mountains of Gangwon-do province at Vivaldi ski resort. On our way to the resort, we played on top of a frozen river and afterwards, we decided to have authentic Korean lunch.

South Korea Travel Tips - The frozen river

As soon as we finished, the snow fell right in front of us and we were jumping our hearts out of joy because we were fascinated as it was our first time seeing a snowfall. The snow was heavy when we arrived at the ski resort. After we rented all the equipment needed, we went ahead and enjoyed skiing. The cold winter breeze didn’t bother us because we were enjoying our time trying to learn how to ski, plus the view from the top of the gondola ride was mesmerizing. It’s like we were kids playing with snow for the rest of the day!

South Korea Travel Tips - Nami Island

Another destination is the Nami Island that has the perfect view when covered in snow. You shouldn’t miss sledding together with people of all ages. Coming early should be a priority since it can get crowded when big busses from different tour agencies arrive and you cannot take that perfect photo that you want without photobombers. Just across the Ferry area, there are restaurants that serve their very famous Dakgalbi dish which you have to try.

Petite France is just a bus away from Nami Island that offers colorful French-like architecture buildings while the Garden of Morning Calm lights up at night during the winter season that gives a magical ambiance.

For convenience, you may book  Nami Island and Petite France in 1 Day tour with Trazy.com. They have really friendly tour guides and they also speak English.

 

 

Immerse in the Culture

From rural areas, our trip would not be complete without exploring the city.  Seoul is surrounded with temples and palaces from the different dynasties blending in with the modern structures. There are also recent developments that make the city more beautiful like the Seoullo 7017.

We’re all about immersing ourselves with the customs and history of Korean people as we visited the palaces wearing their traditional clothes (Hanbok) and trying to learn some history from the Free Guided tours offered by Korean students. It was another way of connecting with people, history, and tradition in one place.

South Korea Travel Tips - Wearing Hanbok

Another way to experience the culture is through food. Korean food has a wide range to choose from street food to exquisite dining. For us, the best experience was trying out the most common food that Koreans eat which are the street foods. That signature fried chicken, pork, beef and seafood sold in the streets of Myeongdong are worth every try. We love the way how Koreans serve different kinds of side dishes and the quality of meat they use.

 South Korea Travel Tips - Enjoying Korean Food

Overall, our winter trip to Korea was really an awesome experience. In terms of aesthetics, transportation, and communication, Korea is on my top list from the countries I have visited so far. I am eager to come back and explore more of the hidden gems of this country and share our South Korea travel tips to friends and to those who wanted to visit the country.

 

 

 

This post is written by Giselle, a travel blogger at travelandwander. If you also want your Korean travel story to be published here, just go to the contact page and send a message.

South Korea Travel Tips

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