The winds are wailing and the snow is falling but it would be a huge mistake to retreat to your room for hibernation. Jeju has just as much to offer in winter as in summer, assuming you don’t mind a bit of cold.
As the wind penetrates your parka and scythes into your skin, warm yourself up with sledding, skiing, walking and hiking. Not only are there fewer people meaning you get closer to nature, but the scenery is unbeatable.
Here are the best options for the wintry months from December to February.
Mt. Hallasan Winter Event and shuttle bus
The highlight of the festivities is the Mt. Halla Winter Festival at Eorimok Square. The breathtaking views are enough to bring people here all year round but Jeju Tourism Organization will also be putting on winter sports and Korean culture experience programs. There will be special events on every weekend up until Jan. 30 and a free shuttle bus will be provided to ensure no one misses out.
Ski experience, sled experience, Korean food corner, dart game zone, photo zone, folk games
Free souvenirs and guidebooks to non-Koreans
Shuttle bus: Weekends only between Dec 20 - Jan 30
Three times a day between 11am - 3pm
Route: Jeju City Hall ▶ Tapdong (Tourist Information Center) ▶ Jeju Bus Terminal ▶ Eorimok Plaza (Hallasan National Park)
Jungmun (Tourist Information Center) ▶ Eorimok Plaza (Hallasan National Park) Contact: James Shin (Jeju Tourism Organization) 064-740-6049 / firstname.lastname@example.org / ijto.or.kr
Hiking Mt. Hallasan on New Year's Day
Mt. Hallasan id not normally open at night but authorities will open to hikers at midnight on Jan 1 from the Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa trails so hikers can see the first sunrise of the year from the summit.
Hallasan National Park officials warn all hikers to dress appropriately, wear crampons and be prepared for tough conditions. There will also be winter events hosted by Jeju Tourism Organization.
Call 064-725-9950/064-756 9950
Camellias at Dongbaekdongsan
▲ Photo courtesy mdxdt
Camellias bloom when few other plants do -- in late fall, winter, or early spring. On Jeju, the Ramsar site of Dongbaekdongsan in the Seonheul Gotjawal is one of the best locations to see them. The village of Seonheul 1-ri is also the first Ramsar Village and promotes a number of ecotourism activities.
San 12 Seonheul-ri, Jocheon-eup, Jeju City
Jeju Winter Vacation Olle 2015
This special winter program allows hikers to explore Jeju Olle alongside managers of the trails to learn about the network, the history of Jeju, and Jeju’s environment. This year is not limited to the Olle but also includes oreum (volcanic cones), forests, and Mt. Hallasan. Registration is open to all and families are welcome.
Jeju Olle Courses 1, 5, 6, 14-1 and Mt. Hallasan
Jan 11 (Sun) to Jan 16 (Fri)
Registration open until Jan 4 / 40 spaces available / 450,000 won per person (includes accommodation, meals,and transportation fees (excluding flights))
Participants receive Jeju Olle souvenirs, and yacht and hot spring tours (programs subject to the weather)
064-762-2170 or jejuolle.org
Outdoor bathing at Sanbangsan Tansan Hot Spring
Outdoor bathing in winter? Yes. In fact, it is the best time of the year for it. The hot herbal and sea waters relieve your body and mind.
On the 516 between Jeju and Seogwipo, every year the fields of horse pasture on Mt. Hallasan open to the public when the snows are deep enough to facilitate sledding.
San 14-17, Yonggang-dong, Jeju
Between December and February
*Only after heavy snow and in daylight hours
3,000 won per hour for sled rental
Jeju Horse Riding Park
▲ Photo courtesy Jeju Tourism Office
At over 1 million square meters, this is the biggest horse-riding park in Korea. You can also ride the Hallama, Jeju’s native breed.
152-1, Nokgome-gil, Aewol-eup, Jeju City
064-799-9540 / jhrp.net
Tues-Sun, 9am - 6pm
Beginners: 30,000 won/20 mins; 50,000 won/40 mins; 100,000 won/1 hr 10 mins (includes a 30 min lesson)
Intermediate (three years experience needed) and advanced: 150,000 won/1.5 hrs, 200,000 won/2 hrs
Gamgyul picking at the Citrus Museum
Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Gamgyul “experiences” are all over the island, but the best - as per the tangerines - are down south. The Citrus Museum offers great picking and a number of other activities including a themed exhibition room, a 3D video, a folklore exhibit and a subtropical garden.
9am - 6pm (7pm July - Sept)
6,000 won per person per kilogram
No limitation on tasting and includes museum entrance No reservation necessary
21st Seongsan Ilchul Festival
▲ Photo courtesy Seogwipo City
The iconic place to see in the first sunrise of the new year is Seongsan Ilchulbong. From Dec. 30 to Jan. 1, the Seongsan Ilchul Festival will include fireworks, performances, festival foods and drinks to warm your cockles. On Jan. 1, crowds will ascend the castle-like peak to see in the first sunrise of the year.
Seongsan Ilchulbong, Seongsan-ri, Seongsan-eup
Seogwipo City, 064-760-4281
Dec 30 (Tues) to Jan 1 (Thurs)
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