While the world is in a travel lockdown due to the pandemic and many had to deal with pangs of frustrated wanderlust, this global crisis has also presented us a window to reflect by and to learn looking on the bright side. As one of the many who had to defer my travel plans to South Korea, my favourite travel destination – I feel you! But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream or plan about places we wanted to go when this is over.
In an online poll of “Countries that Singaporeans want to have an Air Travel Bubble with” conducted by The Straits Times, South Korea scored 40.7 per cent of votes, claiming its place as Singaporean’s favourite destinations after the COVID.
So here are my insider tips of 10 hidden Winter Wonderland destinations you should consider post-pandemic. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a travel-bubble with South Korea someday!
1. Jeonju Hanok Village
If you are an avid foodie at heart and interested in Korean traditional culture, Jeonju (전주) in Jeolla-do province is where you should head to. It is arguably the culinary city of South Korea where a long list of mouth-watering food experiences awaits. And if you are lucky enough, the snow painted Jeonju Hanok Village ( 전주 한옥마을) will be a sight to behold during your trip. Check out our Jeonju Hanok Village Street Food Guide and our 3D2N Jeonju itinerary here.
2. Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm
Pyeongchang county (평창군) in Gangwon Province is a snowboard capital of South Korea. And Daegwallyeong (대관령) is nested within this beautiful county famed of its sheep farms and snow-covered landscape in winter. These enormous sheep farms offer a rare opportunity for city kids to enjoy the beauty of mother nature. Read my dedicated post regarding Daegwallyeong Yangtte Sheep Farm, a delicious Tangsuyuk and Jjajjang Myun restaurant in the region, as well as my recommended accommodation in Degwallyeong at Queen’s Garden Guesthouse.
3. Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌 한옥 마을) in Seoul is a traditional Korean housing cluster inhabited by the elite Yangban Noble class during the Joseon Dynasty. It has developed into a tourist site packed with independent cafes, tea-houses, and interesting shops or museums in recent years. Experience the enchanted atmosphere of Bukchon Hanok village after the snow here.
South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gahoe-dong | 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37
4. The Palaces
I love going to the palaces in Seoul after heavy snowfall. Gyeongbok Palace is one of my favourites. The frozen lake, blue sky and the red, green, yellow motifs of the traditional architecture make a striking contrast against the white snow. Complete your palace tour experience wearing a traditional hanbok here!
Located in Gangneung, Gangwon-do, Jeongdongjin (정동진) is a picturesque town with a train station closest to the ocean in the world. The beach right behind the Jeongdongjin station is also a well-known sunrise spot. Sunrise spectators would take an overnight train to Jeongdongjin station on the new year’s eve for the first sunrise of the year. The nearby Jeongdongjin Sun Cruise Resort is a beach resort modelled after a cruise ship perched on top of a cliff!
Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, South Korea
Jeongdongjin Sun Cruise Resort:
950-39 Heonhwa-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea
6.Hahoe Folk Village
Tucked away in a secluded valley in Gyeongsang Province, the Andong Hahoe Folk Village (안동 하회마을) is an idyllic place to unwind and experience traditional Korean rural life. Visitors can immerse in a rich array of cultural traditions such as Korean Mask Dancing and enjoy a wide variety of ancient culinary delights such as Andong Gangodeungeo (Salted Mackerel), Heotjesabap (A type of Bibimbap for the nobles) and Andong Guksu (A local noodle delicacy). Sleepover at one of the traditional hanok within the village and enjoy the fuzzy, magical and ethereal view the next morning!
40 Hahoe, Pungcheon-myeon, Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea | 안동시 풍천면 하회남촌길 63
7. Gamaksan Mountain
This beautiful photo of winter at Gamaksan Suspension Bridge (감악산 출렁다리) located in Paju definitely warrant a mention on the list! It just feels straight out of the Disney “Frozen” to me. The bridge spans 150 meters across Silmari Valley, and is easily accessible from the car park area! (No hiking required!). Be early to enjoy this majestic winter view all to yourself!
365, Gisan-ro Gwangtan-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기 파주시 광탄면 기산로 365
8. Paju Heyri Art Village
Located just 1 hour away from Seoul, Paju is a heaven for any art and book lover. The Hyeri Art Village (파주 헤이리 마을) is home to filmmakers, publishers, book writers, and artists. Expect quirky museums & architectures, beautiful cafes, enormous book store and book cafes, interesting studios and art spaces in this village. Paju is the nearest South Korean city to North Korea. And the north’s winter is known to be harsher than the south, so you can imagine Paju to be a winter wonderland after a heavy snowfall.
There is a “Paju English Village” (파주 영어 마을) filled with European styled buildings to create an immersive environment for the students to learn the language. The space is open to the public so you may spot couples taking pre-wedding photos there too!
Paju Hyeri Art Village:
1652-239 Beopheung-ri, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do |경기 파주시 탄현면 법흥리 1652-239
Paju English Village:
Paju-si Tanhyeon-myeon Uleumsil-ro 40 |경기 파주시 탄현면 얼음실로 40
9. Seonunsa Temple
Seonunsa Temple (선운사) is one of the largest temples in the Southern part in Korea with over 1,500 years of its history. And winter is considered one of the best seasons to visit the temple as the camellia flowers bloom and the persimmons ripen. The fiery orange persimmons covered in snow, together with the blooming camellias from shrubs to shrubs make for an alluring sight in winter.
567, Samin-Ri, Asan-Myeon, Gochang
10. Boseong Green Tea Field
Located at Jeollanam-do Province, the Boseong Green Tea Field (보성 녹차밭) is another beautiful place to visit after a snowfall in Winter. Enjoy a tranquil walk and soak in the picturesque landscape at Daehan Dawon (대한 다원), the largest green tea plantation in the country as the snow turned the plantation white. Do note that the plantation closes at 5 pm daily during winter.
Daehan Dawon Greentea Plantation:
763-67, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 보성군 보성읍 녹차로 763-67
All photos are provided by KTO unless otherwise stated.
Please note that information of the article is accurate at the time of publishing.