I hate cold weather. I really, really can't stand it, and here in Seoul it's well below freezing pretty much every day right now. But there are loads of good things about winter, too! Here's my guide to some of the winter activies I've tried around Korea.
1. Ice Skating.
OK, prior to a couple of weeks ago, I had NEVER tried ice skating in my life! So it was kinda fun. We went to the rink at Olympic Park, and it was really nice. I've heard that the more popular rinks in the centre of Seoul can get so busy it's hard to move around, but here it was a lot quieter. And it only cost us 1,500won each!
2. Trekking the snowy mountains
There hasn't been much snow here in Seoul this season, but heading east into Gangwon-do last weekend I was surpised to find thick blankets of the sparkling white stuff covering the ground! I was on a day-trip to 선자령, a mountain overlooking 강릉 on the east coast. As we headed upwards, the snow was a couple of feet deep all around, and the sun was shining down in the pure blue sky.
Hiking snowy mountains is yet another thing I had never done before. It was really cool, although kind of tiring because I was just watching my step all the time. 선자령 is a simple enough hike and not really steep at all, so it's fine for anyone as long as you're careful. My leg slipped knee-high in snow once, but other than that I managed not to fall over! We didn't need any special equipment except for crampons.
3. Winter Festivals
Ok, so in Korea there are festivals pretty much all year round. There's a tea festival, a tomato festival, a mud festival, a bibimbap festival ... in fact, anything you can think of, there's probably a festival for it in Korea. And winter sees a bunch of wintery-themed ones that include such activities as ice fishing, sledding and snow sculpting. I haven't visited one yet but hope to over the Lunar New Year holidays. When I do I'll be sure to post about it!