The Korea Herald


[Travel Bits] Festivals, sights across Korea

By Choi Si-young

Published : Jan. 12, 2024 - 09:01

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Seoul Lantern Festival

Held annually since 2009, the Seoul Lantern Festival is again taking place across Gwanghwamun Square and just to the south of it at Cheonggye Plaza and Seoul Plaza. The lights come on from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day through Jan. 21.

Also open at the same time is the Gwanghwamun Square Market, potentially the largest winter flea market in the capital. Seasonal goods including crafts and street food are offered. Both cash and credit cards are accepted at the stores.

Both events are free. More information is available at

Go-karting & virtual games on Jeju

Jeju Island’s 981 Park is the place for go-karting, both indoors and outdoors. Four outdoor tracks with different levels of difficulty are available, along with a virtual, indoor experience.

Indoor programs include shooting arcade games and 3-point contests. For those who want to feel their hands on the wheel but are not keen on the chilly winds outside, bumper car racing is also available.

Fees are 49,500 won for adults, or 79,500 won for one adult and one child. The park is open every day but outdoor activities may be canceled due to weather conditions.

Those born in the Year of the Dragon -- 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976 and 1964 -- are eligible to receive gifts if they visit the park from Feb. 9-12. More details are available at

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

Since 2003, the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival has been the place to go ice fishing, ice skating and sledding, while enjoying ice sculptures like slides. Sancheoneo refers to cherry trout.

Held from Jan. 6-28. in Hwacheon County, Gangwon Province, the annual festivity runs programs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., charging them differently.

For fishing, there are no fees for children who have yet to go to grade school. But they are 15,000 won for middle schoolers and older, and 10,000 won for the following: grade schoolers and those aged 65 and older; war veterans; other veterans recognized by the government and their spouses; conscripted soldiers; people with disabilities; and foreign nationals. ID is required.

Skating is priced at 5,000 won for an hour, while sledding costs also 5,000 won for five times on weekdays and three times on weekends. For other activities, visit

All-in-one park in Paju

At First Garden Park in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, visitors can try everything from riding a train that runs across the park to fishing for smelt. Street food is available too. The festivities run through the end of February.

All-inclusive tickets, covering up to six attractions and sledding without snow, are priced at 27,000 won for admissions starting at 11 a.m., and 23,000 won for those entering the park after 1 p.m. The fees are the same for adults and children.

For those who only want to go sledding, prices are down to 15,000 won for weekday visits and 18,000 won for weekend and holiday admissions. Smelt fishing is priced at 6,000 won for 20 minutes. Visitors are charged the same fees regardless of age.

The park opens at 11 a.m. Attractions are closed on weekdays. For more information, visit

Jeju Camellia Festival

Winter on Jeju Island would not be complete without camellia flowers, a symbol of the island itself. The resort island invites visitors tired of the freezing cold to its Camellia Festival, which runs to the end of January next year.

At Hueree Park, visitors will be surrounded by blooming camellias in lush greenhouses, gardens and trails. Jeju tangerines add a flavor that makes the trip all worthwhile. Fees for adults are 13,000 won, or 10,000 to 11,000 won for those younger, depending on age.

Tickets do not include the citrus fruit, sold additionally for 8,000 won. The park opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m., though visitors often leave the place a little past 5 p.m., as the sun sets earlier on the island in the winter. Visit for updates.