I must admit my winter experience in Japan back in 2012 was a mix of love and hate but aside from the weather I loved their food, culture, fashion, and scenery. I tried giving winter a second chance and went to Korea for the main purpose of learning how to ski. Despite the -3 temperature and my lack of an extra layer of clothes, I actually had fun skiing and enjoying the cold weather.
For those living in the Philippines, I know it’s time for summer but should you want to try winter in Korea here’s a quick guide. It’s never too early to start planning!
Hongdae is considered the university area and is popular for its youthful vibe. The area is filled with hipster cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, and street art and performances. You can also find different Korean streetfood as well.
I always try to find a hostel or hotel in this area so the good restaurants and bars are just nearby. For this trip, I booked in TrickArt Hostel.
My favorite places are Hongdae and Myeongdong. You will realize that eating streetfood can be more expensive than dining in because the usual cost of 1 order of streetfood ranges from 1,500 won to 5,000 won.
Here are my favorites!
- Egg Bread (Gyeran-Bbang):baked bread with egg on top. It also has other additional flavors like cheese and bacon!
- Grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon
- Goldfish bread / Boong-uh-ppang: the goldfish-shaped bread with sweet red bean filling
- Nutella-Banana Crepe with Ice cream if you want
- Chicken and beer
I usually do DIY when I travel but if the location is far and it’s not easily accessible, I check for online tours and compare them with the cost I get from a travel agent. We wanted to learn how to ski so I checked online and found a few tours in Viator and Trazy. They offer transportation, lessons and ski clothes and gears and it turns out they are cheaper than getting it from a travel agent!
We decided to get a 10 hour ski pass in Elysian Gangchon Resort for only $69 from Trazy. During the tour, the guide suggested if we want to spend the morning in Nami Island and then do the ski lesson in the afternoon. We agreed and it was the best decision ever since I haven’t been to Nami Island.
The guide was also accommodating and on time so I do recommend Trazy!
It’s an island formed because of the Cheongpyeong Dam. It is a popular location shoot for Korean movies and TV series and famous for its tree lined roads. Nami Island is around 63km away or an hour away from Seoul. The entrance fee is around 8,000 won. The place is perfect for photoshoots, family outing, or if you just want a quiet destination as part of your trip.
Elysian Gangchon Ski Tour
The Ski resort is 2 hours away from Seoul. They have a few different slopes for beginners and intermediate level. I’ll definitely do this again and maybe really stay in a ski resort!
We bought a Ski Package with the following inclusions:
- Roundtrip transportation
- Ski equipment rental
- Ski clothes
- 30min group lesson
First Time Ski Tips:
- If you are into board sports, it will be quite easy for you.
- Group lesson is okay if you are sporty or if you already have an idea how to do it but if this is your first time and you are not sporty, I suggest get a private lesson since the guide won’t have enough time to focus on you.
- Do get a lift pass so you can try other slopes.
- It’s not hard since you will be starting in the beginner slope. Just remember how to stop (they will teach you how) and you should be okay!
Ihwa Mural Village
Ihwa Mural Village is located in Ihwa-dong near Naksan Park. Like in other areas in Seoul, Ihwa is full of street art and murals. It is quite a hike, from climbing small hills to steep stairs but the view is worth it. You will find a lot of quirky cafes and restaurants as well along the way.
I always find myself visiting Bukchon whenever I’m in Korea. This area is famous for its traditional hanok houses. Most are rented as guesthouses, restaurants, tea houses, and cultural centers while the others are still inhabited by the owners.
To cap it off, we had streetfood and chicken and beer for dinner! Winter travel is not that bad after all; in fact, I think I like it!
Most of the photos were taken using Supremo 4K. It’s actually a very useful travel accessory to document your trips! We’ll do a more detailed review about it soon! Hopefully I’ll get to post the video too, though I’m still learning how to edit it.
Just in case you are wondering how I was able to update and do snapchats during the trip, I was using Flytpack! It’s a wireless modem that is easy to carry around and acts as a wifi provider. Instead of using roaming data you can use this instead. It’s cheaper yet faster! You can use it during your travels in Asia, Australia, US, Europe, UK, and more!
How to use it:
- Order it online. You just need to input your flight details and where you are going. It will only work in the locations that you indicated so if for example you are traveling 4 days in Hongkong and then transfer to Korea for 3 days then you can indicate it in the form so they can configure the modem.
- You can ask them to deliver it to you or pick it up in their office before your flight.
- When you arrive at your destination, turn it on and put the password. That’s it!
- They can pick it up a day after your arrival.
Prices range from Php180 peso per day to Php500 peso per day with 1GB data per day. If you go beyond the data available you might still be able to connect but the internet speed will be slower. You can find more information in there website.
So for your next winter trip, you know where to go!
Find me in Instagram @lencaccam for some random trips and daily musings!