Lunar New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in countries like Korea. Families meet up and share a meal while catching up with each other. The four day Lunar New Year holiday is just around the corner starting from fourth of February until the eighth. While some of us will be traveling to the shi-gol to visit relatives, many will be staying in Seoul. As for those traveling, there will still be a couple of days before departing. This year, whether you are here in Korea for traveling or have time left after visiting relatives, instead of spending the majority of your break lying around the couch all day, why don’t you make the most out of this year’s Lunar New Year break by trying new things?
During the Lunar New Year, there are several exclusive festivals and events around Seoul that is an opportunity to learn more about the Korean culture.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
The Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest of all the five palaces and was the main royal palace in the Joseon dynasty during 1395. The palace was destroyed during the Imjin War but was later restored. With lots of historical and cultural elements, Gyeongbokgung palace currently attracts many tourists. During the Lunar New Year, the admission fee is free to everyone and many people choose to wear hanboks (Korean traditional dress) while walking around inside the palace. For those who don’t own hanboks, there are hanbok rental shops inside so everyone could experience it. Also, if you want to fully experience the Korean culture, there are Korean traditional guest houses inside the palace that you could make reservations for.
Korean Folk Village (민속촌)
The “Fortune Party Celebrating Seoul” will be held in the Korean Folk Village from February 11 to 12 and from 15 to 16. This festival only happens during the New Year and there are multiple attractions such as face painting, horse riding, kite flying, rice cake pounding, and many more. In addition to that, there would also be Korean traditional performances including dancing, acrobats on tightropes, and horse shows throughout the day. The Korea Folk Village is open from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM and the fee for all of the attractions only costs W18,000.
While many of the restaurants would close during the holiday, Pyeongyang-myeonsok would still be open. Located in the district of Jung-gu, Seoul, Pyeongyang-myseonok is one of the oldest and best naengmyeon (traditional Korean noodle) restaurants in Seoul. It is known that after the Korean War, many of those who fled from the north settled near the Dongdaemun station and opened naengmyeon restaurants. Pyeongyang-myseonok is one of the restaurants opened during this time and it is still loved from all mix of people from working men to naengmyeon lovers to tourists. Since this restaurant is always overflowing during lunchtime, it is recommended to avoid peak hours.
Han River Ferry Cruise (한강유람선)
By riding the Han River (Hangang River) Ferry Cruise, you can easily see all the famous landmarks of Seoul such as the Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, and the Sports Complex. Going on this cruise during the Korean Lunar New Year would allow you to enjoy live music performances and fireworks. This cruise attracts both travelers and Seoul residents as it provides a luxurious buffet and time to spend time on the cruise. There are currently two terminals and seven docks available for the cruise, which is Yeouido, Jamsil, Ttukseom, Jamdubong, Seonyudo, Seoul Forest, Gimpo, and Incheon.
Each of these places shows a different aspect of Korean culture and it would help to make memorable experiences during your four-day break! For this Lunar New Year, we recommend visiting at least one of these places to make your holiday special.
– Jenna Jang (‘22)
Featured image: www.lifentalk.com