Guides + Tips Winter in Korea

Visiting Seoul in January: Your Comprehensive Guide to Special Events

Visiting Seoul in January offers a unique experience as the city is draped in a blanket of winter charm. From immersing yourself in the icy fun activities to exploring stunning lighting and winter festivals, there’s plenty to see and do in Seoul during this chilly month. In this article, we’ll delve into the weather, what to wear, and the exciting activities to enjoy during your January visit to Seoul.

Jump To:

    Weather in Seoul in January:

    Seoul experiences a distinct four-season climate, and January marks the peak of winter. It’s the coldest month of the year, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. The average high temperature hovers around -1°C (30°F), while the average low can plummet to -8°C (18°F) or even lower. Alongside the cold, visitors can expect relatively dry conditions, with occasional snowfall.

    Daylight: January days are shorter, with around 9 hours of daylight, which means less time to explore outdoors.

    Precipitation: While January is generally dry, there’s still a chance of snowfall, especially early in the month. It’s advisable to check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly.

    What to Wear in Seoul in January:

    Packing the right clothing for your Seoul trip in January is crucial to stay warm and comfortable. Here’s a list of essential items to consider:

    Warm Layers: Start with a thermal base layer to trap heat close to your body. Layer up with sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and a down or insulated jacket.

    Heavy Coat: A waterproof, insulated winter coat is a must to protect yourself from the biting cold and potential snowfall.

    Warm Accessories: Don’t forget to pack items like a beanie, gloves, and a scarf. These accessories will help shield your extremities from the cold winds.

    Footwear: Insulated, waterproof boots with good traction are essential, especially if you plan to walk around snowy streets.

    Warm Pants: Invest in thermal or lined pants to keep your legs warm, and consider packing thermal leggings to wear under your pants for added insulation.

    Socks: Thick, woolen socks will keep your feet warm, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.

    Hand and Foot Warmers: These disposable warmers are handy to have in your pocket or boots, providing extra warmth when needed.

    Umbrella: While it’s cold, January is also relatively dry. Still, having a compact umbrella can be useful in case of unexpected rain or snow showers.

    Things to Do in Seoul in January:

    January in Seoul may bring chilly weather, but it also brings an abundance of activities and attractions to keep you entertained:

    Embrace the Ice:

    Image Source: @nowsee

    To fully immerse yourself in the winter charm of Korea, ice skating is an absolute must-try activity, and January is the ideal time to take the plunge! Seoul boasts several fantastic ice rinks that will elevate your winter experience to new heights. Here are the top ice-skating destinations in the city:

    • Seoul City Hall Ice Rink | 서울시청 아이스링크
    • Lotte World Ice Rink | 롯데월드 아이스링크
    • Grand Hyatt Seoul Ice Rink | 그랜드하얏트 서울 아이스링크
    • Olympic Park Ice Skating Rink | 올림픽공원 아이스 스케이트 링크
    • Mokdong Ice Rink | 목동 아이스링크

    Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, these rinks provide an excellent opportunity to glide and twirl gracefully on the ice, creating cherished memories in the heart of Seoul’s winter wonderland.

    Indulge in the Joy of Snow Sledding:

    Image Source: @ijun6329

    One of the most cherished and delightful winter activities is sliding down snowy hills on sleds, and January in Seoul provides the perfect opportunity for such thrills! If you’re seeking some frosty fun, here are the top spots for sledding in the city:

    • Ttukseom Han River Park Snow Slope | 뚝섬 한강공원 눈썰매장
    • Children’s Grand Park | 서울어린이대공원
    • Yangjaecheon Ice Sledding Rink | 양재천 얼음썰매장
    • Dorimcheon Children’s Ice Sledding Rink | 도림천 얼음 썰매장

    It’s worth noting that the availability of this activity largely hinges on the amount of snowfall, which can be somewhat unpredictable in Seoul each year. In the event of significant snowfall, the window for sledding fun can extend all the way into mid-February!”

    Immerse Yourself in Snowy Wonderland:

    Image Source: @oso_hyun

    When Seoul is graced with the gift of heavy snowfall, a common occurrence in January, seizing the opportunity to capture the mesmerizing winter landscapes is an experience that should not be missed. Even amid the hustle and bustle of Seoul’s streets, when the urban scenery is blanketed in a pristine layer of white, the sight becomes etched in your memory, leaving a lasting impression. Below, you’ll find a carefully curated list of Seoul locations that beckon you to explore, whether you want to capture them through the lens or simply revel in the beauty of the snow-covered surroundings:

    • Gyeongbokgung Palace | 경복궁
    • Bukchon Hanok Village | 북촌한옥마을
    • Eunpyeong Hanok Village | 은평한옥마을
    • Namsan Baekbeom Square Park | 백범광장공원
    • Jeongdong Observatory | 정동전망대 

    Exploring Korea Beyond Seoul in January:

    January not only marks the pinnacle of the cold season in Korea but is also regarded as the prime time to indulge in a wide range of winter activities. Here are some captivating experiences you might want to consider planning a trip for in January:

    Prominent Winter Festivals and Events:

    Throughout January, South Korea hosts a plethora of distinctive winter festivals. Here’s a brief compilation of noteworthy events you should consider exploring:

    Pyeongchang Trout Festival

    The Pyeongchang Trout Festival is a fantastic winter event that happens every January. This festival takes place in the charming Odaecheon area and offers a mix of cool winter experiences. You can try your hand at ice fishing for trout, have a blast with various winter activities, and indulge in some mouthwatering trout dishes. It’s a must-visit if you want to enjoy a classic winter experience in Korea, and it’s gaining popularity year by year.

    • Hangul: 평창송어축제
    • Period: 2023.12.30 ~ 2024.01.29
    • Venue: 강원특별자치도 평창군 진부면 경강로 3562
    Yeongdong Dried Persimmon Festival 

    Persimmons are a year-round delight, but when winter graces Korea, it’s the dried version that truly shines. That’s why, every January, the Yeongdong Dried Persimmon Festival pays homage to this exquisite fruit. At this event, you can savor locally grown “gotgam,” the Korean term for dried persimmons, known for their delightful sweetness, chewy texture, and exceptional nutrition. 

    • Hangul: 영동곶감축제
    • Period: 2024.01.19 ~ 2024.01.21
    • Venue: 충청북도 영동군 영동황간로 122 영동체육관
    Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival

    This event is a unique winter celebration that sets itself apart from the rest! Imagine a farm tractor pulling a line of nine duck figurines, each riding a wooden toboggan board, gracefully gliding across the frozen surface of a lake. It’s a heartwarming and one-of-a-kind sight that you won’t easily find at any other winter event in Korea. So, be sure to add the Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival in Pocheon City to your list of fun things to do on your next winter visit to Korea!

    • Hangul: 산정호수썰매축제
    • Period: 12.30~02.12 (dates may vary depending on ice rink conditions)
    • Venue: 경기 포천시 영북면 산정호수로411번길 108
    Daegwallyeong Snow Festival 

    Every January, Daegwallyeong, Pyeongchang comes alive with the Daegwallyeong Snow Festival. This event, which had its inaugural celebration in 1993, was one of the pioneering snow festivals of its time. With its picturesque snowy hills and a plethora of enjoyable activities, the Daegwallyeong Snow Festival has the magical ability to awaken the child in everyone.

    • Hangul: 대관령 눈꽃축제
    • Period: 01.20~01.29 (dates may vary each year)
    • Venue: 경기 포천시 영북면 산정호수로411번길 108
    Discover Winter Wonderland Getaways:

    Beyond the enchanting winter events, embarking on adventures to extraordinary winter destinations is an opportunity you simply cannot overlook. Don’t worry; I’ve curated a list of these hidden gems scattered across the country, exclusively for you. Each of these locales guarantees to offer you quintessential snapshots of Korea’s captivating wonderlands, adding a dash of allure to your journey.

    Skiing and Snowboarding:

    While the ski season in Korea traditionally begins around mid-December, January is recognized as the prime time to embrace the snowy slopes fully. Since Seoul itself doesn’t host any ski resorts, embarking on a day trip or an extended getaway to ski destinations outside the city is a fantastic option. Explore my comprehensive guide to Korean ski resorts for all the crucial information through the link provided below!

    Congratulations! You’ve reached the conclusion of this in-depth guide. With this wealth of information at your disposal, I’m confident that your upcoming adventure to Seoul in the lively month of January will be filled with excitement and discoveries. Wishing you safe travels and an exhilarating exploration!

    Did this entry help you? Or Did you enjoy my photos? Help support my small blog by giving a little cup of joe. I am always grateful when readers reach out wanting to support 🙂

    p.s. This post is independently created. However, when you book or purchase something through the retail links, I may earn an affiliate commission to help keep Ploy’s Little Atlas running. Thank you very much for your support!

    p.p.s All images used (unless specified) are owned by the author of the blog and permission is required for a repost. Please, reach out via social media channels to ask beforehand if you’d like to use them.