Winter in Korea is a beautiful time to experience the country! Don’t let the wind and snow affect your trip plans!
Experiencing a white winter is a dream of many people from tropical countries. This time of the year is dominated by a somewhat dry climate with high pressure western winds blowing in from Siberia. Temperatures can go as low as -20°C with snowfall that frosts buildings and trees. January has always been recorded as the coldest month of the entire year with temperatures below -15°C. Due to such weather conditions, there is a lot to plan for when traveling to Korea during winter. Let’s take a look at appropriate attire first!
Since you may be out in the cold and then inside where it’s heated, it’s a good idea to prepare a few layers, like thermal vests and sweaters. Other clothing to make it through Korean winters include insulated jackets, woolen hats, and gloves. Be sure to bring a larger suitcase to accommodate heavier clothing. Scarves are also very necessary in order to brave the cold. They are a popular fashion item in Korean department stores and shops. Normal sneakers are not a good idea because snow can seep through them, wetting your socks. Insulated, waterproof shoes or boots are the ideal footwear option. Additionally, moisture-wicking socks designed for winter sports are great as they will keep your feet warm and dry while you sight-see!
Besides the proper clothing, hot packs are essential to surviving the weather. You can find air-activated hand and foot warmers in convenience stores and supermarkets all over Korea. There are also types that have adhesive so you can stick them to the inside of your clothes for targeted heating! Warm drinks made out of lemon, honey, citron, and ginseng are widely available at every convenience store. These drinks are a surefire way to stay warm and avoid catching colds as many are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Others stick with a classic warm cup of coffee at the many cafes that dot Korea. Additionally, foods like ramyeon (라면) and jjigae (찌개) can keep you warm with their hot broth. If you are curious about other winter foods to enjoy, check out our article all about winter foods you can’t miss!
Since the cold weather is accompanied by wind and dryness, Korea has no shortage of products to protect your skin. There are a variety of moisturizers available at cosmetic and make-up shops to keep your skin feeling fresh. Other items you can find include hand creams and lip balms to prevent skin cracking and damage. Certain oils like argan oil can prevent your scalp from drying out as well. Besides Korean brands, many international brands are also readily available so if you forget yours at home, don’t worry!
With snow comes skiing and snowboarding! Korea is covered in mountains, ideal for winter spots. One popular resort in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do is Konjiam Resort. It is famous for both for skiing and snowboarding. You can easily rent skis and snowboards here and enjoy a nice time with your friends and family. If you’d prefer a milder winter experience, the weather is different as you go southwards on the peninsula. For example, Busan does not experience the same kind of cold as Seoul. The temperatures can still be friendly for outdoor sightseeing in the southern part of the country, even in the middle of winter!
No matter the weather conditions, there is much Korea can offer during winter! What’s your favorite season to enjoy in Korea?