The end of a year is always the time for festive spirit and celebrations. Korea is not an exception – in fact, it’s probably one of the best destinations in the world to celebrate Christmas!
There are so many festivals and celebrations at this time of the year that the list goes on and on. This blog will attempt to cover just a few of them that are happening in Seoul and Busan.
Here are some of the best places to see amazing lights and get into the holiday spirit in Seoul!
A. Christmas Lights & Fun at Theme Parks
1. Lotte World: Christmas Miracle
Period: 11.12.2016 ~ 12.31.2016
Lotte World, the only indoor amusement theme park in Seoul will hold a Christmas festival with a theme, “Christmas Miracle,” until December 31. In addition to the rides that are available at Lotte World promises to bring an amazing show with a variety of characters and performances throughout the evening.
The highlight of the festival is various special zones set up outdoors and indoors. Outside there is the “Castle of Miracles” where you will be able to see a beautiful light show and indoors there’s the “Miracle Santa Village” where you can take photos at the snowman photo zone.
You can get a discount ticket for Lotte World here.
2. Everland: Romantic Illumination
Period: 11.24.2016 ~ 12.31.2016
Everland is possibly one of the most famous and largest amusement parks in Korea. Held until December 31, the Christmas Fantasy and Romantic Illumination guarantee a fantastic display of lights and fireworks that are sure to let you immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit.
The highlight is the “White X-mas Parade” starring Everland‘s Christmas character such as Santa and Rudolph dancing to delightful carol songs. The parade will take place once a day from December 18.
For convenient transport options and discount tickets to Everland, check out this link.
3. Seoul Land: Christmas Party
Period: 11.17.2016 ~ 12.25.2016
As Korea’s first ever theme park to be built, Seoul Land is definitely one of the most established and popular amusement parks in Korea.
This year’s festival is called “Santa Run” and will be held until December 25, featuring various special performances and gift donations. One of the highlights is a performance where Ebenezer Scrooge and a pack of wolves try to ruin Christmas for Red Riding Good and her friends of the Character Village.
Fathers will also get a chance to win special gifts for their children by participating in the Santa Run.
For discount tickets to Seoul land, click here.
B. Christmas Taken to the Streets
1. Sinchon Christmas Market & Sinchon Christmas Street Festival
Period: 12.21.2016 ~ 12.29.2016
Sinchon is “the” place to be for youths. The area, in close proximity to 4 major universities (Yonsei, Ewha, Sogang and Hongik), is a famous hotspot for street performances, great food and shopping. You’ll be able to enjoy everything from thrifty shopping to joyous caroling to free concerts from December 21 to 29 around the area. Street performances will mainly be held near Hyundai U-Plex Mall near Sinchon Station.
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2. Myeongdong Lights Festival
Along the famous shopping district of Myeongdong, awe-inspiring Christmas decorative lights have gone up!
Take note however, especially during Christmas Eve, this place gets jam-packed. Try to avoid at all costs, and visit it another day (usually the Christmas day itself is less crowded than Christmas Eve).
C. Fabulous Christmas Events & Performances
1. Universal Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’
Period: 12.16.2016 ~ 12.31.2016
A Christmas classic, the world-renowned Universal Ballet presents Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday performance of “The Nutcracker.”This family-friendly winter performance will run from December 16 to 31, 2016 at the Universal Arts Center in Seoul.
2. Merry Chri Sound Festa
Period: 12.24.2016 ~ 12.25.2016
Held on Christmas Eve and Day, the Merry Chri Sound Festa is a festival where you will be able to enjoy music from artists of all different genres.
There’s everything from rap to pop to indie to EDM! The line-up includes artists like Beenzino, Glen Check, Hoody and many more! It’s sure to be the perfect way to celebrate Christmas! Grab your tickets here before they’re all gone!
D. Christmas Vibes Near Seoul
1. Garden of Morning Calm: The Lighting Festival
Period: 12.02.2016 ~ 3.26.2017
Spanning 82 acres, the Garden of Morning Calm boasts the largest collection of herbs in Korea. There are also areas themed after the Italian city of Venice and a French farm.
The different colors of the garden harmonize together to create a beautiful, picturesque scenery. There are 30,000 lights of all colors illuminating the garden that will look amazing in photos!
Enjoy your visit to the garden and also explore the beautiful tree-lined paths of Nami island and enjoy a rail bike ride in Gangchon by signing up this tour!
2. Pocheon Herb Island: The Lighting & Illumination Festival
Period: 11.01.2016 ~ 12.31.2016
Friends, families and lovers can make precious memories together at the Lighting & Illumination Festival in Pocheon which is full of LED lights that make the place look like something out of a fairytale.
There is also an area called “Santa’s Village” with a 300-meter long tunnel full of wishing cards that you can take a walk through.
Visitors can also entry hands-on programs such as herbal candle and soap making, pressed herbal flower arts and crafts, lavender pillow crafting and more.
Take an excursion to the Herb Island in Pocheon with ease by simply hiring a private van for your group. For details, click here.
The range of activities and festivals you can find outside of Seoul is definitely much more limited, but Busan is the second most populous city in Korea after Seoul, and there are definitely many festivals that can rival those in the capital. Here are some that you should definitely check out if you’re in Busan:
1. Busan Christmas Tree Festival
Period: 11.26.2016 ~ 01.08.2016
The Busan Christmas Festival in Nampodong has been going on for 6 years in a row and has been making its name known as one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Korea.
The annual Christmas Tree Festival will feature a myriad of festive and family-friendly holiday activities including the tree of wishes, various street performances, and a photo and video contest. On top of the daily cultural and Christmas concerts, local visitors can also participate in the festival’s popular carol singing contest.
The festival is free and open to the public and will be held until January 8.
If you want to enjoy a dazzling winter holiday trip at Busan Christmas Tree Festival this year, join this overnight tour! You can book your trip here.
2. Haeundae Rockgo Lighting Festival
Period: 12.02.2016 ~ 2.12.2017
View the colorful lights by the seaside in Haeundae, Busan at the Haeundae Rockgo Lighting Festival! This year there is a love story theme with special events held for couples.
The main event is an SNS event, where if couples upload a photo of them at the festival, one of them will be chosen at random every week and receive an 18 karat couple ring.
There will also be street busking performances every Friday and Saturday to add some joy to people’s days as they walk by.
3. Illumia Light Festival
Period: 11.01.2016 ~ 12.31.2017
Launched at the Let’s Run Park in Busan, the Illumia Light Festival is essentially a theme park full of colorful and shining lights.
Aside from large lit-up life-size figurines all over the park, there is also an area with ground light illumination and a musical fountain show where images are projected onto the water.
Enjoyed reading our blog? Stay tuned for more travel updates and happy holidays!
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