Happy Korean Lunar New Year! Can you believe the first month of 2020 is almost here? Neither can we!
2020 is the year of the rat, and Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year, or ‘Seollal‘ in Korean, which is one of the biggest holidays in Korea. This year, Korean Lunar New Year is from the 24th to 26th of January.
During the holiday period, many Koreans head back to their hometown to see their families and pay respect to their ancestors. As most people head out of Seoul during this time to see their families, the city that is usually bustling with people becomes a lot more peaceful and quiet.
Also, many businesses including major department stores and small local shops close during the holiday period. But don’t be in despair as travelers (just like yourself!) can find and partake in Seollal events at many tourist attractions and destinations within and around Seoul.
Check out these destinations where you can celebrate and make the most of your trip during the Korean Lunar New Year holiday!
1. Theme Parks
South Korea’s three best theme parks Everland, Lotte World and Seoul Land are open during the Korean Lunar New Year and they offer various attractions and Seollal-themed events like sledding, light shows, and parades.
2. Korean Royal Palaces
If the royal palaces are somewhere you’ve been meaning to visit, Seollal is the perfect time to go. Four of the royal palaces in Seoul (Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung) will be open and will showcase different programs for the guests.
Programs include traditional rituals and games, activities that you can participate in and performances like the famous “changing of the guards” ceremony with the palace as the perfect backdrop.
Check out these detailed royal palace tours:
- Korean Palace Tour
- Seoul Palace Guided Tour
- Secret Garden (Changdeokgung) & Bukchon Hanok Village Walking Tour
- Walking Tour in Deoksugung Palace & Jeongdong
- Modern Hanbok Rental & Gyeonbokgung Photoshoot
*For free admission to all four royal palaces and more, get the Discover Seoul Pass with Trazy!
3. National Folk Museum of Korea
You may perceive museums as mundane places, but head to one during Seollal and you’ll find that it’s actually quite fun and exciting!
During Seollal, the National Folk Museum of Korea located in Gyeongbokgung Palace, offers a range of hands-on programs and exhibitions such as arts and crafts and traditional folk games for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
You can try playing Korean traditional games like “paengichigi (top spinning)”, “jegichagi (hacky sack)” and “yut nori (a board game where you throw sticks)”.
4. Namsangol Hanok Village
The Namsangol Hanok Village, around Chungmuro Subway Station, is a collection of five traditional Korean houses from the Joseon Dynasty that have been restored. As part of the Seollal festivities, here you can register for various experiences involving Korean traditional percussions, folk songs, games and more. It’s sure to be a lot of fun!
5. Korean Folk Village
The Korean Folk Village is also hosting Seollal events such as folk games and traditional Korean music performances.
There are also performances like tightrope walking, horseback martial arts and role-playing by actors donned in makeup and outfits that make it look like they’re really from the Joseon dynasty.
Head out to the UNESCO-designated Suwon Hwaseong Fortress as well as the Korean Folk Village on our:
- Suwon Hwaseong Fortress & Korean Folk Village Private Van Tour
- Seoul Vicinity: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress + Korean Folk Village + Uiwang Rail Bike 1 Day Tour
6. National Gugak Center
The National Gugak Center is a place that preserves and promotes Korean traditional music and performances.
During Seollal, there are special cultural performances about the history of Korea that are both educational and entertaining.
7. Nami Island
Nami Island is another great place to visit during the Seollal holidays as they will be hosting their own series of fun and exciting Seollal events for visitors of all ages to enjoy together!
From Jan 24 (Fri) ~ 27 (Mon), 2020, you can look forward to these events:
- Get Lucky with Nami: Play the traditional Korean board game, Yutnori, with Nami Island’s mascot Nami!
- Traditional Korean folk games (Jegichagi, horseback riding, ring toss etc.)
- Performance by Korean Traditional Arts Group ‘A-UL’ (Jan 24 (Fri) ~ 26 (Sun) 13:00, 15:00 / Ecostage)
- Feeling Fortunate! (Jan 24 (Fri) ~ 26 (Sun) / Imagine Nami): Shop & win prizes!
- Year of the Rat! (Jan 25 (Sat / Zip Wire Tower Ticket Office): Those born in the Year of the Rat! Ride the zip wire and receive a present!
- 30% off Zip Wire if you are wearing a Hanbok (Jan 24 (Fri) ~ 26 (Sun) / Zip Wire Tower Ticket Office)
- Seollal SNS Event (Jan 24 (Fri) ~ 26 (Sun) / Gaypyeong & Nami Wharf): Take some great shots and receive gifts from the Immigration Checkpoint!
- Musical Instruments Experience at Liuseum (Jan 24 (Fri) ~ 26 (Sun) 12:30, 14:30): Check out the different folk musical instruments from all over the world!
Nami Island Map
Check out these Nami Island tours:
8. Han River Ferry Cruise
Han River (Hangang River) Ferry Cruise is the best way to enjoy the scenery of Seoul. You can see some of the most famous landmarks on the cruise such as N Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, and the Sports Complex.
Luckily you can enjoy the Han River Ferry Cruise during the Korean Lunar New Year along with live music performances and a spectacular fireworks show. They also offer a luxurious buffet cruise. Consider having a nice dinner with your special someone along with the live music & fireworks celebrating Korean Lunar New Year!
For more details, click here.
9. Other destinations to visit during Seollal holiday
Other major tourist attractions that are also open during the Korean Lunar New Year holiday period include N Seoul Tower, COEX Aquarium and Myeongdong Nanta Theatre. Jamsil is another great neighbourhood to visit where you can enjoy a trip to Lotte World, Lotte World Aquarium and Lotte World Tower Seoul Sky. All of them are easy to reach by subway and they are truly wonderful places to visit with your family and friends and have a great time together.
So, what are you waiting for? Do try a visit to one of these spots during Seollal!
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