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Exploring the Korean Winter

It’s easy to just curl up under your blankets and sleep the weekends away when it’s cold outside, but remember – many of us came to Korea not just to work, but to experience a different culture half a world away from home. So bundle up and head on out to different corners of this wacky little country to check out how the locals celebrate winter!

Here are some of the upcoming festivals in February, from the Korea Tourism website:

Taebaeksan Snow Festival, Jan 27 – Feb 5 – Taebaek Mountain is one of the tallest in South Korea, at 1586 m in elevation. It’s location in the north east also places it in the way of the winter snows, making it one of the snowiest places in the country. To celebrate this, they make snow sculptures, offer dog sled rides, sledding, and other fun snow-based activities. From the Taebaek Bus Terminal, take the bus heading to Danggol, and get off at Taebaek Park. Click here for more information.

Inje Icefish Festival, Jan 28 – Feb 5 – Also up in Gangwando, the town of Inje holds it’s ice fishing festival on Soyangho Lake. Some of the activities include ice fishing, human bowling on ice (?!), ice soccer, and an icefish eating competition. From the Inje Intercity Bus Terminal, take a taxi or a free shuttle bus to the venue. Click here to find out more.

Jeju Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival, and Tamnaguk Ipchun Gut Nori (Spring Welcoming Exorcism of Tamna), Feb 2 – 4 – If you haven’t been to Jejudo yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful island with plenty of things to see and do, whether you prefer nature’s wonders or crazy tourist traps. Tamnaguk is the ancient name for Jejudo, and the Spring Welcoming Exorcism is a traditional ceremony to welcome spring and pray for a good harvest. The Fire Festival is also a traditional ceremony held to pray for health and a good harvest in the coming year. There will be hands on events and folk games to complement the traditional rituals and mask dances. At the Gut you will be able to make traditional masks and rice cakes. It would be well worth the weekend flight to Jeju to participate in these two festivals. From Jeju international airport, you can take a shuttle bus to the Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival, or Bus #200, 300 or 500 to the Gut. Here’s where to find out more about the Fire Festival, and for the Gut, click here.

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