Exploring Korea: 5 winter destinations in ROK prettier with snow

Manhangjae Pass, photos courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization
Manhangjae Pass, photos courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization

Exploring Korea: 5 winter destinations in ROK prettier with snow

Korea Tourism Organization

One of the best things about traveling in winter is taking in beautiful snowscapes. Snowfall makes the winter scenery all the more beautiful, whether it’d be that of nature or the busy city streets. Here, we introduce five particularly beautiful destinations that look amazing with snow. Pack up and prepare yourself to feel the winter atmosphere on the mountain ranges of Gangwon-do, at Myeongdong Cathedral in the heart of Seoul, and in the snowy woodlands of Deogyusan Mountain.

Manhangjae Pass
Manhangjae Pass is a valley way along the boundaries of Jeongseon, Yeongwol, and Taebaek in Gangwon-do and the highest point you can get to by car. To get to Manhangjae Pass, ride your way up on a series of winding roads that take you to 1,330 meters above sea level which is reputed to be a popular driving course for enjoying nature scenery.

Right across the Manhangjae Pass entrance sign is Sky Forest Path Park where the trees stand tall and proud. With enough snowfall, the trees and the snowy landscape earn a sentimental touch. Not only is it famous for its snow forest scenery, but also attracts visitors in spring and summer with colorful wild flowers.

Jeongseon Manhangjae Pass
Address : 865, Hambaeksan-ro, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 정선군 고한읍 함백산로 865)
Directions : Take a taxi for approx. 15 min from Gohan Station
Operating hours : Open 24 hr / Open all year round
Admission : Free
Wondae-ri Birch

Wondae-ri Birch Forest

A popular trekking spot, Wondae-ri Birch Forest is beloved for its trees that stand tall as if they were to reach the sky. The forest is beautiful year round, but what draws visitors the most is its winter scene. The winter forest’s serene beauty of thick pale-silver trees spreading across the white snowy field draws in visitors nonstop despite the cold air.

The woodland has about 700,000 trees that are so tall that you can barely see any snow piled branches. On clear days, you won’t even feel the winter breeze thanks to the thick forest and sun rays that fall through. For an adventure in winter land, add Wondae-ri Birch Forest to your itinerary.

Wondae-ri Birch Forest
Address : 763-4, Wondae-ri, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 인제군 원대리 763-4)
Directions : Take the bus bound to Hyeon-ri (Wondae, Hachu) from Inje Terminal Bus Stop located 30 m away from Inje Intercity Bus Terminl and get off at Wondae-ri, then walk for approx. 15 min to Wondae-ri Birch Forest
Operating hours :
November 1 – March1: 09:00-14:00
May 1 – October 31: 09:00–15:00
* Mountain access limited March 2 – April 30
* Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Admission : Free

Maewoldae Falls

Waterfalls are not necessarily bound to be summer destinations. For instance, the winter scenery of Maewoldae Falls in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do makes one feel as if time has stopped. In winter, the waterfall freezes and turns into cascades of ice and icicles. The frozen waterfall, along with its surroundings, remains silent and still and portrays a picturesque scene.

The frozen body of water covering the 40-meter cliff is frequented by ice climbing enthusiasts. Even if you’re not interested in ice climbing, Maewoldae Falls is worth a visit for impressive photo opportunities with the “icefall” in the background or like pretending to sit on an ice throne.

Maewoldae Falls in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do
Address : 222-5, Jamgok-ri, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 철원군 근남면 잠곡리 222-5)
Directions : Take the bus bound to Jamgok-ri from Wasu Intercity Bus Terminal to Maewoldae Falls Bus Stop and walk for approx. 20 min
Operating hours : Open 24 hr / Open all year round
Admission : Free

Myeongdong Cathedral

In the busy city of Seoul where high-rise buildings make up the skyline, Myeongdong Cathedral is one of the few structures with an exquisite charm. The church becomes a popular attraction in winter, especially around Christmas season. When the sun goes down, the building and the church grounds begin to illuminate with soft yet stunning evening lights. With some help of snow, Myeongdong Cathedral becomes one of the coziest winter landmarks of Seoul. Even with the cathedral aside, the neighborhood of Myeong-dong is filled with shopping stores and restaurants so you might as well take a tour of the area before winter ends.

Myeongdong Cathedral
Address : 74, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 명동길 74)
Directions :
1. Walk for approx. 400 m from Eulji-ro 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 3), Exit 12
2. Walk for approx. 600 m from Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 8

Operating hours : Cathedral building 07:00-20:00 / Church grounds open 24 hr
Admission : Free
Website (Korean, English)

Deogyusan Mountain

Due to heavy annual snowfall, Deogyusan Mountain in Muju, Jeollabuk-do is reputed to be one of the most splendid winter mountains. The mountain is especially renowned for beautiful trees covered with hoar frost. The ice crystals covering the trees make the woods look dressed in white from afar, but sparkle when seen up close, creating an enchanting atmosphere.

Deogyusan Mountain is on the bucket list of every winter trekking enthusiast in Korea, although you don’t have to be an expert hiker to reach the top. You can get to Silcheonbong Peak by taking the gondola lift from Muju Resort. From there, follow the trail leading to Hyangjeokbong Peak, situated at 1,614 meters above sea level to enjoy the snowy vista.

Deogyusan National Park in Muju, Jeollabuk-do
Address : 159, Gucheon-dong 1(il)-ro, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do (전라북도 무주군 설천면 구천동1로 159 덕유산국립공원관리사무소)
Directions :
Take Nongeochon Bus No. 23-6 from Muju Bus Terminal Bus Stop to Gucheon-dong Bus Stop and walk for approx. 10 min to Deogyusan Mountain Entrance
* As there are several hiking courses, visitors are advised to designate Deogyusan National Park as the destination point to choose the appropriate course.

Operating hours : Open 24 hr / Open all year round
Admission : Free
Website (Korean, English, Chinese)

Muju Deogyusan Resort Gondola Lift in Muju, Jeollabuk-do
Address : 185, Manseon-ro, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do (전라북도 무주군 설천면 만선로 185)
Directions : Take the taxi for approx. 30 min from Muju Bus Terminal to Muju Deogyusan Resort Gondola Lift
Operating hours :
Monday-Thursday 10:00-16:00
Fridays 10:00 - 16:30
Saturdays 09:30 – 16:30
Sundays 09:30 – 16:00
* Last ride back is 30 min after closing time
Fare : Adults 18,000 won / Children 14,000 won
* Fares based on roundtrip

* The up-to-date Information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.
* Column content provided by TRAVELHOLIC writer Jolly Kim (김지영)

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED www.visitkorea.or.kr

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