Christmas is just around the corner and while the holidays may be celebrated a bit differently here in Korea, that doesn’t mean you have to go without the lights, the markets or even the festivities. If you want to get into the holiday spirit and you need a little help from some little twinkling lights, a Nutcracker performance or a Noel sing-a-long, here are some events to look forward to.
Sparkling, shining, twinkling, glimmering, shimmering, gleaming and glinting; whatever word you prefer to use, here are two places that are sure to leave you lit up with holiday spirit.
Herb Island Lighting Festival
Pocheon Herbs Island holds a “Light & Fairy Tale” Festival each year with millions of LED lights on the buildings, hanging from the rafters and blanketing the ground. Three hundred Santas in Santa’s Village welcome visitors to really get into the Christmas spirit after walking through a 300-meter long lighted tunnel into the vicinity. To get your Santa and light fix all in one, this is definitely the place to visit.
Where: Gyeonggi-do Pocheon-si Sinbuk-myeon Cheongsin-ro 947-gil 35
Admission: Adults: KRW6,000; Children: KRW4,000
When: November 14, 2015 ~ April 30, 2016
Hours: 10am ~ 10pm (Saturday hours extended to 11pm)
Nearby: Sinbuk Hot Springs, Pocheon Art Valley
Nestled in the mountains just an hour outside of Seoul sits the beautifully curated botanical gardens of The Garden of the Morning Calm. With more than 5,000 plants in the gardens and scenic walkways, this garden is a must see year round but during the holiday season, these gardens become a magnet for anyone wishing to view the dazzling six million LED lights that are strung this way and that. From the buildings, grass, and trees the lights sparkle and shine.
Where: Gyeonggi-do Gapyeong-gun Sang-myeon Sumogwon-ro 432
Admission: Adults: KRW9,000; Students: KRW6,500; Children: KRW5,500
When: December 4, 2015 ~ March 13, 2016
Hours: 11am ~ 9pm (Saturday hours extended to 11pm)
Nearby: Mongolia Culture Town, Gapyeong Sledding Hills
Christmas Traditional Markets:
Maybe shopping, mulled wines and other wintery treats are what you need to get you into the spirit. Here are the main Christmas and holiday markets to be on the lookout for to satiate all of your decorating, dining and lighting needs.
European Christmas Market
Hosted by several European embassies, this market will provide some familiarity if your family usually celebrates European style. From Czech stroganoff to Spanish empanadas and German sausages, there delicious food for all. This market may be small, just taking over a block of space, but it makes up for it with mulled wines, performances and carols.
When: December 5, 2015 ~ December 6, 2015; 12pm ~ 8pm
Where: Seoul, Hansung University Subway Station, (Line 4, Exit 2,) Seongbukchon Fountain Square
French Christmas Market: Marche de Noel
Set in Ginkgo Park in Seorae Village, the French Christmas Market fills bellies with wine, cheese, smoked salmon, crepes, foie gras and other delicacies that give the holidays a very delicious French twist.
When: December 12, 2015
Where: Seocho, Seoul (Express Bus Terminal Station Line 3, Exit 5)
French School vicinity
Korea Christmas Fair @ Kintex
As the largest Christmas related event in Korea, you can be sure to find whatever Christmas goods you’re looking for from the trees and lights to holiday stationary and more. There will be wine tasting at the Christmas Wine & Spirit booth to cookies and instructions on how to make your own. Parades set to holiday songs sure to get
you singing along and Santa Claus will make an entrance, too.
When: December 11 – 20, 2015
Where: Kintex Hall 4&5, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do
Jingle bells, noels, ballets with nutcrackers and little mice are sure to brighten up the coming winter months. From sing-alongs to rehearsed concerts and plays, there are plenty of events coming up this holiday season that will make you feel like you’re back home.
The Little Singers of Paris Christmas Concert
The only all boy’s a cappella choir in the world is headed to Korea once again to perform classical greats from Mozart, Handel and Schubert as well as folk songs and Christmas carols. The performance will have you on the edge of your seat and singing along, so don’t miss it!
When: December 20, 2015; 5pm
Where: Seoul Arts Center
Admission: Tickets: ® KRW110,000 / (S) KRW88,000 / (A) KRW66,000 / (B) KRW44,000 / (C) KRW33,000
Running time: 100 minutes
White Christmas Concert
This concert brings together a classical quartet to showcase some classical winter pieces including: P. I. Tchaikovsky / String Sextet in d minor, Op.70 “Souvenir de Florence”, P. I. Tchaikovsky / “Nutcracker” Suite for Two Pianos, Op.71a, as well as pieces from the movies “Cinema Paradiso “, “ Misson”, “Elvira Madigan”, “Frozen” and of course the performance wouldn’t be complete without some Christmas carols, too.
When: December 23, 2015; 8pm
Where: Seoul Arts Center
Admission: Tickets: (R) KRW20,000 / (S) KRW10,000
Running time: 120 minutes
Universal Ballet’s: The Nutcracker
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a little girl and her nutcracker, along with mice and sugarplum ferries twirling the night away to Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dances The Universal Ballet Company in Korea will be sure to fill the stage with a beautiful rendition so get your tickets now!
When: December 18, 2015 – December 30, 2015
Where: Universal Arts Center
Admission: From KRW10,000 to KRW100,000 (Expats and tourists can get a 20% discount)
Running time: 120 minutes
If you’re one of those people that likes to be a part of the scene then Santacon is right up your alley. Dress up in that iconic red outfit, slap on a hat and maybe a beard and join hundreds of other Santas dancing around the streets between Sinchon and Hongdae for a night of merry madness.
When: December 12, 2015; 7pm – 4.20am
Where: Starting at Bottle Beer in Hongdae