Travel Ideas to Welcome 2021 in Korea
New year in Korea is usually marked by happy gatherings in Seoul and sunrise festivals, but with the threat of the coronavirus, things will be different when we welcome 2021. The Seoul City Government has already announced the cancellation of the bell-tolling ceremony in Bosingak (first time in 67 years), and Gangneung will no longer be having the usual sunrise programs at Gyeongpo Beach. Everyone in Korea is encouraged to stay at home to help curb COVID-19, but if you’re thinking about getting away or dining out, we have some ideas that you can do alone or as a small group:
1. Go car camping and catch the first sunrise
If you want to catch the first sunrise of 2021 and want to be surrounded by nature, how about finding a less crowded spot around Seoul? Instead of going to a traditional camping site, you may want to try cha-bak or car camping in Korea for a solitary experience. This is one of the contactless travel trends that gained popularity in 2020, and that’s because it’s fun and easy to do. Just find a good spot with a view and set up your vehicle as your camping site!
To view our full car camping guide in Korea, which has more details about the package that you can book as well as a list of camping sites, click here. Otherwise, you click the button below to check out the vehicles and/or the basic camping set that you can book (starts at only ₩129,000!):
2. Have an intimate staycation
If you want a change of scenery without having to go on a full-on trip, a staycation in a hotel or a nice Airbnb may just be what you need! This is great if you want to spend a quality time with your partner, family, or a friend without having to mind the curfew restrictions. (I suggest doing an early or late check-in to avoid queues.) As to which accommodations to book, you can go for a nice 4 or 5-star hotel, an Airbnb (pension) with a theme, or a hanok stay, like the one on the video below (perfect if you haven’t stayed in a Korean traditional house yet!):
To find your accommodation (and book at the lowest rate!), you can use WAUG, which you can download below. We have a hotel category that lists the accommodations with rates from various sites, including Booking.com and Expedia, to help you compare your options at a glance!
3. Revisit N Seoul Tower Observatory
If you’re living in South Korea, chances are that you’ve already been to N Seoul Tower. However, for New Year’s Eve or the New Year’s weekend, you may want to revisit the observatory and check out its (fairly new) LED room! This is a wide space that’s located right next to the observatory elevators, and you’ll see meaningful images and videos about South Korea. (It’s a good photo spot too!) The LED room is also spacious, so crowding shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, once you get up the tower observatory, you’ll be treated to the panoramic view of Seoul. Take in all the nice feels as you say goodbye to 2020!
Tickets for N Seoul Tower Observatory regularly costs ₩16,000 or $15, but you can book here for only ₩12,800 or $12! After visiting the observatory, you may also want to dine at N.Burger or Owl’s Cutlet and explore the love locks and nature parks at Namsan.
4. Try a new restaurant in Seoul and have a feast!
Want to splurge this long weekend to celebrate the New Year? Check out these restaurants that you can book at a discount!
- The Grid Italian Restaurant in Hongdae
- Yeoljeongdo Korean BBQ
- Yeomchang 8 Kyeong at JK Blossom Hotel (has a nice view of Han River!)
- Top Cloud O-Five in Insadong
- The Dam Restaurant in Hongdae
5. Stay & Surf in Yangyang
If you really want to travel somewhere but also want to be careful, you may want to consider Yangyang — yes, the best surfing spot in Korea! Around this time (winter season), the destination is not crowded as it usually is during summer. This is great if you’re into or want to learn how to surf since the waves in the area are at its best during the cold (yes, even better than summer!). Moreover, you can look forward to a nice sunrise viewing experience at the beach, which should be as memorable.
To learn more about Yangyang and which place to visit, you can read this guide: Surfing in Yangyang: Korea’s Best Surf Spot for All Seasons. You can also click below to book an overnight stay & surf package for only ₩123,500 per person. (First time to use WAUG? You’ll get a ₩3,000 or $3 discount coupon after signing up 🎉)
Also read: 12 Things to Do in Korea During Seollal or Lunar New Year