We had the good fortune to spend a Christmas in Seoul recently, though we were challenged by both the culture and climate change. Usually we spend the holiday season with family in either Sydney or Melbourne, with average temperatures in the mid-thirties Celsius. Seoul was a little cooler, dipping down to minus ten on some mornings. It also snowed a number of times, once heavily.
We flew into Incheon airport on Garuda Air via a twelve hour stopover in Bali. I used Skyscanner to find the best deal, and was able to save a considerable amount of money as we flew in during a peak period. We used Airbnb to find a nice studio apartment in Sinsa-dong, a trendy area of Gangnam on the south side of the Han river. There were no available hotels in this area, so Airbnb not only saved us a heap of money it provided comfortable accommodation in an area we could not otherwise stay in.
Overall, spending Xmas in Seoul was a nice experience. There were some interesting decorations around, no more so than at City Hall, which featured a 10 metre high tree (above) and an ice skating rink.
City Hall Ice Skating
Namsan, famous for its ‘love locks’ featured some unique Christmas Trees, made from the locks of thousands of couples that had made it to the famous spot.
Namsan Love Lock Tree
Incheon, an area where many ex-pats lived featured xmas lights.
Incheon Ex-pat Xmas
Christmas lights were evident around many shops and hotels.
Christamas Eve Selca
Christmas Day was a holiday in Seoul. The main activity we noticed was on Christmas eve when everyone in the entire city was out buying a cake. Most of the café’s which also sold cakes had outside stalls to deal with the demand.
We had Christmas lunch in Hongdae with some local friends, and were invited to Xmas dinner with our Airbnb host Miya, which was a warm and welcome gesture.
All up, Christmas in Seoul was a great experience, far different to what we were used to due to the weather, but similar in feeling to our family occasions due to the friendly nature of the locals and the great city decorations.
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