Traveling to South Korea during Valentine's week this year offers a chance to experience the Seollal (Lunar New Year) celebration. Avoid venturing into provincial areas during this time, as it becomes the busiest and most expensive period, with everyone rushing home to celebrate with their families. Opt for staying in Seoul to partake in the festivities or continue your itinerary with mindful considerations for increased traffic and potential changes in attraction openings.
Lunar New Year, known as Seollal in Korea, falls on the first day of the Lunar calendar's first month. This vital holiday spans three days, including the day itself and the days before and after. Families come together for ancestral rites and shared meals, with a special focus on carefully preparing the food. In 2024, Seollal on February 10th extends into February 9th and 11th due to a make-up holiday on Monday. This public holiday slows down the typically bustling city of Seoul, with even 24-hour restaurants closing. If you’re staying in the city during Seollal, plan ahead, stock up on necessities, and embrace the quieter atmosphere, or consider visiting places that remain open during the holiday.
If you want to experience Seollal celebrations, you can visit Namsangol Hanok Village, where doors open to offer a delightful experience of traditional Korean activities. Visitors can engage in crafting kites indulge in rice cake delicacies, and more. You can also watch the traditional performances and ancestral rites that enhance the festive atmosphere.
Alternatively, you can explore The Korean Folk Village for a diverse array of activities, including winter sledding, horse petting, rice cake pounding, fortune telling, and alike. Traditional performances, dancing, acrobats on tightropes, and other shows are scheduled throughout the day as well.
If you prefer not to partake in the holiday festivities, consider exploring Seoul at your own pace. A tip: avoid extensive roaming on the first or last day of Seollal as roads will be congested. Opt for a relaxing staycation or explore nearby tourist spots and popular restaurants within walking distance.
Keep in mind that many attractions in the city will be closed over the holiday weekend. However, you can still visit accessible places like N Seoul Tower, Lotte World, or free attractions such as Bukchon Hanok Village, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and more.