Korea has yet to be listed among the many great wonders of the world, but it remains a contender for the title, creating its own magnificent winter wonderland during the holiday season.
There are numerous places to go and things to see, but in a city that is so rich in beauty, people dare to brave the cold and dust off once forgotten skates to prance gaily on freshly coated arenas of ice.• Lotte World is a very popular tourist destination in its own right throughout the year. This indoor department store/shopping mall is a premier location to kick off your shoes after a couple of hours of shopping and put on some ice skates. At 13,000 won a session (skates and helmet included), it’s a great way to have fun and stay warm. To get there, simply take Exit 4 of Jamsil Station, Seoul Subway Lines 2 and 8.
• The Grand Hyatt is a great destination for couples to skate the night away with a view of Seoul. Admission to this cozy rink is 19,800 won to 24,200 won, with a separate rental fee of 15,400 won. If you’re already staying at the hotel, it is a good way to pass the time by skating on the converted sun deck ice rink. To get there, take Line 6 to Noksapyeong Station, Exit 1, and then cross the street to take bus No. 3 to the hotel bus stop. After you’re done skating, take off your skates, relax, and enjoy the live entertainment provided by the hotel or eat at one of its many restaurants.
During the winter season, Korea also converts many of its open square parks into ice rinks. With the leftover change in your pocket, ice skating outdoors can be just as entertaining as skating in warm comfort at an indoor arena.• Seoul Square is open annually to skaters of all levels, but watch out for the speed skaters. For 1,000 won, you can enjoy an hour of fun with the family on the ice, including skate and helmet rental. Lessons are also available for 10,000 won if you’re looking to do some acrobatic twirls, or simply to learn how to start and stop. Take Exit 7 out of City Hall Station, Lines 1 and 2.
• World Cup Park is located near Seoul World Cup Stadium and is made up of five smaller parks: Pyeonghwa (Peace), Nanjicheon, Nanji Hangang, Haneul (Sky), and Noeul (Sunset). Adjacent to Haneul Park and Pyeonghwa Park, an outdoor ice skating rink set up at the parking lot of World Cup Park is open to the public. With skates and helmets included, it costs 1,000 per hour to skate the day away. The rink is open from 10am to 10pm. To get there, take Line 6 to World Cup Park Station, Exit 1.
• Located in Songpa-gu, Garden Five is an outdoor skating rink that is open from 10am to 10pm daily and costs just 1,000 won for students and 2,000 won for adults, with a separate fee of 1,000 won to rent skates and a helmet. The rink is located in front of the Life Building within the Garden complex. It is an exciting adventure for all ages.
For more information on locations of the places mentioned here, see our Maps & Guides supplement.Seoul’s Ttukseom Hangang Park, on the banks of the Hangang River, is home to a sledding slope this winter. Following the success of its outdoor pool in summer and “Kids’ World” reincarnation in autumn, the park is once again transformed into the kind of place that kids can’t get enough of. One ticket gets admission to the sledding slope, a 3D film theater, an air bounce, and a snow amusement park. The Snowflake Village will remain on Ttukseom until February 20, 2011. | T. (02) 120 | Open: 9am—6pm | Admission: 8,000 won | Getting there: Ttukseom Resort Station, Line 7, Exit 2.