Fun ways to forget the cold
There are plenty of ways to work off the winter chill in Korea. But one of the best ways is to enjoy the numerous skating rinks, sledding parks and ice sledding rinks in Seoul and Gyeonggi.
Here are a few of the major facilities.
Garden 5 Ice Skating Rink
The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Admission is 2,000 won ($1.77) for adults and 1,000 won for children and teenagers. Skate rentals are 1,000 won per pair. The rink offers classes for beginning skaters Monday through Thursday for 20,000 won per person. Call (02) 2157-4089.
Seoul Square Skating Rink
With City Hall to the north and Deoksu Palace to the west, this skating rink in the heart of Seoul is as picturesque as it is popular. The rink now has a lounge and has upgraded its restrooms.
It’s open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and on Sundays and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is 1,000 won per hour including skate rental.
There are three skating lessons offered on weekdays at 9 a.m., 10:10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Skating lessons cost 10,000 won. Call (02) 3210-1267 or visit www.seoulskate.or.kr (Korean and English).
Sangam Ice Skating Rink
This rink is less crowded than most, making for a more pleasant skating experience. In addition to ice skating, the facility also has a sledding park for hours of afternoon fun.
The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday until Feb. 13. Admission and skate and sled rentals cost 1,000 won each. Children under four are not allowed on the ice.
The rink offers skating lessons for beginners and those at intermediate and advanced levels for 50,000 won, including skate rentals. There are five lessons in each session. Call (02) 308-7442.
Tancheon Sports Complex
The indoor rink at Tancheon Sports Complex in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, offers skating activities from speed skating to figure skating and even ice hockey.
The rink is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. on weekends. Admission is 3,000 won for adults, 2,500 won for students and 2,000 won for children. Skate and helmet rentals cost 3,000 won and 500 won, respectively. Call (031) 725-7140.
Bundang Olympic Sports Center
The indoor ice rink at Bundang Olympic Sports Center is open all year long. Its facilities include a lounge, changing rooms, a skate-blade repair shop and a skate rental shop.
The facility offers lessons in speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey taught by 11 instructors.
The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Admission is 5,500 won for adults, 5,000 won for students and 4,500 won for children. Children must be older than 5 to be on the ice. Skate rentals cost 3,000 won. Call (031) 708-7486.
Ttukseom Hangang Park
Every winter, the park covers its outdoor swimming pool and it becomes part of the park’s 35-meter sledding course.
The park has other facilities to keep visitors busy, including a 3-D movie theater that seats 100 people, and a ride called “air bounce,” which is part slide, part maze and part ball pool. There is also a snack bar and rest area for hungry sledders. Security guards and medical personnel are on duty to provide help if needed.
The park is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Feb. 20. Admission is 8,000 won for all ages. Call (02) 761-8204.
Korean Folk Village Family Park
In addition to offering an introduction to Korean culture, the Korean Folk Village has a 130-meter-long adult course and an 80-meter-long children’s course.
The park is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is 18,000 won for adults, 15,000 won for teenagers and 14,000 won for children and includes entry to the Korean Folk Village. Sledders must be taller than 120 centimeters (3-foot-11) to enter. Call (031) 286-2111.
Everland’s Snow Buster park
Young or old, anyone can enjoy sledding at Everland’s Snow Buster theme park in Yongin, Gyeonggi. There are three different courses to choose from.
The Jungfrau course is for kids and adults, the Munich course is for kids shorter than 120 centimeters and the new Eiger course is for thrill seekers.
Those with smartphones can get an application that shows the waiting time for each course.
Snow Buster is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and national holidays. Admission to Everland, which includes entrance to Snow Buster, is 30,000 won for adults, 25,000 won for high school and middle school students and 22,000 won for children. Call (031) 320-5000.
ICE SLEDDING RINKS
The Cheoin District in the city of Yongin has five ice sledding rinks, two of which are currently closed because of concerns about foot-and-mouth disease. A sled and thermos are provided for free by the rinks. Call (031) 324-5051.
Seoul Land in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, has an ice sled rink that is 2,000-square-meters wide. Admission and sled rentals are free for Seoul Land visitors. Call (02) 509-6000.
By Ha Hyun-jung, Sin Su-yeon [email@example.com]