October 06, 2012

What to do during 추석 (Chuseok)

추석 (Chuseok) is Korea's version of Thanksgiving (also known as 한가위) and is the biggest celebrated holiday in Korea. As with American Thanksgiving, people from all over the nation go back to their hometowns or wherever their family decides to celebrate the holidays. It is a time to commemorate your ancestors as well as celebrate good harvest in the autumn season. Traditional customs include eating 송편 (songpyeon) and playing games such as 씨름 (Korean wrestling) and 강강술래 (ganggangsullae [video]). As this is a family centered holiday, a large number of shops and restaurants will be closed.

If you're a foreigner in Korea, even if you're alone, fret not! There's still quite a number of things to do. Most of the touristy places will be open during the holidays to accomodate the large number of foreigners here. Here is a link of this year's holiday schedules and hours of various places around Seoul. Some of the more popular things to do during 추석 is visit various museums and palaces across Seoul. Or even go to the large amusement parks such as Lotte World or Everland. A lot of these places offer special discounts and events for foreigners. My friends and I went to Everland and it was packed with people from all over the world! And it was also the actual day of 추석 so they had a special Moonlight Parade which was a fun and amazing sight to see!

But if you don't to be surrounded by a lot of people, you could also decided to go on a hike and experience the more calm, serene part of Seoul. It'll be less crowded than normal and going with  few friends can make the trip a great experience! Here's a link to some of the best places to hike in Seoul.

Since 추석 is a three day holiday, you could also decide to travel to a different country or to a different part of Korea such as 부산 (Busan) or 제주 (Jeju) but I would schedule these trips and purchase (plane and/or train) tickets in advance as sometimes they run out. Also, if you're traveling abroad, make sure you're able to get back into Korea with the proper documents (passport, visa, ARC, etc.).


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