Many of us say hello and goodbye to each day as we watch the sun rise and set. Viewing spots throughout the nation hold annual celebrations on New Year’s Eve and on the day of the New Year to welcome this once-in-a-year event. While the last sunset of the passing year and the first sunrise of the new can feel extra special, inclement weather or simply oversleeping can hamper any viewing plans. Thankfully, the very nature of the sunrise means you have a chance to watch it every day! If you’re looking for ways to start out your year with some positive energy, head to one of our recommended viewing spots!
Seoul - Haneul Park at World Cup Park
With its refreshing, spacious view of Seoul, Haneul Park, meaning “sky park” in Korean, is a famous spot to seek the sunset and sunrise. Walking up the stairs to Haneul Park at dawn right before sunrise gives off a tranquil atmosphere with its surrounding shades of deep blue and crimson light. Haneul Park Sunrise Event takes place annually on New Year’s Day to commemorate the coming of the New Year.
- ☞ Address: 95, Haneulgongwon-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 하늘공원로 95)
- ☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 15 min from World Cup Stadium Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 1
Seoul – Urban sunrise from Maebongsan Mountain
The octagonal pavilion atop Maebongsan Park in Jung-gu, Seoul is well-known for its beautiful view of the sunrise. In the weeks before and after New Year’s Day, the park is filled with photographers looking for that perfect shot. From here, you can take in the urban forest of skyscrapers cut by the wide Hangang River, and even Lotte World Tower & Mall in the distance.
- ☞ Address: Maebongsan Park, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 신당동 매봉산공원)
- ☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 25 min from Beotigogae Station (Seoul Subway Line 6), Exit 3
Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do – Morning calm at Namhansanseong Fortress
Namhansanseong Fortress, located in Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site from the Joseon Dynasty. Easily accessible via both private vehicles and public transit, the fortress is a popular winter trekking destination. The view of dawn breaking over the traditional fortress wall and buildings will have you realize why Korea is called “The Land of Morning Calm.”
- ☞ Address: Namhansanseong-ro, Namhansanseong-myeon, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 광주시 남한산성면 남한산성로)
- ☞ Directions: Sanseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 8), Exit 2 → Take Bus No. 9 or 52 from Sanseong Station∙Sinheung APT Bus Stop → Get off at Namhansanseong Fortress Bus Stop
Incheon – Sunrise behind windmills of Sorae Ecology Park
If you’re looking for more of an exotic sunrise view, head to Incheon’s Sorae Ecology Park. The sun rising behind the windmills in the field will have you feeling as if you traveled to the Netherlands. On winter mornings, the whole park is filled with mist rising off the marsh, providing even more light diffraction for a fantastic sunrise.
- ☞ Address: 77, Sorae-ro 154beon-gil, Namdong-gu, Incheon (인천광역시 남동구 소래로 154번길 77)
- ☞ Directions: Walk for approx. 20 min from Soraepogu Station (Suin Line), Exit 2
Donghae, Gangwon-do – Snow-covered fishing village, Mukho Port
Of the many ports and harbors along Gangwon-do’s coast, Mukho Port is perhaps the prettiest, with its small, charming fishing village. Visitors can’t help but fall in love with the cheerful murals along Nongondam-gil Road, and the coastal sunrise views afforded from Mukho Portside Park and Mukho Lighthouse. If you’re looking to relieve your stress from everyday life in the city, take a trip to Donghae!
- ☞ Address (Mukho Lighthouse): 289, Haemaji-gil, Donghae-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 동해시 해맞이길 289)
- ☞ Directions: Donghae Express Bus Terminal → Take Bus No. 21-4 or 32-1 from Express Bus Terminal Bus Stop → Get off at Galmaegi Hoetjip Bus Stop to go to Mukho Lighthouse, or at Woori Bank Bus Stop to go to Mukho Port
Gangneung, Gangwon-do – Korea’s No. 1 sunrise spot, Gyeongpo Beach
Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung is one of the top sunrise viewing spots among Koreans. Every year on January 1, the area around the beach is filled with people enjoying the sunrise festival. The sun rising over the ocean fills the sky, helping to clear one’s mind and focus on positive thoughts for the year ahead.
- ☞ Address: San 1-1, Gangmun-dong, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 강릉시 강문동 산 1-1)
- ☞ Directions
- Gangneung Express Bus Terminal departure: Take Bus No. 202 from Gangneung Bus Terminal Bus Stop → Get off at Gyeongpo Beach Bus Stop
- Gangneung KTX Station departure: Approx. 15 min by taxi.
Boseong, Jeollanam-do – Sunrise over tea fields at Daehan Dawon
Boseong has been home to Korea's tea production for years, yielding nearly 40% of all the tea leaves in the country. Among all the tea plantations here, Daehan Dawon is perhaps the most famous. Its long lines of rounded tea plants marching up the steep hillside often appear in commercials and films. To view the sunrise, you'll have to enter before dawn; tickets can be purchased from the automatic ticketing machine at the entrance.
- ☞ Address: 763-67, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-eup, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 보성군 보성읍 녹차로 763-67)
- ☞ Directions: Approx. 15 min by taxi from Boseong Intercity Bus Terminal
- ☞ Admission: Adults 4,000 won / Children 3,000 won / Free for children under 6 years of age
Jeju-do – Special sunrise over Akkeundarangswi Oreum
Akkeundarangswi Oreum is a volcanic cone located in Sehwa-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju. The name comes from attaching the Jeju dialect for small, “akkeun,” to the name of the larger Darangswi Oreum to the southeast. This previously rather hidden gem has become quite popular in recent years. The small volcanic cone is easy to hike up, making it a great sunrise viewing location for people looking to surround themselves with nature.
- ☞ Address: 2593, Sehwa-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do (제주특별자치도 제주시 구좌읍 세화리 2593)
- ☞ Directions: Approx. 1 hr by car from Jeju International Airport
- ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)
* This column was last updated in December 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.