What to pack for Winter in Korea!

What to pack for Winter in Korea!

What to pack for Winter in Korea!  We have the pleasure of hosting my cousin and her friend for a few weeks in Korea this Winter. Yayyyy!   So thanks to my big cuz who inspired me to write this!  Hope it helps…

What to pack for Winter in Korea!

Living here for so long you forget that winters in Korea can be different from that in Ireland or Europe, therefore your packing list will be somewhat different.  I don’t usually recommend packing the endless supplies of backpacking accessories, those days are truly gone.  When we first backpacked around South East Asia, you wouldn’t believe the rubbish we packed, did we actually think we would use a travel washing line! Needless to say with every new stop we ditched another useless accessory, item of clothing or pair of shoes that were weighing us down.  But a few essentials are needed to survive a winter holiday in Korea.  We have listed the most useful, convenient and necessary items we feel will make your holiday stress free. More time for the fun stuff!


1. Sunglasses

The weather in Korea is beautifully cold in wintertime and it can change in an instant.  But one thing you can be sure of is that the sun will always shine.  It’s a must, therefore that you pack your sunnies, especially if you plan on skiing or snowboarding in one of the many resorts available across the country.  Check out our guide to snowboarding in Korea for more on Ski Resorts.

2. Thermals/ Long Johns

Temperatures can reach a low of -20 degrees celsius, in Korea, in winter.  Add the wind-chill and it can feel like -25. Brrrrr. Prepare yourself with gloves/mittens, leg warmers, thermals and lots of layers.  Layers are essential as you will find out when you go indoors to restaurants etc, it tends to feel like you’re entering a sauna!  Be prepared to unravel layer by layer!

3. Non-laced Shoes/Boots

This might seem like a strange one but trust me when I say you will thank me for reminding you in advance! Everywhere and anywhere in Korea will require the removal of your shoes before you enter ones humble abode. It’s a sign of respect to take your shoes off before entering, as Koreans tend to eat and sleep on their floor. Not having those awkward moments where everyone stands to watch you tie, untie, tie and untie your shoe laces every time you enter and leave a restaurant, house or workplace will save a lot of energy!   Additional to slip on shoes, you’ll need good walking shoes.  Weather you intend to or not, you will be walked off your feet.  There are just too many things to see and do in both Korea and Japan that involve walking, walking and more walking. (my dad can vouch for this!) These boots were made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do…. (I know you’re singing along now!!)

4. Hand Sanitiser

I have slight OCD..there I said it! Just kidding, but when you visit Korea you might develop it too and understand my reasoning.  No-one washes their hands after using the bathroom!!  Ok, I know I can’t tar all with the same brush, but in my opinion it’s better to be safe than sorry.  In Japan especially there is a lack of soap and tissues in the public bathrooms.  Having a small pack of tissues and hand sanitizer will come in handy and set your new OCD mind at rest!

5. Deodorant

I’d like to think this one would go without saying for us girls anyway, but just incase you are weight conscience(with baggage) or planning to stock up on toiletries once you arrive in Korea, think again.  Whilst it is becoming more and more common to find men’s and women’s deodorant in stores, it’s not a guarantee.  Be equipped before you travel and be aware of your length of travel ~ you don’t want to be left in a sticky situation. haha

6. Earplugs

Going on a day trip here or a train journey there, ear plugs sure do come in handy.  I remember too many occasions in a hostel room or a night bus where I would have killed for a pair.  It’s not likely that you will have to get a night bus in Korea, but they will still be invaluable to you when a much-needed sleep is in order after a long day on the go or a bus journey home. I never forget my trusty plugs when travelling anywhere!

7. A shopping bag

Regardless of whether you intend to do some serious shopping or not, having your own travel shopping bag will still prove useful when coming to Korea. This vibrant city has so much to offer the shopaholic, quirky little finds, endless opening hours to indulge and numerous travel treasures to remind you of your trip, therefore you will no doubt go home with something.  Most shops and stores charge extra for bags – Having your own travel shopping bag will definitely come in handy, save the pennies and save our precious environment at the same time.  Win Win!

8. A Day Pack

A good sturdy, comfortable day pack is not just convenient, it’s necessary.  The sheer size of Seoul may mean that when you leave your place of lodging in the morning, you may not step another foot inside it again until you fall into bed that night.  It’s just not worth travelling 40 minutes to 1 hour back to your room to change your outfit, grab your camera or pick up something you thought you could get later.  When you go out for the day, your out for the day ~ and your trusty daypack will most likely be your day trip bag, your handbag and your party clutch all in one.  Make sure you choose one suitable for all occasions!

9. Sunscreen

Like I mentioned before, in Winter you can be guaranteed the sun in Korea.  I recently found out that one of Korea’s top beauty secrets for the perfect complexion was applying sunscreen everyday, even when temperatures are -20! Unlike at home, where I would only wear sunscreen when at the beach or on holiday, here the sun can be very strong all year round.  It’s worth having a travel size sunscreen with you to apply throughout the day, especially if on the slopes, where the sun is super strong!

What to pack for Winter in Korea!10. A camera

I would not go anywhere without my camera, which comes with the territory of travel blogging.  But in Korea a camera is a must for anyone.  There is so much to see and do and an abundance of culture to soak up.  You’re going to want to capture as much of that as possible to savour the memories for years to come. 🙂

11. A working mobile phone

Sometimes this is not always possible, but I would definitely recommend having a working phone while in Korea.  Not only is it helpful for calling the foreign interpreter when you find yourself in a sticky situation, but there are numerous applications that are super useful while traveling and sightseeing in Korea.

12. A warm Jacket

A lot of activities, sights and tourist attractions are located in the great outdoors in Korea.  With temperatures in the minuses, you will want to make sure you have a good jacket that will keep you nice and snug.  As I mentioned before about layering, it’s worth trying to get a jacket with an underlining jacket that you can take on and off when required. If you forget to pack this one, you can always stock up with a fleece waistcoat to build up your layers.  These are very popular in Korea and certainly do the job of keeping in the heat.

What to pack for Winter in Korea!

Obviously it goes without saying that you should pack warm clothes as well.  A warm hat, a scarf and gloves would be advisable.  Some days are colder that others but Asians like to partake in alfresco dining like the Europeans and therefore it is not uncommon to sit outside under a heater in subzero temperatures drinking hot chocolate or vino. Ah it’s a hard life!!!

What to pack for Winter in Korea! If you have any other suggestions – drop us a line below, otherwise stay WARM this winter!!!!!!!!!


Janine & Janice | Irish Travel Bloggers | Portugal Based Work Smart | Travel Often | Explore More Two Ladies on a mission to life an Unconventional Life, full of Love & Adventure.

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