Best Places in Korea to Watch the First Sunrise of the New Year

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We’ve only got a few days left in 2022! Did the year pan out as you hoped? ☺️ Incheon Airport was thankfully able recover to pre-pandemic levels before the year ended. If there’s anything negative weighing you down, dust yourself off 🌬and finish 2022 strong with only happy thoughts.

Today, as we wish everyone a happy 2023, we have prepared a list of the best four spots to watch the first sunrise of the new year in Korea. These are the perfect spots to make your new year’s wishes.🌅 We have included spots in the city as well as less-known hidden sunrise spots all over the country, each boasting beautiful scenery. Read on for more!

1. Seoul Sangam Sky Park: Watch the first sunrise of the new year against the Hangang River in Seoul.

Sangam Sky Park

95, Haneul Park-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Estimated sunrise time: 07:47

The first spot we recommend for catching the first sunrise of the new year is in Seoul: Seoul Sangam Sky Park! 🏞 Many people will hike up a mountain on January 1st to enjoy the sunrise in an open space. Sangam Sky Park is a great spot in Seoul where you can enjoy the sunrise with a panoramic view of downtown Seoul, without hiking up a mountain.

Since it is a park located in the center of the city, the trail to the top is a well-developed one. Thanks to this, you can see the sunrise safely, even if you go out during the dark, dawn hours! 😊 The view also includes the beautiful scenery of the Hangang River.

The Sky Park Observatory, where the “Bowl Holding the Sky” sculpture is located, was selected as the best scenic spot. However, the entire Sky Park itself is well spread out, so you’ll get a wonderful view of the sunrise no matter where you are. So, don’t worry! 🙅 If you want to wish for 2023 to be a busier and more fruitful year than ever, visit this famous sunrise spot in Seoul.

2. Yeosu Hyang Ilam: A beautiful temple to make your wishes for the new year come true.

Instagram @sonjai

Yeosu Hyangilam Hermitage

7-10, Hyangilam-ro, Dolsan-eup, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
Estimated sunrise time: 07:36

The second place on our list is Hyangilam Hermitage in Yeosu. It is known as one of the best sunrise spots in Jeolla-do. Hyangilam Hermitage is one of the four major Buddhist holy sites in Korea, and it is also famous for being a place that makes prayers come true. 🙏 This is the perfect place for you to make your New Year’s wishes come true while watching the sunrise. RM of BTS also visited Hyangilam to pray, so we can’t help but think this place is extra special!

Hyangiram Hermitage, located on Dolsan-do Island in Yeosu, is located on a rocky cliff facing the sea. The sunrise view from Samseonggak at the end of the steep stairs is especially breathtaking. Also, there is a separate sunrise plaza near the Hyangilam parking lot. You can enjoy a beautiful sunrise here even if you don’t go up the mountain.

The name of the temple Hyangilam means “hermitage facing the sun”. 🌅 Perfect, right? If you watch the sunrise here, you’re sure to have a more meaningful New Year’s Day! Hyangilam Temple itself is beautifully in harmony with the sea, so it is a perfect winter sightseeing destination in Korea. There’s a belief that all the troubles on your mind will disappear when you pass through the narrow Haetalmun Gate located in Hyangilam Hermitage. As you pass through the Hyangilam Haetalmun Gate, we hope you leave all your troubles and worries behind to usher in a fresh 2023.

3. Samcheok Maengbang Beach: Car camp along the East coast and catch the first sunrise of the new year.

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Samcheok Maengbang Beach

Geundeok-myeon, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do
Estimated sunrise: 07:38

When you think of New Year’s sunrise spots in Korea, Donghae (the East Coast) usually first pops to mind! Therefore, we cannot leave out a sunrise spot along Donghae 🌊in Gangwon-do. However, because this area typically has cold sea winds, people who dislike the cold will often avoid this area.

If you still want to catch a priceless view of a Donghae sunrise, we recommend car camping to have front row seats in the warmth and comfort of your car! Samcheok’s Maengbang Beach is one of the best camping spots in Donghae! It is a place where you can enjoy Samcheok Beach with its white sand, pine forests, and pristine air. It’s also the best place to see the sunrise along the east coast!

There is a separate Maengbang Beach camping site in front of Maengbang Beach. ⛺ If car camping isn’t your thing, you can spend the last night of the year camping in a tent. The beauty of the sunrise is sure to shine even brighter. We should mention, it will be cold out, so pack some hand warmers and a thick coat! Maengbang Beach is also famous as a filming location for a BTS album, so don’t forget to take some pictures at the BTS photo zone after watching the sunrise! 🎵

4. Gyeongbuk Yeongdeok Sunrise Park: Watch the first sunrise of the new year through whimsical windmills.

Yeongdeok Sunrise Park

Daetan-ri, Yeongdeok-eup, Yeongdeok-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Estimated sunrise time: 07:34

The last spot on our list of New Year’s sunrise spots in Korea is Yeongdeok Sunrise Park, a famous sunrise spot in Gyeongsangbuk-do. It is a place where you can see the sunrise as early as the sunrise at Ganjeolgot Cape in Ulsan. The Haeparang-gil a popular walking trail, also passes through this area. At the tip of the land, there is the Changpomal Lighthouse, which resembles the claw of a Yeongdeok snow crab. 🦀 This is a popular spot in Yeongdeok Sunrise Park! It boasts an outstanding sunrise view, featuring the trifecta of the lighthouse, blue sea, and red sun.

The Yeongdeok Wind Power Complex is located near Yeongdeok Sunrise Park. Huge wind power generators make this view particularly exotic. It’s so beautiful to see at any time of the day. At the end of a high hill, there is also the Yeongdeok Sunrise Camping Site, which consists of “capsule houses”.🏕 Enjoy the beautiful sunrise of Yeongdeok while staying at Yeongdeok Sunrise Campground for a day! It is a hidden sunrise spot in Gyeongsangbuk-do where you can enjoy the sunrise whilst avoiding the crowds in your own warm capsule house. At night, you can see beautiful stars, making for a romantic end to 2022. 🌟

Yeongdeok Sunrise Park is also famous as a winter travel destination. It is especially recommended for family tourists with young children. Along with the Yeongdeok Wind Power Complex, there are Yeongdeok Junk & Trick Art Exhibition Hall, Air Force Airplane Exhibition Hall, and Renewable Energy Exhibition Hall.  🎨 You can enjoy a more fruitful New Year by touring these places after watching the sunrise! Wrap up your day feasting on Yeongdeok snow crabs!

What did you think of Incheon Airport’s recommendations for spots to watch the first sunrise of the new year in Korea?! The weather plays a big role in determining your sunrise experience. On January 1, 2023, we hope everyone can successfully watch a beautiful sunrise, with clear skies and no rain or fine dust! We here at Incheon Airport will wish the best for all our passengers as we watch the first sunrise at the airport. Happy New Year to all! 🙇 We’ll be back with more information next time!

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