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It isn’t too late to plan your New Year’s celebration: Whether it’s party hard or peaceful sunrise, Korea has options for everybody

Dec 28,2018
A view of sunrise from Geojampo, Incheon. On Jan. 1, there will be two trains from Seoul Station to Geojampo to make the journey easy for people without a car to go see the first sunrise of the new year. [INCHEON TOURISM ORGANIZATION]
Top: Head to Seoul Sky, an observatory at the top of Lotte World Tower in southern Seoul, for the last sunset of this year and the first sunrise of the new year. Left: The first sunrise of 2019 can be seen from Haevichi Hotel and Resort Jeju on Jeju Island. Below: People gather at Incheon’s Jeongseojin to watch the sunset. [SEOUL SKY, HAEVICHI HOTEL AND RESORT, INCHEON TOURISM ORGANIZATION]
It will soon be too late to find events and places to go to celebrate the end of the year and welcome the new one. With just a few short days left in 2018, time is running out to make New Year’s Eve plans - luckily there are events planned across the country offering something for everyone, whether you’re looking to peacefully watch the sunrise on a new year or party all night long.

Unless you plan to stay awake from the morning of Dec. 31 to the evening on Jan. 1, the first decision is whether you want to concentrate on saying goodbye to 2018 or welcoming 2019.

If partying all night long is more your thing, there are plenty of places offering loud music, dance floors and more than a little alcohol to help you send off 2018 in style. The early morning offers a more spiritual option for those looking to get introspective as they greet the first rays of the new year’s sunrise.

Send 2018 off in style

Partygoers don’t have to search for long to find somewhere to go. Many major hotels are throwing countdown events to help people ring in the New Year in style. Park Hyatt Seoul in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, is holding a “1980 Disco Night,” where all visitors will receive a glass of champagne and a chance to win restaurant vouchers or luxury champagne bottles in a lucky draw. Call (02) 2016-1291 for more information.

L’Escape Hotel in Jung District, central Seoul, is holding its “Countdown 2019 Party” with live music. Saxophones, trumpets and other musical instruments will help set the celebratory mood, before a D.J. takes to the floor to help make the countdown more dramatic. The party will have an entrance fee of 50,000 won ($45) which includes one welcome drink and a chance to win in a lucky draw. Hotel room guests will get two entrance tickets per room for free. For more details, call (02) 317-4000.

Conrad Seoul is holding the “Countdown 2019” party at its Executive Lounge, located on the 37th floor. D.J. Mazenta will play a set of electronic dance music to help visitors find their groove. Magic shows will be offered at each table while champagne, small bites and desserts will be served. A table for two starts from 260,000 won. For more details, call (02) 6137-7000.

As well as major hotels, some local restaurants and bars that usually open until after midnight have prepared some special events as well. Unnamed restaurant Cheongdam 6-3 in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, will host a countdown party with team members from Le Dauphin traveling from Paris to hold a pop-up event at the restaurant. The Paris restaurant will serve dinner on Dec. 30 and 31, with the dinner on Dec. 31 turning into a party. For more information, call 010-5382-0603.

Get All Right in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, will also keep its doors open for Dec. 30 and 31 for the New Year with live performances and a countdown at midnight. It is usually closed on Sundays but has made an exception this year. For more details, call (02) 547-0895.

A major theater in Seoul will also offer a chance to see some fireworks at midnight to celebrate the coming of the New Year on Dec. 31. Seoul Arts Center in Seocho District, southern Seoul, which will hold its annual year-end concert, will invite concert guests outside of the theater to release balloons while watching the fireworks over the roof of its Opera Theater. Although the concert is sold out, the fireworks are open to all. Call (02) 580-1300 to reach Seoul Arts Center for more details.

The National Theater of Korea, which has always done a year-end concert, will not hold an event this year due to construction.

If counting down to the New Year while standing still isn’t exciting enough for you, why not do it on ice? The Grand Hyatt Seoul in Yongsan District, central Seoul, will be holding its countdown on its outdoor ice rink. There will be an ice show earlier in the evening followed by skating time close to midnight. The entrance fee is 60,000 won per person. For more details, call (02) 799-8520.

Incheon’s Jeongseojin, is one of the most popular places to watch the last sunset of 2018. Starting from 4:30 p.m., there will be performances to entertain visitors and food trucks. For more information, go to www.seogucul.or.kr or call (032) 582-4241.

Wake up early to welcome a new year

Some places offer a view of both the sunset and sunrise with an unhindered view. Seoul Sky, the observatory at the top of the Lotte World Tower in Songpa District, southern Seoul, will be open for the last sunset of 2018 and the first sunrise of 2019. The sunset, which is speculated to start at 5:23 p.m. can be seen from the Seoul Sky, followed by the countdown event there. Champagne and a mini cake will be included in a 70,000 won entrance fee for adults and 50,000 won for children. Its special sunrise event will let visitors enter the observatory from 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 1 to welcome the new year without having to travel out to the east coast. The sun is expected to come up from 7:47 a.m. For more information, call 1661-2000.

Dreaming about watching the sunrise from bed? Book a hotel that offers an ocean view where you can be woken up by the bright sunlight. Haevichi Hotel and Resort Jeju on Jeju Island offers an easterly view, as well as Lotte Resort Sokcho and Seamarq Hotel in Gangneung, both in Gangwon. Hotel Hyundai Ulsan in North Gyeongsang will also offer visitors a chance to get their family motto written down on paper by a calligrapher, an old tradition to help set up new goals for the new year.

More adventurous sun-seekers can wrap up warm and head to High 1 Resort, a popular ski resort that offers a chance to see the sunrise on Jan. 1 from its peak at 1,340 meters (4,396 feet) above sea level, from 7 a.m. Inside the ski house, the resort will offer tteokguk, a soup with sticky rice cakes traditionally eaten on the New Year’s Day. For more, go to www.high1.com or call 1588-7789.

Sunrise-seekers without a car can still get close to the sea on the morning of Jan. 1 at Geojampo, a popular sunrise destination by the Yellow Sea. Two early morning trains from Seoul Station at 5:20 and 5:40 a.m. will take travelers out there, and the first 5,000 people to arrive will get free hot packs and fortune cookies. For more information, call 1599-7788.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]