With Christmas in the air and the new year just around the corner, the Chosun Ilbo has compiled a list of the best places to kick off 2012 by catching the first sunrise of the year.


◆ Waemok Village in Dangjin


Sitting on a piece of protruding land on the country's west coast, this village offers a rare opportunity to see both the sunset and sunrise. The sun rises five minutes later here than when viewed from the east coast. For more information, visit nttp://www.waemok.org.


◆ Candlestick Rock in Chuam


The scenes of the sunrise featured in the video for the Korean national anthem have generally been taken from Candlestick Rock in Chuam. Other surrounding rocks resembling a turtle, toad, and an elephant offer some breathtaking views against the backdrop of the East Sea. For more information, visit http://www.dhtour.go.kr.

◆ Ganjeolgot Cape in Ulsan


Ganjeolgot Cape in Ulsan boasts the earliest sunrise in the country -- one minute earlier than Homigot Cape in Pohang, and five minutes before the sky lights up over Jeongdongjin Beach in Gangneung. The lighthouse overlooking the sea and the forest of pine trees adds more beauty to the already astonishing views. A sunrise festival is held on the first day of every year. For more information, see http://ganjeolgot.ulsan.go.kr.


◆ Ddangkkeut Village in Haenam


At a latitude of 34 degrees, 17 minutes and 21 seconds north, Ddangkkeut Village is located on the southernmost tip of the Korean Peninsula. As both the sunrise and sunset can be observed from the village, it tends to draw a lot of visitors. For more information, visit http://www.openland.or.kr.


◆ Cheonwang Peak in Mt. Jiri


Cheonwang Peak in Mt. Jiri provides a spectacular view of the sunrise and is considered to offer the most beautiful scenery of all the mountain's eight peaks. However, catching the break of day is a hit or miss affair as the peak is often shrouded in clouds. Locals even have a saying that visitors can only see the sun come out if their family has performed good deeds for three generations. For more information, visit http://jiri.knps.or.kr.


◆ Jeongdongjin Beach in Gangneung


At Jeongdongjin Beach, visitors may find the droves of sightseers a source of irritation, but this is the place most people think of first when considering the sunrise. The beach and its environs provide an equally enthralling view to that of the lighting-up sky thanks to the combination of reclining pine trees, precipitous cliffs and coastal roads. For more information, visit http://www.jeongdongjin.co.kr

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