Cultural Festivals

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The Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival (Jinju Nam River Lantern Festival) is an annual two-week light and lantern event in Jinju, located in the South Gyeongsang Province of South Korea.

Each year the festival hosts a variety of events, and in the past has held street parades, water fireworks, light displays, temporary bridge walks, dramatic historical reenactments and much more. Festival guests also are welcome to create wishing lanterns, as well as send their own floating lanterns onto the lake.

The festival is located at Jinju’s Namgang River, and expands out to surrounding areas, featuring lantern stalls and food vendors for the visitors. Although the festival is typically held in Autumn, it is best to check the website for differing dates each year.

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The 20th Bonghwa Sweetfish Festival Opens on July 28

Catch sweetfish and cool off from the hot summer heat in the nice and clean Bonghwa-gun!

An eco-friendly experience connecting sweetfish, people and nature, the 2018 Bonghwa Sweetfish Festival opens on July 28 and continues to August 4.

Celebrating its 20th year this year, the Bonghwa Sweetfish Festival offers a variety of healthy, fun and refreshing programs near Naeseongcheon Stream. It has been selected an “Excellent Cultural Tourism Festival” for four consecutive years and is assessed to have become one of the most eco-friendly festivals nationally.

The slogan for this year’s Bonghwa Sweetfish Festival is “Clear summer we have waited for! Bonghwa Sweetfish back again!” and the programs include Scoop Net Fishing Contest, Bare-hand Fishing Competition, Sweetfish School, Snail Catching, Sweetfish Face Painting and Natural Dyeing.

*The special coupon attached admits up to 4 people to the festival as well as one of the key activities – scoop net fishing & bare-hand fishing.

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The Seongbuk Global Food Festival takes place on Seongbuk Street, right across the from the Seongbuk Civic Center. This festival is an international event that allows people to experience cultures from around the world through food and art. It is a great place to enjoy and learn about different cultures from all around the world in one setting. The festivities consist of an opening parade, global market, international playground, and dozens of booths to try a variety of different foods. This is a free entrance event.

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The Boseong Green Tea Festival is a hot summer event for locals, though it remains largely unknown to many foreign travelers. The Boseong Tea Plantation, open since 1957, is the only tourist tea plantation in Korea and is well-known for its spectacular teas and breathtaking tea fields that stretch across 5,000,000㎡ of land. The Boseong Green Tea Festival, which takes place every May when the leaves are greenest, hosts a variety of tea events such as a ritual to the Tea God to pray for good harvests, tea leaf-picking, making tea, and tea ceremonies.

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Ultra Korea is one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in South Korea with the hottest DJs playing the best music. Every year, Ultra Korea has a great lineup which you can check out on their website along with ticket prices. It is a three-day event that takes place at the Seoul Olympic Stadium. There are three phases throughout the festival with the best DJs and artists. If you want to find out more about which artists are performing, then check out their social media accounts to stay updated.

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The Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival is a week-long yearly event that celebrates the beauty and tradition of the lotus flower. The festival focuses on the importance of preserving and cherishing these flowers and remains a popular tourist event every year. The festival offers soap making sessions as well as other hands-on programs throughout the festival. It takes place in Seodong Park annually and showcases a vast amount of lotuses. The festival’s main events will include an opening ceremony, cultural performances, concerts, night performances, and a closing ceremony.

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The Jeongnamji Jangheung Water Festival is a yearly event held towards the end of July. It offers summer and water-themed events for visitors to either have fun or relax during their trip. These events are designed specifically to let visitors cool off from the summer heat. Tons of summer games and activities are available for anybody who wants to join in. Many hands-on programs are also offered throughout the weekend.

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First hosted in 1966, the Busan Sea Festival hosts many events located spread across several beaches in Busan, including Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장), Gwangalli Beach (광안리해수욕장), Songdo Beach (송도해수욕장), Dadaepo Beach (다대포해수욕장역), and Songjeong Beach (송정해수욕장). The week is filled with a variety of cultural events, hands-on programs, ceremonies, performances, and more. Each beach holds different events throughout the week catering to those in all age groups.

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The Rainbow Music and Camping Festival is located on Jaraseom (자라섬) /Jara Island and is a two-day festival filled with musical performances by famous artists. Visitors have the option of camping out on the grounds for an additional fee. It is a great trip for a getaway with either friends, family, or loved ones. Check out their website for more information on who is performing each year. 

Cost: Early bird: 66,000 KRW; Regular 88,000 KRW

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The annual Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) takes place in Busan, the second largest City in South Korea. It is one of the most significant, and prestigious Film Festivals in Asia. Since its start in September 1996, it has grown into one of the world’s premier film festivals and the number 1 film festival in Asia.

One of the major goals of this festival is to introduce Asian films and directors to the world. Additionally, this festival appeals to young people with its enormous young audience and its efforts to promote young talent. The BIFF is held in October and goes on for just over a week. In 2017 it started on October 12th until October 21 and they screened a total of 300 films from 75 countries on 32 screens.

The festival features movies from the whole spectrum with films from Asian as well as non-Asian writers, directors, and countries. Aside from the competitive program at BIFF, they also have regular screenings of new films.

The main phone number is for the Busan office.

The phone number for the Seoul office is 02-3675-5097

Have you seen a film at the Busan International Film Festival? Tell us what you think of it with a review below!

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Jarasum Jazz Festival was one of the first major Korean music festivals when it was held in 2004. The past festivals together have featured about 989 bands from 55 countries.  The Festival is a great opportunity to enjoy world-famous jazz musicians and the beautiful scenery that surrounds the 15 festival venues.

The Korean Culture Ministry gave recognized the potential and have said that this festival is the ‘Premier Festival’ and ‘Best Festival’ of Korea. Of course, this festival doesn’t only have musical acts, they also offer other activities such as  ‘Jazz Kids Program’, ‘All-night Cinema’, and ‘Gapyeong Farm Market’ which really means that the festival is for people of all ages and countries.

Have you ever enjoyed the beautiful scenery at Jarasum during the Jarasum Jazz Festival? Tell us with a review below!

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The Jeongju International Sori Festival was established in 2001. In the years 2012 to 2016, it was announced one of 25 when it came to the World’s Best International Festivals. Foreign traditional acts and Korean traditional acts are annually showcased at this festival and it promotes the exchange of the different cultures.

The Festival promotes the value of Korean traditional music through various performances by traditional and modern artists. The Festival takes place every fall in the Sori Arts Center in Jeonju and is open to anyone. It’s a fun and exciting festival that incorporates music and nature. It’s also a great opportunity to escape the Seoul City life and just enjoy some time with nature, friends, and family. The existing age limit lies at 8 but if you do bring children under 8 they could participate in kids programs.

Have you listened to the traditional music the Jeonju International Sori Festival offers? Tell us in the reviews below!

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The Seoul Lantern Festival takes place every fall in Korea. The festival showcases various types of lanterns that are a part of the themes chosen randomly each year or they match some major event at the time. The details and colors of the massive lantern are exquisite and the lanterns come in all shapes and sizes.

It has become one of Seoul’s most iconic festivals and Korea’s most visited events with more than 3 million visitors from around the world. Because of its large variety of themes every year the festival can be attended by all age groups and is completely free, making it perfect for families. The timing of this festival is perfect, as the fall is one of the most beautiful seasons to be in Korea.

Have you walked the Cheonggyecheon and checked out the lanterns at the Seoul Lantern Festival for yourself? Tell us how it was with a review below!

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The Seoul Performing Arts Festival takes place every year around autumn and goes on for a month.  Attracting large audiences and plenty of media attention, The Seoul Performing Arts Festival introduces major international and domestic performing companies ranging from theater to dance to multidisciplinary “experimental” genres.

As one of Asia’s’ most prestigious culture and art celebrations, SPAF (Seoul Performing Arts Festival). Because of the standard that is set at these festivals, artists from all over the world visit Korea to perform their masterpieces of contemporary art.

Have you seen one of the many companies performances at Seoul Performing Arts Festival? Tell us about it in the review section!

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Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival takes place at the end of July and goes on for three days. It is considered one of the biggest live music events in South Korea. The festival mainly covers the genres rock and electronic but they have performances from other genres as well.

Past acts include Bastille, Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, DNCE, Nothing But Thieves, Weezer, Panic! At the Disco, Two Door Cinema Club and more over the past few years. The artists perform on one of the three stages they have at Pentaport which provide the option of choosing which artists you want to see.

The festival is held on a large outdoor field which makes it perfect for its festival-goers to enjoy everything from meeting new people, discovering new music, pulling an all-nighter and even sleeping in tents under the starry skies of Incheon.

The festival venue makes it possible for the attendees to stay all full days with on-site camping facilities and extensive food options and even recreational areas for people to just enjoy their time and relax.

Have you been to the Incheon Pentaport Festival at the end of July and seen any of the bands? Give us a review below!

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Valley Rock Festival, also known as the Ansan or Jisan Valley Rock Festival, is held the last weekend of July. The festival usually takes place at a ski resort has grown to include more and more world-famous acts since it began in 2009. Of course, there are a huge amount of Korean artists as well, but the headliners tend to be some of the most famous acts around.

Bands from the past include The Cure, The XX, Gorillaz, Major Lazer, Lorde, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Twenty One Pilots. Similar to the Pentaport Festival the Valley Rock Festival is held in the wild outdoors, with many of the attendees choosing to camp out for the whole event. The energy and vibe at the festival are of the friendly sort you will only find at a Korean music festival.

What did you think of the Valley Rock Festival held at the ski resort in Ansan? Tell us down in the reviews!

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The Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan) has taken place every summer since 1997. The festival plays a diverse mix of alternative and international films from the genres of fantasy, horror, thriller and science fiction, but with a focus on Asian Cinema.

This festival, along with BIFF, has been major factors in the rise of Korean film and entertainment over the last two decades. They showcase around 300 films from all around the world and attract around 65,000 people.

The Festival itself accepts submissions from young filmmakers and makes it possible for them to showcase their cinematic talents. Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival is the largest gala in Asia regarding film in this genre.

Have you seen one of the fantastic films of the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan)? Tell us in the reviews below!

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Seoul Fringe Festival originally began as the ‘Indie Arts Festival’ held in Daehak-ro in 1998. Founded by young artists in their 20s seeking to break free from conventional art at the time, the festival took place every year until 2002, when it was renamed ‘Seoul Fringe Festival‘.

Holding true to its goal of supporting the growing independent performance culture of Korea, this festival accepts artists from a wide spectrum of performing arts participate. Unlike other festivals, this festival does not require formal processes to take part in this event.

Since everyone is free to participate as a performer, this festival thereby encourages young artists to go outside of their comfort zone and gives them the space to express themselves. Festival attendees get to be a part of the non-conventional art scene of Korea and explore the dancing, theater, music and other unique performing arts at all venues located all over the city.

Have you seen some of the indie performances at the Seoul Fringe Festival? Tell us what you think in the review below!

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The Gwangju Biennale alternates between two types of festivals bi-annually. The Gwangju Biennale Art Festival is an art exhibition that is curated by the Gwangju Biennale Art Foundation and is held on even numbered  years. On odd numbered years they hold the Gwangju Biennale Design Festival, which focuses on both exhibiting excellent examples of design from around the world while simultaneously promoting Gwangju as one of the centers of design excellence in Asia.  

The topic for the exhibit is different each year. The foundation is connected to other international art galleries which makes it possible for the exhibitions to display many pieces from all around the world and all kinds of artists. Of course, the exhibition hall is not only open for the Biennale Festival, they are open for other projects which they exhibit at their gallery. The approaching 2018 Gwangju Biennale will focus on Contemporary Art

The other exhibit that took place this year is the Gwangju Design Biennale. It’s the world’s first design biennale since 2005 and has been taking place every two years since. As it is the world’s first design biennale, it’s aim is to promote Gwangju as the design capital of the world.

Did you enjoy the art from all over the world at the Gwangju Biennale Art Festival or the Gwangju Biennale Design Festival? Tell us in the review below!

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The Korean Queer Culture Festival is an annual modern Korean festival, where the topic LGBT rights and raising awareness for it is tackled. The festivities include a pride parade and a film festival showcasing movies that center around the LGBT topics. The festival is best known for its parade culminating at Seoul Plaza.

Easily the largest LGBT festival in Korea and one of the largest in all of Asia it lasts one to two weeks and is held in June. People from all over the world travel to Korea to be a part of this festival which has come a very long way since its first event in 2000, which hosted only 50 participants. The number of attendees has now risen to 10,000-15,000.

Despite criticism towards this festival from religious groups and the government, the marchers and attendees proudly have fun and express themselves in a welcoming atmosphere.

What kind of atmosphere did you experience at the Korean Queer Culture Festival when you attended? Tell us in the review box below!

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Hosted on Daecheon Beach the Boryeong Mud Festival takes place every summer and includes tons of events such as mud wrestling, mud king contest, and mud sliding.

It’s the perfect event to get down and dirty while beating the summer heat. This festival not only attracts locals from all over the country but also international visitors looking to have a good time. The festival holds many activities like mud wrestling, mud sliding, a marine mud training course, and swimming in a big mud bath. The events are also perfect for kids, as there is a Mud Kid’s Land for children to have fun in the mud. 

The highlight of the festival is likely the photo competition, which is a high profile event that invites tons of competition every year. Here, alongside other events, you’ll have the chance to join in on an event called “adventurous silt extreme training,” which is a marine-type extreme training course based silt that features exercises, games, cavalry battles, and even a human pyramid.

The mud itself is very good for your skin and health, so save money on a facemask and just join in on the fun. At night, you can relax or experience some games and watch fireworks with friends at the gorgeous night beach.

How to Get There

  1. Departure station: Yongsan Railway Station (KTX) (Located on subway line 1 and the Jungang line)
  2. Train tickets: Regular ticket (16,000 won), Luxury ticket (25,200 won)
  3. Train details: The train name (Saemaul (express) Train)
  4. Train route: Yongsan Station – Daecheon Station
  5. Train Time Table: The train departs every hour from Yongsan Station
  6. Travel time: Total (2 hours and 30 minutes)
  7. Arrival station: Daecheon Station

After you arrive at Daecheon Station you will need to take a local bus to Daecheon Beach. A bus headed towards Daecheon beach leaves from Daecheon Station every 10 minutes. The bus ride will take about 40 minutes.

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