11 Fun Fall Festivals in Korea
Fall is one of those seasons that is just dazzling, if you’re not staying indoors depressed that summer is saying goodbye for another nine months. From cultural and traditional events to foodie fun and performances, too, there is much to enjoy all around the country. Here are
11 Fun Fall Festivals in Korea
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1. Pyeongchang Hyoseok Cultural Festival (평창 효석문화제)
September 2, 2016 ~ September 11, 2016
A celebration of life in the countryside, this festival celebrates the author Hyo Seok Lee who wrote the critically acclaimed novel When Buckwheat Flowers Come Into Full Bloom. As you may have guessed then, this festival is celebrated around a field of buckwheat flowers in the Village of Bongpyeong-myeon. Writing contests, exhibition of written works like illustrated poems and a ‘Night of Literature’ event as well as nature programs are combined in the author’s hometown for an educational and beautiful autumn festival.
2. Andong Maskdance Festival (안동국제탈춤페스티벌)
September 30, 2016 ~ October 9, 2016
Andong, already a place to check out due to the beautiful Hahoe Village, hosts a maskdance festival each autumn that is the major cultural attraction of the region. Traditional Korean mask dances are performed as well as mask dances by international troupes too. From folk culture to dance lessons, exhibits and more, this is a great event to plan a weekend away around. The traditional village is a must see on the trip as well as other beautiful natural scenery locations too. Start making plans now to find a place to stay while this uber-popular festival is taking place.
Location: Maskdance Park, Hahoe Village, Culture Street in Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
3. Jarasum Jazz Festival (자라섬 국제 재즈 페스티벌)
October 1, 2016 ~ October 3, 2016
While summer may be known for outdoor music festivals, that doesn’t mean they stop when the cooler breezes blow in. This jazz festival, set on Jaraseom Island is one of the biggest fests of the season with live music to boot. Korean and international jazz artists will come together to showcase some smooth jazz stylings for this fests 13th year of musical fun. Acts include Lucky Peterson, Henri Texier Hope Quartet, Manu Katche, Bugge Wesseltoft’s New Concept of Jazz, Adam Baldych & Helge Lien Trio, Dainius Pulauskas Group, Three Fall & Melane, Elephant 9, Oregon and many more.
4. Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) (부산국제영화제)
October 6, 2016 ~ October 15, 2016
BIFF is one of the largest film festivals in Asia and one of the most popular events of the autumn season. With an amazing location down in the coastal city of Busan, this festival is a must-attend! Major theaters across the city screen domestic and international films. Galas, meetings and more surround the viewings themselves. In it’s 21st year, this festival is sure to provide some cool indoor fun as well as outdoor beach fun between showings too. What’s better than that? Movies, beaches, actors, directors and the ocean waves.
5. Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival (수원 화성문화제)
October 7, 2016 ~ October 9, 2016
The fortress in Suwon is a great place to take a wander or walk and when this festival takes place, it’s even more exciting. With performances and historical reenactments as well as other events, the fortress wall area is brought to life. From a Royal Parade of King Jeongjo the Great to a fireworks display, there is something to see from morning until evening. Martial arts exhibitions, a feast for Hyegeonggung Hong and more will take place during this festival weekend.
6. Seoul Yangnyeongsi Herb Medicine Culture Festival (서울약령시 한방문화축제)
October 7, 2016 ~ October 8, 2016
This festival is a little off the beaten path largely due to the fact that Daegu also has a Yangnyeongsi Herbal Medicine Market and Festival that is much larger each spring. However, this herbal market in Seoul is really a must see. The seeds, herbs and plants with curative value and relief restoration properties are stacked high and spilling from shops down the streets. Shop owners are able to make teas specific to your ailments and during the festival period there is also the option to get a free herbal medical diagnoses and treatments. Get that body checked out and learn more about natural remedies to those aches and pains.
7. Fireworks Festival (불꽃축제)
Seoul: October 8, 2016 & Busan: October 22, 2016
Come October, the two most populated cities in the country roll up their sleeves to put on spectacular fireworks shows. The fire flowers, as they could be translated from Korean, light up the night sky over the Han River in Seoul and over the beaches of Gwanganli in Busan. Massive crowds gather at both locations to ooh and aah together as blasts fill their ears and light fills their eyes. If you’re in Seoul, try getting a good standing spot Mapo Bridge to see the show and meander across north to Gongdeok Station to get in and out while seeing the show as fast as possible. Otherwise, plan on getting to Yeouido park mad early in the day to get a seat with your blanket.
8. Itaewon Global Village Festival (이태원 지구촌축제)
October 15, 2016 ~ October 16, 2016
Itaewon is known as a global village and people flock to the area to get their international food goods and bites to eat. The area is also home to a large international population in Seoul so it’s no wonder the area wants to throw a good global village bash. Games, concerts, performances and a fashion show. Food from around the world in tents set up down the main drag of Itaewon welcome anyone and everyone for some good global gathering and get together. Go early get some good bites to eat and then stay late and enjoy the nightlife that the area is known for.
Location: Itaewon, Seoul, Korea
9. Suncheon Bay Reeds Festival (순천만갈대축제)
November 4, 2016 ~ November 6, 2016
The autumn may be the best time of the year to visit Suncheon Bay. This wetlands area is visited by migrating birds and the reeds blowing in the winds makes for some spectacular natural scenery. Cultural, artistic, eco-education and other activities are combined for a great weekend-away location. A wooden bridge takes visitors through the reeds where they may be able to spot some of the 200 species of birds that visit this area. There is also a folk concert, healing tunnel and craft experience area so there is plenty to do on site when watching the reeds blow in the wind just isn’t enough.
Location: Suncheon Bay, Dongcheon, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
10. Seoul Lantern Festival (서울빛초롱축제)
November 4, 2016 ~ November 20, 2016
The Cheonggyecheon Stream flowing through Seoul is often home to festivals or exhibitions and each fall one of the best events lights up the night there. For 1.2 kilometers from the beginning of the Cheonggyecheon Stream just south of Gwanghwamun Square to Supyo Bridge, lanterns in all shapes and sizes from traditional characters and symbols to updated animation characters too are on display. The lanterns are there all day, but the show really starts in the evening when the sun sets and the lanterns are turned on! Don’t miss this fun event downtown. Heading there on a week day is highly recommended as the weekends see just tons of people in the mood for some lantern viewing.
Location: Cheonggyecheon Stream, Seoul, Korea
11. World Kimchi Culture Festival (광주세계김치축제)
November 18, 2016 ~ November 22, 2016
No one can come to Korea for any period of time and NOT hear about or at least get a sampling of kimchi. This fermented cabbage side dish is a staple of any Korean meal and Gwangju celebrates that up! Gwangju, home to the only Kimchi Theme Park in the country, is host to the event that provides a ton of kimchi-related events and programs. From cooking and a market devoted to the Korean delicacy and competitions in kimchi making toomake for a very uniquely Korean festival to visit this autumn.
Location: Jungeo Park, Buk-gu, Gwangju