Sometimes when you travel, you need a little something to really make your trip pop!
Going back and forth to Korea for the past 3 years, if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that South Korea does not fall short of festivals or parties. If you're traveling to the land of some of the biggest festivals in Asia, here are 5 festivals to check out in Seoul and Busan. Can't make these this year? Not a problem! These festivals are selected so you can plan your future trip accordingly! *Note: Dates change every year so be sure to check the dates on the official links when you go!
1. Busan International Film Festival
Running Oct 4th - Oct. 13th
One of biggest film festivals in Asia - if not the biggest film festival in Asia takes place for almost 10 days at all of the major theaters in the city (mostly in Haeundae and Centum City area). There are screenings for both international and domestic films, a BIFF shop, and so much more; it is insane! This is a cannot miss festival for movie buffs, and I am personally excited about the opening movie this year. Tickets information can be found HERE on BIFF's official website along with other details for the events.
2. Seoul International Fireworks Festival and Busan International Fireworks Festival
Seoul's IFF on Oct. 6th, Busan's IFF on Oct. 27th
I put these two together because of obvious similarities, but I have only been to Seoul's annual fireworks show. And a show it is! Fireworks accompanied by lights, lasers, the whole multimedia sha-bang that reminded me of Thunder of Louisville, the firework show from my hometown - only bigger and brighter!
Taken place along the Han River at Yeouido Hangang Park and perfected since 2000, there's everything from food trucks, events, performances, a market and so much more starting at 1 PM. The opening ceremony is at 7 and will feature more than 100,000 fireworks. My tips if you choose to go are to bring something with sleeves to be able to put on (mosquitos and sometimes a wind chill) and to take the subway as there will be roadblocks for buses. Check out Visit Korea's site HERE for performance times and more info.
If you decide to go to Busan's festival which will have similar activities and set up, it takes place at Gwangalli Beach between the Busan Aqua Hotel and Homers Hotel. You can find out more HERE ,and admissions to these are free!
3. Jeon-ju Bibimbap Festival
Running Oct. 25th to Oct. 28th
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Jeonju Bibimbap Festival takes place in the city best known for delicious Korean cuisine - Jeonju! Known to be one of the most favorite Korean dishes worldwide, bibimbap is a staple in restaurants and homes all across the nation. Discover more about this signature dish by learning to cook traditional bibimbap, making a gigantic, life-size bibimbap, participating in cooking competitions, sampling local recipes, or joining in one of the other events at this culinary festival. 📆Period: October 25 – October 28, 2018 📍Venues: Areas of Jeonju Hanok Village and National Intangible Heritage Center National Intangible Heritage Center, 95, Seohak-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 전주시 완산구 서학로 95 국립무형유산원 #koreanfoodfestival #foodfestival #foodfestivalinkorea #전주비빔밥축제 #jeonju #jeonjubibimbap #bibimbap #bibimbapfestival #travelforfood #eatandexplore #jeonjufood #foodtourism #korea #onlyinkorea #staplefood #koreanfood #travelkorea #koreatourism #koreamusttry #koreamusttryfood #koreancuisine #koreanbibimbap #likeforlikes #likeforlikeback
Stepping away from Seoul and Busan, I have only been to one festival outside of these two cities, and that is Jeon-ju's Bibimbap Festival. It is a whole 3-day long event dedicated to just bibimbap! This is where I learned everything I know about one of Korea's most famous rice dishes.
This is a place for cooking competitions, sampling different recipes from all over, and even where you can learn to make a huge bowl of of the dish yourself during the United Bibimbap opening event. And I mean huge. There's plenty to see, eat, do, eat, try and eat during this festival. What makes it better is that it is held in Jeon-ju Hanok Village and Korean Intangible Cultural Heritage Hall. Admission is free and starts at 11 AM, but note that some programs and event do charge so be sure to check the official website HERE for details before you head down.
4. Seoul Lantern Festival
Running Nov. to Nov. 18
In Downtown Seoul, along the water path of CheongGyeCheon Stream that stretches for 1.2 km, the 10th anniversary Seoul Lantern Festival will take place. This year's theme, "Seoul Dream, Flowing Light" will feature hundreds of lanterns made by local artists and those from all over the world, broken up into 4 different categories: Sparkling Memories, Dreaming of a Future, Traditional flow, and New Dream. Some known events are contests both at the festival and on social media, making your own lanterns, sending of wish lanterns (the ones released to fly), and much more. The event is free but some participating events may have a fee so be sure to check it out HERE.
5. Busan One Asia Festival
Running Oct. 20 to Oct. 28
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✨BOF 2018 ON-STAGE , Park Concert Line Up Open ✨ . ▶ON-STAGE [ROCK] October 25th at 20:00 ~ #Nobrain #CryingNut #BurningSoda . [HIPHOP] October 26th at 20:00 ~ #Zion_t #websterb #Uberdef . [K-POP] October 27th at 14:00~ #Paulkim #Nilo #Hanooltari . ▶️ Park Concert #K_will #chungha #NuestW #favorite #Cherry_on_top #Kingston_Luiska #Busan_Metropolitan_Chorus . BOF2018 ON-STAGE held over three days Park concerts to enjoy with citizens! BOF2018 more fun and interesting, please expect a lot 🙌 . . ✨BOF2018オンステージ、パークコンサートラインアップオープン✨ 。 ▶オンステージ [ROCK] 10月25日20:00〜 #Nobrain #CryingNut #BurningSoda 。 [HIPHOP] 10月26日20:00〜 ＃Zion_t #websterb #Uberdef 。 [K-POP] 10月27日14：00〜 #Paulkim #Nilo #Hanooltari 。 ▶パークコンサート #K_will #chungha #NuestW #favorite #Cherry_on_top #Kingston_Luiska #Busan_Metropolitan_Chorus 。 BOF2018オンステージを3日間にわたって開催 市民と楽しむパークコンサート！ BOF2018もっと楽しく興味深い、多くを期待してください🙌 . . #부산원아시아페스티벌 #bof #원아페 #라인업 #파크콘서트 #lineup #온스테이지 #onstage
Last but not least, one of my personal favorites is the Busan One Asia Festival! Busan One Asia Festival is a huge K-pop event full of concerts and exhibitions for everything Korean including fan meetings and so much more. There's honestly so much to do here that it can't be summarized. A few announced performers for the opening and closing concerts are EXO, Wanna One, Seventeen, NCT 127, Celeb Five, Mamamoo, EXID, GFriend, Dynamic Duo, Red Velvet, NCT Dream, and more. And don't forget other groups and artists will be performing throughout the festival as well. Check out the official website HERE for more, and also check out this great opening and closing awards concert package deal for foreigners from TRAZY HERE (it includes round trips to and from the station to the concert, a bus tour, coupon book and more). Prices vary!
And there you have it, my 5 favorite Fall festivals that are a must if you are in Korea. Again, all of these festivals happen every year so it's okay if you can't make it this year; there's always time to plan a trip for next year! Are there any favorites for those of you who have been to Korea? Or do you have a list of festivals you would like to go to? If so, leave a comment below telling us! We love updating our travel itineraries with new places and events.