Winter Festivals to check out in Korea
If you’re looking for something fun in South Korea for you and your family, look no further because we have just the right family-orientated activities for you!
Pyeongchang Trout Festival
The annual Pyeongchang Trout Festival is a famous winter festival that takes place in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province, which is located just two and a half hours from Seoul. Expect to have heaps of fun trying to catch trout! Eat the fish you catch, and try out some of the other fun-filled activities in the festival!
When: December 22, 2018 ~ January 27, 2019 (09:00 AM ~ 17:00 PM)
Where: Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Province
What (to do):
- Fishing (Ice Fishing / Tent Fishing / Barehand Fishing)
- Snow/Ice activities (Snow Rafting / Snow Tubing / Sledding / Ice Skating, etc.)
- Food & Shopping (Food Court, Grill Center, etc.)
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of the activities available.
The main attraction of the festival! You can choose between Ice Fishing, Tent Fishing, and Barehand Fishing; whatever you decide to do, it’s guaranteed that you and your family will have an awesome time!
1. Ice Fishing
Test your patience and attempt to catch the fattest trout from a hole drilled into the ice! Each person will get a hole each so everyone gets a chance to catch their very own fish. Go against each other and see who can catch the largest trout.
2. Tent Fishing
Pyeongchang can get extremely cold, which is also why you have the option to catch your trout inside a ready-made tent! Shield yourself against the freezing cold winter winds with your loved ones and enjoy a fun-filled day of catching trout!
3. Barehand Fishing
If you are brave enough to fight the bone-chilling wind and water, then have a go at catching your fish barehanded. You’ll go into a large pool full of trout, so prepare to get soaking wet, because the fish are going to put up a good fight! Not only is Barehand Fishing good fun to do, but it is also extremely entertaining to watch as your loved ones swim around in knee deep water, determined to get a big catch! Don’t forget to record a video or take photos of them as they do!
*Ice fishing is only available depending on the ice conditions. If it is not cold enough, it may not be available as the ice will be too thin, causing it to break easily.
And the best part about the festival is, that you get to feast on the trout you caught for the day! Inside the festival grounds, there is a grilling area where you can either get your fish grilled and eat it nice and warm, or you can take your trout to be made into sashimi and eat it fresh, whichever way you prefer.
Don’t worry if you don’t manage to catch any fish. If you get hungry you can still buy live trout and have it cooked whichever way you like as well.
If ice fishing isn’t enough for you, don’t worry, there is plenty of other activities to have a go at.
1. Snow Rafting (Snow Tubing but towed by a snowmobile)
Snow Rafting is Snow Tubing with much more added excitement. Don’t let the name of the activity fool you with the activity of actually rafting in the snow because it’s not! It’s one of the popular activities in the festival, where you and your family get into a large tube, and just like being towed by a speedboat on water, you’ll be towed by a snowmobile. Hold onto the ropes so you don’t lose your balance and roll in the snow!
2. Snow Tubing
Snow Tubing is another one of the popular activities in the festival, where you sit on a tube and slide down the snowy hills at fast speeds. It may not look fast when you watch from afar, but once you sit yourself down on the tube and head downhill, you’ll be surprised at the speed! Sit tight and don’t topple over while going down!
What’s winter without everyone’s all-time favorite, sledding! Sled down a snowy hill and relive your childhood memories with your family! They’ll love it!
4. Ice Skating
Let’s not forget ice skating too. It’s definitely not easy, but it surely is a lot of fun!
There are many more activities available at the festival apart from the activities mentioned above, so check out the festival and find out what else there is to do.
Pyeongchang Trout Festival is extremely popular both among Koreans and foreign visitors, so get your tickets fast! Check this link for more info on tickets.
Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Festival 2019
For the second festival, you can go to Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival in Hwacheon, Gangwon-do Province. It’s about three hours from Seoul, and this festival will offer you a unique ice fishing experience along with other winter activities. The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival was even selected as one of the 7 Winter Wonders of the World by CNN. So you have a perfect reason to visit this festival!
When: January 5, 2019 ~ January 27, 2019 (23 days) Weekdays - (09:00 AM ~18:00 PM) /Weekends - (8:30 AM ~ 18:00 PM)
Where: Hwacheon county, Gangwon-do Province
What (to do):
- Fishing (Ice Fishing/ Lure Fishing/ Barehand Fishing/ Pontoon (floating dock) Fishing/ Night Fishing etc.)
- Snow/Ice activities (Eolgomi Castle/ Eolgomi Figure Skating/ Ice Soccer/ etc.)
- Food & Shopping (Food Court, Grill Center, etc.)
The highlight of this festival! There are a number of different spots for fishing and they are all different types.
1. Ice Fishing
Just like ice fishing in the other festival mentioned above, sit patiently in front of a hole in the ice and try to catch sancheoneo (mountain trout) for you and your family to feast later on!
*In Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival, there is an area to enjoy ice fishing exclusively for foreigners as well, which is less crowded than the other fishing spots.
2. Lure Fishing
For all you lure fishing fanatics, you’ve just won the lottery because Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival is hosting a Lure Fishing site, right beside the Ice Fishing site. Nowhere else is there going to be a Lure Fishing area in winter!
3. Pontoon (floating dock) Fishing
Pontoon Fishing is where you enjoy your fishing on a floating dock, which is in the same area as the Lure Fishing site. Enjoy a nice relaxing fishing experience as you fish for the largest mountain trout. Just make sure you don’t trip and fall into the water!
4. Barehand Fishing
Barehand Fishing is available in Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival as well! Are you bored of waiting for fish to nibble on your bait? Are you not afraid of the cold? Then Barehand Fishing is exactly what you want to do!
5. Night Fishing
In this festival, you’ll be able to fish after closing time through the night, beginning at 19:00 PM and ending at 21:00 PM (Ticketing begins at 18:30 PM ~ 20:00 PM). This option is perfect for those of you who will be busy doing something else such as sightseeing or ski/snowboarding during the day, but want to pitch in some time to visit the festival as well!
Just like the previous festival, you can also have your fish cooked. Either grilled, steamed, or raw as sashimi!
Snow & Ice Activities
There are countless activities you can also try in Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival, so have a read of what it offers you!
1. Eolgomi Castle
Eolgomi is the name of the festival’s mascot, and he has a castle named after him! Eolgomi Castle is an attraction within the festival grounds where you can take a break from all the ice fishing and take a look at the amazing snow sculptures around and inside the castle itself. These snow sculptures make for a great background for a selfie or group photograph with your family to remember by!
2. Eolgomi Figure Skating
Figure Skating doesn’t mean you have to really figure skate! it’s just what the attraction is called during the festival. It’s basically ice skating, and it’s heaps of fun!
3. Ice Soccer
Now, this is something you probably wouldn’t have tried. This is a mixture of two different sports: soccer and ice hockey! How about a fun game of “Ice Soccer” where you try to score goals using a hockey puck-like ball on ice! Be careful not to make a fool of yourself as you slip.
4. Bubble Suit Game
Put on a bubble suit, and push everyone on the opposite team out of the circle! Think of this as a game of sumo, but you put on a “bubble suit” filled with air for protection against pushing and shoving people out and slipping on the ice. Come with your family and play against different teams!
Of course, these aren’t the only games and attractions you’ll find there, so make sure you check out their official website for more information. And while you’re at it, check out this neat link that’ll take you directly to the festival!
The 26th Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival
Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival which will begin in January 2019 is its 26th festival. During this eventful festival, you’ll be able to witness the world-class snow sculptures of different shapes and sizes, as well as have fun with several attractions such as snow sledding, going on ice or snow slides and many more! This is a perfect winter getaway festival for you and your family.
When: January 18, 2019 ~ February 3, 2019 (17 days)
Where: Taebaek, Gangwon-do Province
What (to do):
- Snow Sculpture Exhibition
- Snow Slide
- Snowball Fight
- Food (cooked on a briquette)
1. Snow Sculpture Exhibition
Come and witness a series of gigantic snow sculptures, made by a professional snow sculptor, as well as a number of creative sculptures sculpted by talented university students. The exhibition is one of the best places to take group photos at!
2. Snow Slide
Get ready to whiz down an enormous snow slide at frightening speeds! This is the ultimate thrill ride of Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival. You can’t afford to miss out on this attraction!
3. Snowball Fight
One of the highlights of Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival is the large-scale snowball fight that takes place. It set a record of more than 5,000 people participating in the game! Split into teams and throw snowballs at each other. Everyone enjoys a good snowball fight in winter! Join in the fun and break the record of 5,000 people playing at once.
4. Food (grilled on a briquette)
Experience a bit of Korean history and culture by eating some of the food and delights grilled on a briquette. Back in the day, food like potatoes and sweet potatoes, and sweets were grilled on a heated briquette during the coldest days in winter. Warm yourselves with a steaming potato after enjoying all the fun at this festival!
Make sure to check out this link for more info about tickets for the festival!
Other Festivals that May Intrigue You
There is a shuttle bus package where you can go to three different winter festivals in Gangwon-do Province, Korea’s winter wonderland. You can either go to Hongcheon Ice Festival, Daegwallyeong Snow Festival, or Inje Ice Festival, so take your pick.
Alternatively, if you consider yourself a lucky person you can try to prove it with this festival package. You’ll get to visit one of the 4 festivals, including the previously mentioned Pyeongchang Trout Festival, and Hwacheon Sancheoneo Festival. The other options are Gapyeong Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival, and Cheongpyeong Snowflake Trout Festival.
But here’s the catch; it’s a random pick. You have no idea which festival you will end up visiting! All festivals are exciting and worth visiting, but this one will test your luck! Even if you can choose, it’s not guaranteed you’ll visit the one you’ve picked, as it’ll depend on the festival’s availability on the date of your choice. Weather conditions will be also taken into account.
That being said, each festival is unique and exciting in its own way, so don’t be disappointed even if you don’t get the one you wished for. Click this link, and why not bet your luck in this exciting random tour?
Winter in South Korea is eventful indeed, so take a good look at each of these exciting festivals and plan your trip to South Korea with your family!