During my 2 months stay in Korea, I had my chance to experience Lantern Festival, one of the capital’s flagship events in the month of November. Seoul Lantern Festival 2013 or in korean “서울 등축제 2013” was held on the first day till 17th of November. It is an annual festival where hundreds of lanterns are displayed on the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream.
The festival has been held since 2009 in the month of November yearly and has been one of the most important festivals.
A year before, I was in Korea too when the festival was held, but I failed to see the festival. I went too late to the venue and found out that the lantern lights had been turned off. This year I make sure to come during the lighting hours. This year’s theme is Hanseong Baekje, Dream of One Thousand Years “한성백제 천년의 끔”.
It was around 7PM when my friend and I reached the Cheonggyecheon and there were more than a thousand people crowding the place. We could choose to go down and walk along the stream or saw the lanterns from the street level. So to enjoy the festival fully, we joined the crowds walking along the stream. We entered from the Cheongye Plaza, one of the main gates. For safety reasons, there was only one way walking direction with a few exit gates along the stream.
We still could stop to take pictures as long as we didn’t block the way. And because we walked with thousands more of crowd, there was a bit of human traffic towards the exit gates. The lanterns were beautifully handcrafted by the locals and international artists, and each of them portrayed their own stories.
Beautiful right? I amazed on how the lanterns were made. I don’t recommend to go during weekend or last few days of the festival. Go on weekdays and early to avoid too many crowd.
The Lantern Festival 2013 was spectacular and very busy. If you happen to be in Seoul when it is on and you do not mind walking with thousands of others to view the themed lanterns I would recommend it.
Lighting Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
How to get there:
- Take subway to City Hall Station (Line 1 & 2, dark blue & green line) take exit #4. Walk for 5 minutes. (this route is nearer to Cheonggye Plaza)
- Take subway to Gwanghwamun Station (line 5, purple line), take exit #5. Walk for about 5 minutes (this route is nearer to Cheonggye Plaza)
- Take subway to Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (line 2, green line), take exit #2 or #3. Walk for 10 minutes.
- Take subway to Jonggak Station (line 1, blue line), take exit #5. Walk for 5 minutes.
- -The venue starts from Cheonggye Plaza and ends before Jongno Station near Insadong.
- Avoid weekends or the last few days of the festival. The crowd will be crazy.
- The stream is located within 4 subway lines. Each exit gates are located near the subway exits.
- Don’t forget to watch your belongings and beware of pickpockets.