Travel Highlights

2018 Autumn Festivals in Korea

  • Tag Event Food History
  • Date08/23/2018
  • Hit364122

Seoul International Fireworks Festival

Temperature starts to drop in Korea as September rolls around, bringing gentle breeze and providing just the perfect atmosphere to travel. Hence, festivals seem to pop-up almost everywhere between September and November. As autumn is a season of harvest, festivals during this time of year offer plenty to eat. Don’t miss out on this opportunity fully embrace some of the most fascinating elements of Korean history, culture, arts, and food at any one of the following festivals!

September

Paju Booksori Festival

Forest of Wisdom in Paju Book City (Credit: Bangbangkokok)

  • Period: September 14 – September 16, 2018
  • Venue: Areas of Paju Book City
  • Forest of Wisdom, 145, Hoedong-gil, Paju, Gyeonggi-do / 경기도 파주시 회동길 145 지혜의 숲

The largest book festival in Asia, Paju Booksori Festival will take place at the center of Korea’s publishing culture, Paju Book City in Gyeonggi-do. With the support of over 100 different publishers and cultural organizations, the festival will be filled with exquisite programs dedicated to books. This festival is a spectacular international event where publication professionals from all over the world gather to join in.

Andong Mask Dance Festival

Traditional mask dance performance Byeolsin Gut Nori

  • Period: September 28 - October 7, 2018
  • Venues: Areas of Downtown Andong, Culture Street, and Talchum Park
  • Talchum Park, 239, Yuksa-ro, Anseong-si, Gyeongsanbuk-do /경상북도 안동시 육사로 239 탈춤공원

Designated by Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration as Important Intangible Cultural Properties, Korea’s traditional mask dance performances are a must-see for those hoping to understand more about Korean culture. Artists from home and abroad will not only treat you to a series of captivating performances, but will also encourage you to join in the free-spirited fun with various experience programs!

October

Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival (Credit: Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival)

  • Period: October 1 – October 14, 2018
  • Venue: Areas of Namgang River
    626, Namgang-ro, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do / 경상남도 진주시 남강로 626 남강 일원

Featuring diverse floating lantern lighting displays on the stream, this festival was selected as a global festival by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Visitors can make their own wish lanterns and send it downstream or even submit an entry to the most innovative lantern contest. Traditional lanterns from all over the world will be on display as well, but the festival's main draw is the simple beauty of thousands of lanterns lighting up the night.

Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival

Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival

  • Period: October 2 – October 7, 2018
  • Venue: Anseong Matchum Land
    196-31, Namsadang-ro, Bogae-myeon, Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do / 경기도 안성시 보개면 남사당로 196-31 안성맞춤랜드

Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Festival celebrates the proud and fascinating history of Korea's oldest performance troupe, Namsadang. With their base settled in the city of Anseong, Namasadang troupe traveled and performed all around the country during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and it now remains as a symbol of Korea’s earliest entertainment culture. The group's traditional performance, called Namsadang Nori, was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

Jeonju International Sori Festival

Jeonju International Sori Festival (Credit: Jeonju International Sori Festival)

  • Period: October 3 – October 7, 2018
  • Venue: Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do
    31, Sori-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 소리로 31 한국소리문화의전당

International Sori Festival is a traditional Korean music festival that has been recognized worldwide, and were even included on the list of “25 Best International Festivals” on UK’s renowned music magazine Songlines. The festival uses music to communicate and connect with the world as well as to spread the beauty of Korea’s traditional music, including UNESCO designated Intangible Cultural Heritage of Huamanity pansori (traditional Korean folk music genre consisting of one drummer and one singer).

Busan International Film Festival, BIFF

Busan International Film Festival

  • Period: October 4 – October 13, 2018
  • Venues: Busan Cinema Center, Haeundae BIFF Village, BEXCO
    Busan Cinema Theater, 120, Suyeonggangbyeon-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan / 부산광역시 해운대구 수영강변대로 120 영화의전당

The largest film festival in Asia, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) is THE must-see event for movie buffs. Major theaters in Busan will screen domestic and international films, giving you a variety of options to choose from.

Gimje Horizon Festival

Gimje Horizon Festival

  • Period: October 5 – October 9, 2018
  • Venue: Byeokgolje
    442, Byeokgolje-ro, Buryang-myeon, Gimje-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전라북도 김제시 부량면 벽골제로 442 벽골제

The fields of Gimje in Jeollabuk-do represent the granary of Korea where expansive fields stretch endlessly across the horizon. To promote and celebrate Gimje as home to the largest fields in Korea and its rice production, Gimje Horizon Festival annually takes place around the harvest season. Major events include global harvesting rice experience, flying kites, and international rice cook-off among other exciting programs. In addition to the experience programs, visitors can try traditional local food and watch cultural performances.

Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival

Nightscape of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

In celebration of the fortress' incomparable beauty and important history, performers at the Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival present a series of historical reenactments and events that once again bring Hwaseong Fortress to life, welcoming visitors to experience the magic of this treasured UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Main events include a reenactment of the Royal Tomb Parade of King Jeongjo, lantern festival, and citizens’ parade.

Hanwha Seoul International Fireworks Festival

Hanwha Seoul International Fireworks Festival

  • Period: October 6, 2018
  • Venue: Yeouido Hangang Park
    330, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 영등포구 여의동로 330 여의도 한강공원

Hanwha Seoul International Fireworks Festival takes place annually at the Hangang River. World-famous professional fireworks teams set the sky ablaze with spectacular fireworks, accompanied by lighting displays, laser shows, and a range of superb performances and events.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest at German Village (Credit: The Korea)

  • Period: October 6 – October 8, 2018 (Planned)
  • Venue: German Village
    92, Dogil-ro, Samdong-myeon, Namhae-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do / 경상남도 남해군 삼동면 독일로 92 독일마을

Germany’s significant beer festival Oktoberfest annually takes place in Korea’s German Village every October. The festival offers much to see and do, including a Latin dance performance, German wine tasting, and an opportunity to try German food and beer.

Nonsan Ganggyeong Salted Seafood Festival

Visitors enjoying Nonsan Ganggyeong Salted Seafood Festival (Credit: Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism)

  • Period: October 10 – October 14, 2018
  • Venues: Areas of Ganggyeong Salted Seafood Complex and Salted Seafood Museum Ganggyeong Water Leisure Sports Center, 1-2, Hwangsan-ri, Ganggyeong-eup, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do / 충청남도 논산시 강경읍 황산리 1-2 강경수상레저운동장 (젓갈축제행사장)

As Korea's largest salted seafood market, Ganggyeong Jeotgal Market serves as the venue for the Nonsan Ganggyeong Salted Seafood Festival. This festival is an ideal place to taste the unique flavor of jeotgal (salted seafood) dishes and observe the daily life of Korean fishing villages.

Yeongdong Nangye Traditional Music Festival

Yeongdong Nangye Traditional Music Festival (Credit: Yeongdong Nangye Traditional Music Festival)

  • Period: October 11 – October 14, 2018
  • Venue: Areas of Yeongdongcheon Stream
    Yeongdonggyo Bridge Hasang Parking Lot, 867-1, Gyesan-ri, Yeongdong-eup, Yeongdong-gun, Chuncheongbuk-do / 충청북도 영동군 영동읍 계산리 867-1 영동교 하상주차장

Yeongdong Nangye Traditional Music Festival is Korea’s one and only gugak (traditional Korean music) festival as well as a representative local performing arts festival. Marking its 51st anniversary this year, the festival will present a variety of entertaining performances including a reenactment of Eoga (king’s palanquin) Parade followed by Jongmyo Jaerye (royal ancestral ritual) and a variety of traditional gugak performances. In addition, visitors can also enjoy local food and participate in experience program events such as making a gugak instrument and playing a traditional musical instrument.

Jarasum International Jazz Festival

Jarasum International Jazz Festival (Credit: Jarasum International Jazz Festival)

  • Period: October 12 – October 14, 2018
  • Venue: Jaraseom Island
    1-1, Daljeon-ri, Gapyeong-eup, Gyeonggi-do / 경기도 가평군 가평읍 달전리 1-1 자라섬

Jarasum International Jazz Festival is undoubtedly the most popular jazz festival in Korea.  Local and international jazz musicians congregate on the island to fill the lakeside air with the sweet sounds of jazz day and night.

Namdo Food Festival

Traditional Korean meal

  • Period: October 12 – October 14, 2018 (Planned)
  • Venue: Areas of Gangjinman Bay
    510, Nampo-ri, Gangjin-eup, Gangjin-gun, Jeollanam-do / 전라남도 강진군 강진읍 남포리 510 강진만생태공원

Namdo Food Festival is an event where visitors can taste the local food of Jeollanam-do, Korea’s southern region best known for its delicious food. The festival is the most sought by gourmets as it offers regional specialties, including temple food for the health-conscious.

Yeongju Punggi Insam Festival

Visitors at Yeongju Punggi Insam Festival (Credit: Gyeongbuk Ilbo)

  • Period: October 20 – 28, 2018
  • Venue: Areas of Namwoncheon Stream
    240-1, Seongnae-ri, Punggi-eup, Yeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do / 경상북도 영주시 풍기읍 성내리 240-1 남원천 둔치

Of all the ginseng in Korea, Yeongju ginseng is the most popular for its saponin-rich nutrients and seemingly miraculous effects. Whether you need a fresh and healthy pick-me-up or just want a chance to harvest ginseng and sample some delectable ginseng dishes, the Yeongju Punggi Insam Festival is well worth the trip out to the countryside.

Jeonju Bibimbap Festival

Jeonju bibimbap

  • 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

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.

Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival

Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival (Credit: Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival Committee)

  • Period: October 24 – October 28, 2018 (Planned)
  • Venue: Areas of Gwangju Kimchi Town
    60, Kimchi-ro, Nam-gu, Gwangju / 광주광역시 남구 김치로 60 광주김치타운

In Korea, no table is complete without a side of kimchi. Visit the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival to find out why this unusual dish is so essential to the Korean people. During the festival, not only will you get a chance to make your own kimchi, but you will also see a wide assortment of Korean kimchi as well.

November

Seoul Lantern Festival

Seoul Lantern Festival

  • Period: November 2-18, 2018
  • Venue: Areas of Cheonggyecheon Stream
    Cheonggyecheon Square, 14-1, Seorin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 종로구 서린동 14-1 청계광장

Lanterns will light up the 1.2 km long water path along the Cheonggyecheon Stream from Cheonggyecheon Square to Supyogyo Bridge during the Seoul Lantern Festival. This year’s theme is “Dream of Seoul, flowing in the light.” As the festival marks its 10th anniversary as of this year, the parade will feature an overview of the festival’s past and future, embroidering the streets with hundreds of illuminating lanterns.

Paju Jangdan Soybean Festival

Paju Jangdan Soybean Festival (Credit: Paju Jangdan Soybean Festival)

  • Period: November 23 – November 25, 2018
  • Venue: Areas of Imjingak Pyeonghwanuri
    618-13, Majeong-ri, Munsan-eup, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do / 경기도 파주시 문산읍 마정리 618-13 임진각 평화누리)

At Paju Jangdan Soybean Festival, visitors will be able to try a variety of foods made using Paju’s special local produce, jangdan soybeans. In addition, a wide range of local goods will also be available along with hands on programs like making meju (fermented soybeans), making garaetteok (rice cake), strength contest, and more.

* This column was last updated in July 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.