Photo: Scene at the beach
From June through August, summer season is a time for fun vacations and outings with family and friends. Wherever one’s destination in Korea may be, check out some of these fascinating summer festivals to help you forget the scorching heat. For summer activities, the best of the best includes beach festivals like the West Coast’s Boryeong Mud Festival in July, and the Busan Sea Festival in August. There are also cultural festivals like the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, where one can watch fantasy movies all night long, the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, with performances by internationally famous rock musicians, and the Gangjin Celadon Festival, which features a variety of ancient ceramics. With so many great festivals to choose from, it’s easy to find many ways to enjoy your summer in Korea.
Photo: Gungnamji Pond
Photo: Event at the World Taekwondo Culture Expo
Photo: Mudflat sports at Boryeong Mud Festival (Photo courtesy of Boryeong Mud Festival Promotion Committee)
- When: July 15 (Fri) – July 24 (Sun), 2016
- Where: Daecheon Beach Mud Square in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
- Description: At the Boryeong Mud Festival, visitors jump in a huge pool of mud for more than just fun, as Boryeong mud is well-known for its excellent quality and efficacy. This fun, action-packed festival is popular among local and international visitors because it offers various programs such as the mud massage pack, colored-mud body painting, and mud soap-making. To take a break from the festival mayhem, head on over to the mud massage zone for a little R&R.
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Photo: Opening Ceremony at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (Photo courtesy of Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival Promotion Committee)
- When: July 21 (Thu) – July 31 (Sun), 2016
[Official Theaters] Bucheon City Hall, Gyujanggak Cartoon Museum, CGV Bucheon, CGV Sopung (planned)
[Special Theaters] Bucheon Gym, Bucheon Grass Square, Sosa & Ojeonggu 2 outdoor theaters (planned)
- Description: Movies are shown throughout the entire festival period and audiences can attend discussions with film directors. This unique film festival screens movies from all over the world and from a variety of genres, including horror, mystery, thriller, and sci-fi.
Photo: Fireworks show at the Pohang International Fireworks Festival
- When: July 28 (Thu) – July 31 (Sun), 2016
- Where: Hyeongsangang Sports Park, Yeongildae Northern Beach and others, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Description: The Pohang International Fireworks Festival offers fantastic views of the night sky as it is lit up by fireworks made by representatives from different countries during the international fireworks contest in Pohang, a coastal town famous for its sunrise. In particular, the festival highlights include the light parade, live beach concerts, light art contests, and many more.
Photo: Scene at the Hamyang Wild Ginseng Festival (Photo courtesy of Hamyang-gun Office)
- When: July 29 (Fri) – August 2 (Tue), 2016
- Where: Sangnim Park area in Hamyang-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Description: Hamyang, where the famous Korean Jirisan (1,916 m) and Deogyusan (1,614 m) Mountains are located, is known for producing high quality wild ginseng and herbs. The Hamyang Wild Ginseng Festival is held to promote these local products. During the festival period, visitors can participate in numerous hands-on programs like harvesting, pottery making, making wild ginseng rice cakes, and many more.
Photo: Water gun fight at the Jeongnamjin Jangheung Water Festival (Photo courtesy of Jangjeung-gun Office)
- When: July 29 (Fri) – August 4 (Thu), 2016
- Where: Jangheung Tamjingang River and Pyeonbaek Forest Woodland area in Jangheung-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: This is a unique festival which has its foundations in the waters of the Tamjin River and Jangheung Multipurpose Dam in Jangheung. The festival teaches the value of water to the environment, humans, and energy in many ways through exhibits, films, and hands-on programs. Exciting summer water programs such as a natural medicinal herb bath, water sledding, water cycling, and bare-handed fishing are popular among visitors.
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Photo: Fish catching experience at the Bonghwae Eun-Uh Festival
- When: July 30 (Sat) – August 6 (Sat), 2016
- Where: Naeseongcheon Stream area and Bonghwa-eup Sports Park in Bonghwa-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Description: This festival is held at Naeseongcheon Stream in Bonghwa-gun. The main programs are catching sweetfish with a net or with just one’s bare hands, and sweetfish-related exhibits. Sweet fish are small freshwater fish with a light watermelon smell.
Photo: Scene at the Gangjin Celadon Festival (Photo courtesy of Gangjin-gun Office)
- When: July 30 (Sat) – August 7 (Sun), 2016
- Where: Gangjin Goryeo Celadon Kiln Site area in Gangjin-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Description: The festival is held in Gangjin, the largest production site of celadon in Korea from the 8th to the 14th century. Visitors can not only gain a deeper appreciation of Korean celadon’s impact on the global art community, but also have a chance to make their own pottery, an activity that is popular among local and international visitors.
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Photo: Scene at the Busan Sea Festival (Photo courtesy of Busan Cultural Tourism Festival Promotion Committee)
Photo: Tongyeong Great Battle of Hansal Festival Scene (Photo courtesy of The Great Battle of Hansal)
- When: August 11 (Thu) – August 15 (Mon), 2016
- Where: Areas of Cultural Plaza, Tongjeyeong and Yi Sun-shin Park in Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Description: The Tongyeong Great Battle of Hansan Festival is held to commemorate the patriotism of General Yi Sun-shin (1545-1598), who led his army to victory during the Imjin War (war against two Japanese invasions between 1592 and 1598). The festival features Yi Sun-shin-related exhibitions, ocean sports, as well as making a model geobukseon (iron-clad turtle ship built by General Yi during the Imjin War) and bows.
Photo: Opening ceremony of Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (Photo courtesy of Jecheon International Music & Film Festival Executive Committee)
- When: August 11 (Thu) – August 16 (Tue), 2016
- Where: Areas of Megabox (Jecheon Branch), Cheongpunghoban Lakeside Stage, Cultural Hall, Uirimji Reservoir
- Description: The Jecheon International Music & Film Festival showcases films with a music theme. The opening movie is chosen among those that best represent the festival’s theme, while the closing movie is the winner of the World Music Film Today category. In addition to watching several recent music films, various types of musicians will perform on stage.
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Photo: Scene at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival (Photo courtesy of Incheon Metropolitan City)
- When: August 12 (Fri) – August 14 (Sun), 2016
- Where: Dalbit Festival Park, Songdo in Incheon
- Description: Over 60 bands will be playing at this major outdoor rock festival, including several famous international groups. Past guests have included Travis, Muse, Feeder, and Gossip (formerly The Gossip). Hot summer nights and rocking beats make for a great music festival. The festival is held in Incheon City, meaning there are a variety of cultural activity programs and city tours readily available.
Photo: Performance at the Muju Firefly Festival (Photo courtesy of Muju-gun Office)
- When: August 27 (Sat) – September 4 (Sun), 2016
- Where: Areas of Namdaecheon Stream, Bandi Land in Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do
- Description: Namdaecheon Stream in Muju County is a very special part of Korea. It’s a clean environment that provides the perfect habitat for fireflies. Visitors to the Firefly Festival are greeted by an unforgettable sight: tens of thousands of fireflies lighting up the warm summer night.
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
*This column was last updated on May 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official website before visiting.
<Last updated on May 17, 2016>