Life in Seoul #6: Arirang Jeongsun Festival

Hotteok! (plus a glimpse of the venue)

Arirang Jeongsun Festival, a Korean traditional festival was held from October 9th to 12th in Jeongsun, Gangwon Province. I went to Jeongsun by taking the cheap and convenient Gangwon Shuttle Bus. With only 5000 won, I could get a round-trip ticket from Seoul to Jeongsun, accompanied with a nice guide with sufficient English ability. You can take the from near Gwanghwamun station and it leaves at 7 a.m. You can check here for more information on the bus, including reservation.

One thing that made me a little disappointed was how the supposedly 2.5-hour journey went longer to 4-hour. Nevertheless, the good weather–warmer than I expected–plus beautiful scenery around the festival’s venue made me super excited.

The first thing I did was just walk around the stalls. I found so many shikdang, or stalls selling traditional Korean food with all-you-can-eat system. The other stalls mostly sold agricultural products like vegetables or fruits.

One of the stalls selling… pumpkins?

Since I was already full with rice balls I bought in the convenience store, I decided to just buy hotteok or Korean pancake. There were some other snacks like waffle or dried squid. There were even the so-called “international stalls” selling Japanese takoyaki or Turkish kebab and ice cream.

The main attraction of the festival is actually Arirang (Korean traditional song) performance. When I was there on the 11th, I managed to watch a singing competition for foreigners. There were Nepalese, Chinese, and Japanese contestants, all with perfect Korean pronunciation (at least in my ears) and relatively nice voices.

One of the contestants

Besides the main stage, there was also a smaller stage with some seemingly professional arirang performers. But rather than watching the performance, I was amused by how halmeoni and haraboji (grandmas and grandpas) looked sooo happy watching it! Ah, I love cute elderly people. :p

Before going back to the bus at 4 p.m., I walked across the venue and found a nice, tranquil river. The clean water and bright sky were such an amazing combination.

Across the venue (1)
Across the venue (2)

The way back home also took 4 hours, but this time I was more “prepared”. And when the bus stopped at a rest area for toilet break, I ran to a convenience store to buy some snacks–just to kill the boredom LOL.

Overall, I would suggest you all–especially those who re-visit Korea–to try taking this kind of shuttle bus. Besides the one I was taking, there is one going to Jeonju as well. The atmosphere of smaller cities in Korea is really nice, especially when you’re bored with big city routines.

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