Ah, yes. Korean flower festivals. One of the many themed festivals you will hear about during the spring, summer and fall months. So far, I have been to three different flower festivals here in Korea. In this post I will share my thoughts on these festivals and some tips on if you choose to go to these festivals yourself.
Sinan Tulip Festival – 신안 튤립축제
Sinan county is located in Jeollanam-do and is comprised of over 800 islands, 100 of which are inhabited. On the island of Imjado, you will find the annual Sinan Tulip Festival. Getting to this festival is not for the traveller who likes an easy route. This trip consisted of a bus ride, a taxi, and a ferry.
Taking the ferry to Imjado was free (However the return ferry was not free). Don’t forget your ARC card, as a passport number or ARC is required to board the ferry.
Once you reach the main island, you will be transported via shuttle bus to the festival grounds. It is a very logical system of transport when you finally reach the island. Because it is during a rather warm time of year, I advise you to bring along a water and pack the sunblock (lest you become a red tulip yourself!).
The one thing I will say, is that this flower festival impressed me the most, visually. There are SO many tulips! Apparently this region of Korea is ideal for growing tulips, and while there are several tulip festivals in Korea, this one is very picturesque given that is is situated next to the yellow sea.
My co-teacher went to this same festival and was stranded because the ferry could not leave Imjado due to dense fog (Don’t go on a Sunday!).
- Fee: Admittance Cost + Ferry cost
- Time – VERY time consuming
- Visual appeal grade: A
Gokseong International Rose Festival – 곡성 세계장미축제
Gokseong County, which is now, apparently, famous for a Horror Film of the same name, is home to the International Rose Festival. Transit to this festival is complicated and the bus system may be overwhelmed on the days of the festival When I returned from Gokseong to Gwangju, over 15 people were standing on the bus (How is that legal???).
After a relatively short bus ride from the Gwangju bus terminal, you should take a bus to the Seomjingang Train Village. Gokseong is also famous for a vintage train village, which is quite cute for those interested in old times Korean things. However, I would say that the festival itself is somewhat lack luster. This honestly was one of my thumbs down trips in Korea.
Leaving the festival was a real headache. Taxi’s were essentially unwilling to travel to the train village because the traffic around it was simply too busy. This leaves you with the only option of walking a reasonable distance to a main thoroughfare at which point you may hail or kakaotaxi a ride.
Also, the heat was borderline unbearable to pack along the sunblock and water. You will need it.
- Fee: Small admittance fee
- Time – Easy to get to. NOT easy to get away from
- Visual appeal grade: B-
Yeonggwang County Bulgapsan Red Spider Lily Festival – 영광불갑산 상사화 축제
Don’t worry arachnophobes, the red spider lily festival i Yeonggwang County does not involve actual spiders. Instead this festival takes place nestled within a quaint mountain valley alongside a small lake and temple at the foot of the mountain Bulgapsan.
A mere 1 hour and 5,000 bus ride from the bus terminal in gwangju, this festival is well worth your money.
Once you arrive at the Yeonggwang bus terminal, take bus 150 to bulgarian. The fee for this ride is 1500 won. The festival itself is free (a huge plus) and has a wide variety of foods available when you become hungry. If you are up for it, you may also try out hiking the nearby mountain. Also, when you go by the small lake near the temple, check for some koi fish!
Overall I found this flower festival to be the most intriguing, possibly because I had never seen these flower before in person.
- Fee: Free
- Time – Super easy from Gwangju
- Visual appeal grade: A
What are you experiences with flower festivals in Korea?
Ad astra per aspera,