Indeed, frequent visitors to Korea are probably aware that summer time = festival time! All around Korea, many regions would host various types of summer festivals, such as the university festivals in Seoul, the spectacular flower festivals and the refreshing water festivals in coastal towns.
Today, allow me to present two popular summer festival events in Korea: Buyeo Lotus Festival and Boryeong Mud Festival. Both cities are less than three hours of traveling distance from Seoul hence I would highly recommend visitors to take a day trip down for a visit.
Welcome to Buyeo Lotus Festival where one can enjoy the beautiful scenery of vast lotus ponds. Speaking about all the Instagrammable moments of one in a flower field?
That is probably behind time. After all, flower fields can be found in most places of the world. Instead, hop onto the new trend with photo moments around numerous lotus flowers blossoming from the depth of the ponds. Admission is free.
The festival is held annually in mid July in the city of Buyeo and attracts thousands of visitors annually. Although the actual festival often lasts within two weeks, visitors can stroll through the public park anytime during the lotus season. This also implies that one can enjoy the lotus flowers anytime from late spring to summer.
During the festival, one can learn about the history about the Buyeo lotus ponds. It all began with King Mu, the 30th King of the Baekje dynasty, who appreciated lotus flower and dug these ponds during his reign in AD634. One can also visit booths which host cultural activities and sell local products.
In the past, King Mu used to enjoy a boat trip around his lotus ponds with the Queen. To replicate this moment, the festival also provides a short kayaking experience around a shallow lotus pond for ₩5000 per pax.
Take a relaxing stroll around the park and one will arrive at Gungnamji 궁남지 which is transformed to a floating pavilion enveloped by a huge lotus flower.
Head towards another area of the park and one would be surprised by a hidden sunflower field too!
After the festival, one can then enjoy a city tour around Buyeo on the city tour bus. Less known to foreign visitors, Buyeo used to be the capital of the Baekje Dynasty. The city contains four UNESCO-listed heritage sites of the Baekje Historis Areas, including the above Jeongnimsa Temple Site. Hop onto the city tour bus and one can visit all the four historic areas conveniently.
How to get here from Seoul:
Take a intercity bus from Seoul Nambu Terminal and arrive at Buyeo Bus Terminal. The bus journey would take between one and a half hour to two hours. From there, take a 20 minutes walk to SeoDong Park or grab a taxi over in less than ten minutes.
Visitors with private transport are advised to check for free public parking areas around the park. Free shuttle buses are also available to fetch passengers to and fro these parking areas.
For visitors who wish to take the intercity bus from Nambu Terminal, be ready to head early to purchase your ticket on the spot. The return ticket can be purchased directly at Buyeo Bus Terminal instead. I would advise one to secure one’s return seat immediately upon arrival in Buyeo.
Next up, the famous Boryeong Mud Festival which attracts not just locals, but also foreign visitors for a stay to experience the refreshing mud baths, games and even wrestling matches in mud pools!
Recall those wrestling games played in Running Man? Yes, have a go yourself to experience a muddy splash in Boryeong!
Indeed, hot summer is all about refreshing dips, water fights, and suntanning by the beach. However, in Boryeong, it is all about their nutrient-rich mud. For an all-day admission of ₩12,000 (Mon-Thurs)/₩14,000 (Fri-Sun), one can splash around in all the mud games organised in the venue.
Located by the beach, the Mud Festival also welcomes beach lovers to Daecheon Beach. Take some time away from one’s hectic schedules and laze by the beach for the entire day. What is a summer vacation without getting a good suntan?
And for those who do not want to miss out on other activities, plan well for your visit to conincide with the music performances in the evening. This year, the Mud Music Performances invited guests like BewhY and Jessi.
Boryeong is famous for its mud that in fact, it produces its own mud-related skincare products, from mud masks to mud scrubs and even hair-related products. During the festival, booths are set-up around the venue to offer tax-free shopping at discounted prices too. Isn’t summer fabulous?
How to get here from Seoul:
Take an express bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal to Boryeong 보령. The journey takes approximately two hours to two and a half hours. From Boryeong Bus Terminal, take bus 100 bound for Daecheon Beach. This bus journey is approximately 30 minutes to 45 minutes. The bus stop is located right inside the bus terminal parking lot.
Take the KTX, Mugonghwa or SRT trains headed towards Daecheon Station. Duration of train journey varies. From there, take bus 100 bound for Daecheon Beach.
Planning a visit to Korea the next summer?
Why not consider taking a day trip out of Seoul to experience the summer joy Buyeo and Boryeong have to offer. Seize the sunny moments to enjoy summer time at Korea’s festivals too!