The country has something different to offer every season, writes Teresa Yong-Leong
KOREA offers a host of fun festivals for every of its four seasons. Visitors should be able to zero in on a particular festival and attend one on a chosen theme.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Seoul Tourism Organization recently held the 2012 Korea Festival & Seoul Tourism Night in Kuala Lumpur to promote their menu of festivals covering entertainment, culture, food and shopping.
In January, the winter festivals of Hwancheon Sancheoneo (Mount Trout) Festival and the Mt Taebksan Snow Festival are for those who love fun in the snow.
For nature lovers, go in spring to witness the Hamyeong Butterfly Festival where 50,000 colourful butterflies are released, creating a spectacular display of colours.
There is also the Damyang Bamboo Festival where tourists will get the chance to sample Korean cuisine served in bamboo containers. They will also get to see the unique bamboo beer-making process.
Come summer, there will be barrels of muddy fun at the Boryeong Mud Festival where there will be loads of activities involving mud. How about a mud massage for a new body glow? Check out the mud marathon and mud painting as well.
In September, it’s time to indulge in ginseng at the Geumsan Insam (Ginseng) Festival in Geumsan, home of Goryeo Ginseng and where 70 per cent of Korea’s ginseng supply is produced. This autumn health festival will showcase all manners of the power root and a good time to try sam gye tang, the famous Korean chicken-ginseng soup.
Mushroom aficionados should not miss the Yangyang Songi Mushroom Festival highlighting pine mushrooms. These “diamonds of the forest”, or golden mushrooms, grow under old pine trees that are off limits to the public. However, during the festival, visitors may tour the natural habitat of these luxurious and precious mushrooms, pick them and sample dishes made with them.
In October, there is the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, Jinju Namgang Yudeung (Lantern) Festival and Busan International Fireworks Festival.
The lantern festival will be a colour of light festival with floating lanterns on the ground and flying lanterns in the sky. Japan and China will also take part in this festival.
Another event is the fireworks festival which will showcase some state-of-the-art pyrotechnic displays set to dazzle and entertain visitors.