Winter in Korea means thick sheets of ice forming on its amazing lakes and rivers. This is the beginning of a great season in the country, that’s why it’s easy to see why so many people dream of going to this side of the world. Some of the main programs during this winter festival include trout ice fishing, ice football/soccer, and ice sledding. Allow us to give you an idea of how remarkable this time of the year truly is.
One of the most famous ones is the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival—a winter festival in South Korea attended by millions each year. During winter, people come here to do some fun ice fishing. Holes are drilled through the clean, thick ice sheets in a special area. Here you can have the best time fishing for them while you stay in a winter-wonderland backdrop. This may be relatively new (it’s only been running for less than a decade), but it has so much unique activities to offer that it has since drawn millions of visitors each year.
source: by Lizzy Pollock from picasaweb.google.com
Sancheoneo is a kind of mountain trout that only lives in the cleanest, purest, coldest waters, and this is one of the main highlights of the ice festival. It’s referred to as the “Queen of the Valleys,” this alone will give you an idea of how clean the water here is.
Another way to fish here is by using the most simple tools ever: Your hands. Referred to as “Barehanded Fishing,” this is where you could get ready on the water’s edge, dive in, and catch the sancheoneo with your hands. Since you’ll be immersed in freezing temperatures, you may not be able to stay underwater for very long, but the experience of jumping (and probably catching a fish) alone will already be a memorable experience.
Another activity in store here is ice sledding, an attraction that lots of winter places have in store for visitors. Here, you’ll be able to ride the traditional Korean sled made of wood and slide your way through the ice. You can also ride the bobsleigh, which is basically sitting and sliding on a rubber tube. This is a great and safe activity that you can do with your kids, and perhaps the only major problem you’ll encounter here is convincing them to stop. Some of the other activities you can do here are ice football, ice skating, ice hockey (Nongmokjangchigi), and snow trains.
And of course, there’s the food. Korea is known for its scrumptious and healthy dishes (their kimchi is considered as one of the healthiest food items in the planet), and this festival will offer you lots of them. The weather might be too cold, but that shouldn’t stop anyone to do some barbecuing. There is nothing better than enjoying your fresh catch—the sancheoneo mountain trout is a delicious treat that is unique to the country. If you want to try other dishes, there are lots of different restaurants here that will do the work for you, and you will surely be spoiled with lots of amazing and unique Korean delicacies.
Another Korean ice festival that you must not miss is the Taebaek Snow Festival, which is a celebration of art and nature at the Mt. Taebaek in Gangwon. This is the festival where you’ll see amazing ice sculptures, games, and amazing performances. This also happens in January, and lasts for more than a week.
You can also go to the Inje Icefish Festival, which happens around early February. Held at the magnificent ice field of the Soyangho Lake at the at Nam-myeon, Inje, Gangwon-do is where you can also do most of the activities offered at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival.
Being in these winter festivals in Korea will certainly be a memorable experience. Whether you’re here with big groups or not, you will surely find this place and its activities extraordinary—something that could only be experienced in this beautiful country.