2019.1.9 Travel Calendar
Hwacheon Stream, Hwacheon County, Gangwon
Jan. 5-27: The 16th edition of the ice fishing festival kicked off on a frozen river in the remote mountainous county of Hwacheon, about 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) northeast of Seoul, for a 23-day run. On the opening day, 140,000 people flocked to the festival, with the number of visitors reaching 120,000 on Sunday, according to a preliminary tally by the county office. The number of foreign tourists was estimated at 14,000 over the first weekend. Despite the cold winds that sent the mercury to minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) , cars were bumper-to-bumper on roads leading to Hwacheon County.
Clad in thick winter clothes, families and foreign tourists flocked to Hwacheon Stream to ice fish for sancheoneo - a species of trout known to live only in very clean fresh water. They were keen to fish for trout as long as one’s forearm through the 21,000 holes made along a 2.1-kilometer section of the frozen stream. The festival also features various outdoor activities, including bare-hand fishing, ice sculptures as well as an area to walk around lit-up lanterns. The festive mood continued into the night with 27,000 lanterns lighting up Seondeung Street in the rural county.
The festival drew attention from domestic and foreign media, with 25 major overseas news agencies and broadcasters covering the event.
In order to coax more tourists to stay overnight, organizers have offered more diverse night programs, including night fishing.
For more information, visit www.narafestival.com or call 1688-3005.
Dubai, the United Arab Emirates
Through Feb. 2: Visit Dubai is now hosting its 24th mega sale festival. About 700 brands are participating in the shopping event in order to offer visitors to Dubai a chance to bring something back to their home countries.
Special discount events will be held, such as the “12 Hour Sale” and the “Weekend Surprise.” Some of the major shopping malls in Dubai will offer a chance to buy select items at a 90 percent discount for only 12 hours.
The Mall of Emirates, City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Me’aisem, My City Centre Al Barsha and City Centre Al Shindagha are just some of the shopping centers offering the sales, which run from noon to midnight.
Some brands offer further discounts from Thursdays to Saturdays. There will also be opportunities for visitors to take styling classes and take home a gift bag beginning on Jan. 9.
While some choice items may already have been taken, the festival will offer the greatest discounts right before the shopping festival ends, starting Jan. 31.
For visitors in search of unique items while doing their discount shopping, the festival is also hosting “Market Outside the Box,” a pop-up market at Burj Park right in front of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 2. Many local and international designers open pop-up stores there. Live bands and D.J. performances, and some other activities for children, will also be available alongside food offerings.
For more information, go to https://www.visitdubai.com/en/dsf.
Mount Taebaek Snow Festival
Mount Taebaek Provincial Park, Hwangji Lake and Taebaek, Gangwon
Through: Feb. 3: Various events will be held in the highlands of Taebaek Mountain during this 17-day festival. The program includes a snow sculpture competition for college students, snowball fights, snow rafting, concerts and a fireworks show.
For more information, contact the Taebaek City tourism and cultural division at 033-550-2828 or visit http://festival.taebaek.go.kr.
Through Feb. 24: Cheongpyeong is a town about one hour east of Seoul in Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi.
It is a popular destination for Koreans as it is situated on the bank of a beautiful lake with dramatic mountains surrounding it, populated by resorts focusing mostly on water sports. Visitors can enjoy trout fishing and various winter sports, like snowmobile riding. For more information, call 031-585-9449 or visit http://www.cpfestival.net.
Lotte Water Park
Gimhae, South Gyeongsang
Through Feb. 24: Lotte Water Park is not just a place for the summertime fun - this winter, the water park has been transformed into a place for winter activities. The park’s wave pool, the largest of its kind in Korea, is now a 100-meter (328-foot) long sledding slope.
Two sledding zones are featured at the park: one for speed and thrills and another flatter sledding area for young children to sled on and to play in the snow.
Besides sledding, there are sections where one can try ice fishing, and a section where young children can drive their own “racing cars.” To warm up after spending time in the snow, there are saunas and steam rooms on site.
Outdoor sledding is available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the operating hours may be changed due to the weather conditions. Make sure to check the hours on the day of the visit before heading out to the water park by calling 1661-2000.
Petite France, Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi
Through Feb. 28: The fifth Starlight Festival, which takes its theme from the French children’s book “The Little Prince,” opens its doors to guests looking to enjoy a foreign-looking land not far from home.
The theme park, which was built to resemble Montpellier, a city in southern France, is covered with lights shaped like stars. The village at night truly sparkles. There is a tunnel of lights made to look like the planet the Little Prince lives on in the novel - a perfect spot to take photos. To keep visitors of all ages entertained, the themed park offers virtual reality (VR) programs to transport people to France, as well as puppet shows for young children.
For more information, go to www.pfcamp.com or call (031) 584-8200.
By Lee Sun-min, Yonhap