Autumn in Korea is without doubt the best season to visit the country. It’s a magic time to enjoy the splendour of the autumn colours in Korea’s many national parks as well as join in some of the most exciting and fun festivals of the year. The autumn colours begin to appear in early October and can be enjoyed in various parts of the country till mid November. The peak time is mid-late October when the mountain ranges and valleys are a masterpiece of burnt orange, crimson reds and golden colours.
One of the best places to visit for the spectacular Autumn scenes are Naejangsan National Park in the south west of the country known for its famous tunnel of maple leaves. Stay in Jeonju city nearby and you can sleep in a 400 year old traditional village. Jeonju is the home of Korean bibimbap (mixed rice, meat and vegetable dish) and from 23-26 October this year Jeonju hosts the Bibimbap Festival. Visitors can join in the fun of cooking competitions as well as street parades, cultural performances and enjoy the best bibimbap in the country. See http://www.bibimbapfest.com/
Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival runs from 1-11 October, 2015 and is world famous for its spectacular night lantern parade on the Namgang River. Visitors can participate by writing their wishes on lanterns and floating them down the river. See http://www.yudeung.com/en
No visit to Korea is complete without visiting the cultural heart of Korea. The Gyeongju Historic area is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and boasts the most impressive Buddhist temple in the country – Bulguksa Temple and the Seokguram Grotto Buddha is even more spectacular under Autumn leaves and bright blue skies.
Gyeongju hosts the Silla Sori Festival from 8-11 October, 2015 which celebrates the civilisation of the Silla dynasty. Night time re-enactments take you back to the time of Silla. The festival also celebrates the Emille Bell, the divine bell of King Seongdeok the Great cast in 771AD during the Silla dynasty. See http://www.emille.kr/ (Korean only)
Icheon Rice Cultural Festival will run from 22-26 October, 2015 during the rice harvesting season. Icheon just outside of Seoul is known for the best rice in the country. Visitors can join in pounding the rice, making traditional rice cakes and enjoy traditional folk music and dance. See http://www.ricefestival.or.kr/
Seoul is Korea’s capital city today, but its history began 2,000 years ago at Hanseong Baekje with the Baekje kingdom winning the Hangang River area and beginning its 500 year golden age. The Hanseong Baekje Cultural festival will be held from 8-11 October, 2015 and celebrates with a street parade of performers in colourful traditional costumes playing traditional music instruments from a past era. The festival is held at Peace Square, Olympic Park in the southern area of Seoul. See http://hanseong.songpa.go.kr/
It might be a little early for the Autumn colour but the Andong Intl. Mask Dance Festival is one of Korea’s signature festival events. Held from 25 September to 4 October, 2015 in the Andong Hahoe Village known as the village of yangban (the noble aristocrats of the Joseon Dynasty).
This historic village is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as a living museum showcasing Korea’s cultural heritage. You can enjoy the famous Korean Mask Dance as well as the mask culture from around twenty foreign countries. Visitors can enjoy hands on experiences like making your own character mask from the traditional mulberry paper as well as learning mask dance. See http://www.maskdance.com/eng/main.asp
To plan your autumn journey in Korea email Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office for a free colour guidebook and a 2015 Korean Festivals guide [email protected] or visit the website for Korea Tourism Organization Sydney to order online. www.visitkorea.org.au