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Enjoy Korea's Winter with Festivals Updated: 2012-01-13 00:00:00 KST

In Korea, winter is the season for festivals filled with memories and fun.

And Gangwon Province kicked off the first weekend of 2012 with the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival.

Until January 29th, the festival offers a unique experience to visitors from all over Korea and the world.

[Interview : ] "I came to catch sancheono !"

For about 10 dollars, anyone can try out sancheoneo, or mount trout, ice fishing.

Visitors try to catch sancheoneo through holes in the 30-cm thick ice in Hwacheon. This is a once-in-a-year opportunity!

Some people actually lie down on the ice.

[Interview : ] "I'm trying to see if there's fish in there."

[Interview : PD] "How many fish will you catch today[Interview : ] "I'm going to catch at least 10."

The fishing begins!

And..the first catch of the day!

[Interview : Choi Yeong-ho, Visitor] "This is my first fish of the day!"

[Interview : Choi Yeong-ho, Visitor] "I'm from Ulsan."

[Interview : PD] "You came all the way here from Ulsan[Interview : Choi Yeong-ho, Visitor] "Yes. My kids are on vacation. I saw the festival featured on TV, and we hopped on the morning train to come enjoy it for ourselves."

We start to see sancheoneo appear here and there on the ice. Sancheoneo, a freshwater fish, can only be caught in wintertime.

[Interview : ] "I caught one!"

Even this young lady caught one!

[Interview : Lee Ji-min, Visitor] "I'm so happy! It's the first time I've ever caught a fish."

Foreign tourists are having a great time as well.

[Interview : Lisa, Tourist
Scotland] "There we go. Number four. This is my first day in fishing, so I've neverit's good fun."

And here we have a master of trout fishing.

[Interview : Tony, Tourist
USA] "I think I have nine."

[Interview : PD] "Nine[Interview : Tony, Tourist
USA] "Yeah."

[Interview : PD] "Whoa!"

But wait! What are they doing in SHORTS[Interview : ] "Very good!"

"I caught one! This is crazy!"

[Interview : Dan, Tourist
U.K.] "It is one of the craziest things I've ever done in my life."

[Interview : Rebecca, Tourist
New Zealand] "The most impressive thing is that it's so cold here, and the amount of people that actually want to go fishing. It's great. It's amazing. And the size of the festival is very impressive. It's awesome."

The festival is complete with rides. Visitors can zip away the sky, looking down at the fun below.

Here, we have a first-timer!

[Interview : PD] "How was it[Interview : ] "It was scary."

[Interview : Shin Gwang-tae, Section chief
Hwacheon County Tourism Division] "The Sancheoneo Festival is very popular, and we received 123,000 people on the first day of the festival. In December, CNN did a piece on the "7 Wonders of Winter," and the Sancheoneo Festival was included in that list. It was great. They talked about the unique experience that is the Sancheoneo Festival. We want to help tourists see that the festival changes every time they come."

Ten minutes away from the festival, there is a fairyland of ice.
It's a special place for the kids.

[Interview : ] "It's so much fun!"

[Interview : Kasha, Tourist
Poland] "Oh, it's beautiful. I love it. It's really, really nice, and it's very well-organized, and there's so many things to do, and I really like ice fishing and preparing your fish. It's really nice. I really enjoyed that."

Meanwhile, Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province is also bustling.

There's a trout festival here as well!

The festival is open until February 10th.

And an unusual activity that can be enjoyed here is rafting on the snow. Visitors can look up at the blue sky from boats lined with leather.

[Interview : Lee Hyeong-woo, Visitor] "I was searching the Internet, and I saw that Pyeongchang had become a popular spot because of the Winter Olympics. I came to the trout festival with my kids during their vacation."

And what would winter in Korea be without ice sledding

But sleds aren't all that are dashing over the ice here! This year's festival saw the debut of ice bicycles that have ice skating blades instead of front wheels!

[Interview : Jeong In-yeong, Visitor] "It's a lot of fun. I don't get to spend a lot of time with my daughter, and it's great to come out here and have fun with her in a natural environment."

But the highlight of a trout festival is, of course, trout fishing. Here and there, golden trout await.

The fishers splash into the water. Cold is no obstacle here!

In the winter, trout become chewier and heartier.

[Interview : ] "I caught a trout!"

The trout are grilled instantly on the spot.

The savory trout is the perfect finish to a fun-filled day in the snow. Of course, everything tastes better when shared with family and friends.

[Interview : ] "It's good!"

The trout can also be enjoyed raw.

[Interview : Lee Dong-min, Visitor] "There's a lot of fun things to do and good fish. I love winter festivals!"

[Interview : Lee Yeong-hui, Visitor] "We came because we heard that it was fun. We got here at about 8:30 a.m., and we've got five fish. I want to keep coming until they tell us to stop. We had such a great time."

Don't miss out these various festival, where winter in Korea can be enjoyed to the fullest!


If you just keep yourself wrapped up indoors you're going to see the winter just fly by and regret not going out there to enjoy it.
I don't know how enjoyable standing in ice cold water can be but everyone seemed to be having such a great time.
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