[WOW Korea] Day 2 – Gimje Horizon Festival, where history, culture and fun meets

After a good night’s sleep at the Gochang Hanok Village (refer here for more information), we headed out for breakfast!

[Food] Breakfast: Pungjeon

You might have heard of hangover soup (해장국) in Korea, which works wonders for hangovers, but is also a good meal otherwise too! There are too many types of hangover soups to list, and we tried the bean sprouts hangover soup for breakfast! I’m a huge fan of beansprouts, so I really loved this version of hangover soup. Moreover, the soup is not too spicy but not bland, giving a soothing but filling meal for breakfast!

A hearty breakfast to begin the day!

A hearty breakfast to begin the day!

The egg is placed below the steamed rice, and by taking a few spoons of the soup and mixing it with the now half-cooked egg you get a delicious treat! I’m still really amazed at how that worked out 😀

More information on the restaurant: http://map.naver.com/local/siteview.nhn?code=31378935

[Attraction] Seonunsan Provincial Park and Seonunsa Temple

After a hearty breakfast, we took a nice morning walk at Seonunsan Park to the Seonunsa temple. The name of the temple means to meditate among the clouds (禅云寺) and it’s 1000-year old! With the beautiful mountains in the background, it certainly feels like a peaceful place for meditation ^^

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Seonunsan, doesn’t the peace and tranquility really makes it feel like you can practise Zen meditation here ^^

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A nice morning stroll in Mt. Seonunsan Provincial Park

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Seonunsa temple, located a short walk away from the entrance of Seounsan park

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Beautiful lanterns at Seonunsa

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It is said that if you can stack a stone at the top of the pile, your wish will come true!

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Such tranquility and beauty!

More information on Seonunsan Provincial Park and Seonunsa: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=658504

[Food] Lunch: Okgeumjung

After the relaxing stroll we headed for a traditional Korean set meal (한정식)! The highlight of the meal is it’s many dishes and it brings together much goodness of Korean cuisine such as bulgogi, raw beef slices (육회), pork ribs steamed with rice cakes (떡갈비)!

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Even the building itself is a mixture of modern and traditional.

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한정식 meal! Many side dishes are the highlight of this meal! My personal favorite has got to be potato pancake (감자전) ^^

Bulgogi, raw beef slices, and ddeok galbi!

Bulgogi, raw beef slices, and ddeok galbi! It’s my first time trying 육회 and it was good 😀

More information about the restaurant: http://map.naver.com/local/siteview.nhn?code=20650268

[Transport] Getting to Gimje

From Express Bus Terminal station (Line 3 and 7), go to the Honam Line (Exit 8 of the subway, to the Central City Terminal) and take a bus for Gimje. It costs W13,400 and takes about 2 hours 45 minutes to get there. Bus timetable is as below:

Weekday : 06:40 10:35 14:35 18:40

Friday~Sunday, Public Holidays: 06:40 10:35 11:50 14:35 18:40

[Attraction] Gimje Horizon Festival

We spent the rest of the day today at the Gimje Horizon Festival which celebrates the rice cultivation culture of Korea and to pray for a good harvest. There are many activities available, and we tried out straw handicraft making our own fragrance bags (coffee smell yay!) and Hanbok too ^^ There is even a Korean Confucian academy experience and you see all the small children paying attention to the teacher! The symbols of the festival are the two dragons, blue and white, that act as the guardians of the byeokgolje reservoir built for irrigation. The night ends with a torch relay parade with the dragons in the back drop ^^

I’ve been to a few “traditional” Korean festivals, and this really is one of the most interesting ones with the many activities, and one where the legend and history features the most strongly. Next time there’s a long weekend in October, why not consider coming to Gimje?

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Symbol of the festival – the two dragons

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And they really have two moving dragons!!

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Straw weaving experience!

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It looks really beautiful but it is really not easy to make T____T Thanks to the teachers we were able to make our own straw handicraft to bring home ^^

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Hanbok experience!

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There’s also activity where the child puts on the costume of young students and the teacher holds a lesson that would have been held in Confucian academies in the past.

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There’s even traditional wedding experience!

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Torch parade is one of the highlights of the festival, where the flame is passed down and participants go around the byeokgolje with their torches.

More information about the festival: http://festival.gimje.go.kr/english/

[Food] Dinner: Daose Crotch steamed dish

Have you heard of Crotch steamed dish (아구찜)? I’ve seen it a lot around but I never got down to knowing what it is except that it’s fish (and I personally don’t really like fish). Although the fish looks huge and the sauce is really spicy, it turns out to be really really delicious! The fish is really soft and there’s no fishy smell, and I just couldn’t help having more of that. To top it off, you can order fried rice at the end 😀

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Crotch Steamed dish (아구찜). Don’t be scared off by how big it is – the fish is really soft and delicious!

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Fried rice! It’s really the highlight of the meal for most pan-fried dishes 😀

More information on the restaurant: http://map.naver.com/local/siteview.nhn?code=16669264

It was a tiring day for us as we went around the festival in the heat, but nevertheless the festival was really worth a go. Next up will be our day 3 in Jeonju!

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