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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

October Festivals

Fall is arguably the best season in Korea – clear blue skies (when there are no typhoons in the neighbourhood), warm sunny days, cool crisp nights – it’s a great time to head out and explore the country-side as the rice paddies turn to gold, and the trees display their garish autumn colours.

Here are some of the Festivals on the horizon. Please check out the Tourism Korea site for the full listing.

Andong Maskdance Festival  27-09 – 10-06Another of Korea’s most interesting festivals, the Andong Maskdance Festival celebrates traditional Korean shamanistic culture, including the byeolsingut talnori dance, which is an Important Intangible Cultural Asset of Korea. Andong is famous for both it’s authentic soju (not the cheap stuff you’re likely familiar with from the local sam-gyup-sal restaurant – this is the real rice alcohol) and for it’s jjim dalk, a tasty chicken stew simmered in a soy-based sauce. Nearby is Hahoe village, which is a working farming community based in traditional Han-ok houses from the Joseon period. Check out our former Editor in Chief Marty’s article on it here. For more info on the Maskdance Festival, check out their official site, which they do offer in English.


Jinju Lantern Festival – 01-10 – 13-10

This festival celebrates and memorializes 2 famous, decisive battles during the Imjin War of the 1590’s. The Korean troops defending the Jinju fortress (and thereby a strategic entrance to Korea) were horribly outnumbered by the Japanese, yet managed to hold the fort for many days, partly by floating lanterns in the river at night, keeping the Japanese from crossing under the cover of darkness. The lanterns used now are fantastic displays of craftsmanship, depicting famous characters from Korean legend and modern tales, as well as scenes of life in traditional Korea. I highly recommend this festival. The official site has English, but may take a few moments to load.


Ulsan World Music Festival  – 03 to 06-10

Starting at 4pm on Thursday, October 3rd, the International Music Festival will be held at the Ulsan Cultural Center in Namgu (beside KBS Hall – it’s pinned on the Interactive Map under Culture). This is hands down the best festival in Ulsan, and one of the better ones in Korea for live music. It runs until Sunday, October 6th at 8:40pm, and is free. Concert venues are set up all around the Cultural Center park, along with booths from different community organizations. There are also a number of food tents featuring food from different countries.  Stop by the UlsanOnline and T-Hope tent for beer and chili dogs, in support of the T-Hope Christmas party for the Ulsan Orphanage. The official site has the schedule of performances, and a biography for each of the artists performing. 

Korea Wine Festival – 03-10 – 07-10

Held in Yeongdong county in Chungcheongbuk-do (up near Seoul), this festival celebrates wine from around the world as well as that produced in this grape-growing region. Check out samples, make products with wine, watch performances – if you like fermented grape beverages, this is the festival for you! Their official site is in Korean only.

International Food and Wine Festival – 03-10 – 06-10

Daejeon puts on their own celebration of wine in this festival held at the Daegu Convention Center and KOTRA Exhibition Center.  Meant to introduce foreign wines to Korea, as well as Korean wines to the world, there should be a large range of wines available for samples and purchase, along with the other festival attractions and events. Their official site has an English version.

Gangneung Coffee Festival – October

Home to 200 coffee shops (30 of which roast their own beans) and 7 coffee academies, this highly caffeinated city hosts a festival dedicated to the coffee arts. If this is your drink of choice, head up to Gangwondo and check it out. Gangneung is a small coastal town just south of Seoraksan. Their official site is only in Korean.