Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weekly Photo : Navigating the Seoul International Fireworks Festival

A crowd waiting for a special fireworks show.
There's no way to estimate how many people were there. All I can say is that there were sights like this for kilometers.



Tour Guide

It's next to the 64 building by the Han River in Yeouido, Seoul. Any taxi drivers in Seoul can get you there in about 5 minutes or you can walk a couple of kilometers southwest from Yongsan train station. You can't miss the 64 building. It's the tallest building in the country.

This event is called Seoul International Fireworks Festival (서울세계불꽃축제), and it is known to be held Yeouido Hangang Park every early September. The photo was taken on September 09, 2010.

This year's event will take place on Saturday October 4, 2014 from 1pm to 9pm. Make sure to plan a head and get there early!

There were five teams working together to create one large fireworks show lasting about three hours. Some of the teams were from other countries, such as Canada and China. A Korean team created a finale that was particularly memorable.

Caution : I'd say there were easily a few million people there for the festival, beside the local population. Also, Yeouido is an island in Seoul resembling Manhattan, so finding a good spot to see through that crowd is a daunting but not insurmountable problem. Everyone getting out of there at the same time through bridges or subways creates a massive traffic jam. It's easy to get stuck in that area for an hour or two after the event.

Tip : Knowing how to swim through the crowd comes in handy. The most crowded area next to the 64 building really is the best place to watch the show and get the full experience. Otherwise, the music may sound unsynchronized or the Han River bridges might block your view. Getting there super early is a definite plus.

After the show, exiting via the bridges is probably not a good idea. The subway is better than most options and if the subway is your choice of escape, the furthest entrance from the festival has the shortest lines. Just make sure to walk in the opposite direction from the destination you want to go for metro lines. For example, if Yongsan Station is the destination, enter a subway further south on the island, away from the Yongsan Train Station. Trains get filled very quickly for the first pickups on that island and won't leave much space for any passengers from later stations.

Or be patient for a couple of hours and wait it out. Hopefully everyone leaves before the trains stop running.

A helicopter would work best. 


Young-Gun Park

Young-Gun Park has been studying various forms of visual arts for more than a decade and has been involved in various community arts projects. He has been a writer and photographer for GPTWT for more than a year. His future portfolio projects include work in cinematography and graphic novels. Read more.
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