Jinju Lantern Festival ( 진주 남강유등축제 )

The Jinju Lattern Festival was a pleasant surprise as I hadn’t really researched much about it before going. I had the chance to go so obviously I took it and had a really enjoyable time here. Jinju isn’t exactly conveniently located for people living in or travelling to Korea’s top 2 cities of Seoul and Busan. By bus, it is about 1.5 hours from Busan and 4 hours from Seoul (more info here).

For those travelling from Seoul or other cities which require a decent bus trip to get here, you might want to stay the night and take the bus or train the next day. If you do take this option, below are some conveniently located places you may want to stay:

The Festival is located in Jinju Park and also covers the other side of the river as well (floating platforms make it easy to cross the river at multiple points as you will see further down in my post).

Basically once you are close enough to the festival it is impossible to miss and the amount of lanterns/lights on display is enough to catch your attention. Below are some of the snaps I took there so I hope you enjoy 🙂

 

Jinju Festival Map
Here is a map of the festival. It is probably best to view the lanterns on a circular route as such.

 

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Korean flag at the entrance.

 

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We entered from the North-West Entrance where the Chinese lanterns are located.

 

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Crocodile trying to eat someone.

 

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This festival is great for kids as there are slides and climbing equipment for them to play on.

 

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Obviously going at night is the ideal time.

 

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Some kind of lantern picture.

 

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If you’re feeling hungry you can get dinner under one of these Korean style pagoda/house.

 

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When you walk along the opposite side of the park you get a great view of all the lights at the top of the hill.

 

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Some more lantern pictures as such.

 

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This festival has lanterns of all different nationalities.

 

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Crossing the floating platforms (good chance to take some close-up pics).

 

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On the opposite side of the park there are food stalls lined up here. Plenty of food on offer.

 

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One of the many platforms used to cross the river.

 

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Some kind of bugs.

 

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This area is located on the opposite side of the river.

 

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more lanterns.

 

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Not sure what this is exactly tbh haha

 

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I was really impressed just how many lanterns were at this festival.

 

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The weather was perfect on this night (luckily for me).

 

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There is a mix of international food (hotdogs, kebabs + others) here, so have a look at all the stalls before deciding what to eat.

 

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You can see the Cheomseongdae Observatory (경주 첨성대) lantern.

 

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The reflection of colour in the water really makes the river light up.

 

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The normal Korean festival food is available, one being those spiral potato snacks.

 

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This was my SO’s attempt at taking a photo with the focus on the food and a blurring background. haha doesn’t really look that appealing tbh.

 

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Some more food stalls.

 

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Ddeokbokki (떡볶이)

 

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There were lots of people at this festival but it never felt cramped or uncomfortable.

 

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They even have an interpretation center for foreigners which is great for those wanting some helping getting around or even home.

 

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Some photo opportunities for couples.

 

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As you can see a steady flow of people but nothing too crazy.

 

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Took me a while to realise that the green pyramid is the background isn’t part of the castle haha

 

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Some cavalry.

 

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When you arrive you will notice the festival is spread out quite a bit so it will take a while to walk around the entire festival (maybe an hour or two depending how fast you walk).

 

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These look like some kind of weird spirits.

 

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While walking on the platforms just stand off to the left to take some pictures.

 

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Some more cavalry.

 

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As I mentioned early, walking on the platforms is the best chance to take a close-up picture of the floating lanterns in the river.

 

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Some reinforcements haha

 

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As you make your way up towards the park, you will get some great views over the lanterns on the river.

 

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Lots of different colours which was nice.

 

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A guard.

 

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Once you get inside the fortress as such, plenty of great views to be had along the wall.

 

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Some kind of dancing.

 

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People playing games and throwing stuff hahha

 

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Spin tops.

 

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Some kind of game like hacky sack.

 

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Inside the fortress walls.

 

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The festival this year (2016) runs from the 1st of October through to the 16th of October.

 

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This art is part of the lantern competition.

 

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Not sure what this is suppose to be tbh.

 

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Again, quite a few people but never too much.

 

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Frogs on a banana….. kinda random but it was entered into the lantern competition.

 

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This particular area was really nice as there was HEAPS of army/cavalry lantern statues which when reflecting onto the grass made it look really good.

 

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I’m about to get shot at.

 

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Even guys with swords.

 

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Some heavy fighting going on here.

 

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In the middle of this area is an old well.

 

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There is a gate at most exits within this area.

 

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This is also a great opportunity to take some photos with the soldiers.

 

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More gates.

 

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I would think kids would absolutely love it here.

 

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There are definitely some odd lanterns (looking at the heads off to the left of this photo).

 

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Some bulls ready to go at it.

 

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A goose in a tree.

 

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This area (at the top of the hill) was great as it wasn’t really busy at all which meant I could get some snaps of just the lanterns with the pagoda style building in the background..

 

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It isn’t Christmas just yet but why not throw a few snowmen lanterns into the festival (there are some frozen ones as well – olaf).

 

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Even the signs are lanterns.

 

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And another one.

 

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Obviously a lot of effort went in to making this festival so it was great to take our time and really enjoy the night.

 

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I quite enjoyed the lantern soldiers guarding the wall so tried to snap them as often as I could.

 

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He looks to have had a hard day at work.

 

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Lots of different colours.

 

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Not sure why he has the watermelon on his head.

 

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Some kind of dancing/fighting.

 

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More lantern soldiers guarding the wall.

 

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I thought I would help out.

 

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The area at the very top was really quiet (not sure if people didn’t want to venture this far but it was really worth it).

 

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Frog.

 

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There are some benches here and there so if you feel like taking a rest it provides a great view.

 

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Glowing bulbs everywhere.

 

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The trees also seems to light up with the reflecting light from the lanterns which provides a great atmosphere.

 

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A lone soldier watching over the festival.

 

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This way is back to the start.

 

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Some colourful birds of display.

 

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These are the floating platforms which allow you to easily walk around the festival.

 

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Lion and mice…

 

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The old donkey.

 

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More snaps from the platform.

 

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A dog and a cart.

 

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Some benches if you need a rest.

 

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Back at the start (the Chinese lanterns).

 

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Chinese styled lanterns.

 

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Some kind of slug.

 

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A pretty happy shark.

 

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One last snap of the festival before I head back.

 

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As always, street food/snacks are available (this one was outside the main gate).

 

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I got some Guk Hwa Bbang (국화빵). Basically a sweet pastry with red bean paste inside.

 

Overall it was a great night spent at the Jinju Lattern Festival. It is easily one of my favourite festivals in Korea (along with the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival). Should you have any questions please leave a comment 🙂

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