Travel Review & Tips: Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival 2016
To briefly explain, this festival is well known as one of the 7 Winter Wonders of the World (according CNN). This year, it says that the festival will run until Jan 31st, so I hope you guys spare one day and visit this place during your trip in South Korea. :)
7:40am – Meet up at Gwanghwamun station Exit 6
8:00am – Depart for Hwacheon
11:00am – Arrive at the festival
~13:00pm – Ice fishing
13:00pm – Lunch (at a Korean local restaurant at the venue)
14:00pm ~ 15:40pm – Free Time
16:00pm – Depart for Seoul
19:00pm – Arrive in Gwanghwamun, Seoul
According to the itinerary, I had to wake up really early to get prepared for the journey, but I had almost 3 hours on the bus to take a sleep, so it was fine. Plus, you don’t need to worry about going to toilet because after an hour and half, the bus will stop at the expressway rest area. ;)
At 7:40 am, I arrived at Gwanghwamun Station Exit 6 and the guide was already waiting for all the passengers.She kindly checked my name, and when everyone has arrived, she led us to the shuttle bus. Here’s how the station and the exit looks like!
And this is how the bus looks like! The bus was clean and cozy, so I was able to enjoy the ride very pleasantly. :)
On the way, there was another tour guide who gave us brief explanation about the festival and the schedule of the trip, as well as her contact number (for emergency). The package does not include fee for the fishing rod (only 5,000 won per person) and so, she collected the money in advance. So, don’t forget to bring some cash!After 3 hour ride, I finally arrived at the festival, and it was already packed with people enjoying ice fishing (Wow)! There’s an ice fishing area for foreigners only, which was less crowded. So, I guess I had less competition haha.
Anyways, the ice fishing area permits certain number of participants at a time, so we had to wait for 20~30 min. While waiting for the entrance, the guide took us to snow sledding (or tubing I guess) zone and we spent our time there.Sit on this red tube, and just sled down the hill!! YEAHH!!After enjoying the tube ride for minutes, the guide took us back to this spot (this was a meeting point) right in front of the fishing area.
The staff handed out this sticker ticket and they will help you how to put it on your clothing, so no need to worry. :)Here, I received my fishing rod and a special gift as well. A necklace with a fish pendant!You will also receive this cute plastic bag where you put the fish (hope you catch one because it’s not as easy as it looks!).
Once you enter the fishing zone, there are numbers of fishing holes, so just choose any! If you need any help, you can ask one of the English speaking staffs nearby. They are wearing the orange uniform (see the guy wearing it on the right?), so you will be able to spot them easily. ;)
Tip on How to Fish:
2. Put the float inside the water and unwind the fishing lines until it reaches the bottom. When you think the float is at the bottom, rewind the rod three or four times, and it’s done!3. Keep pulling the rod consistently up and down (snap your wrist strongly and make a float make big movements).
4. When you feel the rod is heavy, wait for like 3 sec and quickly pull the rod and the fishing line!
Trust me. If you follow these steps well, you’ll be able to catch them! And look what I’ve caught (so proud)!!!OMG… This was like the biggest fish of all, compared to what other fishers caught around me! I was sooo excited that I was actually screaming! :D The staff came and helped me take out the float (it’s sharp, so don’t try to take it out with your hands!)
After two hours of enjoying ice fishing, it was time for lunch! YES!! Guess what the menu was. Yes. The grilled fish that we’ve caught! There’s a particular booth with tables for the meal. After submitting the plastic bag of fish, the staff distributed the grilled fish and chopsticks. Don’t worry if you’re not fond of the meal, you will also receive tasty ‘Kimchijeon (a Korean style pancake)’.
Oh, and don’t forget to wear thick clothes. It’s 100% satisfaction guaranteed! On the day I visited, it snowed A LOT (like I couldn’t even open my eyes properly).
After lunch, free time was provided. So, maybe you can try other programs like ice hockey and sleighing or just take a walk around.
Overall, this tour package was decent. To be honest, I would give 4.0 out of 5.0! :) I saw lots of family, friends and couples and even solo travelers enjoying this festival. So, I guess both kids and adults can spend a fabulous time all together. Also, the activities and programs themselves were very enjoyable. I took away points because it was too cold and there were too many people that I almost got lost (so always be aware of where the guide and your group is). To sum up, I would say that this is a festival worth visiting once in your lifetime, especially if you’ve never experienced ice fishing, you definitely should! For details of the tour package, click here.
If you’re interested to sign up for a shuttle bus to Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, it’s available here. Plus, for those of you who haven’t read my first travel review for Nami Island, Gangchon Rail Bike and the Garden of Morning Calm previously, you can read it here. ;)