Going to a lantern festival in Asia has been at the top of our bucket list for quite some time. If you’ve ever lusted after these festivals, you’ll know that there is no better place in the world to see the night sky shine bright with lanterns. And they are so intricate too! As soon as we heard about the Jinju Lantern Festival we just had to check it out.
We had such high expectations for this festival, having heard great things from friends, co-workers and Google, and boy did it not disappoint! In fact, we’d go as far as saying that this is probably one of the best lantern festivals in the world.
We only had enough time to spend one day/night at the festival but immediately regretted our decision not to spend a full weekend in Jinju. The festival is so large and there is so much to do! We spent hours walking through the various lanterns installations during the day and then repeated the same process once night had fallen.
In addition to the amazing lanterns along the river as well as on the river (say whhaaaa?), there were also tons of food stands where we tried tons of delicious street food.
To top it all off, the festival is located along the Namgang River and on the grounds of the Jinjuseong Fortress, so not only will you be able to stare at beautiful lanterns, you’ll also be able to take in a beautiful piece of Korean history.
Our favourite lanterns were the Chinese palace and dragons, the depiction of a Korean-Japanese battle and the snowman from Frozen, Olaf. And of course, we can’t forget the lantern tunnel which is always a fan favourite!
How to get there: Jinju is quite a large city and is therefore easily accessible from basically any bus station. Coming from Gwangju, the journey took 2 hours and cost 10 200 won. You can also take the train to get to Jinju.
When to go: The lantern festival usually occurs the first three weeks of October, with the opening ceremony being on the first Saturday of the month.
Where to stay: There are tons of motels in the surrounding area and we had no problems finding accommodations nearby once we arrived. However, if you aren’t a fan of leaving things up to chance, we recommend staying at the Greece Motel. It’s clean, reasonably priced and quite close to the festival.
Have you ever been to a lantern festival?
Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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