Life in Korea: 7 tips to mastering the Korean festival

KOREAN festivals rock – there’s plenty to see, plenty to do, and in most cases plenty to eat and drink. If it’s popular, however, it can be a feat to get in and see what there is to see.

Be prepared – in most cases you’ll need to buy your tickets well in advance, if only for the early bird discount. Don’t forget about your transportation as well. Hotel rooms can be a little trickier to arrange in advance, though – is entirely in Korean but has an app, while has an English version. Other stuff, like packing a mat to sit on or a jacket for a colder night, requires a few seconds of thought and saves a bunch later on.

Learn the schedule. There’s a lot of things happening at any given festival, and the more you can understand about the schedule, the better. Figure out which events sound interesting and plan to be in the right place at the right time.

Arrive early. It takes time to get the lay of the land, and in most cases the events most worth checking out are fairly far from the entrance. If you’re the sort that has no problem staking out their spot hours before the Big Thing, do so and enjoy the show.

Move with the crowd – unless you plan on throwing elbows around, ride the wave. In cases of parades or moving performances, however, think ahead a bit – especially if you’re trying to get pictures before the masses show up.

For serious photography, get above the crowd. This may mean the top of the subway station, a nearby building, or a ladder. A meter or two makes all the difference in reducing interference.

Don’t panic. The places or things most worth seeing get crowded. Fast. The onslaught of people means you’ll get separated from the people you came with – assuming they have a handphone, call them and see where they are.

Leave earlier or later, or accept the traffic. The public transportation system and roads are always overwhelmed, no matter the location or planning.