Spring is currently in full bloom in Korea and festivals are exploding in every part of the country! May is particularly a month to enjoy as it marks the transition from being on house arrest (thanks to the unbearable cold) to finally putting on your slick shades and exploring the outdoors. I must also add that this is by far my favourite month in Korea, not only are there tons of festivals going on, but also more random day offs from work ^_^
Korea is currently hosting the 15th annual Bamboo festival in Damyang, Jeollanam-do. Damyang is a highly touristic county, commonly known for its bamboo and strawberry goods. Unlike heavily congested cities like Seoul, counties such as Damyang are valued for its clean air, stunning nature, and unmatched Korean cuisines. The bamboo festival hosts many activities such as a bamboo fair, bamboo musical instrument contest, making Daetongsul (bamboo bottles liquor), bamboo rafting, , bamboo cycling, fishing with a bamboo basket, visiting the bamboo forest, and much much more!
All I can say is what a beautiful and peaceful day. We immediately started writing our wishes on a bamboo piece and hung on what seemed like bamboo lanterns. We then walked along the bamboo fair by the glistening riverside eyeing on different bamboo products such as bamboo flutes, ornaments, fans etc. After we decided join other kids water cycling, and what turned out to be a relaxing ride soaking up the sun and breeze, it became an immature game of bumper boats….screw you Korean kids for disturbing my moment. I would especially recommend trying the bamboo ice cream…it’s so delicious!! The bamboo forest is also something not to miss! This festival started on the 3rd of May and will end on the 8th! Travel to Damyang for the Bamboo festival while you still can! Yeah you have one days notice….your point being…?
Even without the festival, Damyang is a wonderful county. With its clean air and green environment it was a nice change from the concrete jungle that I am use to. You can also experience and notice how different people are out here in the countryside. They seem to be more open, kind, and warm compared to the people living in the capital. Not bashing Seoulites of course, growing up in London myself I can totally understand their mindsets. I will discuss this further in a future post 😉 as it is a little complex to explain, but it is also something a great friend of mine has taught me…and till this day it was the most valuable knowledge I attained in Korea thus far.
How to get there:
From Seoul Central Station take the Express bus to Gwangju (3.5 hours).
From Gwangju Bus Terminal transfer to another express bus to Damyang (30-40 minutes)
From Damyang Bus terminal take the 311 bus to Juknokwon.