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Seoul Festa 2023: Experiencing the Dynamic “Soul” of Korea

In early May, Seoul hosted its annual Seoul Festa. With the slogan "Experience the Real Seoul," this year's Seoul Festival shows visitors worldwide the city's unique charm by holding various experience activities at popular tourist spots. My Hong Kong friend was visiting Korea that week, so I went to different tourist spots with her to experience the atmosphere of the Seoul Festa.

在過去的一周,首爾市舉辦了一年一度的首爾節 (Seoul Festa)。 今年首爾節的口號為「感受真正的首爾」,透過在市內的熱門旅遊景點舉辦多項體驗活動,讓各地的遊客感受首爾獨特的魅力。 碰巧我的香港朋友來韓國旅遊,於是我便跟她一起到訪各個旅遊勝地,親身感受首爾節的氣氛。

We arrived at Myeongdong first. Although it was not the weekend, the streets of Myeongdong were still crowded, and the flow of people had returned to pre-pandemic levels. My friends and I tried Korean street food like egg bun and chocolate fish-shaped bun at the Myeongdong Snack Street. In addition, a tourist special zone stall was set up at the end of the street, introducing various Korean beauty products.

我們先到了明洞。 雖然當天不是週末,但明洞街頭仍然人山人海,人流已經恢復疫情前的水準。 我和朋友在明洞小食街品嘗了香甜可口的雞蛋包和巧克力鯛魚燒。 小食街的盡頭設置了一個旅遊特區攤位,介紹多款韓國美妝產品。

A tourist special zone booth introducing Korean beauty products


A giant-blowing humanoid device was set up at the other end of the street, and balloons were distributed. It turned out that the Seoul Metropolitan Government was cooperating with Lotte Department Store to organize the Myeongdong Festival. That installation was the mascot of the Myeongdong Festival, "Mi-eung". Visitors could also participate in the Myeongdong Festival to collect stamps in exchange for gifts.

街道的另一端則設置了一個巨型吹氣人形裝置,亦有人派發氣球。 原來首爾市政府正與樂天百貨合辦明洞節,而那個裝置是明洞節的吉祥物 "Mi-eung"。遊客更可以參加明洞節的活動收集蓋章以換取禮物。

The mascot of the Myeongdong Festival is "Mi-eung"

明洞節的吉祥物 "Mi-eung"

The next day we visited the Cheonggyecheon River. A hanbok experience booth was set up at the starting point of the river, and many tourists wore hanbok and took photos next to the beautiful and idyllic stream. Then we went to the Gwanghwamun Square nearby to visit one of the highlights of the Seoul Festival, the Seoul Cultural Experience Zone. The experience area featured a Seoul tourism promotion zone in the shape of a tour bus and Korean beauty, fashion, and drama experience booths, allowing visitors to experience the charm of different Hallyu products. Among them, the Korean fashion booth showed music show fancams of K-pop idols, attracting many participants to stop by and watch.

第二天我們到訪了清溪川。 清溪川的起點設置了一個韓服體驗攤位,不少遊客也穿上韓服,在優美恬靜的溪水旁拍照留念。 接著我們去了附近的光化門廣場,參觀首爾節的其中一個重頭戲——首爾文化體驗區。 體驗區內設有旅遊巴士造型的首爾旅遊宣傳區,以及韓國美妝、時尚、和電視劇的體驗攤位,讓遊客可以體驗不同韓流產品的魅力。 其中韓國時尚攤位正播放著K-pop偶像的飯拍影片,吸引了大批參與者駐足欣賞。

Hanbok experience booth in Cheonggyecheon


Beauty booth in Seoul Cultural Experience Zone


Fashion booth in Seoul cultural experience district


The market area was next to the experience stalls, which featured booths of Korean food, accessories, and decorations. What surprised me was that in addition to tourists, many locals also came to visit the market that day. This experience area was not only a place to promote Korean tourism and culture to tourists worldwide, but also a space for locals to relax and have fun!

體驗攤位旁邊是市集區域,裡面設有多個韓國美食、飾物、和精品攤位。 讓我意想不到的,是當天除了遊客,還有不少本地人前來參觀市集。 看來這個體驗區不但是向世界各地旅客宣傳韓國旅遊和文化的地方,更成為了本地人休閒娛樂的空間呢!

The market attracted many tourists and locals alike


The Seoul Festival has many activities, but the only fly in the ointment was that the Korean convenience store and street food taste market at the Jamsu Bridge was canceled due to rain. Nevertheless, the Seoul Festival had added colors to my friend's trip to Korea and my life in Korea.

首爾節的活動多姿多彩,唯一美中不足的,是潛水橋的韓國便利店和街頭小食美食廣場因天雨關係取消了。 儘管如此,首爾節也為我朋友的韓國之旅和我的韓國生活增添了多一份樂趣。

Author and picture: Bonnie Lo

Translation: Bonnie Lo (CHN)


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