Winter is a beautiful time in South Korea, not just because of her majestic slopes but because of their festivals. Having been in Korea, I had only visited the big cities, Seoul and Busan. So, I decided this winter to spend it in their numerous villages.
The one I attended was the Mountain Trout Fishing Festival in Hwacheon, Gangwon. The village is roughly 2 hours away from Seoul and surrounded by mountains. As someone with absolutely no knowledge on fishing, I just heard barbecue and jumped on board. However, this festival was more than just the barbecue. The festival had many attractions from bait fishing, skating and many more. I participated in all the activities and also caught myself my first fish.
But the main attraction and my super favorite moment of this trip was the polar bear bare hand fishing. YES, you read it right, jumping into minus degree freezing water to catch fish only using your bare hands. I watched a lot of my friends jump into the water, catch the fish and store into their shirts. It looked like so much fun so when they called out for the last batch, I SIGNED UP.
True to form, it was freezing cold. We geared up in only t-shirts and shorts and jumped into the water. I couldn’t catch any fish, but it was so much fun. To reward our courage, they gave us some free trout. YAY! And immediately we were rushed off to a hot water bath. In there, we bonded with Koreans over our escapade with the cold. Once we were warm and dry, we headed over to the massive grill that had been installed in the middle of the village. We gave our fish to be grilled for just $3. It was delicious and perfectly grilled, absolute perfection. A the end of the day as we drove away we watched the fish and love themed light decorations shining on all the way. It was the perfect way to end the perfect day.