Ah, lanterns. Just like avocados (in case you couldn’t tell), I’m darn near obsessed with lanterns. My bedroom ceiling is covered in lanterns from Vietnam (No, I never have enough!), and this is my second lantern post. However, this lantern festival is different because for this festival, you got to write your wishes and then personally send your lantern up into the sky.
I had very high hopes for this. I expected this to be a giant, spectacular event. While it was a cool and unique experience, the festival immediately dies down and people bolt as soon as the lanterns are released. I would have enjoyed it more if the whole thing wasn’t so abrupt. Technically, there was music and food, but I expected a variety of food stands (perhaps even a food truck rodeo?) and different musicians. The whole festival seemed rather hurried. As soon as you got in, you had to scramble for food. Options were limited, and the lines were insane, so snacks had to suffice. There wasn’t much in the way of organization, and people were frantically sending their lanterns up. In my experience, other festivals I’ve been to in Korea had all sorts of tents and little cultural stuff and things to keep you entertained for hours. One of my favorite things about Korean festivals is how much walking around you get to do while you get explore all they have to offer. That was definitely not the case with this. With that aside, sharing a lantern with a couple friends, writing your wishes, lighting up the lantern, and setting it into the sky was definitely worth the trek alone.
You get your lantern and a marker (not pictured) and you can write your wishes on them. As you can see, the lanterns are quite large. When you’re finished, you and your group light up the bottom and release it into the sky. You can see this for more information.
The best part, of course, is watching all the lanterns float. It was perfect watching them ascend as the sun fully set. Lighting them was rather difficult to do. I was quite worried that ours would catch on fire. Basically, at least two people have to hold it upright and someone has to light it at the perfect time. Some lanterns actually did catch on fire (and some got stuck in trees), but there was no actual damage (except to the lantern of course).
As you can see below, it was super cool to watch the lanterns float as the sky got darker. I especially loved how the lanterns were different colors, and it made the whole experience that much more beautiful.
I particularly liked how they concluded the festival with fireworks. Below you can see a combination of fireworks and lanterns ascending.
I was lucky enough to get the transportation and seats arranged from a group trip for a fairly cheap price. I don’t remember off the top of my head, but I think transportation, admission (lantern included) and accommodation for the night came to less than $100. Having all that included is worth the trip alone.
I’d recommend trying to get into the actual festival if you really want the experience of releasing a lantern with a couple of your closest friends. However, you could probably save yourself the headache of fighting through a sea of people if you find a spot high up outside the actual venue. My friend did that, and she was still able to get beautiful footage.
Overall, I’d say, yeah go for it. It’s a super cool experience. It’s not the greatest festival I’ve ever seen, but it was something I have never done before and was glad to try it out. 🙂
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