As far as weekend trips and festivals though, I have to say this one was, hands down, the best one. In a nutshell, I was surprised at how underrated this was. When I signed up for it, I was under the impression that I was just going to be camping in nature and hopefully I would see a couple fireflies. At the very least, I hoped I was going to see stars (which many of you elsewhere may take for granted, but where I am in Korea is non-existent.)
The first place on our list was to visit the Muju Meoru Wine Cave.
Not only is it a wine cave, but it’s also a nice refreshing walk inside.
It doesn’t hurt that you get free samples as well.
If you walk down a little further, you can also get a wine foot bath for a cheap 3,000 won. One thing I really miss about home is the abundance and affordable pedicure options. Also, because I’m walking so much everywhere in Korea, I feel that my feet really need some help. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but for so cheap, I figured, why not?
Beware: If you do this, the wine and water combination is scalding hot. Our tub also did not have a colder water option. You basically just bite your lip and slowly dip your feet in for ten seconds. Eventually, you slowly get a little used to the temperature but never really. Regardless, after I did this, my feet felt amazing. They were silky smooth. I could imagine the heat would be an ideal treat for those coming in the winter, especially after a long hike. This was a really cool experience and totally worth it.
Next up was the Muju Firefly Festival. I truly didn’t know what to expect, as I signed up for this trip having done no prior research and expecting this to be a glorified camping trip. However, I found this to be absolutely adorable. Out of all the little Korean festivals/day trips I have been on, this was the cutest. There was also a surprising amount of things to see and do.
When you first arrive, there is a firefly museum to check out. Upon entering, it’s standard exhibits of petri dishes and photos showing the life cycle of the firefly. It was interesting, but nothing too fantastic. However, there’s a small pitch black room you then go into. When you go inside, it’s basically a giant glass box of fireflies, but trust me, it’s really cool to see them light up. Spoiler alert: that room consisted of the most amount of fireflies I saw all weekend, but don’t let that deter you from visiting Muju.
When you’re done, you get to put on 3D glasses and explore/exit through this room that reminds me of a Korean Rainforest Cafe. I’m not gonna lie, I had way too much fun in here than I probably should have.
We had plenty of time to kill before the nighttime festivities. When you aren’t walking around exploring different food tents and other whats-its, there was also the 2018 Global Taekwondo Festival (Any media I was able to obtain didn’t give justice to how awesome this really was.) There was also a cool parade.
Even though there weren’t the swarms of fireflies I not so secretly prayed for, the nighttime fireworks were just incredible. While I had such high hopes for the Daegu Lantern Festival, which was a fun memory but rather unimpressive, the nighttime show at Muju blew what Daegu had out of the water.
What made the Muju Firefly Festival end on such a perfect note was the combination of over the water fireworks on a cable (I don’t know the proper name, as I have never even seen this before, but it was so pretty), the regular fireworks, and the releasing of lanterns into the sky all at the same time. It was sensory overload, but in a good way.
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