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Ice Fishing Festival of South Korea

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Ice Fishing Festival of South Korea is the 8th Wonder of the Word. Strictly for fish lovers, ice fishing festival is all for you!

The Gangwon-do, renowned as one of the best spots for winter festivals, captivated over three million visitors who rallied to enjoy nature’s beauty with winter activities despite the sub-zero temperatures.


South Korea’s popular Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is one among them. The crazy festival includes bare hand ice-fishing, ice sledding, bobsled, and other things to see and participate in.

The exciting chilly extravaganza takes place at Hwacheon county in Gangwon-do with plenty of snow and ice, perfect for a winter getaway. The main attraction of the festival is people carve out holes in the ice and begin fishing for sancheoneo, a “native fresh water salmoniformes salmonidae fish, living in 1st grade clean cold water under 20°C degrees, which has more than 9 ppm of dissolved oxygen.

There are zillions of other activities and programmes outlined for everyone – from infants to foreigners. From cultural events, to local street light festivals and of course exotic food and games, this is often termed as one of the seven winter wonders of the world.

The Bingeo Fishing Festival which took place in Inje County gathered around 170,000 visitors in its first week and continued to draw in more, breaking the 700,000 mark every year.

The setting for ice fishing made the festival more entertaining. Rather than fishing for trout trapped inside a contained pool, the festival invited festival-goers to try fishing on top of a frozen stream. The bone-chilling temperatures in late January did not disturb the feeding frenzy of visitors who lied face-down on the ice to take a closer look at the fish. The catches were enjoyed right on-site since they live in clean water of Soyang Lake, where two waterways from mountains converge.

The Sancheoneo Festival made 11,000 ice holes for visitors to huddle around, unable to take their eyes off the fish inside. Ice fishing festival seemed to have had a powerful magnetizing effect on foreign tourists. Following the Inje Festival, the Sancheneo Festival also gained fame after it was selected as one of the Seven Winter Wonders by Lonely Planet.

Festival-goers to the Sancheoneo Festival jumped into the chilly water to catch fish with their bare hands.

The main event of the  ice fishing festival with bare hands. A few participants who were willing to brave the freezing water jumped into the pool to try the fishing pit. “It was so cold at first that I could hardly move, but when I cooked the catch on site, it became a good memory and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said one of the participants in an interview.

The Jaraseom Singsing Winter Festival is famous for ice fishing for trout, and your catch can be eaten right away, raw or grilled!

Other activities include ice sledding, riding bumper cars on snow, traditional experiences, and more. It is easy to reach Gapyeong simply by taking the ITX Cheongchun train from Yongsan Station.

Plan your adventure trip in South Korea next time. Enjoy the ice fishing festival, you don’t need any experience to catch the fish!

(c) Mohen Naorem

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