Famous for its clear river water and the abundance of the local sancheoneo – mountain trout, Hwacheon hosts the yearly Sancheoneo Ice Festival. Ice fishing, winter sculptures, snow activities… Don’t miss one of the best festivals this winter from Jan10 to Feb01, 2015!
Featured by Lonely Planet as one of the seven winter wonders in the world, Sancheoneo Ice Festival in Gangwon-do province is one of the largest winter events in South Korea. The city developed a grand-scale festival now in its 12th year, which takes place on the Hwacheoncheon stream usually covered with a 40cm-thick ice layer in the coldest days of January.
The biggest attraction is without a doubt the ice fishing experience. Participants can freely fish sancheoneo trouts through 11,000 ice holes! There is a foreigners reserved area which is far less crowded but with a fishing quota per person (3 trouts if we remember well). Plenty of fresh trouts are released every day in the fishing area which should guarantee a fun and successful experience for everyone. Actually younger children shall also be able to catch their own trouts… You will often hear “I caught one!” screams of joy!
You will be able to take home the trouts you caught or have them grilled in the food stalls bordering the stream for a symbolic fee. What an experience for the whole family to eat the fresh trouts you just retrieved from underneath the ice layer!
Winter wonderland activities
There are as well plentiful winter activities to practice next to the ice fishing area. These usually require separate admission fees except for the sculptures display section. Just to mention those which impressed us most: bare-handed fishing (5 minutes to catch as many trouts as you can, bare-handed and feet in the icy water), ice slides, sleigh races, amazing snow and ice sculptures, make-your-own-snowman, ATV on ice, etc.
The Festival is manageable on a long one-day trip from Seoul, leaving at dawn and returning at night. The drive will take more than 2 hours each way.
If you have not experienced ice fishing yet, make sure to head to Sancheoneo Ice Festival this year! This is a very well-organized local festival with dozens of fun activities for all ages, great food and in a beautiful area of Korea. This is a very popular event for good reasons (and getting more famous each year), hence expect some crowds during weekends.
Trout fishing: 12,000 KRW/person
Foreigners-reserved area: 10,000 KRW/person (pre-school children free)
Full admission list available on this link.
How to get there:
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus to Hwacheon (화천).
* Bus Schedule: 07:05-19:35, 30-40min intervals
You may also use the Gangwon-do shuttle bus service for foreigners leaving from Gwanghwamun plaza daily during the festival duration (7:30AM boarding, 8:30PM return).
Address: Hwacheon-eup, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do
강원 화천군 화천읍