Last weekend I celebrated Halloween in South Korea for the 2nd time (albeit 3 years apart!) and have to say I was yet again HIGHLY impressed with the high standard of halloween costumes. As Koreans don’t celebrate halloween the only people dressed up were the “Waygooks” (Korean word for foreigners!) and our group of about 70 people sure did make an impact.
The weekend was spent in Busan, Korea’s 2nd biggest city, situated on the East Coast on the Southern tip of the Korean peninsula. Along with a few friends I joined a trip being organized by WiNK (When in Korea – Travel group) which organizes trips around Korea and to neighboring countries on an almost-weekly basis. Busan was hosting its annual Fireworks Festival so it was the perfect place to celebrate my favourite holiday of the year.
Following a 2 hour subway ride and a 6 hour bus ride from Seoul to Busan we arrived at about 5.30am o Saturday morning, just as the sun was rising over the ocean. Half the group stayed sleeping on the bus while the other half of us headed straight to the beach where we camped out of mats, hammocks and blankets to enjoy the sunrise and maybe even drink a sneaky beer or two. Watching the sunrise from the beach was pretty magical, and was made better by the great group of friends (both old and new) who I was with.
After a few hours of napping on both the beach and the bus, a local expat bar called Sharkeys agreed to open early for us ( Is 10am too early to start drinking?? Nah!) and served us up amazing breakfast platters, Bloody Marys for some and some delicious apple juice for me (ahem read as: Cider).
We spent the better half of the day in this great bar overlooking the beach, listening to live music and planning the night ahead. As the day went on, the area progressively got more and more crownded with 1,000’s and 1,000’s of people from both Busan and other Korean cities arrived and set up camp on the beach for the Annual Fireworks Festival. Some people were camped out on the beach up to 5 hours before the show was set to start, determined to get the best view in the house.
Following a delicious traditional Korean BBQ dinner with the group everyone headed back to our motel over-looking the beach to put on our halloween costumes and get ready for the fun-filled shenanigans which lay ahead! Fat forward an hour later, and our cute/retro motel was transformed into a sea of waygooks wandering around in funny, scary and some what questionably halloween costumes much to the delight of the cute old ajumma who owned the place. Im sure she had no idea what was going on in her precious motel as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Grumpy Cats, walking YouTube video, Zombies, Cross-Dressers, Santa Clause, some ghosts wandering the hallways.
We were allowed stand on the roof of the motel to watch the Fireworks show which was pretty lucky because there was NO WAY we would have been able to push through the crowds of people down below. We had one of the best views of the Fireworks which I must say were simply spectacular and way better than I thought they would be. The amazing dispaly went on for almost an hour and the only fireworks that was more impressive than this one, that I personally have seen, would be New Years eve in Sydney.
The remainder of the night involved pushing our way through 1,000’s of people on the subway, getting pushed into the trains like sardines in a can and getting pulled off said trains as if we were the rope in a game of tug-o-war! It was total madness but the fact that we were all in crazy costumes made the entire experience hilarious rather than miserable. The rest of the night was spent bar-hopping around Busans main night life district and posing for photos with hundreds and hundreds of local Koreans who most likely believed we were mad for dressing in such bizarre outfits!
There is so much more I could write but on this occasion I believe the photos tell the story 100 times better than my writing ever could. Let me just conclude by saying that it was fanstastic weekend with an mazing group of people and it really made me realise how much I LOVE my life here in Korea and how lucky I am to be going on such adventures on a regular basis. Right now, I am loving life and would not change it for the world.