Skip to main content

Incredible fireworks at Seoul's 'biggest event of the year'

By Frances Cha, CNN
updated 11:21 PM EDT, Thu October 3, 2013
Seoul's 11th annual fireworks festival will take place on Saturday, October 5, starting at 7 p.m. These images taken at last year's festival offer a preview of what visitors can expect. Seoul's 11th annual fireworks festival will take place on Saturday, October 5, starting at 7 p.m. These images taken at last year's festival offer a preview of what visitors can expect.
HIDE CAPTION
Seoul International Fireworks Festival 2013
Purple rain
Fire away
Ignite the light
And let it shine
Boom, boom, boom
Creative bursts
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than one million people expected to turn out for Seoul's annual fireworks festival
  • Visitors advised to use public transport, arrive hours early for good riverside viewing spot
  • Over 100,000 fireworks from designers around the world will be set off

(CNN) -- Expect debilitating traffic jams and crammed subways as hordes of joyous, beer-guzzling, gimbap eating, DSLR-toting visitors hit the streets of Seoul this Saturday for the city's most explosive festival of the year.

"It's Seoul's biggest event," says Hee-jae Kim, an operations representative for the annual Seoul International Fireworks Festival, now in its 11th year.

"To have more than one million people turn out to one spot, for that one event on one day ... there isn't anything like it in terms of scale."

Set in Yeouido, one of the city's business and media epicenters, the fireworks festival takes place in front of the 63 Building, event sponsor Hanwha Corporation's iconic skyscraper overlooking the Han River.

Fiery designs

In addition to showcases by Korean fireworks designers, teams from Canada, Japan and France will blast their own award-winning creations into the night.

Canada's Apogee Fireworks will showcase its "Skyfall" display while Japan's Tamaya Kitahara Fireworks team plans to shoot a Japanese garden into the sky. The French team, Ruggieri, will set their streaming lights show to opera music.

By the numbers

Hanwha is spending approximately ₩3.5 billion ($3.3 million) on the festival.

A total of 100,000 fireworks will be set off on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. More than 3,000 staff and police will be on safety and security standby.

"I made sure to come three hours early to get a good spot with my friends," said Miji Lee, 29, who attended last year.

"You should remember to bring a big mat, a blanket and a trash bag. And try not to drink too much or you'll have to wait the huge lines for the bathroom."

For this year's event, 600 staff have been recruited to clean up the inevitable island of trash that will be left behind.

More visitor tips

Due to expected traffic snarls, visitors should use public transport to get to the festival.

Although restaurants and viewing platforms on Yeouido skyscrapers will offer good views of the fireworks, organizers say visitors should sit outside to get the full effect of the music, smells, noise and special effects.

Seoul International Fireworks Festival 2013

Saturday October 5, 7-9 p.m

Yeouido Hangang Park (near by 63 Building), Yeouido-dong 8, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

Public transport: Yeouido Station on subway lines 5 and 9; airport bus 6030

Read: 12 Best new restaurants and bars in Seoul

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The guidebook asked staff, contributors and authors for well-known and lesser-known recommendations.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
An airport in Asia has stolen the crown from Manila's Ninoy Aquino, voted 'world's worst' three years in a row.
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
It's time for a beef break, veal vacation, hog holiday or sinew sabbatical in a T-bone a-fide U.S. meatopolis.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many awesome new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 9:07 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Scientists are busy surveying Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle, home to 75 percent of all known coral species.
updated 9:50 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Bounce Below in Wales
Bounce Below transforms an abandoned slate mine into a surreal, springy world of fear and fun,
updated 7:16 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
With chopsticks or fingers? Wasabi or no? A double Michelin-starred Tokyo chef sets the record straight and shows us the sushi way.
updated 6:24 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Markthal Rotterdam foodhall in the Netherlands.
It may look like a gateway across time and space crafted with alien technology, but in reality it's a fruit and vegetable market.
updated 5:25 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Based on the votes of over 330 industry experts, the 2014 winners include bars from 27 cities in 14 countries.
updated 6:31 PM EDT, Sun October 12, 2014
Careening down an active volcano at 95 kph on a thin board? It happens only at Cerro Negro in Nicaragua.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT