Busan Fireworks Festival 2014…

One of my favorite parts about Korea is the plethora of festivals they have almost every weekend – that, and drinking-in-public being okay (encouraged, really). It’s like Vegas everywhere.

Last month, Busan had it annual Fireworks Festival. However, at first I was skeptical to go to the event as I have seen fireworks before in Scotland & UK and was not very enthusiastic about this event. But putting my brave foot forward and after lot of convincing to get my husband to come along we went to the festival, where over twenty thousand spectators all over from Korea came to see the show at Gwangali Beach. The fireworks display at the Gwangali Beach attracted not just Koreans, but lots of foreigners as well to experience this festival. Also, it is a regular attraction and has become a tradition to the people of Busan ever since it started from 2005. The event is free for all – meaning no admission fee ;) More reasons to experience this famous festival.

To reach the destination we had to leave our house well in advance for 3 hours to secure the best location at the beach. However, even after reaching the destination 4 hours in advance of the event start time at 8PM, we could secure only the 7-8th row from the beach front and were surprised to see most of the people, especially Koreans already there enjoying the bright sunshine weather and good time with family and friends. Later we learnt that people start arriving at beach as early as 11 am in morning with all the camping material, food/drinks, Camera and Selfie Sticks J to get the best place on the beach and watch the fireworks show comfortably…. Somehow we managed to secure a good place not right in front of the beach but somewhere in middle from which the Gwangan Diamond Bridge was looking clear and spectacular.  There were already LOADS of photographers grabbing their spots to get the prime view (if you plan to go next year I suggest at LEAST 6 hours early for the best spots).
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Huge crowds were bustling towards the beach, little kids scurrying alongside with their parents. There were certainly a massive crowd that went to see the display that day – it was over-crowded but fun to see lots of drunken ajumas and ajoshis having a fun picnic with their friends. The first set of fireworks went off and the huge stampede of people literally started running towards beach but that firework was just an FALSE alarm!!! As they were testing the fireworks beforehand.

After setting up, it was a waiting game until 8:00pm came. At last a LONG waiting game came to End…….

Dozens of glittering fireworks lit up the Busan sky almost every second. Lasers from the top of the bridge illuminated the smokey air and a waterfall of sparks cascaded gracefully from the bottom. Huge phoenix-shaped fireworks flew around us. The air smelt of sulphur and salt water. You could feel every explosion boom in your chest while they burst in perfect synchrony to the music being blared. All of this mixed with a bottle of wine, soju and good company made this the most perfect show possible.

The only con to this entire trip is the fact that fireworks will never be the same again. I’ll no longer be impressed with my earlier fireworks experiences. You’ve set the bar, Busan!

Oh and if you learned anything from this post – I hope it’s that you need to get to the Busan Fireworks Festival EARLY. It’s the most popular and therefore the most crowded festival of the year. Also, don’t rush to the metro afterwards (and don’t even think you’ll be able to hail a cab), unless you like squeezing onto trains like sardines. Hang out at the beach afterwards – you can drink anywhere, remember?

 

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