Spring is in the air and festivals across the country are celebrating the beauty of the season. If youw ant to experience the full bounties of spring, head south to Hampyeong in Jeollanam-do Province. During the region’s Butterfly Festival, Hampyeong will dazzle with vibrant fields of yellow rape blossoms and colorful butterflies that flutter right before your eyes.
The season of blossoms and butterflies is upon us. But how often do city dwellers get to enjoy a stroll through a field of flowers or the flight of a butterfly in a concrete jungle? Not to worry. Just four hours of Seoul, the county of Hampyeong, Jeollanam-do Province, holds an annual Butterfly Festival where you can see countless winged beauties embriodered across the spring sky. Hampyeong Butterfly Festival is one of the most popular events in Korea, with nearly 13 million people visiting the county for the festival alone over the years.
The festival has transformed Hampyeong from a small town with less than 50,000 residents in 1998, to a county recognized across the country for its excellent tourist activities. In the late 1990s, Hampyeong residents decided to promote the region’s diverse butterfly population as a way of bringin tourists to the area. With the advent of industrialization, it was becoming more and more difficult to see even a single butterfly in cities such as Seoul. Since the first Butterfly Festival opened May 5, 1999, Hampyeong has dazsled city dwellers with the beauty of butterflies every spring. The festival has expanded and improved upon its events every year, and was picked by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as the best regional festival in Korea for four consecutive years.
To accommodate all of the festivalgoers, the KTX train will make special stops at Hampyeong Station during the evnet. The fields carpeted by blossoms greet tourists as they step off the train. The festival spread out across Hampyeong Expo Park, Natural Ecology park and Hampyeongcheon riverside features dozens of species of butterflies and flowers.
Beyond the designated festival spots, visitors can also enjoy the Hampyeong Living Relics Exhibition Center that depicts ancient life in the region: Yongcheonsa Temple nestled in a quiet mountainside; and the irresistible Dolmeori (Stone Head) Beach. Wherever you head, spring blossoms, butterflies and the blue sky will follow you.
There’s a Korean saying that goes, “A loaf of bread is better than the song of many birds”. Well, in Hampyeong, you can enjoy both bird songs and mouthwatering cuisine made from fresh, healthy ingredients. Visitors should be sure to try the local specialties – Hampyeong Cheonji Hanu beef, fragrant herbs and mudflat octopus.
The highlight of the festival this year is the Fly a Butterfly iutdoor event, which gives visitors a chance to touch actual butterflies. The event will be held in the traditional flower garden within the Hampyeong Riverside Park if weather permits. Be sure to check the schedule once you have arrived to find out more information.
This year, the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival will be held for 12 days from April 29 to May 10. Festival organizes are issuing more discount coupons than ever for visiting families, making this year’s festival especially affordable. The price of a general adult ticket is 7,000 won. For children, a general admission ticket costs 3,000 won.
Source : Korea People & Culture Magazine, May 2011