Songhyeon Light Festa – A Lighting Event You Shouldn’t Miss

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Festival highlights

Nestled in the vibrant heart of Seoul, South Korea, the Songhyeon Light Festa emerges as a captivating celebration of light and creativity.

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About the Songhyeon Light Festa

Inaugurated during the 2023 Seoul Winter Festa, the Songhyeon Light Festa stands out as a mesmerizing celebration of illumination, where the beauty of light is showcased through various dynamic displays and exhibits. This festival of lights brings together families and friends, offering them a canvas to paint their winter memories in the brightest of hues. 

Beyond the awe-inspiring light displays, the festival offers a realm of interaction where visitors can dive into activities, explore unique merchandise, and indulge in the local culinary scene. The air is filled with the scent of bungeoppang and hobbang, Korean winter delicacies, as laughter and conversations blend into the luminous backdrop, making it the perfect getaway from the hustle of city life.

Featured Lighting Displays:

  • Larger-than-life light art installations: These installations serve as the heart of the festival, drawing in crowds with their impressive scale and intricate designs.
  • Illuminated trees: A forest of trees bathes the festival in a soft, enchanting glow, creating pathways of light that guide visitors through the magical landscape.
  • Glowing Christmas trees: These festively adorned trees add a traditional holiday touch, sparkling with colors and the joy of the season.
  • Light art sculptures depicting different animals: From mythical creatures to familiar wildlife, these sculptures bring the animal kingdom to life in a radiant new light, delighting visitors of all ages.

Festival Dates

As anticipation builds for the next iteration of the Songhyeon Light Festa, enthusiasts and newcomers alike are eager to learn when they can immerse themselves in its radiant beauty. Traditionally, this festival of lights casts its glow from December to January, transforming the chilly winter nights into a spectacle of warmth and illumination. However, the specific dates for the 2024-2025 season remain a mystery, with an official announcement still on the horizon. The waiting adds to the excitement, as the festival promises to unveil a new theme and even more dazzling light displays.

In the meantime, potential visitors can dream of the wonders that await them at the Songhyeon Light Festa, imagining the shimmering installations and the joyous atmosphere that defines the event. This period of suspense gives families and friends the perfect opportunity to plan their journey, ensuring they don’t miss out on this unique celebration.

For the latest updates on the festival’s dates, stay tuned or visit the festival’s official website.

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An image inspired by the light art installations at Songhyeon Light Festa

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Songhyeon Light Festa is set to dazzle visitors at Yeollin Songhyeon Square, located at 48-9 Songhyeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. This picturesque venue, nestled in the heart of Seoul, becomes a canvas for the festival of lights, where various light displays and exhibits come to life. 

Yeollin Songhyeon Square, with its open spaces and strategic location, offers the perfect setting for the larger-than-life light art installations and illuminated sculptures that define the event. The festival transforms this urban space into a glowing wonderland, inviting locals and tourists alike to revel in the beauty and creativity of light.

The nearest airport to the festival is the  Incheon International Airport, the main international gateway to Seoul. Visitors landing at Incheon International Airport have several convenient options to reach the festival location:

  • By Airport Railroad Express (AREX): Direct or all-stop train to Seoul Station, then transfer to the subway or a taxi to Yeollin Songhyeon Square.
  • By Taxi: A direct but more costly option, taking approximately 1 hour depending on traffic.
  • By Bus: Airport limousine buses offer services to various parts of Seoul, including a stop near Jongno-gu. From there, a short taxi ride or a subway trip will get you to the festival.

For those coming from other cities within South Korea, here’s how you can reach the Songhyeon Light Festa by train:

From Busan:

–Take a KTX train from Busan Station to Seoul Station. Transfer to the subway (Line 1) towards Jongno-3(sam)-ga Station, then switch to Line 3 for Anguk Station, which is a short walk from Yeollin Songhyeon Square.

From Daegu:

–Board a KTX train at Dongdaegu Station bound for Seoul Station. Follow the same subway transfer instructions as from Busan.

From Gwangju:

–Catch a KTX from Gwangju-Songjeong Station to Yongsan Station in Seoul. Take the subway (Line 1) to Jongno-3(sam)-ga Station, transfer to Line 3 towards Anguk Station, and proceed to the festival location.

From Daejeon:

–A KTX train from Daejeon Station to Seoul Station will start your journey. Once at Seoul Station, navigate the subway as described above to reach Yeollin Songhyeon Square.

If you liked this festival, you can also check out these other mesmerizing lights festivals: 

Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival

Nabana no Sato Winter Illuminations

Festival Hours

The highly-anticipated Songhyeon Light Festa welcomes visitors from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, offering an enchanting evening experience under the glow of thousands of lights. This timing allows guests to immerse themselves in the festival’s beauty after dusk, when the light installations truly come to life. 

It is a magical four-hour window where the night sky becomes a canvas for the dazzling displays of creativity and illumination. Perfect for an evening outing, the festival’s hours are designed to fit seamlessly into the schedules of both locals and tourists, ensuring everyone has the chance to witness the spectacle.

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An image inspired from the light displays at Songhyeon Light Festa

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Songhyeon Light Festa

The Songhyeon Light Festa is a captivating event that opens its doors to all, free of charge. This policy ensures that everyone, regardless of their budget, can partake in the joy and wonder of the festival. 

It is a celebration where the only currency needed is your sense of awe. By making it accessible without cost, the festival underscores its commitment to community, inclusivity, and the universal appeal of light as a source of beauty and inspiration.

Weather and What to Wear

During the months of December to January, Seoul, embraces the winter season with temperatures that often range from -6°C (21°F) to 3°C (37°F). This period is characterized by crisp, cold air and occasional snowfall, transforming the city into a picturesque winter wonderland. The chill in the air is palpable, especially in the evenings when the Songhyeon Light Festa is at its most vibrant. Visitors should be prepared for the cold temperatures, which can feel even colder due to wind chill, particularly after sunset.

To ensure a comfortable experience at the Songhyeon Light Festa, visitors are recommended to dress warmly with the following clothing items:

  • Thermal underlayers: A base layer of thermal clothing can provide essential insulation.
  • Winter coat or parka: Opt for a heavy-duty coat that can withstand the cold and block the wind.
  • Warm accessories: Hats, scarves, and gloves are crucial for keeping exposed skin protected from the cold.
  • Insulated footwear: Waterproof boots with insulation will keep feet warm and dry, especially important if there’s snow.
  • Layers: Dressing in layers allows for flexibility and adjustment based on personal comfort and varying temperatures throughout the day.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

Finding the perfect place to stay is crucial for enjoying the Songhyeon Light Festa to its fullest. Below are three hotels catering to different preferences and budgets, all within reach of the festival’s glow:

ITAEWON INN (2-star hotel)

  • Location: 9 Noksapyeong-daero 32-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: A cozy and budget-friendly hotel situated in the vibrant Itaewon district, ideal for travelers looking to explore Seoul’s international cuisine and nightlife.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, full-service laundry, air-conditioned rooms.

The Riverside Hotel (3-star hotel)

  • Location: 6-1 Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: Nestled along the picturesque Han River, this hotel offers guests a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, with easy access to local attractions.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, indoor pool, hot tub.

Fairfield by Marriott Seoul (4-star hotel)

  • Location: Gyeongin-ro, 870 Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: A modern and comfortable hotel offering a premium stay experience, located in the bustling Yeongdeungpo district, close to shopping and entertainment options.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, fitness center, air-conditioned rooms.

What to Eat

Exploring the local cuisine is as much a part of the festival experience as the lights themselves. Here are three diverse dining options near the Songhyeon Light Festa, offering something for every palate:

Jungsik Seoul (Korean restaurant)

  • Location: 11 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: A modern Korean restaurant that elevates traditional flavors with innovative twists, set in a chic and contemporary space.
  • Foods Served: Among others, diners can enjoy sea urchin gimbap, apple sorbet, and sweet shrimp gimbap, catering to a variety of tastes including vegan options.

N.Grill (French restaurant)

  • Location: South Korea, Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Namsangongwon-gil, 105 7
  • Description: Perched atop Namsan Tower, N.Grill offers a romantic setting with panoramic views of Seoul, serving French cuisine with a modern flair.
  • Foods Served: The menu features fresh salmon tartare with pickled beet, celeriac risotto, and chicken ravioli, among other exquisite dishes.

Braai Republic (South African restaurant)

  • Location: 19 Itaewon-ro 14-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: Offering a taste of South Africa in Seoul, this restaurant is known for its hearty dishes and casual, friendly atmosphere, complete with rooftop seating perfect for sports enthusiasts.
  • Foods Served: Signature dishes include spare ribs with potato wedges, prawns and green salad, and garlic bread topped with onion, olive, and cheese, promising a memorable dining experience.

More Things to Do in the Area

Discovering the Songhyeon Light Festa offers just a glimpse into the vibrant culture and history of Seoul; there’s much more to explore around the area. Here are three must-visit attractions near the festival that promise enriching experiences and deeper insights into South Korea’s heritage:

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

  • Location: 161 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: Gyeongbokgung Palace, the grandest of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty, offers visitors a journey back in time to 1395 when it was originally constructed. The palace complex boasts stunning architecture, expansive gardens, and detailed historical exhibits.
  • Activities to Explore: Tour the royal chambers and halls, watch the changing of the guard ceremony, and visit the National Palace Museum of Korea located within the palace grounds.

N Seoul Tower

  • Location: 105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: Standing atop Namsan Mountain, the N Seoul Tower is not only a top communication and observation tower but also a symbol of Seoul. It offers panoramic views of the entire city, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.
  • Activities to Explore: Enjoy the breathtaking cityscape from the observation deck, lock your love at the famous “Locks of Love” fence, and dine in one of the tower’s restaurants.

National Museum of Korea

  • Location: 137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Description: As the flagship museum of Korean history and art, the National Museum of Korea is home to a vast collection of artifacts that span the nation’s history from ancient times to the modern era. The museum’s architectural design is as impressive as its collections.
  • Activities to Explore: Explore the extensive exhibits on Korean history, art, and culture, participate in educational programs, and stroll through the museum’s outdoor garden featuring historical statues and monuments.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Songhyeon Light Festa

The Songhyeon Light Festa stands as a beacon of creativity and celebration in the heart of Seoul, offering an unforgettable experience to all who wander through its luminous displays. It’s more than just a festival; it’s a gathering place where art, culture, and community come together under the canopy of night. 

From the innovative light installations to the rich tapestry of nearby attractions, every moment promises a new discovery. Whether you’re a local resident or a traveler from afar, the Songhyeon Light Festa invites you to bask in the glow of Seoul’s vibrant spirit, making it a must-visit destination on your winter calendar.

FAQ

Is there parking available at the festival?

Limited public parking is available near Yeollin Songhyeon Square. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation due to the high volume of attendees.

Can I smoke at the festival?

Songhyeon Light Festa is a smoke-free event. Smoking is prohibited within the festival grounds to ensure a comfortable environment for all visitors.

Are pets allowed at the festival?

Yes, pets are welcome at the Songhyeon Light Festa. However, they must be kept on a leash at all times, and owners are responsible for their pets’ behavior and cleanliness.

What should I do if I lose something at the festival?

A lost and found booth is set up at the festival’s information center. If you lose an item, please report it there. 

Is the festival accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes, the festival is designed to be accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. Wheelchair-accessible paths and restrooms are available throughout the festival grounds.

Can I bring my own food and drinks?

Visitors are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks to the festival. However, glass containers are prohibited for safety reasons.

Are there any age restrictions for attending the festival?

The Songhyeon Light Festa is a family-friendly event suitable for all ages. There are no age restrictions for attendance.

What happens if it rains during the festival?

The festival will proceed rain or shine. Some installations may be temporarily covered or turned off during heavy rain for safety, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the festival with appropriate rain gear.

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An image inspired from the light sculptures at Songhyeon Light Festa

Sources: https://english.visitseoul.net/events/2023LightFestainSonghyeon/ENP4djkt0 

https://sayart.net/news/view/1065618930944315 

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