We were lucky enough to visit the Gujeolcho Flower Festival (구절초 제전). Or in other words, the Siberian chrysanthemum festival. The festival takes place for 10 days every October. I found out about the festival by coincidence on a Friday night when I was phone teaching and a student happened to tell me she would be visiting a flower festival on the weekend. This sparked my interest and so I asked her where and she asked her mom for me. I then mentioned it to a teacher and she said she had been the week before. She gave me a few pointers how to get there and we decided it would be a pleasant trip on what may be one of the last hot days of the year.The festival was held at Okjeongho Lake Gujeolcho Theme Parknear Jeongeup. The park is basically a large natural area with paths winding all over. The festival is famed for its Siberian chrysanthemums that cover the floor of a forested hill, the largest chrysanthemum hill in Korea. To me the flowers look like common white daisies and I didn't know they had such a fancy name. In their large amounts they looked particularly impressive though.
At the festival there were also fields of cosmos and sunflowers. The flowers were really beautiful and of course I loved photographing them. There were many fields so there was plenty of space for everyone to enjoy taking pictures in the flowers. We wondered around the grounds and then found a spot to enjoy our picnic. Luckily we packed a picnic as we are not very adventurous when it comes to Korean food, and there was only some rather interesting looking food at the many food stalls.
We tried to do a bit of research before we went and find out exactly where we were going, but there was not much English information available as the festival is not one of the bigger well known ones. It is featured on Korea’s Miss Flower promotional video which tells you the best places to see flowers throughout the year. It was not the easiest place to get to and took quite a while. We first had to catch a bus from Jeonju to the town of Jeongeup and then another bus to a small village called Sannae-myeon. From there, there were shuttles to the festival area. The 2 bus rides were each an hour long but we had a bit of a wait when we got to Jeongeup because the buses were very infrequent to Sannae-myeon. The scenery on the drives was very beautiful and we could tell when we were getting close to the festival area as flowers started to line the roads. Many people tried to help us along the way even though we couldn’t understand them much and we scored some chestnuts on the bus ride home from a kind lady who showed us how to go back.
The entrance cost was 3000won but free if you wore something with flowers on, which I planned ahead for.
It's a pity the festival is not better known, especially amongst the English community. We were by far the only western people there and one man even asked us how we knew about it. I didn't even manage to find it on the list of Korean festivals.
A trip to this festival is well worth it and a perfect place to visit during autumn as the temperature starts to cool down.