Less than a day after touching down in Seoul, South Korea, I immediately explored the city for possible exhibits, expositions that would interest travelers like me.
And much to my luck, I happened to stumble upon the Seoul Lantern Parade. which was staged from November 13 to November 20, 2011
The parade of lanterns was set right in the middle of the Chonggyecheon stream located in the Gwanghwamun area of downtown soul.
Despite the chilly 8 degrees celsius on the night of my visit, I was not surprised to see throngs of people lining up to see the larger than life lanterns displayed in the middle of the river. The entrance was free but you just have to endure the long queue.
Nevertheless, I estimated there there were at least three thousand people that night and it was already in the middle of the festival week.
All foreign and local tourists alike were treated to an amazing display of structures that depict particular themes and story lines, related to the rich history of the South Korean people.
At daytime, the Chonggyecheon is already one of the most famous landmarks in Seoul but at night time, this popular place is just so vibrant and full of life.
You can see couples holding hands, trying to keep each other warm as they stroll along the 8.4 kilometer stream. (It starts from Gwanghwamun and ends up at the Jongno area). I was told that this area is in fact, to be a lover’s lane in Seoul.
This stretch of man-made stream is also one of the best places to clear your mind or relax. This is especially true to South Koreans working in the area, which is somehow their financial district.(The Seoul stock exchange is here.).
If you walk several blocks at the other side of the subway station, then you will see the main gate of Gyeongbokgung palace and the huge statue of King Sejong. So naturally, tourists coming from their tours of the other sites, find their way to the stream and engage in a leisure walk along Cheonggyecheong.
Street vendors selling a wide array of products ranging from the most obvious neon lights to Korean barbecue, roses, are enjoying the huge crowd.
How to get to Cheonggyecheong:
Take the purple line or Line No. 5 of the Seoul Metro and get off at Gwanghwamun station. Take the exit number 5 and just walk one block. After crossing the street, turn to your left and you will see the starting point of the stream.
On the other side of the Gwanghwamun station, you will see the following landmarks