Tourists catch winter fun at Inje Ice Fishing Festival
INJE, South Korea — The cold has settled in throughout Korea and it’s easy to just stay on the couch wrapped in a mink blanket with a bucket of popcorn and a few DVDs.
But for those who want to try something new and different, grab your mittens, scarf and jacket and head out to one Korea’s many winter festivals.
The 15th Annual Inje Icefish Festival is just a couple of hours away from Uijeongbu on Soyangho Lake in Gangwon Province and offers a wide variety of activities for everybody regardless of age, mobility or athletic ability.
The festival is on a frozen lake so be careful where you step … the ice is slick.
For those that need a little help getting around on the ice, for a few thousand won you can rent a bench fitted with skids. The majority of these “bench sleds” were ridden by children who used sticks to push themselves around.
As the day wore on more and more parents were seen pulling their kids across the ice on them.
Below that ice was the reason for the festival.
The icefish is the small 2- to 6-inch translucent smelt that thrives in colder water.
To catch these little fish, many festival goers sit out in the open on the lake huddled around a small hole waiting for a nibble on their line. If the wind going across the lake is too much, there are small tents that can be rented for 10,000 won to fish from. And if you don’t have a pole … don’t worry. They’re for sale at the festival also.
Those who can’t catch a fish or don’t want to invest time trying can head to the rows of food tents where they can buy icefish from a vendor. You can eat them live or deep fried. If the fish doesn’t hook you, there is plenty of other great food to eat, on a stick or in a bowl.
Once you have a full stomach, bundle back up and head outside for some great winter fun. There’s traditional sledding and ice skating at the festival, but Inje offers many other activities too.
For sports-minded festival goers, there’s soccer on ice or glacier climbing. Those who like to bowl can become the ball as they ride a plastic saucer downhill toward a set of 10 pins.
If bowling doesn’t strike your fancy, maybe snow mobiles or four-wheeling is more your speed. For a small price, you can drive yourself around the ice.
If you just want to go along for the ride, hop into a rubber raft and let the four-wheeler’s driver whip you across the lake.
For a more gentle ride, hop in one of the many “swinging trains” to view the lake.
If you want to view the sights on your own two feet, you can walk through the “Ice Age” movie snow sculptures and see Manny, Diego, Sid and Scrat.
Before you head home, make sure you stop in the “Enchanted Forest,” a group of trees that have been sprayed down and completely frozen to create a winter wonderland.