Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Jindo Sea Parting Festival





A few friends and I decided to go with a Korean based tour group called “When In Korea” to Jindo two weeks ago. For 97,000 won, we got a hostel, transportation covered, an all you can eat bbq, a dog show (Jindo is known for its dogs) and a fire torch at the festival area where the sea was supposed to part.Early Saturday morning, we got picked up from Changwon terminal and then embarked on a four hour journey to the western coastal island of Jindo. Our first stop on the island was to a traditional Korean theater. This was rather poorly organized as most of us didn’t have seats and it was completely in Korean so it was hard to keep our attention. After, like the other Korean culture shows, the drummers came outside and danced. They tend to be a little repetitive after you have been to a few already.

Our second stop was to a dog show. The Jindo dogs are a protected breed in South Korea (as in, you can’t eat them). They had the dogs jumping through hoops on fire, standing on their back legs, jumping ropes and one dog…wait for it, even caught a frisbee. Woaaaaah. Well, the show was indeed entertaining minus the frisbee part. Jumping through fire hoops is rather impressive and some of the dogs were like "fuck that shit" and ran around the hoops rather than through them.

Then we went to our hostel and got into our room with 13 or so people. We had the bbq, etc etc, went to sleep (unlike the rest of our roommates who went out all night drinking). The main event started around 5 AM so we woke up around 4:30, got dressed, I put on my rain boots, and we went outside ready to watch a sea part and walk to an island. The festival area was filled with colorful ajumas (old Korean women wearing hiking gear as usual) and foreigners (mostly trashed and representing the community well). We got our fire torches and walked behind hundreds of people trying to cross to the island. As we got further out, we realized that the sea didn't fully part and soon enough, my rain boots had been filled with water. Faaaaaaaaaaaiiiil. However, fireworks were still set off probably to distract us from the obvious lack of parted sea. We really weren't too concerned. It parted sort of… But, ya know, Koreans want to participate in the festival so they have to include a weekend date regardless of the sea parting or not so they just threw in a Sunday even though it wasn't supposed to part until Tuesday or Wednesday.

The next afternoon, we went to the festival area. There were kebabs and Indian food. That was enough to make me satisfied with my trip. Nomnoms.  We also got our caricatures done which didn't resemble me whatsoever.

The festival people also let us try on some traditional Korean outfits, put up wishes for the grandma statue, played with Jindo puppies, and found 1000 ajummas decked out in hiking gear.