Skip to main content

Incredible fireworks at Seoul's 'biggest event of the year'

By Frances Cha, CNN
October 4, 2013 -- Updated 0321 GMT (1121 HKT)
Seoul's 11th annual fireworks festival will take place on Saturday, October 5, starting at 7 p.m. These images taken at last year's festival offer a preview of what visitors can expect. Seoul's 11th annual fireworks festival will take place on Saturday, October 5, starting at 7 p.m. These images taken at last year's festival offer a preview of what visitors can expect.
HIDE CAPTION
Seoul International Fireworks Festival 2013
Purple rain
Fire away
Ignite the light
And let it shine
Boom, boom, boom
Creative bursts
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than one million people expected to turn out for Seoul's annual fireworks festival
  • Visitors advised to use public transport, arrive hours early for good riverside viewing spot
  • Over 100,000 fireworks from designers around the world will be set off

(CNN) -- Expect debilitating traffic jams and crammed subways as hordes of joyous, beer-guzzling, gimbap eating, DSLR-toting visitors hit the streets of Seoul this Saturday for the city's most explosive festival of the year.

"It's Seoul's biggest event," says Hee-jae Kim, an operations representative for the annual Seoul International Fireworks Festival, now in its 11th year.

"To have more than one million people turn out to one spot, for that one event on one day ... there isn't anything like it in terms of scale."

Set in Yeouido, one of the city's business and media epicenters, the fireworks festival takes place in front of the 63 Building, event sponsor Hanwha Corporation's iconic skyscraper overlooking the Han River.

Fiery designs

In addition to showcases by Korean fireworks designers, teams from Canada, Japan and France will blast their own award-winning creations into the night.

Canada's Apogee Fireworks will showcase its "Skyfall" display while Japan's Tamaya Kitahara Fireworks team plans to shoot a Japanese garden into the sky. The French team, Ruggieri, will set their streaming lights show to opera music.

By the numbers

Hanwha is spending approximately ₩3.5 billion ($3.3 million) on the festival.

A total of 100,000 fireworks will be set off on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. More than 3,000 staff and police will be on safety and security standby.

"I made sure to come three hours early to get a good spot with my friends," said Miji Lee, 29, who attended last year.

"You should remember to bring a big mat, a blanket and a trash bag. And try not to drink too much or you'll have to wait the huge lines for the bathroom."

For this year's event, 600 staff have been recruited to clean up the inevitable island of trash that will be left behind.

More visitor tips

Due to expected traffic snarls, visitors should use public transport to get to the festival.

Although restaurants and viewing platforms on Yeouido skyscrapers will offer good views of the fireworks, organizers say visitors should sit outside to get the full effect of the music, smells, noise and special effects.

Seoul International Fireworks Festival 2013

Saturday October 5, 7-9 p.m

Yeouido Hangang Park (near by 63 Building), Yeouido-dong 8, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

Public transport: Yeouido Station on subway lines 5 and 9; airport bus 6030

Read: 12 Best new restaurants and bars in Seoul

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0459 GMT (1259 HKT)
Of course you don't really need that LV trunk that converts into a deluxe shower, but wouldn't it be cool?
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1843 GMT (0243 HKT)
Get ready to pucker up -- to celebrate National Kissing Day on July 6, travel deals website Travelzoo has released a list of the world's top 10 romantic movie locations.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
In honor of Canada Day, a look at some of the country's most incredible manmade and natural beauties.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0617 GMT (1417 HKT)
VW ended Kombi production last year, but the spirit of adventure that endowed the vehicles lives on in Uganda.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
CNN wants to know the wonderful, bizarre and indispensable items you pack when getting ready to hit the road. Tell us #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
This is what happens when you ask a super-car designer to create a super swanky train.
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 2140 GMT (0540 HKT)
A 666-meter-long bridge shaped like a fire-breathing dragon heralds a new era of prosperity in Da Nang, Vietnam.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
There's a chance of being trampled or even gored, but thousands flock annually to the Spanish fiesta immortalized by Ernest Hemingway
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0854 GMT (1654 HKT)
Alcazar castle in Spain will stand in for Water Gardens of Dorne in the popular HBO series.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Before you join the masses in the hopes of snapping a geisha on her way to work, it's worth learning a few unwritten rules.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0808 GMT (1608 HKT)
Baptiste Dubanchet poses with food he's recovered from a trash can.
To highlight food waste, Frenchman travels across Europe fueled only by food recovered from trash cans.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 0731 GMT (1531 HKT)
Tour companies are cashing in on demand from timid thrill seekers who want to safely experience Bangkok's infamously raunchy nightlife.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
Dreading airport security, lost luggage or that middle seat? These travel headaches could be a thing of the past by 2024, according to a new report on the future of travel.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Latest model of aircraft affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies gets the red ribbon treatment, but jumbo jets are facing tough times
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
A former soldier plans to trek every country in the world, having been diagnosed with PTSD.
ADVERTISEMENT