This summer vacation, all Korean citizens, including Reporter Sumin, received a text message from the Ministry of Public Safety and Security that said there was an extreme heat warning for the day. The text message came for several days in a row. Even before reading the text message, the reporter had already felt the extreme heat. Because of the weather, she longed for the beach and to go swimming. However, as a university student, she didn’t have the money or means to get to the beach. Therefore, she surfed the internet for some place to go that would wash away the summer heat. Restricted by public transportation, it took some time to find, but eventually she came upon the ‘Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market’.
Where Can We Beat the Heat?
An internet search lead the reporter to the article 'The tropical night will continue right through the weekend. How about visiting a night festival?' The article introduced readers to night festivals all over the nationwide. SMT reporter became even more determined to find such a festival in Seoul. Her investigation revealed 3 such festivals in Seoul, all accessible on public transportation: the ‘Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market’ at Yeouido Hangang Park, Mokdong, and Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the ‘Hoegaarden Summer Garden’ at Gwangjin-gu, and the ‘Hangang Blanket Film Festival’ also at Yeouido Hangang Park. Among the possibilities, she opted to visit the 'Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market' because its name stood out in her mind. Dokkaebi is a familiar creature to Koreans and does not harm humans. The creature is known to enjoy dancing, singing and playing, and it also performs stunts and tricks by waving a magic club. She looked for reviews of the festival and found many positive blogger reviews. All blogs she read highly recommended visiting the festival at least once. It was hosted at three different locations, she had to make a choice of where to go. She chose to go to the one at Yeouido Hangang Park mostly so that she could also deep her feet into the water there. After carefully examining all the information, she contacted her friend and invited her along on the adventure.
What Does the Festival Offer Visitors?
The next day, the two set out from the station near her home at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Although the hottest part of the day had passed, as usual it was still hot outside. Gratefully, the subway was cooled by the air-conditioning. After a lovely one hour chat with her friend, someone she hadn’t seen in a while, on the subway train, they arrived at their destination. Excitedly they left the subway station, but right after getting above ground, the hot and humid air and women handing out leaflets turned the excitement into distress. After a brief period of dismay, the reporter started to relax amid the soothing river breeze and beautiful night view of Han River. There were crowds of people lined up in front of the numerous food trucks that lined the river as well as plenty of street venders. In total there were 42 food trucks serving up diverse dishes from all around the world and 70 street venders selling handmade products that reflected the personal touch of each artist. In addition to food, there were abundances of accessories, leather crafts, artwork pieces, glass work, and so on. Before strolling around the vendors, the reporter and her friend decided to eat since the time was now 6 o' clock and they found themselves hungry. The first dish they tried was steak. It was surprising to eat steak from a food truck on Han River for she thought the dish could only be eaten at a restaurant. Because so many others shared her same thought, she spent an hour in line waiting to buy her steak meal. Despite the heat and the exhaustion of waiting in queues, she was able to enjoy pizza and fried shrimp with special sauce after the steak. After filling their bellies, the two wandered about the area, taking in all the sights and sounds of the street vendors. She soon came to envy the younger children as they jumped and splashed in the artificial canal without a care in the world. Unable to control her envy, she and her friend decided to dip their feet into the water over a cold beer. The heat of the summer night seemed to fade away. As they sat there taking in the coolness of the event, they were soon attracted by the sound of a guitar off in the distance. They got up and found buskers and entertaining performances occurring all over the area.
Ready to Go
After just one visit, like so many bloggers she’d read online, this SMT reporter highly recommends a visit to the festival. Though the trip back home was hot and exhausting, it was much more fun than remaining at home. She spent a great time by the river, soaking up the cool breeze, ate delicious food, saw great performances, and bought new earrings. The sweltering heat of summer has now passed and autumn is upon us, but the ‘Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market’ will continue to until October. It’s operating every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Yeouido Hangang Park, Mokdong Stadium, and Dongdaemun Design Plaza. More information can be attained from the website http://www.bamdokkaebi.org/.