Posted : 2013-09-17 14:37
Updated : 2013-09-17 14:37

Attractions in arts and leisure near you

A U.S. soldier, left, puts songpyeon, a half-moon shaped rice cake, in a steam cooker ahead of the Chuseok holiday at Yongsan-gu Office in central Seoul, Tuesday. Chuseok falls on Thursday. / Yonhap

By Baek Byung-yeul

There will be a variety of cultural and leisure events to enjoy during this year's Chuseok holidays, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving.

The typically clear skies and cool temperatures this time of year will make it great to visit tourist destinations such Seoul's Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) palaces and the Jongmyo Shrine, which will be open for free during the holidays. Folk villages around the nation will be buzzing with activity.

You can also use the extended break to catch up on what's going on at art galleries. The Seoul Museum of Art's Paul Gauguin exhibition is a can't-miss event that has only two weeks left. For food lovers, there will be a variety of shrimp festivals in towns along the western coast.

Korean Folk Village

As it always does during Chuseok, the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, is preparing a delightful crash-course on Korean traditional rituals, performing arts, food, and games.

Making steamed rice cakes "songpyeon" from freshly-harvested rice has always been the favorite program of foreign travelers.

Tickets cost 10,000 won for children, 12,000 won for middle and high school students and 15,000 won for adults. For more information, visit the venue's official English webpage at

Paul Gauguin's definitive works are on display at Seoul Museum of Art. / Korea Times

Art exhibitions

Many art galleries in Seoul will be open throughout the holidays. This includes The Seoul Museum of Art, which has garnered more than 320,000 visitors for its "Gauguin: Voyage into the Myth and After" exhibition since June. The exhibition marks the first time ever that three iconic Gauguin works — "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?" "The Yellow Christ" and "The Vision of the Sermon" — are displayed in the same place.

The exhibition will run through Sept. 29. The museum is located near exit 1 of City Hall Station, subway line 1. Tickets cost 8,000 won for elementary school students, 10,000 won for middle and high school students and 13,000 won for adults. The museum closes every Monday. For more information, call 1588-2618 or visit the official webpage at

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, and its Seoul branch near Deoksu Palace will open free of admission on Sept. 18-22.

The museum in Gwacheon is currently highlighting the works of promising Korean artists who have competed for this year's Korea Artist Prize. British artist David Hockney is also holding a solo exhibition here, titled "Bigger Trees Near Warter." The Seoul branch is featuring the works of contemporary artists Kim Chong-yung and Jeon Hyuck-lim in its "The Arts in Life" exhibition. For more information, visit the museum's English website at

The brand-new Park No-su Museum in Seoul, nestled at the foot of Mt. Inwang, is simply a beautiful place to visit. The museum opened last week after renovating the old house of the late Park, who died in 2011 at the age of 86 after an illustrious career that cemented him as one of Korea's most influential contemporary artists.

The museum is currently running an exhibition of Park's definitive works, which runs until Christmas Day on free admission. To get to the venue, take a green bus no. 9 at the Gyeongbokgung Station, subway line 3 and get off in front of Woori Pharmacy. For more information, call (02) 2148-4171.

All about shrimp in seaside towns

Autumn is the harvesting season for "daeha" or king prawn, a delicacy of Korea's western coast.

The fishing towns in South Chungcheong Province hold a variety of shrimp-eating festivals during this time of the year to lure tourists. The festival at Namdang Port in Hongseong runs through Sept. 26. It will compete with the festival at Boryeong's Muchangpo Port, which starts this Saturday and will continue through Oct. 10.

The most famous shrimp festival, of course, is the one held every year at Anmyeon Island in Taean, which will start Sept. 28 and continue through the end of October.

To get to the venues, taking an express bus would be the second best plan for those who don't own a car. To check the closest bus terminals in Seoul, visit the Korea Tourism Organization's official guidance webpage of bus terminals at

For more details about Namdang Port festival, visit its webpage at—1.html or call (041) 632-3616. For information about Muchangpo Port festival, call (041) 936-3561.

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