Baekje Part II

Trip Start Dec 02, 2011
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Trip End Dec 02, 2012


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Flag of Korea Rep.  , Chungcheongnam-do,
Sunday, October 7, 2012

This morning I went to Gongju (공주) to check out the lesser half of the Baekje Cultural Festival (백제문화제). I arrived at Gongju around 10am and was a bit disappointed to find out that there was nothing really going on. Although it was the final day of the festival, or maybe because of it, the one big event scheduled was the closing ceremony. The only other performance that sounded interesting was a horseback riding demo.

Apart from that, the Gongju festival was a similar scene to what I saw at Buyeo yesterday. There were tents selling food and various crafts or local products, and a floating bridge. The major difference in Gongju was that the bridge led to Gongsanseong Fortress (공산성) where some additional folk craft demos had been setup. You also had the chance to watch the changing of the guard, give archery a try, and stroll the fortress walls, but I'd done all those things during my first visit to the town.

My original plan, and my reason for choosing to visiting Gongju on Sunday, was to see the closing ceremony. However, there was a small problem with that as it would be very difficult to see the ceremony and still make the last bus out of town (again with the last bus), assuming there was even room on that bus. I had come up with some back-up plans involving taxis and trains, but it all seemed like a lot of hassle to stick around for eight hours. Perhaps I should have slept in.

As it was, I ran out of things to see long before the ceremony was supposed to begin. That combined with the logistical questions, and a less than intriguing line-up for the showcase apparently featuring modern singers rather than the traditional performances I was expecting, resulted in a decision to go ahead and leave early.

Although I had a good time at Buyeo yesterday, and today was pleasant enough, I wouldn't recommend visiting the festival on the final day unless you hadn't been to Gongju before (or Buyeo if it's there in a future year). It would be a great time for a first visit to Gongju, but there are so many festivals happening in Korea in October, that there are probably better ways to spend a Sunday. If you do go to the Baekje Festival, I'd say aim for the first weekend when there was much more going on, or only do a day trip out to see things on Saturday. Of course, the schedule may change in future years, fortunately it is conveniently posted on-line in English.

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