Please note, that the Seoul Fireworks Festival is Cancelled again this year due to Coronavirus. Hopefully next year we will finally get to see them again over the Han River!
Seoul Fireworks Festival happens every year in the early fall and is one of the festivals you do not want to miss out on if you are living in Korea or are planning to travel to Korea over that time.
In this article, we will give you more information about the festival and also tips on taking photographs and good locations to shoot from.
Seoul Fireworks Festival
The Seoul Fireworks Festival is an International one which means they invite fireworks companies from 2 to 3 other countries to display their show and also then have Korea do the finale. This year, the fireworks festival will be on Saturday, October 5th 2019.
This is one of the representative festivals in Seoul so it is very popular. Thus, you need to get to a location early if you plan to set up a tripod and have a seat. So below, I’ll give you some of the locations that are popular for taking photos of the fireworks with a bit of information on each with a map.
Best Locations for Seoul Fireworks Festival
1. Yeouido Hangang Park (여의도한강공원)
This location is probably the most popular location for festival goers. The reason being is because this is where the actual festival takes place. During the day there are food booths, small stage shows and other things going on, so that if you arrive early you aren’t bored waiting for the fireworks. However, I feel like for taking photographs, this place isn’t ideal because it’s very crowded. If you want to set up a tripod it would be very difficult and likely people will be in the way.
However, if you main intent isn’t photographs, then it’s a great location as you will be closest to the fireworks and it has the best festival atmosphere. Arrive early to secure the best spot here though as lots of people arrive in the morning even if the weather is nice.
Check out the map below for the location of Yeouido Hanggang Park. Take note that they usually shut down Yeouinaru Station to help with overcrowding issues at the subway stations nearby.
2. Icheon Hangang Park (이천한강공원)
If you are a photographer, this location is far and away the best spot for taking pictures of the Seoul Fireworks Festival. However, because this is such a popular and famous spot, it fills up fast. The park has a lot of space, but the problem is that a lot of people come early in the morning and set up tents and thus take up quite a bit of the space. Also, for best photos, you want to be right by the water for reflections and thus this limits space as well.
So best advice would be if you plan to shoot here, get here early and plan to stay the whole afternoon and evening. Don’t worry too much about food as various chicken and other food venders walk by selling boxes of chicken and other snacks to keep you satisfied. As for bathrooms, there are portable toilets set up in various areas as well.
Check below for a map of where the park is.
3. Mapo Bridge (마포대교)
This was the first place I went to go see the fireworks festival quite a few years ago. The nice thing about Map Bridge, is that it doesn’t fill up quite as fast as the riverside parks do. So you can arrive there a bit later (maybe 3-4pm in the afternoon) and still find a spot to set up a tripod and get a good angle.
The thing about Mapo Bridge is that it is pretty far away from the fireworks, so it’s good if you want more wide angle views, however for the closer up views it’s not as great.
Best way to get to Mapo Bridge is to take the subway to Mapo Station and walk straight out of Exit 4. I recommend staying on the near side of the bridge to Mapo Station as that gives you the best angles and views of the fireworks. I have included a map of the bridge location below.
4. Hangang Bridge (한강대교)
This is the 4th and final location that i’ll write about here and it’s also my personal favorite. Hangang bridge gives great views of Yeouido, the sunset, and is great location for viewing the fireworks.
Also, like Mapo bridge, this location fills up later in the day so you can arrive later in the afternoon and still find a spot. I’ve arrived between 3 and 5pm and usually had space for my tripod. A location near the middle of the bridge is best as that will give you the best view of Yeouido, 63 Tower and the fireworks.
The best way to get to Hangang Bridge is to walk straight out of exit 3 of Sinyongsan Station on Line 4. It should be about a 15 minute walk. The map down below will show you where it is.
How to photograph the Fireworks
Depending on your camera, these settings may change, but in general these settings should help you with taking the photos.
First off, you will definitely want a tripod since the fireworks happen at night and thus you will be using fairly long exposures during photo taking.
I also recommend to set your focus to manual as it’s really hard for auto-focus to work with fireworks as they get bright and then dim.
As for aperture, I find anywhere between F7.0 to F9 is best for sharp photos. For exposures, the longer the exposure, the more fireworks you can capture on the screen. In fact, I recommend longer exposures so you can fill up the screen with more fireworks. You can achieve these longer exposures by changing the aperature or ISO.
ISO settings should be best kept around 200, however, anywhere up to ISO800 should work well for most digital cameras.
Where to stay in Seoul?
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During the fireworks festival, hotels with views of the fireworks book up quite quickly and prices go up during this time, however, with so many hotels in Seoul, I’m sure you can find something in your price range.
I’ll list just a few hotels near the fireworks area that you can check out and book.
Kensington Hotel Yeouido – This upscale hotel is about as close as you can get to the festival grounds on Yeouido. Great facilities, service and rooms.
Hotel the Designers Yeouido – A well priced option located really close to Yeouido hangang park with nice rooms and optional breakfast.
Janet Apple House Yeouido – Good budget option near Yeouido with studio rooms with washing machines and small kitchenette.
Of course there are many other hotels nearby to choose from. For a full list, you can find them here: Hotels in Seoul
So there you have a little bit about the Seoul Fireworks Festival. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments below!