The Kimchi-ite: Thousands Of Lanterns At Busan’s Greatest Temple

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

Down in Busan, South Korea’s seaside second city, one of the greatest temples on the peninsula quietly sits. Samgwang Temple is large, imposing and beautiful on any typical day, but becomes a new spectacle altogether for Buddha’s Birthday; for the holiday, it suddenly blossoms with the soft glow of 10,000 lanterns.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

It’s absolutely a sight worth seeing, and taking your time to get lost amongst the lanterns in such bright and colorful lights, can be pleasantly disorienting. Each individual lantern is sponsored and paid for by a follower of the temple, an obvious, visible sign of its influence.

There are quite a few lantern festivals throughout Korea and Asia, but this is certainly the largest density of lanterns that I have ever seen.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

To get to Samgwang Temple, go to Seomyeon Station on Busan Subway Line 1, where buses 63, 54 and 133 will take you to “Samgwansa Entrance;” unfortunately this is a misnomer and not the actual entrance to the temple. From the bus stop, cross the street and walk up the narrow road before you. From there, make your first left and then your first right. Finally, follow the road and the enormous temple will be at the top of the hill.

For more on Korean culture, food and festivals, you can always check out “The Kimchi-ite” archives by clicking here.

The Kimchi-ite: Seoul’s Spectacular Lotus Lantern Festival


Every year, Buddha’s Birthday is marked in Korea by a sea of draped lanterns. The holiday itself is not until May 17 this year, but that has not stopped the festivities from starting early. Most streets surrounding Buddhist temples have a colorful array of lanterns strung from their lampposts. The temples themselves often feature an entire canopy created by a rainbow of lanterns. And as part of the festivities, a parade featured tens of thousands of lanterns in the shape of a lotus flower, an important symbol in Buddhism.

Seoul’s weather is now finally reaching that perfect equilibrium of sunshine and cool breezes, and the best place to see some of the city’s lanterns is at an outdoor exhibition on Cheonggye Stream.
The lanterns turn the already beautiful Cheonggye Stream into an absolutely dreamlike landscape. Skyscrapers dressed in flashing lights tower above as you walk along a tree-lined bubbling stream underneath a rainbow of paper lanterns. Couples and families walk around with nothing but smiles on their faces. There are no gimmicks here, no entrance fees and no celebrity appearances, just wonderful paper lanterns.

The wealth of colors of the paper lanterns play beautifully well off of the stream.

In the middle of the stream lie elaborate lanterns made of traditional Korean hanji paper that depict various aspects of Korean life, history and culture – including dragons, pagodas, wildlife, Buddhist ceremonies and traditional dances.

Located right in the heart of the city, Cheonggye Stream is one of the best places to visit in Seoul, with or without lanterns.

The lanterns depict various aspects of Korean and Buddhist culture.

Buddhism is an important aspect of Korea culture and is widely practiced throughout the peninsula.

Cheonggye Stream is an incredible place to just relax and hang out, with or without a festival.

Cheonggye Stream is one of the best places to visit in Seoul. Formerly a highway overpass, it was reconstructed into a stream in 2005 and has been wildly popular with locals and visitors ever since. It’s a truly unique place, similar in concept to the highline in New York, that cities across the world should take note of – a peaceful oasis in one of the world’s busiest cities that is also just around the corner from a 600-year-old palace, a neighborhood of traditional hanoks, the best book stores in Korea, an impressive arts center as well as the president’s residence.

Smaller lanterns depicting wildlife are scattered around the stream and represent more traditional lanterns.

While the Lotus Lantern Festival is definitely not to be missed, there is also another lantern festival on Cheonggye Stream of equal beauty, the Seoul Lantern Festival, which will be held in November this year.

To delve further into Korean culture, dig into the Kimchi-ite archives by clicking here.

Video: Holiday Greetings From The National Park Service

The National Park Service has released a fun little video to wish us all a happy holiday season and of course issue an invitation to visit them soon. No matter what time of year it is, the parks represent some of the best travel experiences anywhere, and we’re reminded of that as the video bounces around to at least a dozen national parks and monuments across the U.S. Chances are, no matter where you go for the holidays, there is a national park not far away. So, if you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, and feel the need to get outside, look for a national park near by. I’m sure you won’t regret it.


Gadling Gift Guide: Gear For The Adventure Traveler And Outdoor Enthusiast

Gadling Gift Guide: Eureka's Tetragon TentsFew people appreciate great gear as much as adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. They demand good performance, often under the harshest of conditions, and they’re usually willing to pay top dollar for the best equipment. Their exacting standards can often make it a challenge to find them the right gift, particularly when they already have a closet full of gear.

If you have someone on your holiday shopping list that fits the description above, then take heart. Here are some excellent suggestions for gifts that are sure to delight the adventurer in your life.

Eureka Tetragon Tents ($95-$370)
The key to any great camping outing begins and ends with a quality tent. After all, if you’re not able to get a good night’s sleep, you’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of the experience either. The new Tetragon series of tents from Eureka has everything you need to sleep comfortably in the great outdoors. They are spacious, lightweight, provide plenty of ventilation, and will keep campers dry when that unexpected rainstorm rolls in at 2 a.m. These freestanding shelters are tough and durable, which makes them the perfect option for backcountry escapes. Available in six sizes, ranging from a small two-person option up to a palatial version that sleeps ten, the Tetragon is a classic camping tent at an affordable price.

Brooks Range Mojave Down Jacket ($299)
When it comes to cold weather adventures, nothing beats a good down jacket for keeping us warm when the mercury begins to plummet. The problem is that traditional down doesn’t perform well in wet conditions, becoming a clumpy, cold mess that is virtually useless. That isn’t the case with the new Brooks Range Mojave jacket, however, as it is one of the first products on the market that uses a new water-resistant down from a company called DownTek. This revolutionary new jacket performs incredibly well, even in the worst of conditions, keeping the wearer warm and dry when traditional down gear would have failed. This is the future of cold weather gear and your favorite mountaineer, winter backpacker or skier will undoubtedly love this amazing product.Gadling Gift Guide: GPS Watch for runners.Pyle GPS Watch with Wireless Heart Rate Monitor ($150)
Designed for the runner or cyclists who obsesses over their performance, this watch is a high-tech marvel that will give them everything they need to track progress over time. The included wireless heart monitor makes it easy for outdoor athletes to pace themselves while working out and the built in GPS accurately tracks distance, route and speed. This timepiece allows for five different profiles for use in different activities and the screen can even be customized to display just the information that is important for the current workout. Water resistant to 100 feet, the watch includes an electronic compass, interval timer and much more. Pyle managed to deliver all of that functionality in a package that is far more affordable than similar offerings from the competition.

Guerrilla Tags ID Systems ($30-$35)
Outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers don’t seem to mind taking a few risks to pursue the activities they love, but unfortunately those activities can sometimes lead to untimely accidents. Guerrilla Tags offer a bit of insurance during those unfortunate incidences by providing the name of the person involved as well as their emergency contact numbers, known allergies, blood type and so on. That information is engraved by hand on a metal tag that is then worn either as a bracelet around the wrist or as dog tags around the neck. This is one of those pieces of gear that you hope you never need, but you’re glad you have it nonetheless. They even make great gifts for loved ones who never travel abroad or participate in risky outdoor sports as it never hurts to have this information close at hand.

Gadling Gift Guide: Hydrapack TamarackHydrapack Tamarack ($110)
Compact and comfortable, the Tamarack hydration pack makes a great travel companion for everything from day hikes on local trails to excursions to the far corners of the globe. It features thickly padded shoulder straps and back panel, plenty of storage capacity for essential gear and a host of pockets to keep it all organized. Durable and tough, this little pack is capable of carrying up to thee liters of water in its included hydration bladder, ensuring the wearer always has plenty of liquids close at hand. That same bladder seals up tight to prevent leakage, is resistant to punctures and is surprisingly easy to keep clean.

Liberty Sport Trailblazer Sunglasses ($139)
A great pair of sunglasses should be essential gear for any outdoor adventure and Liberty Sport makes good looking and functional frames for nearly every kind of activity. But the Trailblazer is an especially good choice because they are versatile enough to be used while running, cycling, hiking or just about any other active endeavor. The large, wrap-around lenses provide plenty of coverage and protection from the bright sun and the fit is snug enough that you don’t have to worry about them falling off at an in opportune time. They even come with a set of cleverly designed magnetic eye cups that when installed seal off the outside world, keeping dust, snow and other debris out of the eyes. This is an especially great option for travelers who may routinely find themselves in demanding environments.

Schwinn Quick Release Collapsible Basket ($20)
Here’s one for the not-so-serious cyclist who enjoys riding their bike everywhere but could use a convenient and safe way to haul more stuff with them when they go. This collapsible basket securely attaches to any set of handlebars while riding, but quickly detaches upon arrival at your destination. Made out of durable polyester fabrics the basket is tough enough to survive exposure to the elements while providing plenty of protecting for the contents inside. A drawstring top extends that protection even further while ensuring that the precious cargo never accidentally pops out.

Gadling Gift Guide: GoPro Hero 3 Action CameraGoPro Hero 3 Action Camera Black Edition ($200-$400)
A few years ago a little company called GoPro released a lightweight and rugged video camera that was perfect for capturing or favorite moments while mountain biking, snowboarding and rock climbing. They didn’t know it at the time, but the company had launched an industry and inadvertently created a market for the extreme sports viral video all in one fell swoop. Today, the GoPro Hero 3 remains the top action camera on the marketing, capturing video in full 1080P and 12 megapixel still photos. The device can even pair with a smartphone via Wi-Fi for remote control functionality and for instant sharing of videos on social media. GoPro even managed to greatly improve low light performance for capturing the best shots no matter the time of day. All of that comes in a package that weighs just 2.6 ounces, giving aspiring filmmakers a powerful tool that easily attaches to helmets and handlebars to capture all of their spectacular adventures.

Click here for other Gift Guides.

[Photo Credits:Eureka, Hydrapak, GoPro]

5 Hot New Holiday Markets In New York City

new york city holiday market

Come December, New York City becomes a veritable mecca of holiday shops, festivals and bazaars. Most tourists are familiar with the classic gift emporiums at Grand Central, Bryant Park and Union Square. But those markets tend to turn off the newer, younger, more independent brands with their hefty vendor fees and multi-week commitments.

For a different scene, check out some of the city’s newer holiday markets, which offer food, drinks, workshops, art exhibitions and, of course, innumerable gift ideas from some of the city’s hottest up-and-coming brands. Here are five of the most buzz-worthy.

The Brooklyn Night Bazaar
The scene: A Williamsburg warehouse is transformed into a month-long hipster spectacular of art, music, food, drink and holiday shopping. Weekend nights feature concerts curated by Fader, Hype Machine, Gothamist and other musical tastemakers.
Gift ideas: Handprinted iPhone cases from Blissful Case, artisan soaps from Ebb & Flow, reclaimed wooden cutting boards from Grain.
When: Fridays and Saturdays, November 23 to December 22, 6 p.m. to midnight
Where: 45 N. 5th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Admission: FreeGIVE GOOD Market*
The scene: A two-day market featuring close to 40 socially conscious businesses owned by women, along with a full lineup of DIY craft workshops, film screenings, musical performances, art exhibitions and a panel on the role of entrepreneurship in women’s empowerment.
Gift ideas: Reclaimed leather handbags from Shannon South, contemporary cow horn jewelry from Kora, hand-knitted hoop scarves from Indego Africa.
When: November 30 to December 1, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Starrett Lehigh Building, 601 W. 26th St., Chelsea, Manhattan
Admission: Free

Bust Magazine Holiday Craftacular and Food Fair
The scene: A kick-ass selection of more than 200 vendors, selling handmade craft items, artisan foods and craft beers over two days. Arrive early; the first 300 shoppers each day get a free goodie bag.
Gift ideas: Artisan cosmetics from The Elixery, shibori-dyed pillows from Eighty8Percent, Hipster Bingo.
When: December 1 to 2, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: 82 Mercer St., SoHo, Manhattan
Admission: $3

Hester Holiday Market
The scene: More than 40 gift and food vendors take over a historic Nolita building in this holiday shopping event from the organizers of the Hester Street Fair. Opening day on December 1 will feature a tree-lighting ceremony, animated light show and Christmas carolers.
Gift ideas: Upcycled charm bracelets from Tillydoro, handprinted socks from Strathcona Stockings, hand-blended looseleaf teas from Not Just Tea.
When: December 1 to 2, 8 to 9, and 15-23, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: 233 Mott St., Nolita, Manhattan
Admission: Free

Brooklyn Craft Central Annual Holiday Market
The scene: This two-weekend event features a curated selection of (mostly) Brooklyn-based crafters and designers. Holiday cocktails and spicy pupusas will also be on tap.
Gift ideas: Hardwood wine holders from Gowanus Furniture, quirky tees from The Fencing & Archery Printing Co., whimsical jewelry from Virginie Millefiori
When: December 15 to 16 and 22 to 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Littlefield Art Space, 622 DeGraw St., Park Slope/Gowanus, Brooklyn
Admission: Free

*Disclaimer: The author of this post is on the organizing committee for this event – another reason to check it out!

[Photo Courtesy: Brooklyn Night Bazaar on Facebook]