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.

Gadling Gear Review: Energizer Pop-Up Lantern

Energizer Pop-Up LanternNow that spring is officially here warmer weather can’t be far behind. That means it’s time to head back outside to enjoy our favorite activities. Few things reconnect us to the outdoors better than a spring camping trip and just in time for the start of the season, Energizer has introduced some great new lighting options for use around the campsite. One of the best of those new options is the Pop-Up Lantern, a compact and rugged light with an ingenious design.

True to its name, the Pop-Up Lantern features a bright, clear lamp that springs out from the base of the light. When it is in its most compact form, the lantern collapses down to just 4 inches in height, which is actually smaller than a can of soda. That makes in incredibly easy to pack and store, and since the entire thing weighs just a few ounces, you’ll barely know that you have it in your backpack. When you’re ready to use it, the light quickly and easily extends upwards, not quite doubling the overall size.

But don’t let its diminutive size fool you. This is an incredibly bright lamp, providing 150 lumens at its highest setting. That’s plenty to illuminate a fairly large campsite and it is actually far too bright for the interior of a tent. Fortunately, holding down the power button allows the user to dim the light to a custom setting, which makes it more useful in a variety of settings and can greatly extend battery life. Considering the lamp can get up to 100 hours of run time on the included AA batteries, you won’t have to worry about getting caught out in the backcountry without any light for quite some time.Energizer built the Pop-Up Lantern to be durable enough to survive in the outdoors, and while its case is made from plastic, it doesn’t feel fragile in any way. In fact, it has a surprisingly solid feel that will give you a sense of confidence when packing it for just about any outdoor excursion. The lantern is even water resistant, which makes it a great choice for use on a boat and will keep it from shorting out in an unexpected downpour. Energizer is so confident in the build quality of this light that they even ship it with a lifetime warranty. That should give you a sense of just how durable it truly is.

The Pop-Up Lantern has a simple and easy to use design so it is difficult to find much fault with it. The lamp does exactly what you would expect – provide super-bright light whereever you need it. The fact that it is also very efficient with battery life, built to withstand plenty of wear and tear and can collapse down to a very small, packable size is just icing on the cake.

Best of all, Energizer is selling them at an incredibly affordable price. The Pop-Up Lantern is just $19.99, which is a real bargain for a product of this quality. It is so good, in fact, you just might want two.

[Photo Credit: Energizer]

Photo of the Day (05/18/08)

We seem to have quite a few Asian photo of the day submissions recently, so I’m going to keep the theme going. Today’s image comes to us from user LadyExpat, who took this playful shot at the Bongeunsa Temple in Seoul, Korea. The combination of the fish eye lens and the vibrant colors from the lanterns is definitely eye-catching. The fact you can also see the reflections of the lanterns in the mirrored doors only adds to the effect.

Got a great photo you would like to have featured as our Photo of the Day? Submit it to the Gadling Photo Pool on Flickr for consideration.