Monday, February 09, 2009

태백산 눈축제

Getting to the Snow Festival at Mt. Taebaek Provincial Park was not a straight-forward thing. First, I have to take an intra-city bus (33번) at the Inter-city Bus Terminal. I found out about the bus to take and the place to take it after paying a visit to the Tourist Information Centre located outside the Taebaek Train Station. The bus journey took about half an hour and cost 1,200won. The bus dropped me off at a disused petrol station at the foot of Mt. Taebaek. After that, I have to take a free shuttle bus up to somewhere nearer but not very near to where the festival was held.

Took this picture while queuing up for the shuttle bus to go up Mt. Taebaek.

After alighting from the shuttle bus, I have to walk uphill for another 20 minutes to get to the ticket booth. Along the way, there was a line of floats parked on one side of the road.

A pumpkin carriage float.

A flying cow float? This will not be the last cow you see.

The newly-opened O2 Resort at Taebaek was represented at the festival.

An eye-catching inflated float.

A double-dragon float.

The admission fee for the festival was 2,000won. After passing through the admission gate, I have to walk some more distance before finally arriving at the main festival site. The warmer weather in the last one week has already ruined many of the ice sculptures. Those that were still standing were melting away.

A board to paste one's wishes for this year.

A close-up of the wishes written on post-it.

A remaining cow ice sculpture. In the background were ruined ice sculptures.

Snow sculptures were also not spared. Workers have to keep patching up the sculptures with more snow so that they don't fall apart before the festival ends.

Very little snow left in Mt. Taebaek. It was a disappointment.

One of the 3 mascots of the ice festival standing at the entrance.

A sculpture of swallow.

A sculpture of midget groom and bridge.

When you see pig heads, you are in luck.

Seeing pig heads may make you rich.

Korea is going to launch a satellite-carrying rocket this year.

A monster from the Korean traditional folklore.

Workers were busy patching up the Namdaemun sculpture.

Another cow sculpture to remind you that 2009 is the year of ox.

A view of the main festival site. Not as big as thought.

Two of the 3 mascots. The other mascot has wings. Remember?

Some flower decors to add colour to an otherwise white landscape.

Beautiful lanterns in four different colours.

A close-up view.

A lantern tunnel. I thought this is more worth seeing than the snow sculptures

Wish is written on a card and hung below the lantern.

A view of mountain, shrine and snow.

Another snow sculpture of cow. This will be the last cow you will see here.

Melting snow sculpture. Signalling the arrival of the warmer spring weather.

The Cat Bus which appears in Totoro. Behind the bus are two mini slides.

An ice slide to keep the youngs and grown-ups entertained.

A father carrying his child down the slide together. Isn't it a bit risky?

The snow at Taebaek is melting even though it is at 900m above sea level.

On the way down to the shuttle bus pick-up point.

After spending about 2 hours sightseeing, I was back at the base of Mt Taebaek around 5pm. I need to wait for more than 40 minutes before Bus 33 arrived. I returned to my hotel to change up before leaving for O2 Resort at about 7pm. I anticipated that it would be very cold up at the resort, hence, I have myself fully wrapped up in warm clothing.

Mt. Taebaek, like the rest of the cities in Gangwon Province was not getting a lot snow this winter. What I saw doesn't match my image of it which should be covered in thick white snow. This winter is probably not a good time to visit Taebaek.

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