After my taxi journey from the temple to Singyeongju Station, I was standing on the platform waiting for my train. At one point, I heard a train coming. By the time I’d switched on my camera and was ready to take a photo of the train, it flashed by without stopping! The KTX trains are fast! They are Korea’s version of the Japanese Shinkansen “bullet” trains.
The KTX trains are also punctual. The train journey was smooth, and we arrived in Seoul at 11.25am.
I’d booked the same hostel that I’d previously stayed in. It had everything I wanted. After checking-in early, I made my way to the second day of the Lotus Lantern Festival. It was a happy coincidence that the festival, which was celebrating Buddha’s birthday next weekend, was happening on the day I returned to Seoul.
I’d met Pramila in Gyeongju and stayed connected with her. She messaged me about the festival parade yesterday, which she saw while I was doing my temple stay. She told me that there would be a parade whilst I was there too.
The activities were happening near Jogyesa Temple near Insadong. Today, the festival was focusing on traditional culture. Stalls were lined up on the temple’s street, which was closed to traffic. There were lots of activities from face-painting to meditation. Some temples were promoting their temple stays and I saw a stall for the temple I’d just stayed at. The Fo Guan Shan Monastery, which I’d visited in Taiwan, had a stall too.
The parade started at 7pm. It passed me shortly afterwards. I was standing with my phone in one hand (videoing the parade) and my camera in the other hand (which explains why some of the photos are blurry!).
When the parade passed, I went to a nearby new restaurant, Vegan Insa, and bought a takeaway kimchi quesadilla. I took the takeaway to the origin of the parade, where there was going to be some performers and music.
As I approached the festival’s main street, I could hear music. There was a big crowd. It was an evening concert!
The crowd was dancing. The DJ was doing a good job getting the crowd excited. The unleashed fire around the stadium helped too.
No sooner had the music finished when another parade began, returning to the temple. I stayed around the temple for a bit before leaving.