We were still walking around the shops in Ssamziegil when we suddenly heard a drumming noise from the street. People started to rush out of the mall to the street, so we took a peek from the 3rd floor to see what’s going on out there. Turned out, the Lotus Lantern Festival parade is passing by. We were there on Buddha’s Birthday weekend celebration and I think the Lotus Lantern Festival ws part of that celebration.
Apparently Insa-dong was on the parade route and we didn’t even know that. We were thinking of going to Cheonggyecheon Stream later on tonight, because that’s where we thought the parade’s going to be. But I guess we lucked out. We also got a pretty good spot up front to see the parade clearly. I managed to snap photos and took a couple of footage of the parade.
After the parade, we started exploring the area around Ssamziegil. There are lots of shops that sell traditional items that are perfect for souvenirs.
After dinner, since we still have time before the subway closes, we decided to head to Cheonggyecheon Stream (청계천), where the Lotus Lantern Festival happened to have their installments at. It was around 10 pm on a Sunday night and we're very surprised that the place was still packed with people—young, old, families, kids, couples. One of my friend made a comment, "It's like they don't need to work or something. How come Sunday night can be this packed?". I have to agree that it feels very different than here in the US. The nightlife in Seoul is definitely more alive. Plus the weather was perfect for just walking around the stream or sitting down while looking at the lanterns. We enjoyed the cool night breeze while watching the people around us. It was a perfect way to end our first day in Seoul.