Lotus Lantern Festival – In honour of wisdom and light

Paying tribute to a millennial tradition, the Lotus Lantern Festival held with the aim of paying tribute to Buddha’s coming into the world, is a grand and vibrant event celebrated over a period of 3 days. It would be a good idea to seek out an appropriate Seoul apartment to fully soak in the activity during this period. Somerset Palace Seoul is a recommended Somerset Palace Seoul offers comfortable Seoul serviced apartments that would prove to be ideal for the purpose. According to Buddhist beliefs, lanterns, more importantly light signifies wisdom. Therefore, the lantern festival is held in respect for the Lord Buddha, who brought immense wisdom and enlightenment to his followers. Bringing throngs of foreign and local tourists together, Seoul sees hundreds and thousands of magnificent lotus lanterns of various sizes lighting up the city during this time. Also to be expected during this period is parades, performances and songs, all in honour of the great Lord Buddha. The Lotus Lantern Festival is essentially a family oriented festival. One sees entire families getting together and making lanterns of different shapes and colours while engaging in the multitude of programmes arranged just or the occasion.


Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Calliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.


Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival in July – A Dream World in Asia

The Korean cartoon and animation film industry is currently enjoying an upswing with about 120 animation studios collaborating with US and Japanese animation companies to provide input to TV shows and movies. A spate of recent animated feature films made in Korea proved to be huge family hits such as the 2011 movies “Leafie” and “A Hen into the Wild” and the more recent “The King of Pigs,” “Penguin Pororo” and “Mashimaro” helped boost Korea’s animation industry to third place in the world. The country’s first full length animated movie “Hong Gil-dong”, released in 1967, set the stage for animated movies.

With the popularity at home of Korean cartoon and animated movies and with Korean animators and artists being increasingly involved in international hits, the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival (SICAF) to be held from the 23rd to the 28th of July has become a significant event and now ranks as one of the five most important animated film festivals in the world. The event was first held in 1995 and is promoted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the city of Seoul. The event showcases the work of Korean and overseas cartoon and animated moviemakers and artists related to the genre through exhibitions and themed film shows aimed at adults, teenagers and children.

As the festival serves as a platform to present and explore new techniques in movie-making in the genre, it displays the latest work of celebrated and up-and-coming cartoon and animated artists. It also provides opportunities for fans to meet with a range of industry notables through a series of master classes. As an important international event, it helps to identify industry trends, assists to expand the market for cartoon and animated film making, matches artists and animators with investors and distributors, and encourages new talent with a host of shows and competitions. The Seoul Promotion Plan is one of the ways that new artists and animators receive a boost. More than 1,500 films are submitted each year to the organising committee for the competitive and non-competitive categories. In 2012, 45 countries competed in the festival. Prizes are awarded for feature films, short films (professional), short film (student) TV and commissioned films and internet animation.

Festival visitors looking for comfortable, well-appointed contemporary Seoul serviced apartments should consider the Somerset Palace Seoul. These fine examples of a quality Seoul apartment feature modern amenities that totally fit in with the lifestyles of business and leisure visitors.

Life of the Party – Nightlife in Seoul

It is said that no one goes home at midnight in Seoul. While partying till 6 am is not uncommon as bars and club stay open till late, insomniacs also have a huge choice of other activities at their disposal. 
Seoul is primarily known for its dizzying array of cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs that dish out exquisite food, the latest dance tunes and high tech lighting systems that keep dancers gyrating till the wee hours of the morning! Itaewon is considered one of the best spots for a foreigner looking for a place to party. Streets lined with western style pubs, tapas bars, lounges and some of the city’s most popular clubs offer visitors a familiar environment to meet compatriots, English speaking locals and a vibrant nightlife culture. 
However, nightlife in Hongdae, Daehangno and Shinchon appear to be more frenzied. Being university towns, they are full of young people during weekends wanting to have a good time in the bars, restaurants and clubs. Well priced venues offer live performances and space to dance and the vibe is definitely friendly. 
‘Club Day’ is crowded with residents and visitors alike where one entrance fee will grant access to at least a dozen other clubs. If long lines outside the more popular clubs are not a deterrent, then Hongdae is one of the best places to savour the Seoul nightlife scene. Gangnam and Apgujeong are two other night-time hotspots. This is where young people from the many businesses in the area hit the town after work. Home to some of the city’s most up market and expensive clubs, these areas are popular with well heeled locals and those wanting to have a good time at any cost. The area’s after hour’s clubs go on till sun up and partying all night long is not unknown here. The clubs and bars of Seoul’s many posh hotels also offer after dark entertainment for their guests.
A haven particularly for stressed out males are up market spas that offer a range of relaxing massages even after dark, in candlelit calm spaces with comfortable seating and individual computer screens. Some twenty four hour Korean spas are equipped with gyms, game rooms, cafeterias and saunas and even offer skin care and massage services. 
With some of the fastest internet speeds in the world it is no surprise that Seoul has 24 hour internet cafes and gaming centres where patrons can play a variety of multi player games for reasonable hourly rates throughout the day and indulge in snacks when they remember to eat! 
Movie theatres in Seoul provide good alternative entertainment after dark. They screen the latest local blockbusters as well as popular Hollywood fare. Although last shows generally end around 1 am, a series of multiplexes named Megabox have shows up till three o’clock in the morning. 
While shopping is an acceptable late night activity in Seoul with some malls open till the wee hours, it appears that having your hair, nails and makeup done late in the night or even early morning is nothing out of the ordinary. Karaoke bars offering Japanese, Korean and English songs are found all over town and are open till 6 am. This is where bar hoppers generally end their nights belting out drunken songs! 
The gamut of late night entertainment available in Seoul certainly qualifies it for the title the “city that never sleeps”. 
Somerset Palace Seoul is targeted at providing international business and leisure visitors a place of relaxation and calm to enjoy a hassle free stay in a vibrant city. These Seoul serviced apartments offer well equipped and contemporary apartments in studio, one and two bedroom configurations and penthouses. Stay at a conveniently located Seoul apartment to easily access the city’s entertainment, commercial centres and other attractions.