For many people, the joys of winter center on strapping on skis, snowshoes or skates and getting outdoors. Of course, that is no less true in many parts of Asia. But with climates ranging from the famously snowy Japanese island of Hokkaido to the tropical forests of Malaysia, the continent offers a wide variety of wintertime delights for travelers who are seeking something different from a day on the slopes. Fresh-caught mountain trout sashimi, anyone? Here are five festivals to check out this winter.
The chance to pluck a sancheoneo, or mountain trout, from a frozen river draws thousands of visitors every winter to a cold-weather-loving corner of South Korea. The annual ice festival, held in Hwacheon County from Jan. 6 to Jan. 28 this year, doubles as a tribute to a cherished local fish.
To join in, first, buy plastic bait and a pole on the boardwalk along the Hwacheon Stream. Then venture onto the thick ice and claim a predrilled hole in the fishing area. Now, it’s time to start luring some trout. Pro tip: It’s all in the wrist. And in case your aquatic adeptness still feels lacking, experts dart about sharing fishing tips. Between their advice and the abundance of trout in the river, even an amateur’s chances of success are pretty good.