While all the travel media attention is focused on the cherry blossom in Japan not many are aware that South Corea has also some amazing cherry trees blossoming into a pretty show right now (and every year in early spring).
In the last couple of weeks the temperatures have risen and there is a very pleasant feeling of spring in the air.
Seoul is suddenly carpeted with pale pink petals; roads, parks and trails are lined with impressively fluffy trees. But it is not just the cherry trees that are flowering. Everything is springing back to life. There are all sorts of incredibly colourful trees and plants that have sprung back to life after the rigid winter.
A number of cherry blossom festivals are planned around the country to celebrate and enjoy this beautiful natural event.
The most famous cherry blossom festival in the country is held in a town called Jinhae which is quite far from Seoul. But Seoul itself has some interesting spots and its own cherry blossom festival too.
The most famous cherry blossom spot in Seoul is in an area called Yeouido. This is a location along the Han river and a short stroll from the National Assembly metro station. The cherry blossom in Seoul can be enjoyed both during the day and in the evenings, when the trees are all lit up. They offer a different atmosphere and if you have never seen the buoyant spectacle of a high concentration of blossoming cherry trees in a single place, it is worth experiencing both.
Yesterday we went to Yeouido in the evening after work and we had a lovely stroll. Even though a lot of people were there to enjoy the sight it was not overcrowded and we really enjoyed the evening.
I went back today during the day to take photos in daylight. I was expecting less people during the day but in fact I ended up arriving there around 2pm and it was even more crowded than it was yesterday just after sunset so I did not bother doing the whole walk again. It was heaving with asian tourists and locals so I took a couple of photos and then decided to head off to a different location.
On the way to Yeoudo I took note of a location that had a road lined with cherry trees in full boom that I noticed form the train window while speeding past it; even though I had not read about this place on the guide books or on the Seoul visitor’s website on the way back I decided to stop and check it out. I was rewarded with a lovely walk along a path parallel to the metro line and the road which was lined with cherry trees in full bloom.
There were a few locals there enjoying walking, riding bikes and elders sitting on benches and enjoying the shower of petals in the shade of the trees but no crowds. It felt like I had just discovered a secret.
If you are wondering where to go in Seoul for a peaceful walk under the shade of pink cherry petals, then I really suggest walking along this path between Guro Digital Complex station and Sindaebang station; it may not have the lovely views over the Han river river but you will surely get a more private and personal experience of the cherry blossom.
Some photos on Flickr now. We will probably take more photos over the coming weekend so check the Flickr link again in a couple of weeks’ time.
Have you experienced the cherry blossom either in Japan or in South Korea? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below.