When the cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter begin to subside, the return of the warmer weather wakes Korean landscape up after a long hibernation. From the beginning of March when the air is still cool, spring announces its arrival in Korea with a blanket of white and yellow blossoms spreading like a quilt all over the nation. In spring, pink cherry and white sansuyu blossoms spread around Korea, from bustling streets and famous sites to peaceful pagodas.
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Visit Seoul to enjoy Wakko
One of the most wonderful experiences in Korea is strolling amongst the blossoming flowers and seeing the country at its finest.
The short, easily accessible journey to Yeouido will take spring enthusiasts to the city’s most celebrated venue for viewing cherry blossoms. The winding road of Yunjungno, behind the National Assembly building, is lined with over 1,400 cherry trees – all of which are roughly 3- to 40 years old. Also, at the height of the cherry blossom season, a Cherry Blossom’s Big Festival will be held with an array of activities such as dancing, a food festival with a special cherry blossom menu called “Wakko” cocktail, cherry blossom body-painting event and Tongtong Love Spring Festival.
Another famous site here is Namsan mountain. Despite its height of 262 meters above the sea level, Mt. Namsan is a fairly gentle slope . The Namsan Circular Road offers a beautiful scenic route lined with forsythias, azaleas, and cherry blossoms. If you are interested in just seeing the mountain and its panoramic surroundings, take a cable car. If you take the cable carin the evening , you can expect a splendid night view of downtown Seoul.
Another interesting destination of cherry blossoms is Kyunghee university. With its stately old building and beautiful campus, Kyunghee university seems like a tourist site rather than a university. In spring, it is covered with lush cherry blossoms. The road connecting the main gate to the main building is famous for its 200 cherry blossoms trees that create a colorful tunneling effect. The lake in front of the main building enhances the spring ambiance, beckoning young couples to go out and enjoy its greenery and spring flowers.
Gyeongju – Pray under cherry blossoms
About 5-hour drive from Seoul is Gyeongju, commonly known as the “museum without walls” thanks to many artifacts found throughout the city. In 2000, five historical sites in downtown Gyeongju were designated as UNESCO World Cultural Heritages under the name of the Gyeongju Historic Area. Buddhism has a strong influence on the daily life in Gyeongju that can be also seen in the architectural style of pagodas and temples such as Bulguksa pagoda, Girimsa pagoda, Seokguram cave, King Munmu’s Mausoleum and Queen Seondeok’s Mausoleum.
Gyeongju becomes a pink and white wonderland in the early spring. The city is filled with blooming cherry blossoms. This is a harmonious combination of the tradition and the modernity. Visiting Gyeongju in spring, you will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities, especially Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon. Participants will have an extraordinary chance to appreciate the spirit of historical Gyeongju along with the scenic beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom. Particularly for family participants, a walkathon along the cherry trees will be beheld . In addition, the cherry blossom festival at Bomun Lake Resort is also a special cultural experience for many visitors.
During your journey, remember to enjoy a romantic afternoon in the warm, romantic spring breezes. It will be also a fabulous experience to sip aromatic tea and stroll in a famous film studio. Leave your daily life behind and imagine that you are playing the role of your favorite movie character, you can feel a memorable sweet spring dream.
Busan, the port city in the warm breezes
Spring not only comes on blooming petals but also brings warm winds to this country to start a happy year in port cities. The beautiful port city of Busan, the second largest metropolitan area in Korea, is regularly visited by national and international tourists. In spring, the city bustles with people heading for the many attractions such as absolutely wonderful beaches, glamorous night scenes, and traditional markets scattered around the city and the port.
In Busan, wander around famous beaches such as Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches to listen to the sound of sea waves and the songs of birds returning along with warm breezes after the cold winter, and join in traditional games such as jumping rope, throwing darts, water-skiing, surfing, and other watersports.
After a journey along the beaches, you can visit ancient pagodas and temples of Busan such as Beomeosa pagoda, one of five biggest pagodas in Korea, or Haedong Yonggungsa pagoda.
The final destination in Busan will be traditional markets. The most famous market in Busan is Jagalchi market – the largest seafood market in Korea located close to Jagalchi and Nampo Stations. Here, tourists can immerse themselves in the lifestyle of local people and enjoy fresh seafood as well as other special dishes.
Although Busan is not filled with blooming spring flowers like Seoul or Gyeongju, this destination will surely not make you disappointed.
The return of warmer weather not only brings countless beautiful wildflowers into bloom but also gives families a chance to spend precious time with their loved ones through all various outdoor activities. The warmer season sees a host of festivals in Korea.
In spring, cherry blossom festivals are indispensable in Korea such as International Maehwa Festival at Seomjin village; Gunhangje Festival drawing more than 2 million tourists every year to Jinhae; Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival at Jeju Sports Complex Area with a cherry blossom photo zone as well as indigenous wildflower and orchid exhibits, allowing visitors to appreciate various flora that is unique to the region. With the installation of a lighting system, Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival can now be enjoyed even day or night. In addition, Hwagae Cherry Blossom and Cheongpunghoban Cherry Blossom Festival are held with various shows and performances, including a cherry blossom street concert, a magic show, and a dance parade. Visitors can also sample some medicinal herbal teas and food made from wild herbs.
In addition to cherry blossoms, sansuyu is also a very special flower of Korea. Gurye Sansuyu Festival organized at Jirisan Mountain Hot Spring Area during March 21st – 29th, 2015 features various hands-on programs like cornus fruit liquor making and cornus fruit makgeolli sampling. A number of performances such as pungmulnori (farmers’ music performances), traditional Korean music and fireworks displays are held throughout the festival period. Meanwhile, at Baeksa Sansuyu Blossom Festival in Icheon, home to 100-year-old wild sansuyu trees, visitors can enjoy the time in the village decorated in yellow sansuyu blossoms.
During March 5th – 8th, Jeju Fire Festival will be held. The festival is mainly focused on a field-burning ceremony to pray for health and a good harvest in the coming year. The activity is said to have originated from the local pioneers’ nomadic culture of feeding fresh and nutritious greens to their cattle. The festival offers a number of hands-on events where visitors can participate and enjoy the sights of Jeju Island’s breathtaking natural environment.
Koreans treasure their long history and rich cultural heritage. The season of spring brings an array of festivals to celebrate Korean culture and ensure it is passed down to future generations. The festivals cover a diversity of genres, and visitors can make use of good opportunities to both watches and participate in the living culture on display at these festivals.
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