[Updated: 15 January 2019]
Japan is usually the first place we think of when we hear 'cherry blossom' - but did you know that the streets of South Korea are also decorated with these beautiful pink blooms from late March to mid-April? It's truly a sight unlike anywhere else!
We've compiled some of the estimated blooming dates for 2019 below - but as the official forecast for the year is not out yet, they may differ by a day or two. If you miss seeing the blooms at their fullest - don't worry! Cherry blossoms will still remain in bloom for about a week after that, giving you plenty of time to still enjoy their beauty. If you plan carefully enough, you may even be able to see cherry blossoms all throughout your trip! ?
Credit: Wei-Te Wong on Flickr
To help you out, our list is arranged from the earliest estimated bloom time to the latest for 2019 - just to make planning a little easier for you if you want to plan a cross-country cherry blossom chase ?
Jeju Island: 23 – 30 March
Starting off the season, Jeju Island has its very own Seogwipo Cherry Blossom Festival to welcome the stunning beauty of the cherry blossoms ? Jeju's King Cherry Blossom trees are known to have some of the largest and most beautiful blossoms - both in the day and at night! If you want to try something a little different, drop by when the sun has set and the trees are lit up with strings of lights. The pale pink of the blossoms are sure to stand out even more against the night sky!
Credit: Mr.kototo on Flickr
When in Jeju, you musn't miss out on the spectacular views at Hallim Park and Suweolbong either! Make sure you’re equipped with Wi-fi or mobile data so your friends can get live updates of the beautiful destination you’re currently exploring ?
Gyeongju: 27 March - 3 April
Credit: Visitkorea London on Facebook
Looking for a unique way of enjoying the cherry blossoms? Try participating in the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon! Run through paths lined by Korean Cherry trees and enjoy the breeze as you race to the finishing line ?♂️ The marathon will be on 6 April 2019 with registration closing on 15 March. There are options available for half-marathon, 10km, and 5km courses too and anyone is welcome to join!
Credit: John Menard on Flickr
Gyeongju's Bomun Lake is another beautiful spot you can't miss! Take a walk around the tree-lined lake, admiring the blossoms hanging overhead - you can even take a break at the Bomun Pavillion to admire the tranquility of the flowers against the water. We took a 6D5N trip to Gyeongju and Seoul and it was truly magnificent!
Busan: 28 March – 4 April
One of the most popular spring festivals in South Korea, the Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival turns the peaceful naval town into a picture-perfect village with raining petals.
Credit: Gadjo Dilo on Flickr
Do not miss out on the scenic shots you can take at Yeojwacheon Stream and Gyeonghwa station!
Credit: @y_.o_.n_.g on Instagram
The Yeojwacheon Starlight Festival also lights up Yeojwacheon Stream at night during this time - and couples who want a little bit of romantic atmosphere can visit the Romance Bridge for a sweet shot together ?
Credit: Catch the Wave on Facebook
#HHWT Tip: If you’re coming to Busan from Seoul, we highly recommend using a Korea Rail Pass (KR Pass) as it allows access to over 600 stations across South Korea and takes only 2.5 hours to travel from Seoul to Busan! You might even be able to catch the blossoms as you pull into the station ?
Daegu: 31 March – 7 April
Believe it or not, Daegu has a wide range of places where you can admire cherry blossoms! Head on over to Yongyeonsa Temple Cherry Blossom Street for a serene atmosphere as you stroll around the temple grounds.
Another iconic cherry blossom street is the Jijeo-dong Cherry Blossom Tunnel, so don’t forget to put that in your itinerary!
Credit: Daegu Travel on Facebook
(Psst… Daegu is the perfect place for a day trip from Busan! We highly recommend using the KR Pass for convenient transportation between the two places. What’s more – you get to enjoy discounts for admission into various tourist attractions such as SEA Life Busan Aquarium and Busan Citytour ?)
Gwangju: 2 – 8 April
Credit: Raheel Shahid on Flickr
The weather in spring is also perfect for a stroll down Gwangju’s Juknokwon Bamboo Forest. The splashes of pink cherry blossoms amidst bamboo trees make the trip down even more delightful! If you have your Wi-fi or mobile data here with you, navigate your way to Sajik Park, where more awe-inspiring sights await.
Jeolla Province: Late March to Early April
Here’s your chance to experience a Korean festival with traditional drum performances and many other interesting activities!
The Jeolla province comes alive during the Seomjingang Riverside Cherry Flower Festival and the merry atmosphere is further uplifted by the beautiful petals flowing around. Just imagine experiencing a different culture surrounded by such spectacular sights ?
Seoul: 9– 18 April
Credit: @seouljah_boy on Instagram
Cherry blossom viewing spots are aplenty in Seoul and one of the best ways to maximise your cherry blossom chase is to tour with experienced guides! This Chasing Cherry Blossoms Tour gives you the freedom to choose among various cherry blossom hotspots such as Yeouido Hangang Park, Ilsan Lake Park, and Goryeosan Mountain. The tour also serves vegetarian gimbap* so you get to experience picnicking among such extraordinary views.
(*As the vegetarian gimbap is not halal-certified, we recommend that you dine at your own discretion.)
Credit: Republic of Korea on Flickr
Bask in the spring atmosphere at the famous Yeouido Spring Flower Festival! Known for its 1,886 Korean Cherry trees, this festival lasts till night. Even after sunset, the petals remain alive with lights and street performances around.
To further immerse yourself, why not take it up a notch by donning a hanbok? Rent one from either Changdeokgung or Gyeongbokgung and you’re ready to explore. Don’t forget to use our code <TRAVELHHWT> to get $5 off your first Klook purchase! ?
Credit: etravel PH on Facebook
If you have time to spare, a trip to Everland is worth it for the beautiful display of spring flowers that brighten up this picturesque amusement park. Check out our tips for conquering Everland in a day!
Credit: Local Guides Connect
For a more unique cherry blossom viewing experience, why not visit one of the universities in Seoul? Ewha Women's University, Yonsei University, and Kyunghee University have cherry blossom trees on their grounds. Kyunghee University is known for having some gothic architecture in its buildings, which only makes the cherry blossoms even more stunning! For a bird’s-eye view of this breath-taking phenomena, you can also pay a visit to the Namsan Seoul Tower!
Gangwon-do: Early April to mid-April
If you’re looking to explore more beyond Seoul, head on over to Nami Island for a romantic time with your loved ones. Stroll down the tree-lined paths and drink in the captivating views of the canopying flowers ?
Credit: Korea Tourism Organization on Facebook
Give yourself a different perspective of the Korean Cherry trees – hop on board a cable car and ascend Mt. Seorak for astounding views! Once you’re there, be sure to explore the grounds of the Naksansa Temple, home to the majestic Bodhisattva statue.
Incheon: 13 - 20 April
Great news! From the airport, you also don’t need to travel far to find a festival! That said, you definitely have to visit the Incheon Grand Park Cherry Blossom Festival in none other than the largest park in Incheon.
Credit: @miiiyoung_limon Instagram
Incheon is worth a day trip before you head on over to Seoul or before you make your way to the airport! You can choose to either charter a private car with a professional English-speaking driver, or have your luggage conveniently delivered to your accommodation so you can explore Incheon fuss-free ?
Now that you know the approximate time periods to experience the beauty of cherry blossoms in Korea, it’s time to start planning for that Spring escapade ? Mark these dates down on your calendar and check out our top tips for Muslim travellers to Korea!
This article was brought to you by Klook.