Cherry Blossoms 2015

Are you planning on a trip to South Korea this Spring? It was almost a year after my last visit and it still feels like yesterday.  Last 2014 I was in South Korea in the month of April which is spring.  I am officially in love with Korean Spring time.

2015 Cherry Blossoms Jinhae

2015 Cherry Blossoms Jinhae

This year I am definitely going back to Jinhae with my kids so they can see how beautiful the place is.  There is no update yet on the expected cherry blossom in Jinhae but I hope it would come first week of April because we are already booked!

In any case, I would have the option to check Yeouido as well and enjoy the view of Han River.  Last year cherry blossoms in Seoul was a bit late it came mid April.  So if this is the same case for 2015 I think we will see cherry blossoms in full from Seoul.

2014 Yeouido Spring

2014 Yeouido Spring

If you are planning on a Spring trip to South Korea this year feel free to comment so we can exchange plans.  I am so excited with this travel plan.  I will strive to share more information for those who are also planning to go on tour this spring.

 

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A Day in Jinhae

It been almost a month since I came back from a short visit to South Korea.  I am writing about our day trip to the country side which led us to this wonderful place called Jinhae.

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March 31, 2014 was a perfect day to be in Jinhae in South Korea.  As the Koreans would say 대박! We were so lucky to be in this place the right time. I made our booking as early as October 2013 with little hope that we will get to see cherry blossoms.  Heavens conspired with our earnest desire to see this wonderful event.  Our flight back is April 1, a day before we go back to homeland we spent the whole day in Jinhae walking.  Yes…after getting off the bus terminal we never took a bus or taxi and roamed around walking.

Everywhere we set our eyes, there was cherry blossoms. Jinhae is hometown to the biggest cherry blossoms in South Korea. It was a good decision to be there a day before the festival. Almost all the trees are in full bloom.

Streets of Jinhae

Since this is a day before the actual festival, there were no direct Korail routes yet.  During the actual festival a special train schedule is made available by Korail that takes passenger from Seoul direct to Jinhae.  However, on ordinary days, the express bus is the fastest and most convenient way to go to Jinhae.  From Seoul, the Nambu Bus Terminal has regular bus trips to Jinhae.

Nambu Bus Terminal

The terminal is right outside Nambu Bus Terminal subway station of the green line. It was convenient to take this line as our hostel is in Hongdae.  This bus terminal is pretty organized.  We were able to buy our ticket in advance and the bus left on time as scheduled.

The cherry blossoms appears to be the main attraction but in the festival is to commemorate Korean Admiral Yi who led a successful battle with Japanese.  This festival is called 군항제 (Gunhangje).

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The streets were getting ready for the first day of festival when we arrived.  There were food stalls line just before the main rotunda. We had a taste of Korean street food  from this lane.

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There were lots of  choices for the food and seems like roasted pork is one of the speciality being offered.  In the Philippines we call this lechon.  Having these stalls around gave me a taste of what the festival could be minus the crowd.  That day, there were many people but it was manageable.

Tents set-up for the festival featuring Korean food

Finally, a day in Jinhae will not be complete without seeing this wonderful place–the Yeojwacheon.  It’s like the Cheonggye stream in Seoul, it was a long path walk but this one is lined up with cherry blossoms.

The most famous spot in Jinhae

The place was breath taking. This made me realize that what I saw last 2013 was too little compared to this.  It felt like an endless walk.  I told my self, this is what 벚꽃 (beotkkot) is. The sakura of Korea.

Families and Couples enjoy this path walk with the trees in full bloom.

The weather was perfect for walking. It was not too cold nor hot.  This is what one perfect spring day should be.  This was one of the most memorable day I had in South Korea.

Cherry Blossoms

The trip to Jinhae was the culminating part in of our visit to South Korea this year.  The cherry blossoms brought happiness and energy to us.  This is something that I would definitely want to do again.

Spring! Spring! Spring!

I am officially a fan of 봄 (bom)! Not just the lead vocal of the very famous Korean girl group 2NE1 박봄 (Park Bom)  but the season itself.  A lot of K-Pop fans would probably know that 봄 means spring in Korea.  This year I am fortunate enough to travel again to South Korea.  It is my 6th time to visit South Korea and March 2014 marks my 3rd time to experience spring.

What makes me more excited now is that I will be traveling down to 진해 (Jinhae), a small town in the province of 경상남도 (Gyeongsangnamdo).  Just a bit of information on naming places in Korea,  도 (do) is province in Korean. In the name 경상남도, 남 (nam) means south and so Gyeongsangnamdo is Province of South Gyeongsang.  If there is south, the likelihood of having a north version is almost always there and north is 북 (buk).  With that, North Province of Gyeongsang would be– 경상북도 (Gyeongsangbukdo) where the booming city of 대구 (Daegu) is located.

The town of Jinhae is where the biggest cherry blossom festival is held every year.  For this year, the festival is happening from April 1-10, 2014.  Based from the research I made, this is one of the most sought after festival in Korea.  Now I realize what my long lost language exchange partner had been talking about.  He was so proud of their province Gyeongsangnamdo, he mentioned that the biggest cherry blossom happens in their place. The traffic can be very heavy during this period but the good thing is the KTX makes a special direct route to Jinhae during festival period.  We will be a day earlier from the festival  and hopefully we see the cherry trees in almost its full bloom.

The weather forecast kept on changing for the past weeks but as of today, the forecast during our stay shows a no rain during our period of stay.  According to the people I talked to last year when we visited Jeju, cherry blossoms disappears as soon as it rains.  This is why experiencing cherry blossom would be a bit tricky if you are a foreigner like me who will need to book in advance to travel to Korea.  The cherry blossom festival is usually announced within the month of March which is relatively near the actual date of the festival. The spring festivals is announced by the Korean Tourism through their website.  During spring there are several other places in Korea that is worth a visit.

Spring here I come!