I may or may not have dropped off the face of the blogosphere, but I swear it was for good reason! After weeks (literally, like, 3 whole weeks) of waiting and waiting and waiting, the cherry blossoms have officially bloomed in South Korea, and I can honestly say it feels like spring has finally really begun. To be fair, it’s also about 80 degrees today though. This is our first cherry blossom season in South Korea though, and my photography business has been busy. I wrapped my first weekend of sessions, and I got to see these beautiful blooms in all their glory!
Cherry Blossom Season in South Korea
Cherry Blossoms don’t bloom all at once here. They bloom by region, and Pyeongtaek usually blooms at the very end of March. I scheduled my first sessions for then and surprise, surprise…there were zero blooms. In fact, the buds were still completely closed. Even Seoul, which was projected to bloom at the very beginning of April, was late, finally blooming at the beginning of last week.
When I went out to my session location on Thursday, the buds were about 85% there, and I decided to chance it. And, as luck would have it, Suwon bloomed about 95% on Saturday and 100% yesterday! The warm weather and a touch of rain helped, making for a beautiful start to cherry blossom season.
Where to See Cherry Blossoms in South Korea
Blossom season in Korea is wild. There are cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, pear blossoms, magnolia blossoms…you get the picture. None are quite as famous as the cherry blossoms though, and there are festivals celebrating them through South Korea. We didn’t make any big trips to the festivals this year because I was booked for photography throughout, but I made note of some of the biggest and most beautiful ones! If you’re in the country and want to make the trip, these are some of the biggest (most popular) places to go:
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival // 진해군항제
- Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival // 석촌호수 벚꽃축제
- Gyeonpo Cherry Blossom Festival // 경포대 벚꽃축제
- Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival // 화개장터 벚꽃축제
- Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival // 제주 왕벚꽃축제
- Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival // 영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제
All of these festivals are slated usually between the end of March and the first two weeks of April because, once these blossoms bloom, they’re only around for a week or two, then they’re gone until next year! Honestly, festivals sound fun, but they also sound like chaos, and the beauty of the season as that you can find cherry blossoms just about anywhere!
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms Near Camp Humphreys
There are a lot of local places in Pyeongtaek that are completely alive with blossoms right now! Most of the streets leading to and from Camp Humphreys are lined with cherry blossom trees, which makes for an absolutely spectacular sight. But you want to know some other places to see them in all their glory?
- Pyeongtaek University – this one gets very popular during the weekends
- Downtown Sosabeol – walk along the river paths through the city, and you’ll see hundreds of blooming cherry blossoms (then head to dinner at Sous Vide Chicken Pub!)
- Hyuncheongsa Shrine in Asan – this beautiful spot has everything from magnolia blossoms to cherry blossoms (go early!)
- Gakwonsa Temple in Cheonan – the blossoms set against the beautiful temple buildings are bar none
- Suwon Hwaseong Fortress – this was my first location for photos, but it hadn’t bloomed yet…but it’s breathtaking
- Bike Path/River Walk in Pyeontaek – head to Naeri Park and hit the bike path along the River Road; the cherry blossoms and weeping willows make for a gorgeous sight
Cherry blossom season in South Korea fits the country’s profile to a T: lots of photo ops, lots of crowds, and a whole lot of beauty. There’s something spectacular about the season and the fact that it’s so fleeting, but I’m also going to be really glad to bid it adieu until next year thanks to its unpredictability!
Tell me – do you have a blossom season where you are?