With its booming economy, ancient culture, and increasingly prominent presence on the world stage, South Korea has garnered immense popularity and rapidly becoming one of Asia’s most popular destinations. Travellers are drawn by the delicious Korean cuisine, friendly people and the incredible pop culture significance — yes, K-Pop and K Dramas, which have found a huge audience outside Korea.
South Korea experiences four unique seasons: a deep freeze winter running from November through March, a verdant spring with its ubiquitous cherry blossoms lasting from March through late May, a sweltering and rainy monsoon season that extends through the duration of the summer months, and a crisp autumn that runs from September through November. The spring and autumn are the best season for South Korea travel. So, this Seoul travel guide will give prospective travellers a brief rundown on this metropolitan city’s must-does, must-sees, and must-eats in spring!
Japan’s cherry blossoms may be legendary, but Korea’s blossoms are also a sight to behold. Despite being a bustling metropolis, Seoul has its fair share of cherry blossom viewing sites, and Yeouido, an island situated on the Han River, is the most accessible among all. Usually held in mid-April, The Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is famed for its more than 1800 Yoshino Cherry Blossom Trees that are lit up with coloured lights at night. Visitors can enjoy street performances, food vendors selling cherry blossom-themed snacks, and countless art exhibitions whilst taking in the seemingly endless canopies of blooms right in the heart of Seoul.
In addition to the cherry blossoms, the vibrant and breathtaking Lotus Lantern Festival is also a sight not to be missed. There’s no better season to visit the Jogyesa Temple than spring when Koreans prepare to celebrate the birthday of Buddha (end of April - beginning of May) during the Lotus Lantern Festival. A visit to Jogyesa Temple during the annual Lotus Lantern festival that features a whopping 100,000 lantern trail from Dongdaemun to Jogyesa temple is truly an authentic Korean experience. Even if you are not into spiritual activities, the path towards Jogyesa temple is so instagram-worthy that no one could resist clicking selfies just to share in social media.
Spring in Korea is arguably the best season. As far as temperature goes, it is not too hot and not too cold, hence locals and travellers alike enjoy spending time outdoors to bask in the perfect spring weather. Since the weather is perfect, it is the best time to hike to the top of Bukhan Mountain. The hike to the top of the mountain can be tiring, but when you see the great panoramic view of Seoul from the top, it’s going to be worth the sweat and effort. Hiking is by all means one of the springtime-must-dos in Seoul.
A trip to Korea is not complete without enjoying authentic Korean cuisine. Spring is the best time to taste great Korean cuisines made of wild greens and fresh vegetables, all of which are vibrant and packed with nutrition. Some local delicacies, such as seafood caught in coastal regions, are only available in spring. So, head to Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market during this spring to enjoy delicious seasonal seafood. Strawberry season in Korea also takes place in spring. Fresh strawberries abound in the springtime and they are sold everywhere, from supermarkets to roadside trucks, making strawberries another springtime-must-eat in Seoul.
Everland seems to be on everyone’s Seoul itinerary. Every year the annual Everland Tulip Festival features over 1.2 million tulips with 110 different variations. Although tulips typically blossom in warmer April weather, Everland has developed expertise in cultivating the flowers allowing them to blossom in mid-March. With a variety of intense colors, and a period of blooming typically longer than domestic flowers, like cherry blossoms, they are the perfect flower for the seasonal festival. The tulips normally in full bloom for the entire spring season, which made most parts of the park instagram-worthy. Along with the beautiful tulips and attractions, travellers can join in some of the parades and outdoor musical events just to get into the spring cheer.
The second largest palace in Seoul should definitely not be missed. Once a residential palace for queens and concubines of the Joseon dynasty, Changgyeonggung Palace is an ideal place to explore the history of Korea and get an up-close look at the country’s traditional architecture. Furthermore, it’s also one of the best spots in Seoul to enjoy the spring blooms. Changdeokgung Palace is located east of Gyeongbokgung Palace and the famous Bukchon Hanok Village. Get in the mood of spring by wearing a ‘hanbok’ and you can enter Gyeongbokgung Palace for free. An assortment of cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, Korean bush cherry, Korean dogwood flowers, apricot blossoms, and royal azaleas blossom among ancient buildings, making the palace a perfect place to capture an awe-inspiring photo.
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