Recent Posts, Posted by Matt in ALL DESTINATIONS,Chungcheong,Festivals & Holidays,Gyeonggi,Gyeongsang,Jeju,Jeolla,Nature,Seoul, 2 Comments
It’s March, and that means it’s almost time for the spring flower festivals of Korea! It also means that I’m receiving a lot of questions from potential travelers… namely, “When and where can I see the flowers?”
Starting today, I’ll do my best to answer those questions via a special three-part post. Today’s post provides a quick overview of this spring’s flower festivals. Part 2 will provide program and comprehensive transportation information about Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival, the 49th annual Jinhae Naval Port Festival (April 1~10, 2011), and Part 3 will do the same for Seoul’s biggest flower fête, the Yeouido Hangang Spring Flower Festival (April 13~17, 2011).
Hopefully, these posts will save you the trouble of sifting through outdated festival websites or confusing bus and train schedules as you plan your pilgrimage to see those ephemeral pale pink blossoms. Please note that 1) festival dates are highly subject to change, depending on how weather impacts the fickle trees’ flowering schedules. 2) The ongoing foot and mouth disease (FMD) and avian influenza (AI) outbreaks among livestock have already cancelled two early festivals and may force others to do the same. Please check back frequently as I’ll make updates as they become available.
Now… let’s take a look at Korea’s 2011 Spring Flower Festivals:
Gwangyang Maehwa Festival CANCELLED
(Maehwa Village, South Jeolla Province)
Traditionally one of Korea’s first spring flower festivals, Maehwa Village’s 83 acres of apricot trees cover the Baegunsan mountains with their white blossoms. In addition to flower watching, the festival features lots of music, dance and experience programs.
(more info: call +82-61-797-2721 or visit http://www.gwangyang.go.kr:80/maehwa/ [Korean only].)
Gurye Sansuyu Festival CANCELLED
(Gurye, South Jeolla Province)
Gurye is famous for its teas, liquors and food made from the cornus flower, also known as the Japanese Dogwood. These flowers are said to protect the liver and skin. Gurye is a picturesque farming town located between Mt. Jirisan and the Seomjingang River. Visitors can enjoy performances, hands-on programs, fireworks and a national arm wrestling competition! There are also three important Buddhist temples and the Jirisan Mountain Hot Springs Resort located nearby.
(more info: call +82-61-1330 or visit http://www.sansuyu.go.kr/ [Korean only].)
Gwangju Spring Flower Expo
March 25~April 3
It’s a bit different than seeing a natural landscape of flowers or flowering trees, but the city of Gwangju in South Jeolla Province aims to get a head start on nature with its Flower Expo, taking place at the Kim Daejung Convention Center. In addition to the flower shows enjoy a decorative flower function contest.
(more info: call +82-62-611-2124 or visit http://www.flowershow.kr/ [Korean only].)
(12th) Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Flower Festival
(Icheon Baeksa Village, Gyeonggi Province)
For over 100 years, the beautiful sansuyu, or Japanese dogwood tree has grown naturally in the Baeksa Village area of Icheon. During this festival, participants can play traditional folk games and watch a parade. The festival is a popular attraction for amateur and professional photographers.
(more info: call +82-61-1330 or visit the KTO page or http://www.2104sansooyou.com [Korean only].)
(49th) Jinhae Naval Port Festival
(Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province)
April 1~10, 2011
The big daddy of all of the spring flower festivals, Jinhae’s world-famous flowering cherry trees boast the world’s largest concentration of the spring favorite. The festival dates back to 1952 and celebrates Korea’s greatest naval hero, Admiral Yi Sun-shin. At the festival, climb aboard a recreated turtle ship, a modern naval ship, view the Naval Academy Museum, and just enjoy the beautiful harbor and cherry trees! Don’t miss the “Romance Walk” near Jinhae Station.
(more info: call +82-61-1330 or visit http://gunhang.changwon.go.kr/intro/intro.html [Korean only].)
(20th) Jeju King Cherry Blossoms Festival
(Jeju City, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province)
Due to its southern location, Jeju typically hosts the nation’s first spring flower festivals. Among the most popular, the Jeju King Cherry Blossoms Festival takes place in the downtown Seogwipo area and the Citizen Welfare Town. Festival events include live music.
(more info: call +82-64-728-2754 or visit http://culture.jeju.go.kr/contents/?mid=0301&act=view&seq=268 [Korean only].)
(11th) Nonsan Strawberry Festival
(Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province)
April 8~10, 2011
Home to some of Korea’s tastiest strawberries, the festival invites visitors to pick (and eat) as many strawberries as they can, not to mention purchase any number of strawberry treats to take home. In addition to the food is fireworks, an exhibition, hands-on activities and a visit to Nonsan’s specialty market.
(more info: call +82-41-1330 or visit the KTO page or http://cyber.nsfestival.co.kr/ [Korean only].)
(7th) Yeouido Hangang Spring Flower Festival
Seoul’s best location to see cherry blossoms is on Yeouido Island. Specifically, the road behind the National Assembly building is lined with hundreds of mature cherry trees that were planted before many people even lived on the island. For a few short days every spring, the island erupts into a riot of pale pink blossoms, and some four million people are expected to visit.
(more info: call +82-2-1330, visit the KTO page or http://www.ydp.go.kr/english/page.do?mCode=C010000000)
(29th) Jeju Canola Blossom Festival
(Seogwipo City, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province)
April 14~16, 2011
Jeju Island’s southern location means it’s the first place to experience spring, and the burst of spring color. Starting in February, Jeju’s landscape is covered in the bright yellow yuchae, or canola blossoms. At this festival, visitors can purchase various locally-made canola flower items and celebrate the coming of spring!
(more info: call +82-61-1330 or visit http://culture.jeju.go.kr/contents/index.php?year=2011&month=4&mid=0301&act=view&seq=223 [Korean only].)
Cheongpunghoban Cherry Festival
(Cheongpungho Lake, North Chungcheong Province)
April 15~17, 2011
Lake Cheongpungho is the site of this spring festival, which features not just cherry blossoms, but also azaleas, forsythias and other wild flowers. Beyond the beautiful spring blooms, the festival features great performances, exhibitions, competitions and various activities on the nearby lake.
(more info: call +82-43-1330 / +82-43-641-4870 or visit http://english.okjc.net)
(13th) Hampyeong Butterfly Festival
(Hampyeong, South Jeolla Province)
April 29~May 10
See tens of thousands of butterflies frolicking around over 8,000 acres of rapeseed flowers in Hampyeong’s celebration of butterflies, and all insects. Definitely a unique festival and experience!
(more info: call +82-54-1330 or visit http://www.hampyeong.jeonnam.kr/2008_hpm/hpm01/m1index.php [Korean only].)
(13th) Damyang Bamboo Festival
(Damyang, South Jeolla Province)
April 30~May 5
Damyang is famous for its forests of bamboo trees. This festival has a long history, originating from the feast held at the end of the bamboo planting season. Sample bamboo alcohol and food!
(more info: call +82-61-1330 or visit http://bamboofestival.co.kr/)
(36th) Boseong Green Tea Festival
(Boseong County, South Jeolla Province)
Probably Korea’s most famous tea growing region, the orderly hedges of tea shrubs create a picturesque backdrop for the annual green tea festival, which offers visitors a number of tea-related cultural activities and even green tea themed foods, like green tea ice cream and pork belly!
(more info: call +82-61-850-5577 or visit http://dahyang.boseong.go.kr/dahyang2005/ [Korean only].)
(15th) Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival
(Hadong County, South Gyeongsang Province)
Beautiful Hadong County was recently named one of South Korea’s first “slow cities” for its embrace of traditional culture. It’s also where the first tea plants were grown in Korea. The area retains its heritage by harvesting high-grade teas using traditional methods. The annual festival offers many tea and ceramics-related activities, as well as concerts and a temple stay program.
(more info: call +82-55-1330 or visit http://festival.hadong.go.kr/).