Finally, winter is over and Korea is officially pink! To celebrate, this weekend the Wee Gypsy Boyfriend and I got up at 5am to see the blooms in action at Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival. People travel from all over the country to see the cherry blossoms in Jinhae as they are some of the best in the country. Luckily for us, the festival is right on our doorstep.
I visited the festival for the first time back in 2014. It was actually my first weekend in Korea! However, now I have a whole new appreciation for the cherry blossoms. Just a few weeks ago, Korea looked was so cold and barren. Now that the cherry blossoms are here, there is so much colour and life! When I first arrived, everything about Korea was foreign to me and I didn’t realise how special and fleeting the cherry blossoms were. I was disappointed when they had disappeared a couple of weeks later. This year, I’ve been so excited to see them and have spent the past few weeks monitoring the buds on the trees on my way to work every morning.
We started the day by climbing 365 steps to reach Jehwangsan Park. It was so quiet when we arrived, that we were some of the only people up there. The main attraction of this park is the 9 storey viewing tower at the top, but since we had came so early it was closed! No wonder there were no people there. The park is still a lovely and peaceful place, away from the chaos in the main town. Plus, there are plenty of blooms to see so it is well worth the hike.
After being the only people in the park, we were feeling a bit smug, thinking that we were the only people who got up so early to avoid the manic cherry blossom crowds. We headed up to Yeojwacheon, a stream which is lined with cherry blossoms at either side- one of the most famous parts of the festival. When we got there we realised that we were not alone. Plenty of young selfie fanatics had the same idea as us. There were couples and selfie sticks everywhere! We decided to join in for a while, and do as the Romans do but I started to get impatient with all the people shoving past us and hitting us with their selfie sticks so we only spent about 10 minutes there before moving on. Selfie maniacs will get up at any time in the morning for the perfect shot.
Our next stop was Jinhae Eco Park. This is just across the road from Yeojwacheon stream, but it feels like a whole different world away! There is so much space, so it’s much less congested than other parts of the festival. It’s so peaceful and relaxing to walk around the lake and admire the cherry blossoms. There are a lot of other trees and plants too, including a bamboo grove. This was one of my favourite memories from my first visit to the cherry blossom festival and was my favourite place to visit this time again.
We had planned to visit the train tracks near Gyeonghwa Station– one of the most iconic parts of the festival but decided we weren’t up to facing more crowds. I never managed to visit that area back in 2014 either, so I was a little bit disappointed to miss it again. Judging by the amount of people at the stream, it was obvious that the train tracks were going to be packed with people. I can only handle so many selfie sticks in my face in one day so we decided to make a day of it and head home before the traffic got hectic.
A great way to travel between Jinhae and Changwon, the neighbouring city where I live, is by hiking Anmin Hill. This 10km hike is lined with cherry blossom trees and offers amazing views of Jinhae and the surrounding cities. It’s also a great way to avoid the horrendous traffic, so it’s definitely worth considering if you have a few hours to spare! This was my rather ambitious plan for getting home from the festival, but in the end, I was too sleepy and wanted to take the bus straight home and have a nap. I’m getting old! If only coffee shops in Korea would open before 10am to make such early mornings more bearable!
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I must say a big thank you to my lovely boyfriend for being my personal photographer for the day! Thanks for your patience and amazing photos 🙂
Where is your favourite place in the world to see cherry blossoms? Leave me a comment and let me know!