Spring is a good time to visit South Korea and one of the many enquiries I get is: When is a good time to catch the peak of cherry blossom? Well, Cherry blossom is truly magnificent but there’s a lot more you can see here in Seoul during spring. So much more than just cherry blossom. And this inspired me to work on this article – A spring flower guide that includes an estimation of time and sequence of the spring flowers bloom in Seoul, from mid-March to early-June. Hopefully, this can give you an idea of what to expect during your trip to Korea in spring. 🙂
Before you read on, please keep in mind that this is a rough guide for Seoul & Gyeonggi Province. Flowers at different regions of the country bloom and peak at a slightly different timing due to differences in climate. As the climate changes every year, it makes the prediction a tricky affair. Take this year (2016) as an example, people in Busan were already enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms since the last week of March while the trees in Seoul were still in winter sleep.
My advice is to consider the blooming of the flowers as a bonus to the trip. Ultimately, the flower is just a small element of your trip. You have good weather, delicious food, and great accompaniment anyway! If you missed the cherry blossom, no big deal. You probably have a fair share of flower sight-seeing with Forsythias, Azaleas, and Magnolia blooming just for you! 🙂
Plum Blossom (매화)
Mid March – Late March
Plum blossoms, more commonly known as the Maehwa (梅花) in Korea is one of the earliest flowers to bloom right after the winter. It signals the arrival of spring. Check out Gwangyang Maehwa Festival, if you book your “spring” trip a tad too early before the rest can blossom. You get to walk around the largest plum blossom village in Korea, basking in the “Spring has FINALLY arrived” mood, while braving the cold under the single digit weather.
Late March-Early April
As the warm sunshine casts through the land of morning calm in late March, these yellow forsythias come to full bloom, creating a cascade of yellow in the mountains of Korea. I love those mornings taking bus no. 5511 from the SNU subway station towards the campus. These bright yellow flowers right in front of my alma mater are one of the fond memories I keep close to my heart. For forsythia fans, Eungbongsan Mountain Forsythia Festival is where you get the best forsythia shoots of the year.
A photo posted by 정가현. 정퓨니. (@pheurontay) on
Early/Mid April – May
These pretties blossom in early spring, together, or perhaps one-two days slightly later than the forsythias. (At least according to my experience in the Seoul National University campus). The flower usually transforms the campuses and the mountains into a beautiful sea of pink. Sometimes you may find them blooming even more fiercely after the cherries have bloomed. Check out my blog post about the irresistible azaleas during full bloom in April here.
A photo posted by 정가현. 정퓨니. (@pheurontay) on
Late March/Early April onwards
So this is that “beautiful white flower” we often see during our spring trips to Korea. It’s called Magnolia and Koreans call it Muk-ryun. I love the white bloom on the magnolia trees — a sure sign of spring. So elegant and oh-so-bridal – makes me wants to tie the knot already lol. One thing special about the Magnolia tree is it usually blooms before the leaves appear. And the easiest place to catch these beautiful sights? Check out Yonsei University campus & Ehwa Women’s University campus at Subway Line No.2, Sinchon Station & Ehwa Women’s University Station.
Cherry Blossom (벚꽃)
Early April – First Weekend of April (Peak)
Nothing signifies spring more than cherry blossoms. If you ever walk through the cherry blossom trail and experienced the pale pink petals falling gently on your hair – you’ll understand what I mean. It is so magical. The whole city is perfumed with the delicate fragrance, and you know from then on, you won’t want to miss a single cherry blossom season.
If you have more than a week to spend in Seoul, book your trip from 3 days before the first weekend of April to the 2nd weekend of April. That is usually when the cherry flower blossom (from my recent 3 years experience in Seoul). But again, it all depends on the weather so, good luck!
Rapeseed Flower (유채꽃)
Early April – End April
It wouldn’t take long for the South Koreans to shift their attention from the blooming cherry blossom trees to the rapeseed flower (a.k.a. Canola flower). That said, if you missed the cherry blossom, here’s another phenomenal spring flower that would probably take your breath away. If you’re in Seoul, check out Banpo Hangang Park (Seoraeseom) (반포 공원 서래섬) where the Rapeseed Flower Festival is held annually. Another place you should totally check out is the Daejeo Ecological Park (대저생태공원) located in Busan. Be ready to be swept away by the majestic sight of the sea of yellow rapeseed flower!
Green Barley (청보리)
Mid April – Mid May
Green barley fields are one of the symbols of late spring. I love it when the setting sun shines on the field, creates a mystical, soft, light and airy feel to the field – a perfect wedding photo location for a rustic themed wedding. I don’t think you can find a barley field in Seoul, your nearest green barley field would probably be in the Sangdong Lake Park, located at the outskirt of Seoul. Check out the post about the park here.
Mid May – Early June
Poppies are one of the most romantic flowers I’ve come across in Korea. The blooming of poppies mark the end of spring and that’s when you can sense summer beckoning around the corner. I love the swaying movement of the poppies in the wind – so delicate, airy and magical. The best place to see poppies? I am afraid you have to travel a little to the suburbs i.e. the Sangdong Lake Park. Check my complete guide about the park here.
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