My 4 Seasons of Happiness in Korea

Like other countries, Korea has 4 seasons and all of them have made me always long to travel back to the country. You will never run out of places to visit and activities to do as there are festivals happening all year round. I have been asked several times what is the best season to visit Korea and I couldn’t pick one season to recommend because honestly I like them all. Let me share with you some photos of my trips and recommended places each season.

SPRING

Autumn is really beautiful but I think spring is my favorite. Mainly because of the weather. The temperature is getting warm and it’s easier for me to wander around. Of course, the flowers are blooming which makes the surroundings romantic. Though I’m not a romantic person but I find spring to be the most romantic of all seasons. You’ll see couples strolling around wearing couple outfits and families are having picnics at the parks. They are out having fun after hibernating during the freezing winter. It’s like a start of new life, as what my Korean friend said.

Now you might wonder what’s with spring? What you can expect to see in spring? It’s cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms only last for about 2 weeks. They usually start blooming on late March and at its peak on the first week of April in some places. If you want to catch the cherry blossoms check out the forecast that’s being announced by the Korea Tourism Organization.

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This photo was taken at Gyeongbukgung Palace in Seoul

Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival is the biggest cherry blossom festival in the South Korea. Jinhae is a district in the city of Changwon in South Gyeongsang Province where over 350,000 cherry blossom trees bloom during spring. The festival is being held every first week of April.

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The 2 famous spots in Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival are Yeojwacheon Stream and the  Gyeonghwa Station.

The Yeojwacheon is also famously known as the Romance Bridge because it is a filming location of Korean drama “Romance”.

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Get your cameras ready when approaching the Gyeonghwa Station. You’ll be passing the cherry trees lined rail road.

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Getting there: If you are in Busan, you are less than 1 hour away from Jinhae by bus. If you are coming from Seoul, traveling via KTX is the best option. There is no KTX line in Jinhae Station though, you have to transfer Mugunghwa Line in Masan or Changwon Station. And take note that train to Jinhae Station runs only during the festival.

If you don’t have time to go Jinhae, head over to Yeouido in Seoul for the Yeouido Cherry Blossom festival.

Getting there: Get off at Yeouinaru Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 1. 20 minute walk.

In case you miss the cherry blossoms, don’t worry. There are other festivals to look forward to in spring. There’s the Yuchae Flower festival in Daejo Eco-Park along Nakdong River in Busan. Also known as rapeseed or canola flowers. You can see these flowers by mid April.

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Getting there: Get off at Gangseo-gu Office Station and go out exit 1 or 3

Another highlight of spring is the Taean Tulip Festival in Taean-gun, in South Chungcheong Province. I believe it’s one of the best tulips festivals in the world.

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Check out my previous post about the Taean Tulip Festival 2017 for more info.

AUTUMN

Who wouldn’t fall for autumn? It’s the most colorful season. You can spot autumn foliage everywhere in the country. Nami Island is beautiful all season and it’s stunning in autumn.

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The Ginkgo Tree Avenue is Asan is also one of the best places to witness the beauty of autumn.

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More details about my trip to Ginkgo Tree Avenue here.

If you don’t have time to go to other places outside Seoul, it’s okay, you can still have a wonderful autumn experience in Seoul. Don’t forget to visit Deoksugung, it’s a palace that’s famous for autumn foliage.

I also spotted this huge Ginkgo tree inside Gyeongbukgung Palace.

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WINTER

Winter in Korea can be really harsh. Most people hate the freezing winter. But since I live in tropical country, I enjoyed winter so much. It’s a dream come true to experience snow. Gangwon province is the most popular during winter season. There are a lot of ski resorts in Gangwon-do. It’s the host province of the 2018 Winter Olympics which will be held in Pyeongchang this February.

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One of the most accessible ski resorts is the Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort. It’s near Nami Island.

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Getting there: Get off at Baegyang-ri Station. A complimentary shuttle ride is provided from Baegyangri Station to the resort.

SUMMER

Summer is not a new season to me. I grew up and still living in a country where it’s like summer all year hehe. Summer in Korea is really hot but not humid. It can also be considered as the rainy season in Korea.  It’s the season when I traveled to Jeju Island. I was lucky it didn’t rain too much during my trip. I like the bright green leaves of summer.

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Because it’s summer, it’s time to sunbathe. Haeundae Beach in Busan is also a must-visit place during summer to enjoy the sun.

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I don’t claim to be an expert, there might be some things I’ve missed but I’m glad I’m able to share the things I learned from my trips because it’s always been a fulfilling experience to travel around Korea whatever season it may be.

Now it’s up to you to decide in which season you would want to travel to Korea. Let me know if you need more information.

Happy travels everyone!

 

 

 

Green Tea Field in Boseong-gun, Korea

Hey green tea lovers! I’ve got something for you.  Have you heard about the Green Tea field in Boseong-gun? It has always been on my travel bucket list and I finally got to visit  during my recent trip to Korea. I know not everyone likes green tea but I’m pretty sure whether you like or not, you’re gonna fall for this place. In Korea it’s called 녹차밭 (Nok Cha Pat). The name of the green tea field is Daehan Dawon. As far as I know it’s the only tourist tea plantation in the country.

I’ve been to several places in Korea and I must say this is one of my favorite.

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In case you are interested to visit the place, here’s how I got there. Boseong is a county in Jeollanam-do. I came in from Gwangju. I purchased a intercity bus ticket bound for Boseong at U-Square Terminal. Travel time is 1.5 hrs. When you arrive at Boseong Bus Terminal, check the schedule of the buses posted in the wall. The schedules are all written in Korean though. The terminal is quite small and there are only few buses. The bus to the Daehan Dawon runs only every hour. You might want to check the schedule first to save your waiting time. Since it was my first time and I didn’t want to get lost, I asked all the  drivers if it’s the bus going to 녹차밭. Most of them understand English. So don’t worry about communicating with them.

While walking towards the field, you’ll pass by these woods. So beautiful. It was a very nice day.

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Entrance fee is 4,000 won.

Did you know that this field has been a shooting location for some Korean dramas and movies?  They’ve labelled each area where the particular drama or movie has been filmed. The latest drama I’ve watched that’s been filmed here is The Legend of the Blue Sea starring Lee Min Ho and Jeon Ji Hyeon.

There’s the autumn foliage and some autumn flowers.

Follow this path to arrive at the observatory.

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First you’ll see the view of Boseong and if you go up further, you’ll find a refreshing view of the ocean. Meaning you are already at the top of the mountain. Nice hike!

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After the hike, try out the green tea ice cream and green tea tteokbokki. Yes, you read it right, it’s green tea tteokbokki. A must-try when in the green tea field.

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Going back to the Boseong bus terminal is also easy. Just cross the tunnel and find the bus stop. The schedule is also posted in the bus stop. Remember to be mindful of the bus schedules as not so many buses run in Boseong.

 

Ginkgo Tree Avenue in Asan, Chungcheongnam-do

We all know that Korea has four seasons and each season have their own charms.  Autumn is definitely one of my many reasons to visit the country again. The yellow, red and orange fall foliage can be spotted everywhere. Nami Island is the most visited place outside Seoul especially for first time travelers to Korea. But have you also heard about the Ginkgo Tree Avenue in the city of Asan? If you try to look for the best places to visit in autumn, this place would always be on the list.

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It’s a 2km ginkgo tree-lined road. During autumn, the ginkgo leaves turn into golden yellow color. I went to see the ginkgo avenue on the 4th of November and it was a little early as most leaves are still colored green. The view is still amazing though.

I didn’t expect to see a variety of beautiful flowers in full bloom beside the lake.

Say Hello to the Cosmos flowers 🙂

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There were also chrysanthemum, sunflowers, silver grass and others.

It’s like autumn meets spring in Asan.

To go to the Gingko tree Avenue, via metro subway, get off at Onyang Ocheon Station (Line 1). Or via KTX, get off at Asan-Cheonan Station and transfer to Line 1 and get off at Onyang-Ocheon Station.

Upon exit, cross the road to find the bus stop and take bus #900 , #910 or #920. Or take a taxi, it will cost around ₩6,000.

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If you miss the Ginkgo tree avenue this year, don’t worry, it’s never too early to plan for the next autumn. So, let’s start planning. 🙂

 

 

Day trip to Damyang county in Jeollanam-do

I was told before that there’s nothing much to see in Damyang so I skipped it last April during my spring trip. But then, I felt like my trip was not complete because I missed Damyang. Then I planned another trip to Korea, this time it’s autumn. One of the best seasons to visit Korea. I decided to stay in Gwangju, it’s the closest city to Damyang-gun. From Gwangju, it takes less than an hour to go to Damyang County.

On my way to Damyang, I only had 3 places in my mind. First is the Bamboo Forest and second is the Metasequioa-lined road. The 3rd one is the Geumseongsanseong Fortress, which is a bit far so I know I won’t make it there.

How to go to Bamboo Forest from Gwangju? Take Bus #311 in the bus stop in front of Gwangju U-square bus terminal. Tell the driver you are going to 죽녹원 (Juknokwon). Get off at Juknokwon bus stop. Travel time is about 45mins.

This is the kind of view you’ll see the moment you get off the bus.

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Entrance fee is ₩3,000.

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This is so relaxing. It was too quiet. There were only 2 or 3 people during that time because it was early.

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The sound of the bamboo leaves as it dances with the wind made me want to fall asleep in this hammock.

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The rear entrance of the Bamboo Forest looks like this in autumn.

While walking towards the Metasequioa tree-lined road we passed by another scenic spot, the Gwanbangjerim forest.

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Finally,  I’ve reached the famous Metasequioa tree lined road in Damyang. It’s also a filming location of some K-dramas.

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Beside the Metasequioa trees, there’s the Kids Provence Metasequioa Land.

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Make sure to try out these traditional meal while you are in Damyang. I always like Korean food and I enjoy them every time I visit, but this one is one of the best meal I ever had in Korea.

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There is a Tourist information center near Juknokwon bus stop, which is on the opposite side of the Bamboo Forest. I was surprised when I got the tourist guide map that there are so many beautiful places to see in Damyang. Too bad I only allotted 1 day. Now there’s more reasons to come back.