Category Archives: Nature

Seoul’s Top Spring destinations: where to go when flowers are blooming

We can’t wait for spring! To get ready for one of the most beautiful seasons in Korea we wanted to share our top ranking list of gardens and parks we love to visit particularly in spring

17436053_10208941090986939_3092280998526016002_oWatch out for the strikingly beautiful Cherry blossom season (it actually lasts only a few days) when you would not want to miss any opportunity to snap a perfect picture!

Here is the 2017 spring blossoms forecast from Kweather.

spring-forecast-2017

Kyunghee University Campus at Cherry Blossom time

Kyung Hee University campus is a perfect spot to admire the cherry blossom season or just to enjoy a lazy afternoon in its wonderful – and romantic – gardens.

Yeouido Cherry Blossom

Considered as Seoul’s best location to see cherry blossoms  – Yeouido Spring Flower festival (April 1~9, 2017)  is the most famous and the most popular for Koreans and international tourists.

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Hwadam Botanical Garden is one of the best spots for royal azaleas, birch trees and all kind of wild flowers.

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How about a one day trip to Cheollipo arboretum to admire magnolia trees by the sea? The 2nd Magnolia festival is running from April 9 to 30, 2017. In the same area you can visit the Tean Tulip Festival scheduled for April 13th ~ May 10th, 2017.

Namsan Park

Namsan Park is a pleasant place to visit all year around but it is particularly beautiful in late March and beginning of April.

Garden of Morning Calm
Garden of Morning Calm

A paradise for photographers and all flowers lovers – The Garden of Morning Calm is definitely one of the most magic places in spring.

Flower Bibimbap In the Garden Restaurant Jade Garden Korea

A little bit less famous, hence maybe less crowded Jade Garden – located in Chuncheon area, is another favourite destinations for spring strolls.

Byeokchoji BCJ Botanical Garden

Byeokchoji BCJ Botanical Garden in Paju area was featured in many Korean dramas and is particularly beautiful in spring time.

Herb Village Korea

Another peaceful place to admire blooming flowers is Herb Village located close to the DMZ

Seoul Iris Garden

During the iris blooming season (May ~June), don’t miss the small-yet-beautiful Seoul Iris Garden.

Enjoy the beautiful weather and have wonderful time outdoor! We’ll keep you posted about all the Spring Flowers Festivals coming on 🙂

Petite France (쁘띠프랑스) in Korea

Settled in a beautiful environment and only sixty kilometres from downtown Seoul, Petite France is an interesting place for a short stop on your way to Gapyeong or Nami Island

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Petite France is an artificially-made village inspired by European style built in a beautiful and pristine natural area between Cheongpyeong Dam and Nami Island. Located on the busy touristic road to Gapyeong, Nami Island or Garden of Morning Calm, Petite France is usually quite crowded especially during the weekend afternoons.

The concept of the village is to bring European feeling and atmosphere accompanied with cultural experience programs and performances (street flea market with European antiques, melodies from the Orgel and marionette performances). The main theme of the village being  Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince, the statues and paintings of the young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid can be seen almost everywhere.


The village atmosphere with its colourful little houses gained popularity among filmmakers and Petite France became the filming place of many Korean TV dramas and entertainment programs. Today many Asian tourists are visiting to eagerly revive the scenes of “Beethoven Virus” ,“Personal Taste”, “My Love from the Star”, “Secret Garden”, “Running Man” and others.

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On Petite France official website, you will find the exhaustive list of exhibitions and things to do in the village. If you are really craving for an authentic European experience, just don’t expect too much. The first impressions of the site are pleasant and the views of the surroundings are amazing (particularly the view from the observatory and Butterfly Park), however the village is quite small and the indoor exhibition areas seemed to us rather outdated and disappointing. Most of the exhibits are a poor display of mismatched, kitschy and fake objects pretending to be part of European or French heritage. Another weak point in our opinion is that there is no restaurant (better said there used to be one but it closed its doors). On a sunny day, the wooden deck of Petite Terrace would be the best place to enjoy a good meal while overlooking the Cheongpyeong Dam and the mountains. You can still buy a coffee and slice of pizza in the wooden booth but no hopes for a European style lunch.

 

Even if we were not fully ‘sold’ on the authenticity and European feel of Petite France, the village may be worth a stop if you are in the area and want to enjoy the beautiful nature with the mountains in the background – particularly now in a wide array of autumn colours.

If you are looking for a restaurant we tried Dakgalbi restaurant 성희네집 – located 5 km west from the village and loved it (경기도 가평군 청평면 고재길 86-297, tel: 031-584-3695)

 

Directions:

616 Gosung-Ri Gapyeong-Gun, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

경기도 가평군 청평면 고성리 616

Tel: 031-584-8200

Beware… returns back to Seoul during the weekend late afternoons or evenings can be very very crowded. On the shorter itinerary, the route 75 connecting to the Cheongpyeong-Geumnam section (route 46) can frequently be fully blocked. It took us more than an hour to make the first 15 kilometers. You may consider alternatively to take the longer way through Gapyeong connecting to Gangchon IC. The full trip will be longer, approximately 110 km, but it might be faster if traffic on the Chuncheon-Seoul Highway 60 itself is fluid.

Opening hours:

09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 1 hour before closing)
* Seasonally late night opening hours can be extended

Admission:

Adults: 8,000 won
Teenagers (Middle & High School Students): 6,000 won
Children (ages 3-Elementary School Students): 5,000 won
Seniors (ages 65 & above) / People with Disabilities: 6,000 won

Seollal weekend in and around Seoul

Seollal (Lunar New Year) is right around the corner! Are you staying in Seoul for the long weekend and wondering how to keep the whole family entertained? Here are a few good tips for you…

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Experience Seollal traditions

To experience Seollal traditions and enjoy the Lunar New Year atmosphere, a visit to Korean Folk Village in Yongin is highly recommended. The great news is that they are just running New Year’s Fortune Party (from January 30 through February 10th, 2016). The program is packed with plenty of interesting traditional events, performances and experiences like burning daljip (traditional moon house), fortune telling, sharing rice cakes, making fortune bags and many others. You can check details here.

Namsangol Hanok VillageNamsangol Hanok Village

Every year the Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul also holds a great variety of events, such as traditional performances, folk games and seasonal festivities. For the detailed program of the Lunar New Year festival (February 8-9, 2016) go here.

In the Kingdom of Lights

During the long winter season many parks and gardens are organising impressive lighting festivals. You can check Garden of Morning Calm and its 9th Garden Lighting Festival running until March 13th, 2016 or Byeokchoji BCJ Botanical garden Lighting Festival until March 6, 2016. Another place holding a light festival is Aiins World Park. They have prepared a special program including a magic show during the whole Seollal weekend.

 

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Ice Fishing

If you missed the Hwacheon Mountain Trout Festival this year (it just finished last weekend on January 31st), you can still try your fishing skills and enjoy many others winter fun activities at Cheongpyeong snow flake festival. It runs until February 10th, 2016 and you can find more information here.

Another one is Mulmalgeun Yangpyeong Icefish Festival running until February 21st, 2016 if weather conditions allow.

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
Ice gallery

Skiing

Even if you didn’t book your overnight stay in advance, Seollal is the best moment to go just for a day trip to one of the many ski resorts around Seoul. Spend a wonderful sunny day on ski, snowboard or just sledding and playing in the snow.

Vivaldi Park

Other winter fun

As you know we love Anseong Farm every season of the year. We just learned that they are running a Winter festival until February 14, 2016. Beside the regular farming activities you can also enjoy snow and ice-sledding!

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
Traditional sledding

And if it is not too cold you can always go to the nature for a walk. Isn’t it the best feeling to spend a few hours in the freezing weather enjoying the frosted nature getting slowly ready for spring? The places we particularly enjoy in winter are Namhansanseong or Dasan Earth Park.

Byeokchoji BCJ Botanical Garden
Byeokchoji BCJ Botanical Garden

 

Happy Seollal and enjoy this special celebration time with your family and friends! 

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