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[One with Nature] Lesser-known cherry blossom streets in SeoulBy Lee Si-jin
Published : April 3, 2023 - 13:41
As cherry blossoms paint South Korea’s capital city pink and white, Seoulites are flocking to flower-filled Yunjung-ro in Yeouido or Seokchon Lake in Jamsil, southern Seoul.
While Yunjung-ro’s 1.7-kilometer road lined with cherry trees is a spectacular sight that welcomes springtime visitors across the nation, some feel that it has become too crowded, noting that there seem to be more people than flowers.
For those who wish to enjoy the pink clouds of cherry blossoms in a less-crowded locale, here are some other great spots to enjoy the spring and capture the moment with loved ones.
Songpa Trail's Seongnaecheon section
The Seongnaecheon section of the Songpa Trail -- commonly known as Seongnaecheonduk-gil -- is a causeway along the Seongnaecheon, which flows through Seoul’s southeastern district of Songpa, starting from Asan Medical Center to the pavilion next to Olympic Park.
The street is a 12 to 13-minute walk from Jamsillaru Station’s Exit No. 1.
Approximately a kilometer in length, the walking trail is usually enjoyed by families and nearby residents for light exercise or casual walks among the trees.
But as the tunnel of cherry trees sway in the spring breeze, cyclists and walkers alike stop to take in the surroundings and snap colorful spring photos.
If you walk straight through the trail, the path eventually splits in two. One leads to a small pavilion, a perfect place to take a rest and enjoy the season, while the other leads to a tour around Olympic Park.
If the cherry blossoms are not enough to quench your spring flower thirst, visitors can enjoy the seemingly endless green field at Olympic Park.
Walkerhill-ro, which means “Walkerhill Street” in Korean, is an 800-meter walking trail starting from Achasan Mountain Ecological Park to Walkerhill Hotel and Resorts in Gwangjin-gu, eastern Seoul.
Known for its beautiful scenes of cherry trees and fall foliage, Walkerhill-ro is considered one of the best places to enjoy the cherry blossoms. Entrance for cars is restricted in some of the areas, allowing visitors to enjoy the flowers safely.
Although the trail mesmerizes visitors with stunning cherry trees, the slight slope of the walking trail often pushes people to look for easier viewing sites.
The petals of cherry trees raining down at Walkerhill-ro will make every moment magical, but the cherry trees in front of the Myongwolgwan barbecue restaurant are known to be a popular photo zones for visitors.
Hwarangdae Railway Park
Located in Nowon-gu, northern Seoul, Hwarangdae Railway Park rings in the spring with something more than cherry trees.
Only a 10-minute walk from Hwarangdae Station Exit No. 4, visitors can see a glimpse of the old train station and abandoned railway that were closed since 2010. The old railroad was turned into an urban park in 2017.
The iconic trains -- 1950s steam locomotives, Korea’s first tram from the 1890s and more -- standing next to the beautiful cherry blossoms captured the hearts of many visitors as they pose for their latest Instagram photos and try to become a star in spring-themed music videos.
The cafe inside the park is considered a must-go tourist spot as model trains delight visitors by delivering their drinks.
The Hwarangdae train station may be a new experience for those who are more familiar with big, fancy KTX stations as the park preserves old-fashioned signs and ticket boxes.
Visitors can also experience the interior of the old trains, and can sit in passenger’s seats and the driver's area.
Yeonhui Forest Shelter
To bask in the spectacular cherry trees and their beautiful blossoms, walk along Ansan Jarak-gil at Yeonhui Forest Shelter, a walking trail which spans across several districts of Seoul, and extends halfway up the 295-meter Ansan mountain.
Ansan Jarak-gil, South Korea’s first barrier-free mountain walking trail with gentle slopes, invites visitors of all ages to enjoy the beautiful nature of Ansan’s cherry and metasequoia trees.
Jarak-gil refers to the mountainside roads located at the foot of mountains in Korean.
The most accessible entry point to enjoy the cherry blossoms is Hongje Station’s Exit No. 3.
About an 18- to 20-minute walk from the subway station in the same direction as the Hongjecheon and Seodaemun-gu Office, visitors can see the Hongjecheon Artificial Waterfall, signaling the starting point for their cherry blossom tour.
The cherry blossoms aside, flower lovers can enjoy other breathtaking spring flowers including magnolia blossoms, tulips and Korean forsythias.
Cherry blossoms are beautiful enough, but if you want some highly "Instagrammable" photographs with the light pink-colored spring flowers as the backdrop, pay a visit to Donggyo-ro 41-gil in Mapo-gu, western Seoul.
Located right next to the Gyeongui Line Forest Park’s Yeonam-dong section -- a five-minute walk from Hongik University Station Exit No. 3, where trendy cafes and the latest “it” spots can be found -- Donggyo-ro 41-gil is considered to be an ideal viewing spot, offering a feast for both the eyes and mouth.
Small boutique shops and restaurants aside, Beebeede and Seoul Pastry are sought-after dessert cafes, ideal places for those who are still in love with cronuts -- a doughnut-shaped pastry made from croissant dough and filled with flavored cream.
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll outside of the cafes, experiencing the spring breeze and the gentle floral scent.
Taste sweet macarons at the nearby dessert shop Lente, a 2-minute walk from the cronut shops.
Different from Seoul’s popular cherry blossoms sites, where the cherry trees make a tunnel by lining both sides of the road or path, the cherry trees at Donggyo-ro 41-gil stand in the middle of the road, allowing flower lovers to experience a slightly different spring ambiance.
The following article is the first in a series introducing destinations for eco-friendly travel experiences in South Korea. -- Ed.
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