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Ah cherry blossoms! Mesmerizing, magical and just plain gorgeous. With sweet scents and soft pastels, who wouldn’t want to see them up close? Which is why, we simply can’t resist visiting Seoul during Cherry Blossom Season. Even though most people head to Japan to see these beauties, Seoul is just as great an option.
As the capital of South Korea, Seoul is easy to access, trendy and an absolute foodies paradise. Added to that, visitors can enjoy ancient architecture nestled among modern skyscrapers. If that hasn’t peaked your interest…how about hiking up one of the many mountains surrounding the city for scenic views? Or shopping to your heart’s content in Myeongdong? Or even giving Noraebang (노래방) a try! Whichever you choose, chances are you will fall in love with this city. Whether it’s Cherry Blossom Season or not.
In this guide we’ve highlighted essential planning tips and tricks for the perfect cherry blossom trip in Seoul. From booking your flight and essential visa information, to where to stay and the very best cherry blossoms spots in the city.
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Booking your flight
Searching for flights can often be painstakingly annoying. Especially if you are looking for comfort and pocket-friendly options. Luckily, Seoul is one of Asia’s most popular destinations. Which makes booking the right flight to fit your budget super easy.
Better value, but at a premium price
Not a fan of crammed leg-space? Then consider flying with one of these airlines:
Korean Air is South Korea’s largest carrier and the country’s flagship airline. The airline offers flights to 43 different countries and 123 cities.
Baggage Allowance: 30 kg check-in baggage (free) on most flights.
If you are flying from a major hub within Asia, like Tokyo, Taipei or Hong Kong, you are in luck. There are loads of pocket-friendly airlines to cherry pick from. Here are our top choices:
Jeju Air is South Korea’s first low-cost airline. It offers flights between several cities in South Korea, as well as between Seoul and a few destinations in Asia.
Baggage Allowance: 15-20 kg check-in baggage (free) depending on which fare you buy.
Eastar Jet offers low-cost flights within South Korea and 14 destinations, in 8 countries.
Baggage Allowance: 15 kg check-in baggage (free) with options to top up before your flight.
Travel tip: Always check baggage allowances and the Ts & Cs for adding extra luggage when booking budget flights.
There are two major airports in Seoul, Incheon International and Gimpo International Airport.
Incheon International Airport
Incheon Airport is Seoul’s main international gateway and it is highly likely that you will arrive here. The airport is roughly an hour outside the city, so be sure to factor the extra traveling time into your itinerary. Getting to Seoul from Incheon Airport however, couldn’t be easier. The airport has an impressive transportation system, which easily links travelers to major spots within the city.
For more information on how to get to your destination, visit the airport’s public transport section.
Gimpo International Airport
Gimpo Airport lies 18km west of Seoul’s city centre. It mainly caters for domestic flights and a few international ones. If you do arrive here, getting to the city centre is pretty trouble-free, too. Visit their transportation section for more info.
Travel tip: Remember to double check the arrival airport & terminal on your ticket.
Most countries do not need a visa to enter South Korea, 117 to be exact. How great is that? Visitors from the USA, nearly all Western & Asian countries and South Africa can enter South Korea on 30-90 day permits depending on their nationality. Canadians can enter South Korea on a tourist visa for up to 180 days.
South Korea has a number of cellphone providers and staying connected is relatively easy. Especially when you consider how much free Wifi is available in city centers. Call us old school or even over planners, but we like to have full internet access 24/7. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than being lost or having to make an emergency call without the means to do so. For this reason, we strongly suggest buying a sim card, renting a mobile phone or even a portable WiFi router upon arrival.
Passengers arriving at IncheonInternational Airport can head to one of the Korea Telecom Centres located on the first floor near exit 6 and 10. For more details, click here.
Gimpo International Airport passengers should head to the first floor and look out for the KT, T or U+ Roaming signs. More details, here.
Finding the right accommodation
Seoul has a plethora of options when it comes to accommodation. Whether you fancy splurging at a luxury five-star hotel or looking for budget-friendly options, there are plenty of choices. Budget travelers can find the perfect pocket-friendly fit at either backpackers, hostels, budget hotels, Airbnb’s or even traditional hanoks (basically a guesthouse).
Like most tourists, we like to stay right in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Not only does it make getting around easier, but you’ll also get to experience the city’s vibe. If that sounds like you, we highly recommend finding accomodation in one of these areas:
Myeongdong:If you love shopping as much as we do, try finding accommodation here. Myeongdong is centrally located and offers easy access to markets and Namsan Tower.
Jongno-gu:The best place to base yourself if you want to explore the city on foot. Most major tourist spots are close to here.
Itaewon:This area is great for dining and nightlife, but you would be spending more time on getting around.
Gangnam:Best for high-end brand lovers and luxury hotel seekers.
Western Seoul:There are plenty of budget finds here, but it is more popular with the younger crowd. So, if you fancy mingling with students, stay here.
Cherry Blossoms: Where to catch the magic
The beginning of April marks the start of Cherry Blossom Season. For roughly two weeks, Seoul turns into a wonderland bursting with pink and white flowers. Sadly, the cherry blossom window is quite small. Which means thoroughly planning your trip is vital. We highly recommend keeping an eye on South Korea’s Tourism Organization for the Cherry Blossom Forecasts, if you are specifically visiting to see the blossoms.
To catch the best cherry blossoms in Seoul, head on over to these top spots:
Yeouiseo-ro Roadis just a stone’s throw from the National Assembly Building and is one of the most popular spots for viewing cherry blossoms in Seoul. Here you can walk along the 1.7km ‘snow-white tunnel’ which is lined with 1,800 cherry blossom trees.
Address: Areas of Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul.
(서울시 영등포구 여의도동 일대(국회의사당 뒷편)
Namsan Park offers spring enthusiasts a beautiful scenic route. Stroll along Namsan Park Road which connects Namsan Library, Namsan Octagonal Pavilion and the National Theater of Korea. Then make your way up (easily walked) Namsan Mountain to reach the Octagonal Pavilion for gorgeous city views.
This major royal palace has it all. It’s the perfect spot for shutterbugs and ancient architecture fanatics. Wander the grounds taking in the assortment of blossoms, before making your way to the Okcheongyo Bridge.
Address: 185, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
(서울시 종로구 창경궁로 185)
Head over to Songpanaru Park for a peaceful stroll. Roughly 1,000 cherry blossoms trees line the lake offering visitors mesmerizing views. The park surrounds Lotte World, so it is quite easy to find.
Address: Areas of Jamsil-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul.
(서울시 송파구 잠실동 일대)
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Where is your favorite cherry blossom spot in Seoul? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. If you’d like to read more about our adventures in Asia, why not head over to our blog or follow us on social media for instant updates?
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