Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Awesome Blossoms: Cherry Blossom Info for Pyeongtaek

Cherry Blossom season is coming up and it is a beautiful and iconic time in Korea. There will be festivals from the top to bottom and left to right of the country and you will feel the pressure to race around the country. All of these festivals will be awesome and PACKED! They always are. The areas are truly stunning and the perfect excuse to see different parts of Korea. One of the crowd favorites is Jinhae where the trees are huge, the beauty vast, and the walks easy.

However, we aren't really going to talk about those festivals right now. Why? Because everyone already is. In fact, you can find a list of the major Korean festivals here in this useful article from Stars & Stripes.  Instead we are going to answer a few questions about cherry blossom season and talk about alternative options that are closer to home.

1. Who cares about a bunch of flowers on trees?
We have actually heard this question a lot and the answer is simple, "People who aren't dead inside." (the reason we blog and don't "report" is so that we can say things like this and not get fired). It's true that your life might not be changed by cherry blossoms, but your day will most certainly be made - if you aren't dead inside. The areas with tons of trees are other-worldly. It feels like you've stepped into a painting and it's fun to walk the tree lined streets soaking up the beauty. Even if you have a slightly frozen soul, walking beneath the warm spring sun surrounded by the soft pink peddles will cause it to thaw at least a little.

2. Do I really need to travel far and wide to enjoy a cherry blossom festival? 
Absolutely not. Pyeongtaek has a Cherry Blossom Festival that happens at Pyeongtaek University. Although there aren't a lot of sexy videos made about it, it's a lovely place to spend the day and it will be far less hectic than other places. Even with less people, remember that parking won't be great and taking a bus from the AK Plaza area will be the easiest way to enjoy your time at the festival. The festival is usually held during the beginning of April.

ADDRESS: 경기도 평택시 서동대로 3825
AK Plaza to Pyeongtaek University Buses: 20, 21,15, 7-7, 94-1
(Camp Humphreys readers, you can catch the 20 in Anjeongri/Paengseong and ride it all the way to Pyeongtaek University. Learn more about the 20 bus here on Sig Flips the Table.)

3. I hate crowds, does that mean I'm going to miss the cherry blossoms?
You don't have to go to a festival to enjoy the cherry blossoms. Here are a few drives, walks, and locations where you can checkout the beauty without being bothered with the crowds.

River Drive or Bike Ride: Take a drive on (or a bike ride next to) the road that follows the river from Camp Humphreys to Anjung-eup. It's lined with stunning cherry trees and feels quite magical. Be careful with biking as cars can be quite careless in this area. A bike path is available so choose that instead of riding on the road itself.

START ADDRESS: 경기도 평택시 오성면 창내이

Lake Drive: There is also a recommended driving route in west Paenseong, Pyeongtaek that takes you over by the lake. Click here to see photos from the route. We grabbed the addresses of where to get started so you don't have to figure out the map in the linked blog itself. One address is actually from a housing development...don't turn in there! Stay on the main road and go west!

START ADDRESS: 경기 평택시 계양로 516-12
FINISH ADDRESS: 경기 평택시 계양로 624

If you click the link below it will take you to the route in Naver maps:

University Campus in Ichung: This lovely campus is situated on the edge of the city near some lovely hills. It's covered in cherry blossoms in the spring. This isn't far from Songtan so Osan Air Force Base folks might find it a nice place to visit. There are city buses that go here and plenty of parking for cars.

ADDRESS: 경기도 평택시 장안웃길 56

Pyeongtaek River Walk: If you are in Pyeongtaek just head past Tong Bok market toward the river. The area is loaded with cherry blossoms and the river walk itself is beautifully developed. We are giving you an address that gets you to the area, and then you can just find the beauty around you.

ADDRESS: 경기도 평택시 62-5

4. What happens at a Cherry Blossom Festival?
Well, obviously you take lots of pictures of yourself and the blossoms looking fabulous. You eat, maybe do some crafts, buy some pretty things, and generally do the classic festival things like live music and dance. However, honestly, it's just about being outside in the spring weather and enjoying the majesty of nature. The other stuff doesn't really matter.

5. Any other things I shouldn't miss during cherry blossom season?
Oddly enough, don't miss the Starbucks cherry blossom drinks offered during this time. They only come around once a year for a VERY short time and they are straight up awesome. The cherry blossom latte is my favorite for sure. I never miss it. They also have some spring time blends worth looking into.

Whether you decide to go with a big festival or a lazy drive, just be sure to get out and enjoy yourselves this spring. If you are only here for a year, this is your chance to build a lovely memory. If you are staying for years, it's the perfect annual tradition.

Now it's time to go try them all and leave your reviews in the South of Seoul app. Just go to the app, open the listing, and click the star in the banner. You can tell us all what you thought. Remember to include useful tips like where you parked, if they had chairs for kids, or other details you found important. Reviews help us build a beautiful life together. One Star reviews submitted with no comments may be rejected. Please explain 1 Star reviews without being crude or profane. Simply explain the situation. For example: "the food was not fully cooked, the waitress never brought my friends food, and the taste wasn't what I prefer." Korea has strong anti-defamation laws so keep explanations clear and fact based.

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