Korea has four clearly defined seasons, and wedged neatly between the cold winter and humid summer, is spring. As the snow and ice melts in spring, flowers bloom and brilliant festivals kick off the spring season in style. Besides its awesome kimchi and shopping sprees, check out these fun and unusual things to do in Korea this spring.
1. Show Off Your Lantern Making Skills
Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) is held every year in honour of Buddha’s birthday. Celebrations are held across Seoul at various timings over three days, namely Jongno Street, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Jogyesa Temple and Bongeunsa Temple.
Visitors can expect a plethora of entertainment such as performances, lantern making sessions and food sampling. Be sure to stick around till evening on the 29th and 30th, where lanterns of various sizes and colours, parade and illuminate the dark, creating an absoutely insta-worthy moment.
April 28 – Traditional Lantern Exhibition (until May 7)
April 29 – Lantern Parade (7pm) sandwiched between performances and celebrations starting from 4.30 pm and continuing until 11pm.
April 30 – Traditional cultural activities and performances begin at 12 pm, continuing until the final celebrations and lantern parade at 7pm.
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2. Hand-Pick Your Own Tea
Boseong, in the southwest of Korea, is the largest producer of tea in the country. In addition to its tea exhibitions, Boseong Green Tea Festival features tea ceremonies, music, and a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) fashion show. From various hands-on activities such as DIY green tea soaps to tea-picking, tea lovers should definitely add this to their travel bucket list.
Boseong Green Tea Festival Dates:
May 3rd – 7th
3. Go Strawberry Picking
Towards the end of winter, Korean strawberries are at their ripest and finest. Hand-pick your own fresh and sweet berries by taking a trip to a peaceful strawberry farm. It’s an easy day trip from Seoul too, with strawberry farms not far from the outskirts of the city in Ilsan and Yangpyeong.
4. Eat like a King
In the past, snow crabs used to be a dish served only to the Korean royalty. Head to the eastern province of Gyeongsangbuk to, literally, eat like a king.
There are even snow crab festivals to celebrate this local delicacy. Located in Uljin and Yeongdeok, these festivals feature fishing, sampling, auctions, markets, cooking competitions, performances and local fishing boat rides too.
Snow Crab Festival Dates:
Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival: March 23rd – 26th
Uljin Snow Crab Festival: March 2nd – 5th
5. Walk Over Korea’s Moses Miracle
The island of Jindo, situated just off the southwest corner of Korea, is the stage for the annual “Miracle”. Walk down a Moses-like parting of the sea, revealing an almost 3-kilometres long sand road, from Jindo’s main island to a neighbouring, small island.
This phenomenon happens between the low and high tides, and the Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival is held in honour of the occasion. Expect performances and parades; festival-goers may also attempt to collect abalone from its sea bed.
Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival Dates:
April 26th – 29th
6. Burn Away Your Bad Luck
The beautiful island of Jeju hosts an annual fire festival to pray for good harvest and health during the new year. The origins of this fiery tradition came from farmers who burn village pastures to get rid of old grass and kill pests. Charming folk songs and games take place around the bonfire, and in between scattered flames. Feeling a little down on luck lately? Try burning away your bad karma in this unique festival and await your good fortune.
Jeju Fire Festival Dates:
March 2nd – 5th
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7. See the Cherry Blossoms
While cherry blossoms might be something you’d automatically associate with Japan, Korean springs are also blessed with an abundance of spectacular pink and white petaled flora.
A couple of the most popular cherry blossom spots in Korea are on Yeouido Island and Jinhae-gu, both located on Seoul and Busan respectively.
Yeouido Island celebrates the season with their annual Yeouido Spring Flower Festival. In addition to their expansive collection of cherry blossom trees, Yeouido Island is also home to azaleas, forsythia and other seasonal flowers that inject a beautiful burst of colour into central Seoul. The night time illuminations are just as dazzling and well-worth sticking around until sundown for.
The naval port town of Jinhae-gu is the stage of possibly the biggest cherry blossom celebration in the country. During the annual Gunhangje Festival, locals and tourists come to soak up the incredible atmosphere. Aside from hanami (flower viewing), visitors enjoy a variety of arts and performances at the festival. To add on to the festivity, the Jinhae Military Band and Honor Guard Festival join in on the celebrations with military music and parades.
For more travel activities in Korea during spring:
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