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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Spring into Korea's Flower & Food Festivals this April



Spring blossoms come to life mid-April in Korea with festivals to celebrate the beauty of the season. It is also a great time to enjoy some of Korea's traditional food and cultural festivals. The cherry blossoms will start blossoming around the 7th of April and are expected to be in full bloom around 12-13 April.

Visitors need not travel far from the capital city of Seoul to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms. This year the Seoul Metropolitan Government will hold the Namsan Cherry Blossom Festival along the road leading up to Mt. Namsan in the centre of the capital. The festival will run from 9-16 April.

The Festival Eve ceremony on the 9th will run from 7pm on the northern side of Mt. Namsan with light, percussion, acoustic guitar and singing performances. The opening ceremony will start from 7pm on the 10th April in Namsan park with various performances and the lighting of the Cherry Blossoms for night viewing. The best viewing spots will be along what is called 'Jogging Mecca' Road.

Visitors to Korea in April can also enjoy the cherry blossoms in the ancient city of Gyeongju in the south-east of Korea. Here the trees around Lake Bomum make a beautiful sight in Spring. Gyeongju also hosts the Gyeongju Cherry Marathon on the 4th April. Further south Spring comes early with a large Cherry Blossom Festival held in the naval city of Jinhae from 1-13 April.

Traditional Korean drinks and rice cakes are not just foods, they are part of Korean culture. The historic city of Gyeongju hosts the Korean Traditional Drink & Rice Cake Festival is a special festival to celebrate the importance of these in Korean history and culture. This year the festival will be held from 19-24 April. While in Gyeongju don't miss the World Heritage Bulguksa Temple and the beautiful Seokguram Buddha in a mountain temple nearby.

In early May visitors can enjoy the Green Tea Festival at Boseong in the south of the country. The green tea fields are very scenic with some Korean movie scenes being filmed there. At this festival you can not only drink green tea and learn how good it is for the body but participate in experience programs like picking tea leaves, learn the etiquette for preparing, serving and drinking green tea, and try a green tea facial mask to revitalize your skin.

At the same time In the same region enjoy the Damyang Bamboo Festival which is full of hands on experiences for tourists like making bamboo crafts, flying bamboo kites and traditional bamboo musical instrument concerts. The sound of the Korean bamboo flute is unique and very special unlike any other flute you've ever heard.

If you wish to just chase wild butterflies, then visit the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival which runs 24 April – 10 May. Hampyeong is a land of green nature and yellow rapeseed flowers in Spring and the butterflies are drawn here in their tens of thousands.

Further information on all of Korea's festivals can be found on the official travel website www.visitkorea.or.kr or call or email Korea Tourism Organization for a copy of the excellent 235 page free Korea Travel Guidebook today. Email: visitkorea@knto.org.au Phone: 02)9252-1717

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