In East Asia, nothing is more synonymous with Spring than Cherry Blossom. This trip celebrates the Cherry Blossom of Korea, which is less known, but probably more intense than the Sakura- the Japanese Cherry Blossom. We begin on the island of Taiwan, where we hope to catch the last days of the Cherry Blossom in some of the most stunning nature reserves of Asia, and continue to the Korean peninsula, where we arrive just in time for the peak of the Cherry Blossom. This is when the local festivals are taking place, celebrating this amazing natural phenomena admired by locals and foreign visitors alike.
Day 1. 26 March Arrival in Taipei
We arrive in Taoyuan Airport, the largest airport in Taiwan. At 14:00 we meet our guide and driver, and the one-hour drive to the city of Taipei, the national Taiwanese capital since 1886. If time permits, we’ll stop by Mengjia Longshan Temple, one of the oldest temples in Taiwan, dedicated to both Buddhism and Tao, and incorporating practices and icons taken from the Chinese Folk Religion. The temple was originally built by immigrants from Fujian, China, back in 1738, but was since destroyed and rebuilt several times. It serves today as one of the city’s main temples, and a gathering place for city elders. After checking into our hotel, we drive to one of the many night markets Taipei is famous for, where we’ll join the locals as they enjoy local delicacies amidst stalls selling everything from fresh fruits and cell phones, to cheap shoes and clothes. We then drive to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner.
Day 2. 27 March The northern trade route
We begin the day showing our appreciation to the father of the modern Taiwanese nation- Chiang Kai-Shek. The General’s complex life story reflects in many ways China’s turbulent history in the first half of the 20th century. Here, in a monument built on the scale of some of the most iconic tombs known to mankind, the story of General Chiang, and of China at the turn of the century are intertwined, and displayed in a graphic and most comprehensible way. We then continue to the National Palace Museum- probably the world’s best museum of Chinese ancient art. The museum exhibits a collection of artifacts which were owned by the Chinese Imperial dynasties. When Chinag Kai-She realized he was losing his rule over China, he ordered for trunks of these priceless items to be shipped to the island of Taiwan, to which he, his army and supporters retreated as China was taken by the Communist party. After a late lunch we leave Taipei and drive north, for a few hours hike along an ancient trade route, built by early merchants between Longshan Temple in the heart of old Taipei, and all the way to the ancient port from which goods were sent from Taiwan to the world, or vice versa. Late in the afternoon we take the drive back to Taipei, where we spend a second night.
Day 3-4. 28-29 March Taroko Gorge
From Taipei we take a train ride to Taroko Gorge. Located in the north-east part of the island’s backbone ridge, Taroko Gorge National Park is known as one of the island’s most scenic regions, offering plenty of hiking trails to an amazing vantage point over the marble walls rising above the Leewoo Ho River and its tributary. For the coming two days we hike and visit sites such as the Eternal Spring Shrine, the Qingshui Cliff, Baiyang and others- for as long as time allows. We spend the nights in a cozy 5-star hotel overlooking the beautiful gorge.
Day 5. 30 March Alishan National Scenic Area
We depart Taroko, and drive along the island’s main mountain range, commonly referred to as the island’s backbone, as it runs all the way from north to south, dividing the country into two separate regions that are connected only by few roads which cross the mountain range (and are shut from time to time due to harsh weather condition). Late in the afternoon we arrive in Alishan National Scenic Area, and if time allows, take a first walk through the mysterious forest surrounding our five-star hotel.
Day 6. 31 March A walk through the first, and back to Taipei
We begin the day very early in the morning, as we head to the train station. Here, on a railway built by the Japanese to support the logging industry, we ride to a high vantage point, to observe the sunrise. Below us is a sea of cloud that covers the valleys just beneath, and above us, the first rays of sun appear over the horizon. We then take a 45-minutes’ walk back to our hotel, and after breakfast, take a hike through the beautiful pine forest Alsihan is so famous for. Along the way we stop by hundreds of years old trees, beautiful ponds, and ancient temples. In the afternoon we board a vehicle which brings us to the train station where we board the bullet train, which travels in speeds of up to 300 km/h, back to Taipei. In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the city’s old hotels, a place famous for the great views it provides over the Taiwanese capital city.
Day 7. 01 April Busan, Korea
This morning we drive back to Taoyuan Airport, from there we fly across the East China Sea to the city of Busan. Busan is Korea’s second largest city, the country’s biggest port and the center of the “Southeast Economic Zone”, the beating heart of Koreas economy. Once we land, we drive to our hotel right at the center of town. From here we walk to Jagalchi Fish Market, probably not as famous as other fish markets around Asia, but definitely on a similar scale to the best known and largest ones, covering a huge area from the dock, where the fishing boats unload wide range of fish and other creatures, all the way to street stalls who make this fresh produce into a mouthwatering meal served on the spot. In the evening we stroll to the Busan International Film Festival square, when there’s no current festival it serves as the city’s lively pedestrian street, which comes to life in the evening times, when city dwellers coming to enjoy their tie in leisure after office time.
Day 8. 02 April First morning after the Cherry Blossom
We depart Busan as we head to Jinhae, the place which probably produces the most iconic Cherry Blossom images of Korea. Here we pause by the famous train station, where petals cover the tracks, and as the train approaches the station, a rain of white and pink occurs. We then take a stroll along Yeojwacheon Stream, and if time permits, take a walk to a scenic spot out of town to yet another famous spot to admire the marvelous sight of cherry trees in full blossom. In the afternoon we drive to Gyeongju. Gyeongju served as the capital of the Silla Kingdom, ruled by one of the longest ruling dynasties in history, 960 years. Accordingly, the ancient capital of the kingdom, which at its height ruled over 2/3rds of the Korea Peninsula, is scattered with historic relics and thus is known as “the museum without walls”. Upon arrival, we visit Bulguksa Temple. This 8th century temple serves as the main temple of the Jogye order, and is home to several national cultural treasures. Amidst these are significant stone pagodas, the Blue Cloud and White Cloud Bridges, and gilded Buddha figures. After walking through the temple, we drive to Seokuram Grotto, 4 kilometers away from Bulguksa. This hermitage, perched 750 meters above sea, is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evidences suggests works in the grotto begun in 742, and completed in 774, resulting in some of the most important and best preserved Buddhist sculptures in the world. We wrap up this busy day with a visit to Anap Pond, formerly the centerpiece of a royal recreational garden, lavishly lit as a reminder of the city’s past glory. Overnight in Gyeongju.
Day 9. 03 April Flowers, flowers, and a bit more flowers
We begin the day at the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival. The appeal of this particular festival is in the mesmerizing images of the blooming trees amidst the old relics scattered around town. We pause at Seongdong Sijang, one of the best open-air markets in Korea before leaving for Chungju. Here we take a hike along the banks of the man-made lake, visit Gosu Cave which is known as one of the country’s most beautiful caves, and end the day with a cruise over the lake, from where we see the entire surroundings of the lake, all covered in blooming cherry trees. In the evening we drive to our hotel in Chunju.
Day 10. 04 April 04 April A fortress in the mountain
For most of the day we will be hiking along the path leading to Namhansansung, or “the fortress in the southern Han Mountain”. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautiful trail leads to where the Korean kings kept a fortress which was planned to serve as an alternative capital should Seoul surrender to an aggressor. Though this never happened, this vast fortress has served as the front command center to some of the most epic battles in Korean history. After enjoying the trail, and the so called ‘Cherry Blossom Street’, we make our way to the Korean national capital. After checking-in to our hotel, we get to the top of Seoul N-Tower for a view over the city at night.
Day 11. 05 April Urban blossom
Today we join the people of Seoul, as they take a break from the somewhat hectic lifestyle of most city dwellers in the super-competitive Korean society, and admire the cherry blossom along the city streets. We join them on Yeoido Street, where, for a week, street performances replace the usual waves of suited men and women often seen through the super busy streets of the Korean capital city. We then embark on few hours’ hike along the city’s old wall. Running over the hills surrounding the city, the trail takes us past beautiful forests, offering us great views over the city, that at this time of the year is beautifully colored. In the evening we take a leisurely stroll through Bukcheon, once the residential neighborhood of officials and clerks serving the royal court, today it's a hip place of trendy restaurants, art galleries and coffee shops, showcasing the fusion of new, rebellious culture with the old values and traditions. Late in the evening we return to our hotel for our last night of the trip.
Day 12. 06 April Departure from Korea
After breakfast we visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, which unsurprisingly resembles the structure and characteristics of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The palace, first constructed in 1935, is the largest of the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. Like many other significant buildings in Korea, it was totally burnt during the Japanese invasion at the end of the 16th century, and then reconstructed only to be destroyed once again in the Japanese takeover of the early 20th century. We also visit the National Folk Museum, located at the palace compound. We then board our vehicle, and take the one-and-a-half-hour drive to the city of Incheon, where the country’s largest airport is located, and where our trip comes to an end.
Dates & Pricing
26th March, 2017–6th April, 2017
- $5,252 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $1,127 Single Room Supplement
Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above. If you are booking this trip for a party of four travelers or more, please contact us for our special rates.
Note: Trip rates are valid all year round, but are not valid for trips that occur (in whole, or in part) during Chinese national holidays: May 1st to 3rd, September 15th to 17th, or October 1st to 7th, Some surcharges might apply on December 24th to January 1st due to high demand, or compulsory dinners in the hotels.
[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.
Prices are based on twin share occupancy.
Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$3948/ person
6 travelers- US$3395/ person
- Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.
- International flight Taipei to Busan
- Transfers with private A/C vehicle
- Accommodation at selected hotels
- Bottled drinking water
- Meals as indicated in the program (half board basis)
- Entry fees for all sightseeing as mentioned on the program
- International travel to Taipei, and from Seoul
- Travel Insurance
- Tourist visa to Taiwan (if required)
- Tourist visa to South Korea (if required)
- Excess luggage
- Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
- Anything not clearly mentioned in the program
- Taipei- Riviera Hotel 4-star
- Taroko- Silks Place 5-star
- Alishan- Alishan House 5-star
- Busan- Busan Aventree 4-star
- Gyeongju- Hyundai Gyeongju 4-star
- Chungju- Kensington Resort 4-star
- Seoul- May Place Hotel 4-star
Note: the listed hotels are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.
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