South Korea – Busan – Jinhae Gunhangje

One of the highlights of this trip to South. Korea, is to catch the cherry blossoms at the 52nd Jinhae Gunhangjie, It is really a tranquil lovely place to enjoy the cherry blossoms. It ran from the 1st to the 10th of April for this year (2014). There are a few scenic spots to view the cherry blossom, and the most famous of which along the Yeojwacheon river. Another spot is at the Gyeonghwa station, where people camp to catch the arrivals of trains, which send cherry blossoms flying throughout the sky like snow. However, this station is actually quite a distance from the main jinhae festival location (hence, I skipped it). In fact, there are enough scenic spots to view the cherry blossoms within the vicinity of the jinhae festival, that one can get cherry blossom fatigue very fast… especially after catching cherry blossoms all around Jeju. Mt. Jehwang park is another nice place to view cherry blossoms. Not only is it atop a hill/mountain, it also has an observation tower, which gives you an all-encompassing view of the city.

To get to Jinhae from Busan, take the subway to Sasang station and take exit 5 towards Seobu Bus Terminal. Upon exiting, turn left and you should see a Macdonalds. Walk straight and the Bus Terminal should be in sight. It should be the place where most people are heading to. Purchase bus tickets to Jinhae from here. Its a one way ticket without timing restriction, so just board any bus that departs. Counter staff are friendly, and understand the word and pronunciation of Jinhae (gin hay). Proceed to platform 17 to board your bus. During the Jinhae festival, the most important advise is be EARLY! The earlier, the better! I reached the bus terminal and 0730, and boarded the 0750 bus. Bus journey is about 30-45mins. Get off at Jinhae Bus Terminal (last stop). This will also be the place where you take a bus back to Busan. Upon reaching the bus terminal, if you don’t have any navigation device (e.g. iphone!!!) you will be lost. It is a distance to the festival compound. I have included a map taken from Google map, for reference.

Enjoy the cherry blossoms.

Seobu Bus Terminal
Ticket Counter. Just say Jinhae (Gin hay) and they will understand. 5100won for one way.
Take your bus at platform 17. Free seating.
Map of Jinhae Downtown. Edited from google maps.
Just outside Jinhae Bus Terminal. Already you can feel the cherry blossom atmosphere.
At the festival location. I am too early. But its better to be early then late. When I departed at 1400hr, the whole place is flooded with people. You wouldn’t be able to take a picture without people in it.
The festival roundabout. There is a stage here. I suppose this is where the celebration takes place. But since my hotel is in Busan, and I don’t want to squeeze with people for the last bus back, I am not staying for till the lights turn on.
Beginning of the Yeojwacheon river walk.
Tourists are already beginning to build up. This bunch are either from Hongkong (China) or Guangdong (China), since they speak cantonese loudly.
The ‘real’ Yeojwacheon. PRETTY!!!
Because one shot is not enough…
… with umbrellas…
A shot with the bridge. By the way, the trail is pretty long, and there are a couple of such bridges along the path. Obviously, the first few will be cluttered with people. Just walk further down, and the crowd will lessen.
Mt. Jehwang Observation Tower. Notice the steep hike upwards. You can either climb the stairs up, which is free, or you can take a tram ride up.
This is the entrance to the tram station. A queue is already forming when I got here. They only have 2 upward rides and 2 downward rides per hour!!!
After 30mins wait, I am on my way up…
Observation tower
Actually, taking a hike up might be better, as the scenery is simply breath-taking. Compared to the observation tower, I like the surrounding scenery more.
Assortment of trees and shrubs
From the observation deck, you see the mountain in the distant, over the crown of the cherry trees.
That’s the roundabout, where the festival takes place.
And the sea quite far away…

April 2014


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