The widely celebrated Japanese tradition of flower viewing or hanami is almost on every traveler’s bucket list. And why not? These dainty little pink flowers certainly enhance the beauty of both rural and city landscapes. If you’ve been attempting to catch Japan’s sakura in full bloom but couldn’t, or if you’re looking for a substitute on your trip next spring, well, you’re in luck. Here are 5 Alternative Cherry Blossom Destinations in Asia that are just as charming as Japan.
Jinhae-gu, South Korea
Cherry trees grow almost everywhere in Korea. But if there’s one place for cherry blossoms in South Korea that you should go to, it has to be the Jinhae-gu District in Changwon City. Each year, Changwon celebrates the 10-day long Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, and about 1 million local and international tourists flock the city to witness this floral spectacle. But if you want to skip the crowd, you can still catch the cherry blossoms in Jinhae-gu in March before the festival month.
Dien Bien, Vietnam
There’s an island in the Dien Bien Province of Vietnam called Hoa Island, Hoa means flower in Vietnamese. If you visit Hoa around spring, the moniker makes sense as thousands of pink cherry trees greet you inflorescence. And what travelers are amazed by how similar Vietnam’s sakura trees are with those in Japan. Well, that’s because these are the very same species of cherry trees found in Japan and were just planted on the Vietnamese island over a decade ago. Talk about alternatives!
Alishan National Scenic Area, Taiwan
Thanks to Taiwan’s low climate and fertile soil, cherry blossoms spring in pockets around the island. Visit from January to April, and you’ll see these flowers sprawling in key locations, like Taipei’s Pingjing Street, Wuling Farm in Taichung, Yangmingshan National Park, and Wulai Scenic Area. But if you want to see Taiwan’s raw beauty with cherry trees in full bloom, better make the trip to Alishan National Scenic Area, one of the most breathtaking national parks in Asia.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
How could anyone not appreciate the exotic flora and fauna of Thailand? You’ll be surprised that cherry trees bloom in Thailand’s mountainous regions. One of which is Chiang Mai, the home of the Wild Himalayan Cherry Tree. The Himalayan Cherry Tree, also known as the “Tiger Tree,” is basically a cousin of the famous sakura in Japan. Just imagine how enthralling it is to see cherry trees decorate Thai landscape and architecture. See the pink Tiger Tree in Khun Chang Khian Agriculture Research Centre.
Well, surprise, surprise. India has cherry blossoms, too. Planted throughout the rolling hills of Shillong City, the wild Himalayan cherry trees are widely enjoyed by the locals and visiting tourists. The wispy floral trees also have religious significance in Indian culture. According to Hindus, wild cherry trees are sacred as they are associated with the Hindu deities Vishnu and Shiva. Each November, Shillong City celebrates its own cherry blossom festival.
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