Safely see all the blossoms spring has to offer

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Safely see all the blossoms spring has to offer

A variety of trees bloom during spring including cherry blossom. [SONG BONG-GEUN]

A variety of trees bloom during spring including cherry blossom. [SONG BONG-GEUN]

Drive through is not just an option for picking up food this spring. Check out the season's blossoms from the comfort of your car and avoid areas where gathering in crowds is restricted.
 
Although major cherry blossom festivals all across the country have been canceled, there are still ways to enjoy the spring flowers in a safer environment. One option is to enjoy the blossoms that line roads in the country from a car. But it is important to check ahead of time to make sure the roads famous for their arches of flowers are still open, as some have been closed to avoid crowds from gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. 
 

Gangneung in Gwangwon, known for its cherry blossoms around Gyeongpodae, is only allowing cars to drive through the area this year and has restricted people from walking or parking their vehicles. Yeongam in South Jeolla has also blocked off most of its streets, except the 100-ri Cherry Blossom street. Cars can cruise along the road but are forbidden from parking. 
 
If you don't have access to a car, don't worry. Many of the regional governments of areas that draw crowds during the spring have set up cameras to live stream the flowers. It is expected that the Seoul Metropolitan area will reach peak bloom this weekend.  
 
Songpa District is live streaming the area around Seokchon Lake, known for its cherry blossoms, on its YouTube channel Songpa TV. The trails around the lakes have been closed, except for in the early morning for those needing to commute to work. 
 
The district office will also be flying drones to show different views of the lake covered with flowers and residents will participate by introducing their favorite spots around the lake.  
 
Another cherry blossom hotspot, Seoul National Cemetery, will also stream floral scenes online and has closed its doors to general visitors. Those wishing to pay their respects to those buried in the cemetery will need to make a reservation in advance.  
 
Incheon has closed both Incheon Grand Park and Wolmi Park, major cherry blossom destinations among those in the area, and will instead show off the spring scenes through the city's official YouTube.  
 
An aerial view of Yunjung-ro in Yeouido, western Seoul, a well-known spot t see cherry blossoms in bloom. The area will be open from April 1 through 8 for a limited number of visitors. [YONHAP]

An aerial view of Yunjung-ro in Yeouido, western Seoul, a well-known spot t see cherry blossoms in bloom. The area will be open from April 1 through 8 for a limited number of visitors. [YONHAP]

Meanwhile, Yeouido, the most popular spots among Seoulites for spring flowers, is open — but only for a limited number of people. Apply for one of the 2,500 reservations to enter the famous Yunjung-ro. You can apply for a spot from Thursday at www.blossom.or.kr. Yeongdeungpo District will randomly select 504 people to enter the street a day, allowing groups of 72 people to walk down the street at a time.  
 
Such walks will take place on April 1 and 2, April 5 and 6, and April 7 and 8. What date you are assigned will depend on when you sign up. Applicants can check if they have been selected on the website. You will need to enter your personal information to apply and that will be checked on the day of the visit if you are selected. 
 
With limited options available, some local hotels that have a view of cherry blossoms are putting together special packages. The Marriott Executive Apartments located in Yeouido, offers a view of the streets below covered with flowers. It joined hands with the recently opened The Hyundai Seoul to provide gift vouchers to use at the mall for those staying at the hotel. The package starts from 219,000 won and is available until April 30th. 
 
Rolling Hills hotel in Gyeonggi’s Hwaseong offers a staycation filled with flowers as the hotel has a garden filled with fifty different types of flowers and trees. The package starts from 200,000 won ($193) and available until May 31.  
 
Paradies Hotel Busan offers a chance to bathe under the cherry blossom trees at its spa facility called Cimer. [PARADISE HOTEL BUSAN]

Paradies Hotel Busan offers a chance to bathe under the cherry blossom trees at its spa facility called Cimer. [PARADISE HOTEL BUSAN]

Paradise Hotel Busan offers a spa experience covered in spring flowers. There are many flower-themed baths around its spa facility called Cimer, so that overnighters have a variety of options to choose from to best suit their style. The spa is available for any overnight guests until April 30. Rooms start from 200,000 won.  
 
Although cherry blossom are most prevalent, keep you eyes open for other spring blooms such as white-colored plum flowers and yellow sansuyu flowers which grow on trees along with red berries called cornelian cherries.  
 
BY LEE SUN-MIN   [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]  
 
 
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