One of the few unmissable experiences whenever visiting Japan and South Korea is seeing cherry blossoms. This beautiful tree is prominently featured in many of their films, series, anime, and even video games. While both countries are famous for this enchanting phenomenon, Pinoys can visit other visa-free destinations that also offer this sight. Learn more about where to see cherry blossoms here!
Where to see cherry blossoms in Southeast Asia
1. The Philippines
While cherry blossom destinations inside the Philippines can be limited, they are definitely still an option. Back in 2015, Japan’s Kochi Prefecture donated cherry tree seedlings to Sakura Park in Paoay, Atok in Benguet which bloomed in 2021. This high point in Benguet makes it perfect to cultivate cherry trees, which gives Sakura Park that similar spring scenic view in Japan.
There is an abundance of greenery found all over the city-state of Singapore. The city-state’s efforts to create and nurture its natural flora and fauna make it an easy choice among visa-free cherry blossom destinations for Pinoys. Some of the best places to watch this phenomenal beauty around the island are Gardens By The Bay, the neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, Sengkang Riverside Park, and Japanese Cemetery Park.
The city of Hanoi and Da Lat in Vietnam are very popular visa-free cherry blossom destinations to visit. Both of these cities have cold weather suited for growing Tecoma trees, which blossom into darker shades of pink. Visit these cities in Vietnam during the spring to see all their beauty!
Tecoma trees are also populous in a few states in Malaysia. Alor Setar, the state capital of Kedah, is an easy choice for visa-free cherry blossom destinations to go through, especially from February to April. The Tecoma trees planted on Alor Setar’s streets bloom pink flowers on their branches as far as the eye can see.
Sharing half of Malaysia’s distinction as one of Southeast Asia’s best visa-free cherry blossom destinations is Penang. While the city is famous for its heritage attractions, a little-known secret for tourists is that it also houses many Tecoma trees. Similar to Kedah, Tecoma trees give Penang a gorgeous shade of pink during the dry seasons of February to April.
Thailand has to be one of the easiest places to consider when visiting visa-free cherry blossom destinations for Pinoys. But instead of cherry trees, Bangkok’s Kasetsart University has over 200 trumpet trees blooming in soft pink shades that rival the sakura. The trumpet trees are in full bloom from March to April.
Cherry blossoms can be a rarity in Indonesia. Fortunately, there are more than a few trees in Cibodas Botanical Garden and Bali Botanical Garden to suffice. Notably, the trees bloom twice a year within Indonesia’s two seasons — from February to March and once more between July and August. However, climate change has spawned blooms in unpredictable months.
Visa-free cherry blossom destinations outside Southeast Asia
Wuling Farm in Taichou, Taiwan should be an automatic addition to visa-free cherry blossom destinations. This farm, full of around 20,000 cherry trees, looks like a painting coming to life. Visitors can spend a night on its camping grounds, surrounded by its dreamlike beauty. Wuling Farm’s cherry blossoms also attract butterflies, adding even more colour to its fields.
Kazakhstan is miles and miles away from the Philippines. But just in case a visit to the Balkan region is somewhere in the books, cherry blossoms can definitely be enjoyed in Kazakhstan. Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, has an abundance of cherry trees that bloom after winter. Blooming begins in late March, which signifies the start of a new year in Kazakh practices.
While not exactly cherry trees, almond trees bloom in Palestine, making for a magical sight. They begin to bloom during early winter in December up until spring’s arrival in March. As one could guess from the name, they also bear delicious and nutritious almonds.
One of the best places to visit in Pakistan is the cradle of life which is Hunza Valley. To say that this place is scenic is an understatement. Colours found in this valley change throughout the year. During late March, when its cherry trees are in full bloom, the pink and white shades of cherry tree foliage can be sweeping and romantic.
Many tourists pay attention to cherry blossom season because they’re very easy to fall in love with. Seeing one in person is certainly memorable. Plus, they make IG-worthy snapshots, too! But in the event that a trip to Japan or South Korea isn’t possible yet, there are a lot more places that house these gorgeous plants. More than one might think, in fact!
Featured image credit: 花落 \ Flickr