April/Spring or October/Fall?

Feb 3rd, 2019, 12:33 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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April/Spring or October/Fall?

This year I want to go for a month to South Korea and had hoped to go end of March and April. Some projects I have to finish have me worried about being able to go then when I hoped to see the cherry blossoms. For those of you who have been there for both of these seasons, which did you prefer regarding best weather, less crowded, and best nature color. While I enjoy seeing floral gardens, I enjoy fall foliage as well. I love to drive the countryside so will be renting a car for that after 10 days or so in Seoul.

Thank you.
PatW47 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2019, 04:45 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I can't answer directly, as I went in May. I didn't see any cherry blossoms -- much too late for that! I did see some lovely flowers as I traveled around. And Japanese maples were scattered about, so I saw their deep red leaves against a backdrop of lush green foliage in many parts of the country.

I would urge you to do some research before committing to a rental car: South Korea has an extensive public transportation network that will allow you to see a great deal of the country -- and will let you see the countryside without having to keep your attention on the road. (And some of those roads would definitely require your attention!) And at least when I went, it had among the highest car accident / car accident fatality rates in the world. None of my friends who are from South Korea will drive when they visit family or friends who still live there -- they consider it far too unsafe.

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in report of the month I spent in South Korea:
4 wonderful solo weeks in South Korea
kja is offline  
Feb 4th, 2019, 11:10 PM
  #3  
 
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We were in South Korea for around three weeks at the beginning of April a couple of years ago. We saw a lot of cherry blossom as we travelled around. Beautiful but nothing compared to Japan.

We got around the country by public transport; the train and bus systems are excellent. Didnt rent a car, not because of any safety issues ( I have driven in far more dangerous places!) but it just wasn’t necessary for the places we wanted to visit on that trip. That said, there were a number of places we would visit should we return, where a car would be beneficial.
If basing you self in Seoul, I can inmagine a car would be a hindrance rather than a help in getting in and out of the city.

Some photos on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/asia/south-korea/

Haven’t been in the autumn but have been contemplating a return there or, more likely Japan and SK in October/November time.

In terms of the weather in April. It was mostly ok. A few wet days but a lot of blue skies too. Quite cold at times. A little like spring here in the U.K. Unlike Japan, it didn’t seem crowded at all.
crellston is offline  
Feb 10th, 2019, 11:10 PM
  #4  
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Thank you for your response. Time is flying by so fast that I don’t think I am prepared to go in April. My grandson graduates from high school in May and I decided to stay home to be with him for all his Senior activities and before he leaves for college. I will have more time to plan for an October trip. Want to go to Japan and Singapore so might stay longer then.

I had previously started reading your trip report but not finished it. It did give me confidence to make the decision for this solo trip to South Korea.

If I rent a car, it will be to drive in the mountains and country areas for the fall foliage. Won’t be driving in the large cities.

Thank you again.
PatW47 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2019, 11:38 PM
  #5  
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Thank you for your information. Pictures I found on Google of people on street in April, it looked cold as they are all wearing coats. I had hoped it would be warmer. I decided to go in October when I can stay longer and go to Japan and Singapore.

I usually don’t like to stay in large cities long but I do plan to stay in Seoul for at least a week. I took my granddaughter in 2014 for a month in Europe and our last week, we stayed in Chelsea part of London. We drove in Germany, Austria and Italy before train to Paris for a week. I asked her which she preferred, the road portion or the stay in the cities. I was surprised that she said she enjoyed both and would not have wanted to miss either. This time I will probably rent car on way out of Seoul to go to some of the national parks, mountains, countryside. Drivers in Italy can be scary too and thankfully I survived on my road trips there. Praying for me to do same on this excursion.

Hope you get to go to Japan in the fall too. I probably will go there on my way back home for just a few days.

Thanks again. I’m about to look at your Korea pictures.
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Feb 11th, 2019, 12:02 AM
  #6  
kja
 
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Roads, traffic, and driving norms in South Korea are not like those in the US or Europe, and as already noted, you can visit almost any place in South Korea (including national parks, mountains, and country areas) by public transportation -- with the option of actually seeing the scenery, rather than focusing your attention the roads themselves. The problems my friends mentioned were not associated with city driving -- they were with driving OUTSIDE the cities. My friends won't drive in SK. Their family members who still live there drive ONLY when absolutely necessary. They offered extremely strong advice to avoid driving if at all possible -- and as a rule, it is possible to avoid driving. Once you have a plan, I would encourage you to give serious consideration to whether you actually need a car.

And do think about your priorities. Many people want at least 2, if not 3, weeks for a first visit to Japan. Singapore can easily take the better part of a week, and the weather in Singapore causes some travelers to visit at times of year other than those that are best for Japan or South Korea. You can, of course, have a wonderful trip that includes one or more of these destinations, but thinking through your priorities in advance could prove advantageous.

Good luck!

Last edited by kja; Feb 11th, 2019 at 12:27 AM.
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Feb 11th, 2019, 12:08 AM
  #7  
 
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Good that you have narrowed it down to the autumn. I am still trying to do the same! Maybe Japan and a return to Taiwan or a visit to son, wife and new grandchild in Australia and one of those places on the way back. So many places, so little time....
crellston is offline  
Feb 11th, 2019, 10:50 PM
  #8  
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Thank you.
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Feb 12th, 2019, 09:06 AM
  #9  
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Thank you for your concern. I have personal reasons that I want the flexibility of not depending on public transportation. If once I get on the road, and it is not something I can handle, I will revise my trip plans. Have read recent blogs and watched videos of others that their experiences were fine and enjoyable. (Have you driven in Mexico? I have and in cities where there were no lanes and it was everybody for themselves! Could go from 2 cars across to 4 or 5 depending on who wanted to move up and moving fast. A total madhouse! I survived!) I do plan to spend a week in Singapore but have no desire to stay longer in Japan. Only want to visit Tokyo for a few days and I will extend my trip for those extra places. Now I just have to decide timingówhether September into October or October into November.
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Feb 12th, 2019, 10:44 AM
  #10  
 
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We just spent a couple of months in Mexico but didn’t drive but got around by bus. It seemed ok there. I have driven in many other countries in Asia, Africa and South America. The first time driving in Thailand was many years ago and it took me several days before I was absolutely sure on what side of the roads they were supposed to be driving! The worst was in Colombia. The driving there was so appalling, after seeing dozens of accidents and being involved in one whilstbon a bus we just gave up and flew the longer journeys.
I drove in Taiwan a couple of years ago and despite all the warning ps I read before I went, it really wasn’t that bad.

I need to check out the weather in SK but my current thinking is to travel down through Japan and then get the ferry to Busan in SK and fly back from there.
crellston is offline  
Feb 12th, 2019, 04:51 PM
  #11  
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I’m glad that I have given myself more time to plan. My way of traveling is not for everyone. I don’t make a jam packed itinerary trying to fill each day full of a lot of things to see and do. Also I don’t make a lot of advance reservations but make them as I travel to allow for staying longer or less time as I choose then. Sometimes I just want to take a 1/2 day resting at hotel.

I hope you have a great time on your trip in the fall to Japan and SK.

Next year I have promised my sweet 17 year old grandson I will take him on a road trip to Europe for a month. He loves history and I know he will love London and all the museums.. For sure I won’t be driving there on the other side of the road. My passenger is too precious!
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Feb 12th, 2019, 06:55 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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I fear that I may have raised a concern unnecessarily! While trying to find a link about traffic safety in South Korea to send you, what I found instead were several articles about successful efforts undertaken within that country in recent years to reduce the risk of both car accidents and accident-related fatalities. So even though my friends and their families still refuse to drive there, the warnings I read about the risks may have been outdated. I didn't read the information I found -- I just skimmed a few summaries -- and so I'm not offering an assessment of the safety of driving in SK. But I am offering my sincere apology for raising and reiterating a concern that might have no current substantive merit.

Good luck with your planning!
kja is offline  
Feb 15th, 2019, 06:23 PM
  #13  
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I read that government had been working to improve driving conditions and cracking down on violators. I appreciate your letting me know what you found too. I jut have some health issues that I need to go at my own speed and be able to change plans at last minute plus exploring along the route. Again thank you for your time and thoughtfulness.
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Feb 15th, 2019, 06:27 PM
  #14  
kja
 
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Thanks for being so understanding!

Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about the various places I visited. IMO, a trip to South Korea can be very rewarding.
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Feb 17th, 2019, 06:16 PM
  #15  
 
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My first trip to Japan was for koyo in 2013 and my second was for sakura in 2017. If youíre talking just weather, autumn was definitely better. My spring 2017 Trip started off in Tokyo quite cold and rainy (late March). I didnít hit much of any cherry blossom until Kyoto and finally, full bloom in Kanazawa which was breathtaking. The koyo were also stunning, with gorgeous fall weather the first 2 1/3 weeks of November. Both will be crowded. Itís inevitable and itís Japan.
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