This last weekend brought flower festivals to Seoul in multiple locations, one being at Jungnang-gu 중랑구 around the rose tunnel. The Rose tunnel is along Jungnangcheon stream and can be reached from subway line 7 station Meokgol (exits 7,6 or 5) or station Junghwa (exits 4 or 3).
You don’t have to go during the Rose Festival to enjoy the roses. Which the entire ward seems to be in love with. You should be able to find rose murals and roses everywhere in Jungnang during May.
The nice thing about the festival which is for one weekend every May is the live music throughout different parts of Jungnang. Since this was my first year being aware of the festival I wasn’t aware of all the fun things going on. Instead I just wandered around the rose tunnel taking pictures of all the pretty flowers, and missed out on the following:
- rose parade
- rose concert
- flower petal tossing
- Hanbok fashion shows
- rose music concert
- jazz concert
- garden dinner show
- Bulgarian merchants from Kazanlak who are pros at rose festivals (their own going back over a 100 years and happens in June)
- the night views of the roses with special lights
But you know what, that’s okay. I only went for a bit on Saturday and had already missed a lot that had happened on the other previous 2 days of the festival. (It’s about 3-4 days) I did see some performances but both my friend and I were pretty tired from walking and dealing with crowds so we didn’t stay long, only pausing to buy some special rose lemonade to try before heading home.
If you want to do anything Rose Festival specific find out the dates and spend the weekend in Seoul so you can fully enjoy it, including the night lights. Make sure you know which day it’s happening as well. The website for the festival is in Korean but you can also get a schedule from the Korean travel hotline at +1330 (Korean phone/landline)
Expect crowds and sun. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby that might not be particularly crowded, versus the rather busy street food/pop up restaurants near the tunnel. I ended up spending a couple of hours just enjoying an iced tea only a couple blocks away.
Driving will be a nightmare. As we were leaving the parade we walked along standstill traffic of people trying to come and go to the festival or getting stuck in the area. Public transit, specifically taking the train will be a lot easier.
If you just want photos of the roses/with the roses, go early in the morning or on a weekend or weekday around the festival in May but not exactly on that weekend. Unless you don’t mind waiting for a while to get photos.
Photo Tip! The rose tunnel is a series of arches with roses growing on them as you walk through. Along the side of the tunnels is space to stand, these are better spots to take photos, since there is more people walking through the arches then around them. Plus more roses tend to be growing on these sides. So head off the beaten path to get your photos. (There’s a sidewalk there so it’s fine)