5 destinations out of Japan to see cherry blossoms

From a hill town in Vietnam to a lush forest in Taiwan, these cherry blossom-viewing spots in Asia give Japan a run for its money.

Sunset at Alishan
  • Denise Li
  • March 2020

When you think of cherry blossoms, Ueno Park, Himeji Castle and the slopes of Yoshino Mountain are some of the places that come to mind. But you can also get the full hanami experience at these spots outside of Japan.

1. Da Lat, Vietnam

Cherry blossoms in bloom in Da Lat
Da Lat is nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its cool year-round climate.

Thousands of cherry blossom trees bloom in Da Lat every January, dotting every corner of the hill town with flecks of pink. Home to serene lakes, rolling green hills and mist-covered valleys, the picturesque city is well worth the six-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City.

Address: Lam Dong, Vietnam

2. Alishan National Scenic Area, Taiwan

Alishan Forest Railway train
Originally built for transporting timber, the Alishan Forest Railway has become a popular tourist attraction.

From March to April, your best bet of catching cherry blossoms in Taiwan is at the 41.5-hectare Alishan National Scenic Area. This is a great hiking spot, with signposted trails that will take you deep into the forest. From Taipei, the trip to the nature reserve will take around 4.5 hours but getting there is half the fun. Midway, you will hop on the Alishan Forest Railway, a century-old train that will take you on a scenic journey through mountain passes and lush valleys.

Address: Alishan Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan

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3. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Cherry blossoms at the Flower Dome
The largest glass greenhouse in the world, the Flower Dome has a perpetual springtime climate.

The Sakura Matsuri festival returns to the Flower Dome from March 6 to 29, 2020. This year’s theme, Tale of the Peach Boy, traces the story of a boy named Momotaro who was born from a giant peach. Along with the chance to check out over 400 cherry and peach blossom trees against a backdrop of torii gates and traditional Gassho-style houses, you can enjoy cultural activities such as the Japanese tea ceremony.

Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore

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4. Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area, Taiwan

Cherry blossoms at Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area
The national forest is a 2.5-hour drive from Taipei city.

At this national forest in Yilan, you can catch the tail-end of Taiwan’s cherry blossom season around late March. This is where you will find the Taipingshan white cherry blossom just past the Jancing Historic Trail. While you are there, make time to visit the mammoth 2,500-year-old Bailing Giant Tree or indulge in an invigorating soak at Jioujhihze Hot Spring.

Address: Taiping Village, Datong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan

5. Chatuchak Park, Bangkok

Chatuchak park
The park is open daily from 4.30am to 9.30pm.

From January to March, pink trumpet trees flower in Chatuchak Park. While not exactly the real McCoy, they are still a welcome sight in the concrete jungle that is Bangkok. If you want to check out actual cherry blossoms in Thailand, head to the northern part of the country, which has cooler climes that allow sakura trees to flourish. A popular viewing spot is the Khun Chang Kian Highland Agriculture Research Centre atop Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep mountain.

Address: Kampaengphet 1 Road, Chatuchak District, Bangkok

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