Malaysia's own 'sakura trees', Tecoma, and where to find them


The lovely and beautiful Tecoma tree is Malaysia's version of the cherry tree. — The Star

Cherry blossoms are in bloom again! Many travellers in Malaysia usually plan their holidays around the sakura season to a handful of countries in the Asian region, notably Japan, South Korea and China.

The thing about cherry blossom season, however, is that it comes and goes very quickly. One would need to be very particular about the where-and-when while planning an itinerary.

But with the Covid-19 pandemic upon us, chances are Malaysians will be missing out on the season this time around. All hope is not lost, though.

Did you know that Malaysia has its own "sakura trees" too?

Malaysia has its own version of the sakura tree too.Malaysia has its own version of the sakura tree too.

Penang boasts the beautiful Tecoma trees that shower the island city with petals of white, pink and purple. The locals call this tree, which blooms between February and April (when the weather is usually scorching hot), the "tissue paper trees".

These trees are mostly located near the Bayan Lepas industrial area and along Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, but you may find a few of them at other spots around the island and mainland too.

Tecoma trees are also found in Alor Setar, Kedah. The best-known hotspots are along Jalan Kuala Kedah and Jalan Langgar, but chances are you can spot the trees in most parts of the town too.

Apart from these two northern states, rows of Tecoma trees have also been sighted in Melaka, Terengganu and Johor.

Rows of beautiful Tecoma trees blooming with white, pink and purple flowers around major roads in Johor Baru.Rows of beautiful Tecoma trees blooming with white, pink and purple flowers around major roads in Johor Baru.

If the sight of the faux cherry blossoms leave you wanting more, plan for a sakura season holiday for when it's safe to travel again. Here are some places to catch beautiful blooms, as suggested by travel platform Agoda, that you can put on your list.

Japan

The city of Tokyo in springtime comes alive with the colour of pink. Your best bet to catch a scenic sight of the trees are at Yoyogi Park and Meguro River. Another way (depending on how superstitious you are) would be to head to a cemetery. The cherry trees bloom beautifully at Yanaka Cemetry.

Over in Yamanashi, the Nagasaki Park is the place to be. It is a popular spot for many locals to enjoy hanami (flower viewing) sessions under the white and pink cherry blossoms.

South Korea

Seoul is the place to be for your cherry blossom fix. Walk along the lake at Seoul Grand Park or visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which make great spots to admire the trees.

Another top destination during sakura season in South Korea is Jeju island. Head on to the downtown area to see Jeju's King Cherry Tree. The tree's cherry blossoms have the largest petals of all the cherry trees.

Thailand

Visit the Kasetsart University to experience Thailand's cherry blossom, Chompoo Pantip. The area boasts more than 200 Chompoo Pantip blossom trees. Full bloom happens only once a year between March and April. During this period, the trees on both sides of the street are adorned with pink flowers forming a romantic pathway and covers the landscape with soft pink petals.

Vietnam

In Hanoi, the Nhat Tan Cherry Blossom village has a unique dark pink shade of cherry blossom trees that are grown by local gardeners. Visitors will also get to enjoy cool temperatures while checking out the beautiful spring views.

With close to 3,000 bright pink cherry blossom trees, Da Lat is also another great venue. The blossoms here are popular for their unique shape, reflecting five leaf apricot trees.

A popular spot is at Ha Giang. Cherry blossoms can be viewed along the city's windy roads through Quan Ba, Yen Minh and Meo Vac. It's tucked among mountains, making for breathtaking vistas.

Indonesia

The sakura trees in West Java's Cibodas Botanical Garden bloom twice a year. For enthusiasts, you can view the flowers during two periods in the year. The first bloom takes place between February and March, while the second bloom is between July and August.

Philippines

Beyond pristine beaches, Palawan also offers another unique attraction in the form of the Philippines' own cherry blossoms. Known as the balayong or the Palawan Cherry, these trees produce white and pink flowers that bloom every March to April.

Closer to Manila, Dasmarinas, Cavite also boasts its own faux cherry blossoms. The dainty pastel pink blooms are a product of Trumpet Trees. They are a distant cousin of Japan's sakura trees which fall just as gracefully, leaving pretty trails of colour on the ground.

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