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Hot on the trail of cherry blossoms — peak times for 2024

by Staff

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Hitting peak time for the cherry tree bloom in Washington, D.C., can be a little tricky. But if you do, the visual reward is magnificent.

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In travel news this week: Circling the calendar for peak cherry blossoms, a very rare peek at post-pandemic North Korea and the insightful confessions of a Vegas habitué.

Flowers can be powerful tourist draws, be they boldly colorful tulips in the Netherlands or fragrant lavender fields in France. And then there are the beloved annual cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C., and Japan.

As we enter March, the predicted peak time for the delicate and fleeting lovelies in D.C. is March 23-26, according to the National Park Service’s Bloom Watch. The service warns multiple factors can affect the blooms late in the game. Cool, calm weather can extend the blossom time. One rainy or windy day or a late frost can nip the whole affair in the bud.

While peak bloom can still be up in the air, the dates for the National Cherry Blossom Festival are solidly locked down: March 20-April 14. If the crowds are too much at the iconic Tidal Basin, check out offerings in the nearby Wharf district, which is holding Bloomaroo on March 23.

Meanwhile, Japanese forecasters are out with their own cherry blossom, or sakura, predictions. Down in southern Japan, the peak currently predicted for Kochi is around March 27. In Tokyo, expect a peak around March 29. Good news for late-comers: Way up in wintry Sapporo, the peak isn’t expected until May 4. Whet your appetite for sakura with these sumptuous photos from our archives.

With some of the disturbing airline news you might have come across lately, let’s pause to take some comfort: Commercial airplanes are still the safest way to go. A new report confirms 2023 was the safest year ever for flying by several measures. Find out what’s going well, what regions are doing best – and what safety concerns remain.

Dubai, land of the megaproject, is certainly gung-ho about the future of aviation. The desert emirate has been dreaming for some time of having the biggest and busiest airport in the world. (Watch out Atlanta!) But so far, the dream has not come to fruition. Check in with this progress report about where things stand.

While Dubai dreams big, some flag carriers – a country’s most representative airline – face the reality of working with little portions. Air Albania, for instance, makes do with a fleet size of three. Discover other small flag carriers in the world.

Whether you fly big or small, you’ll want to be comfortable. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, can assist with suggestions for the best travel pillows for 2024.

Call them metros. Call them subways. But definitely call them convenient for getting around some of the world’s biggest cities. From London to Tokyo, here are some of our favorites.

In northern India, a runaway freight train traveled a gobsmacking 72 kilometers (45 miles) before it was brought to a stop. Here’s the simple but ingenious way the hulk was eventually brought to heel.

Meanwhile, auto service group AAA is warning of higher gas prices in the United States as spring break season approaches. In fact, prices edged up 4 cents a gallon in the past week.

02:06 – Source: CNN

North Korea welcomes tourists again. Who is visiting?

In the best of times, a visit to communist North Korea was a rarity. The pandemic pretty well shut all tourism down. But recently, tourists from Russia visited key sites in the capital, Pyongyang, and went to Masikryong, North Korea’s only ski resort. Here’s what they saw.

CNN’s Brandon Griggs has visited Las Vegas more than 40 times.
He’s got a fascinating perspective on why Sin City is such a draw.

They were promised a Willy Wonka-inspired experience.
What these kids and parents got wasn’t in their world of imagination.

Check out the least-visited national parks in the United States.
They’re harder to reach but hold some of the most alluring natural treasures.

They’re environmental disasters drawing on “dark” tourism.
See the modern-day ghost towns created by the climate crisis.

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