Emotions can run high on a trip to Korea, ranging from excitement and happiness to anxiety and exhaustion. To recover from this gamut, be sure to schedule plenty of downtime in your itinerary! Some of the best places to find balance and peace of mind are at gardens and parks just outside of Seoul. Easily accessible via public transportation, you’ll feel revived in no time!
The Garden of Morning Calm, located in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do, is just a 50 minute-ride out of Seoul. It is considered the best garden in Korea, bringing in more than 1,300,000 visitors a year. The name “Morning Calm” came from Sir Tagore, a poet from India, who described Korea as “A land of the Morning Calm.”
Designed with the concept of Korean style curves and asymmetrical balance, The Garden of Morning Calm consists of various themed gardens, including the romantic Eden’s Garden, expansive Morning Square, and Korean Garden. One of the most popular spots among tourists is Seohwayeon Pond, a beautiful water garden that featured in the Korean drama “Love in the Moonlight (2016).”
Ilsan Lake Park is a large man-made lake, spanning over 900,000 square meters. The park offers visitors a chance to relax with more than 100 species of wild flowers and 200,000 diverse trees. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll around the lake along the 7.5-kilometer-long walking trail or zoom past it riding a bicycle on a 4.7-kilometer-long bike path. The park hosts International Horiculture Goyang Korea and Goyang Autumn Flower Festival annually. With different flowers blooming throughout the year, it’s a perfect place for a walk or a picnic.
Within Paju Book City, there is an extraordinary library called the “Forest of Wisdom,” where you can take a walk along magnificent rows of books for a special experience. The library holds more than 500,000 books that were all donated on bookshelves reaching a height of 8 meters and covering a distance of 3.1 kilometers. The books are grouped by donors instead of following the traditional library classification. Many book lovers come to the Forest of Wisdom to savor the atmosphere of being surrounded by so many books rather than to actually read here.
The Botanical Garden BCJ, located in Paju, is perfect for walking with level paths. You can find couples taking wedding photos all year round as the garden is one of the most popular places to take pictures. It has also starred as a filming location for many Korean dramas such as “My love from the Star (2013)” and “Descendants of the Sun (2016),” as well as the movie “The Handmaiden (2016),” and various commercials and music videos. Feel free to join in the craze and have your very own photo shoot here to celebrate your time in Korea!
* This column was last updated in April 2019, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.