Fri, Jul 01, 2022, 06:55 KST (UTC+9)  Seoul  Korea

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Travel Highlights

Travel Highlights

Korea’s BEST 5 Fall Foliage Destinations

  • Date12/07/2021
  • Hit2935

Fall at Hwadam Botanic Garden

From October to early November, the most popular destinations in Korea include splendid regional mountains, such as Seoraksan Mountain and Odaesan Mountain. A mountain decorated with colorful foliage makes for a stunning photo backdrop, whether zoomed in or not. However, such famous fall foliage destinations are always packed with tourists. These days, people prefer to head to new, less crowded destinations, not so far from Seoul, where they can enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves at their leisure. Let’s discover Korea’s secret fall foliage destinations—although I really ought to keep them to myself!

Hwadam Botanic Garden in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do

 Fall at Hwadam Botanic Garden

Located in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, the Hwadam Botanic Garden is an ecological arboretum 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Seoul via public transportation. Visitors will enjoy walking amid some 4,300 plant species in a forest-like atmosphere. Tourists can easily take the monorail, which travels all around the location, to the top of the garden and enjoy its breathtaking fall view. Visitors who stroll along the walking deck may even meet a small wild animal, such as a hedgehog or squirrel.

Hwadam Botanic Garden

  • Address: 278-1, Docheogwit-ro, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기 광주시 도척면 도척윗로 278-1)
  • Operating hours: Weekdays 09:00–18:00 / Weekends 08:30–18:00 (last admission 16:30)
    * Subject to change depending on the season and various circumstances
  • Admission fee: Adults 10,000 won / Senior citizens & teenagers 8,000 won / Children 6,000 won
    * Winter season: Senior citizens & teenagers 10,000 won / Children 8,000 won
    * Monorail fare (roundtrip): Adults, senior citizens & teenagers 8,000 won / Children 6,000 won
    * Tickets must be purchased via the online reservation site, on-site ticketing unavailable
  • Transportation
    - From Gonjiam Terminal → Take a taxi (approx. 10 min)
    - From Gonjiam Station on Gyeonggang Line → Take a taxi (approx. 10 min)
  • Website: www.hwadamsup.com (Korean only)
  • Nearby attraction: Konjiam Ski Resort

Ginkgo Grove in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do

Ginkgo Grove in Hongcheon

In autumn, the Ginkgo Grove in Hongcheon becomes tinged with gold. This impressive grove, which boasts some 2,000 ginkgo trees planted in perfect order, is the setting of a story about a local couple. According to this tale, a husband planted a ginkgo tree every year for 30 years while praying for his sick wife’s complete recovery. Although the grove is on private land, it is opened to the public every October and charms many people even from a distance. Nearby attractions include the Sambong Mineral Spring in Gachilbong Peak, one of the Nine Sights of Hongcheon, and Yeolmogeo Village, highly recommended one-day travel destinations.

Ginkgo Grove in Hongcheon

  • Address: 686-4, Gwangwon-ri, Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원 홍천군 내면 광원리 686-4)
  • Operating hours: 10:00–17:00 *Opens only in October
  • Directions: From Dongseoul Bus Terminal travel to Hongcheon Terminal → Take a bus to Nae-myeon (approx. 3 hr) → Get off at the Nae-myeon Intercity Bus Terminal → Take a taxi to Ginkgo Grove in Hongcheon (approx. 15 min)
  • Nearby attractions: Sambong Mineral Spring in Gachilbong Peak, Gachilbong Peak, Sambong National Recreational Forest, Yeolmogeo Village, Guryongnyeong Pass

Seonunsa Temple in Gochang, Jeollabuk-do

Fall at Seonunsa Temple and Dosolcheon Stream

Located in Gochang, Jeollabuk-do, Seonunsa Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple with more than 1,460 years of tradition. Known for its camellia grove, which paints the area in red hues every April, the temple is a hidden spot appreciated for its beautiful fall foliage. In particular, Dosolcheon stream by the temple is an ideal photo spot with a mysterious and magnificent backdrop. In addition, Seonunsa Temple is also an attractive tourist attraction for those interested in Korean Buddhist culture because it houses various natural monuments and cultural heritage relics and offers a templestay program.

Seonunsa Temple

  • Address: 250, Seonunsa-ro, Gochang-gun, Jeollabuk-do (전북 고창군 아산면 선운사로 250)
  • Directions: From Seoul Central City Express Bus Terminal (Honam Line) travel to Heungdeok Bus Terminal → Take a bus from Heungdeok to Seonunsa Temple → Get off at the Seonunsa Bus Stop (approx. 30 min)
  • Website: www.seonunsa.org (Korean only)
  • Nearby attractions: Camellia Grove in Samin-ri, Gochang, Seonunsan Provincial Park, Seonunsan Eco Forest

Gwanbangjerim Forest in Damyang, Jeollanam-do

Fall foliage and nightscape at Gwanbangjerim Forest

Located in Damyang, Jeollanam-do, Gwangbangje is a 6-kilometer embankment built along the Gwangbangcheon Stream. There is also a dense, 2-kilometer forest named Gwangbangjerim Forest because of its beautiful landscape. In the fall, the forest is tinged with vivid autumn colors. Various outdoor sculptures are illuminated with bright lights when the sun goes down, creating a romantic atmosphere that attracts couples. Gwangbangjerim Forest is renowned for its dreamlike combination of colorful autumn leaves and early morning fog. If you want to take a fantastic souvenir photo, visit early in the morning. The surrounding attractions include water bicycles, a sculpture garden, and engaging experience programs.

Gwanbangjerim Forest

  • Address: 37, Gaeksa 7-gil, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do (전남 담양군 담양읍 객사7길 37)
  • Operating hours: Summer 09:00–19:00 / Winter 09:00–18:00
  • Directions: From Central City Express Bus Terminal travel to Damyang Bus Terminal → Walk for approx. 19 min
  • Nearby attractions: Juknokwon, filming location of the Korean movie “R-Point (2004),” Damyanghyanggyo Local Confucian School, the five-story Stone Pagoda in Namsan-ri, Damyang

Secret Garden and Wondae-ri Birch Forest in Inje, Gangwon-do

Secret Garden and Wondae-ri Birch Forest

The Secret Garden, located in Gapdun-ri, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do, is off-limits to civilians because it is in a military operation area. Although there are many restrictions and taking photos is only allowed in the roadside photo zone, the garden is a popular destination among photographers who appreciate the virgin forest. The Secret Garden, encompassed by the mountain edge, is home to needleleaf and broadleaf trees and rounded shrubs. It is known for the mysterious scenery created by the harmony of its s-shaped dirt path and the early morning fog.

Located nearby the garden, Wondae-ri Birch Forest is one of the best fall foliage destinations in Inje. The forest is known for its picturesque scenery made up of some 70,000 birch trees planted in an orderly manner and colorful autumn leaves. The best time to visit the Secret Garden and appreciate its landscape is early morning. When the sun rises and the fog disappears, we recommend visiting the Birch Forest.

Secret Garden

  • Address: San 122-3, Gapdun-ri, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 인제군 남면 갑둔리 산 122-3)
  • Operating hours: Open all year round
  • Website: tour.inje.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese)
  • Directions: From Dongseoul Bus Terminal travel to Inje Intercity Bus Terminal → Take a taxi (approx. 25 min)

Wondae-ri Birch Forest

  • Address: Information Center, 760, Jajangnamusup-gil, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do (강원 인제군 인제읍 자작나무숲길 760 자작나무숲 안내소)
  • Operating hours: Summer 09:00–15:00 / Winter 9:00–14:00 (closed Mondays & Tuesdays)
  • Website: www.forest.go.kr (Korean, English)
  • Directions: From Dongseoul Bus Terminal travel to Inje Intercity Bus Terminal → Take a village bus to Wondae-ri → Get off in Wondae-ri → Walk for approx. 12 min
  • Nearby attractions: Haneul Yeoul Sochi Village, 38seon (The 38th Parallel) Service Area, Naerincheon Waterside Park, Naerincheon Ziptrek
More Info
  • 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: 1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)

* This column was last updated in November 2021, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check the details before visiting.

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