Who says that winter trip cannot be colorful and lively? Although winter illumination is often being held in Japan in the wintertime, you can actually find it in South Korea too, during the Lighting Festival at the Garden of Morning Calm!
Now you know, winter vacay to Korea is nothing complete without a visit to the Garden of Morning Calm. Read on to know about the garden, the festival, how to get there, and all the information you need before going!
A History of the Garden of Morning Calm
The Garden of Morning Calm was founded by professor Sang-Kyung Han of Sahmyook University on 11 May 1996. Before, it was a private garden where he had an idea of establishing a world-class garden.
Now everyone can enjoy the garden and has become one of the most popular tourist places in Korea. The design of this garden focused on curves, spaces, and asymmetric balance, which has a purpose to show the unique beauty, classic elegance, and fabulousness of Korea.
The Lighting Festival
During the Lighting Festival, the Garden of Morning Calm will be transformed into a magical place. Almost every side of the park is full of flickering lights of various colors that adorn the trees. Don’t forget to take pictures in the light tunnel which fully decorated with gold and pink lights.
Spare around 1 to 2 hours as the average tour time in the garden is around that time, so you can see the best points for taking pictures. Feel the colorful, calm, romantic, and lovely atmosphere of this garden the moment when lights are turned on.
You better wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes since it’s wintertime and the path has some steep hills. Bring gloves as well because your hands will be frozen on a cold night.
The 4 Seasons
The lighting festival only happens in the winter every year, but this garden is open for the public throughout the year. In those 4 seasons, this garden exhibits different beauties of flowers and themes that everyone will charm.
Spring, around April to July, is when yellow adonis, Korean winter hazel, and witch hazel bloom beautifully. When you come here in spring, you can find the plants vigorously blossoming under a warm sun bring fresh signs of spring.
There’ll be a Wild Flower Exhibition every year, which held under a diverse set of themes with a variety of rare and precious wildflowers and plants. See more than 60 types of flowers that you’ve probably never seen before and rejoiced in the beauty of these splendid wildflowers.
In this warmer season, the trees become greener and some colorful perennial flowers blossom. Wanna see the plants shining in summer? Come around June or July and be pleased with the beautiful hydrangea, clematis, rose, lily, peony root, and many more in the Eden Garden, Pond Garden, Morningcalm Walk, Moonlight Garden, Sunken Garden, and J’s Cottage Garden.
If you come in June, you’ll be greeted with the Iris Festival, which displays a garden full of the violet iris. The flowers start blooming from the end of May, thus June is the perfect time to see these iris in diverse colors, shapes, and patterns in the Morning Square or Pond Garden.
In fall, you’ll see the garden beautifully colored and covered by colorful leaves. Surrounded by Chuk-Ryeong Mountain, the view will mesmerize you with the touch of chrysanthemum flowers, shines with red leaves under the high and blue sky.
Here’s the most perfect time to do a photo session with Korean hanbok! You can rent traditional clothes there from 28 September – 30 November with a duration of either 1 hour and 30 minutes or 3 hours and more. Be there before 4 pm so that you can have enough time to take Instagrammable photos.
The garden which was once colorful, in winter it will all be covered with white snow. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see anything in this garden. Hear the sound of water flowing under ice while walking on the path full of snow will definitely put your mind in peace.
No, it’s not gonna be a dark and cold winter night, because the garden will lighten up when the Lighting Festival begins. It shows you a bright garden where nature and lights harmonized at night under diverse themes. You can come here and enjoy the festival from December to March each year. The best time to visit is around sunset before it gets too crowded.
You have to pay for the entrance ticket fees to go inside The Garden of Morning Calm. Check out the price below for both individual and group tickets. This price applies to all 4 seasons throughout the year.
- Adult: 9,500 KRW
- Youth 7,000 KRW
- Kid: 6,000 KRW
- Adult: Weekdays discount 8,500 KRW
- Youth: Weekdays discount 6,000 KRW
- Kid: Weekdays discount 5,000 KRW
Youth are middle to high school students while kids are 36 months old to elementary school students. Note also that if you’re coming in a group of more than 30 persons during weekdays, you need to make a reservation first through 1544-6703 (Korean number).
How to Get There
There are several ways to reach The Garden of Morning Calm. Well, of course, you need to fly to Seoul first in order to get there. Then from Seoul, you can take a bus, subway, ITX (intercity train express), or taxi.
Take the bus departing from bus terminals (Dongseoul) or the Cheongryangri transfer center no. 1 and arriving at Cheongpyeong Terminal. You should check the intracity bus timetable so you won’t miss it.
If you want a more hassle-free option, you can take the Gapyeong City Tour Bus which can be used freely from Cheongpyeong Terminal/Station to the Garden of Morning Calm. You only have to pay 6,000 KRW for a one-day pass.
If you wanna go by subway, you can take a subway bound to Cheongpyeong Station by Gyeongchun line.
Take ITX-Cheongchun or Intercity Train Express Cheongchun from Yongsan Station or Cheongryangri Station to Cheongpyeong Station. Make sure you to reserve your ticket in advance.
Going by taxi will be totally convenient but it costs you a higher price as well. From the town of Cheongpyeong, you have to pay around 15,000 KRW and will be arrived about 20 minutes.
Places to Eat
If you’re hungry while exploring the garden, don’t worry because there are a bakery, restaurant, cafe, and even some shops sell gift or souvenirs.
Enjoy a relaxing time looking over the garden from a bakery which makes healthy bread, restaurant which serve healthy Korean dishes, or a cup of coffee at the Hanok-style roasting house. After that, you can buy some herbs, plants, or souvenirs at the nearby shops.
The lights will be turned on around 17.20 pm so you better be there before to experience the most naturally magical moment of this Lighting Festival. There will usually be a lot of people on the photo spots. The earlier, the lesser crowd.
If you have a whole free day, you can try a one-day tour instead, to Nami Island, Petite France, and The Garden of Morning Calm so you can spend a whole day in this area all at once. Sometimes it’s also a lot cheaper too because you only have to pay one unlimited bus pass to those three attractions.
Explore the Instagrammable Places in Korea
Not only the garden, South Korea which blends traditional and modern vibes into one, has dozens of places that one should go for a perfect Instagram photo. If you’re going to Seoul really soon, check out these hot spots in the city for your Instagram dream! Happy hols, t-mates.