Visiting the Garden Of Morning Calm in Winter
Just over 40km from Seoul, the Garden of Morning Calm showcases just over 300,000 m² of cultivated gardens. Along with some rare and endangered plants the garden has a variety of plantings and attractions and is a very popular tourist destination. Over 600,000 people visit every year.
The garden hosts different events and festivals throughout the year, however winter is the time to visit.
What Is The Garden Of Morning Calm?
Established in 1996 by professor Sang-kyung Han who was a professor of horticulture, the garden was originally a private garden. The professor wanted to showcase a world class garden based in Korea.
The name came from Korea having been referred to as “The Land Of Morning Calm” by an Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. The garden features not just Korean but a lot of Asian plants and follows a lot of other Asian principles such as balance, space and curves.
It is worth visiting at any time of the year, however Winter is when it turns into a fairyland of fairy lights.
The Garden's website showcases the looks for Spring, Summer and Fall and if you were in Korea over the varying seasons it would be worth seeing it in every season for sure.
Why Should You Visit The GOMC in Winter
To start I do have to say that the only time you can see The Garden Of Morning Calm all lit up like this is the dead of winter. The garden is just stunning and in the spring and summer is awash with flowers and color. The fall leaves would be incredible to see as well, however come winter what do you do with a botanical garden that looses its attraction?
You add a billion fairly lights and turn it into a glittering evening event.
The best way to visit the Garden of Morning Calm is to arrive just on dusk so you can see the transformation once the lights are fully lit and the dark descends.
How to get to The Garden Of Morning Calm
I did a day tour from Seoul that did Nami Island, a Korean BBQ lunch (of course) and then the Garden of Morning calm in the late afternoon & evening.
You can get there on your own from Seoul quite easily via either bus or train and then a taxi the last leg of the way. Going via bus gets you closer for $8 and then its only a 10-12 minute taxi ride (about $15) to the garden. Rome2Rio can show you the options.
Get Your Guide has a list of tours below that take in the Garden of Morning Calm and to tell you the truth, I loved the tour. It was a nice comfortable coach from central Seoul and Nami Island and the lunch were also worth doing.
The Visit Korea website has good info about how to get there.
Read a great article about how to see Seoul in just 2 days from Shannon of Adventuring With Shannon.
Tours that take in the Garden of Morning Calm
What is there to see at the Garden?
The garden which I imagine would be stunning in spring with all the flowers blooming, offers nothing too exciting to see during the day in the winter. This area is cold and while there wasn't any snow while I was there I wouldn't be surprised if it did snow at some point during the winter. With this in mind, the winter tours all arrive later in the day because you need the dark to get the full appreciation of the billion fairly lights.
How to get around the garden
There is a well laid out path for you to follow and guides are available to show you what lighting installations are where throughout the park. I just grabbed a map and started to wander around the path.
It does get very busy but everyone is very pleasant and there is no real drama with so many people being on site. I think the colors and the fun aspect just make everyone happy. There are so many plants I've never seen and of course the grandad of The Garden Of Morning Calm, the Millennium Juniper (pictured below).
There are mushroom planations, umbrella canopies, a maze, lovers lane, a tiny church and even a garden of love, which is hundreds of different heart shapes.
I visted in 2016 but I'm sure there is probably an app now to guide you through this fairy wonderland.
Shops and Facilites at The Garden Of Morning Calm
I know I keep saying “The Garden Of Morning Calm” but I just can't stop. It cracks me up that a zen garden is turned into an almost theme park like attraction but I do applaud their ingenuity.
There is a bakery, restaurant that has some very nice healthy food (no fast food takeaway here), a cafe and a store. There are what I assume to be pop up stores that sell very creative snacks. There was one that had donut popcorn when I was there but a local woman told me she'd never seen it there before so I'm assuming it was just a one off thing.
They even have a plant store which wasn't fully stocked in the winter but looks to have some amazing plant on sale in the warmer seasons. There is also a little 7Eleven type store with snacks drinks, ice creams etc.
Visit The Garden Of Morning Calm on a Tour
You do need to remember that the garden is only lit up during the winter months. There isn't much else to see in the garden during the cold months which is why they started the light show. If you do choose to do a tour that visits the Garden of Morning Calm, it will look very different if you don't go in the winter.
I would imagine that it would be amazing to see in autumn when the leaves are changing. Check out the GOMC website for more info on the seasons.
Find Accommodation in Seoul
Seoul is the closest city to the Garden of Morning Calm and day trips leave from Seoul. It is a great city and has heaps of accommodation. I'm sure you can find something to suit your budget easily.Booking.com
Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She's always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.