Perhaps an attraction based on a snow-covered garden and six million LED lights isn’t quite an ‘Only in Korea’ experience, but the presence of hundreds of selfie sticks might just turn it into one. One thing I can say for sure: as the sun sank fully behind the mountains, all those lights transformed the Garden of Morning of Calm into a dazzlingly colourful place.
The Garden of Morning Calm was initially developed in 1996 by Professor Han Sang-Kyung, and it has grown substantially since its early days to house over 5000 plant species. An hour’s train journey from central Seoul followed by a 20-minute bus ride, it makes for a reasonable day trip. In warmer months one can go ziplining nearby, something I’m keen to try again after an afternoon of gliding through the treetops of Tasmania! There’s also La Petite France, inspired by the French-language children’s classic Le Petit Prince and filming location of several K-drama episodes. It could be a charming attraction to visit, but it might be more of a tourist trap 😉
To get to the garden (The Lighting Festival runs until early March), take the Gyeongchun line from Sangbong station. Get off at Cheongpyeong station, exit 2, and walk to the bus stop directly behind the terminal. A bus headed to the “Morning Calm Arboreum” arrives five minutes past the hour, every hour (although both times, it was over fifteen minutes late!) The last bus back to Cheongpyeong station departs from the garden at 7:30 p.m.- probably the most important detail to note.
I especially loved the tunnels- these floral lilac lights were gorgeous!
Would I recommend the journey? Well, if I’d known how long the wait for the bus back to the station would feel, and how cold my toes would be, and how long it would take to eventually make it back to home base- I might be tempted to say no. That said, I’m glad I visited. It was a beautiful, otherworldly experience. At times I felt like a deer in headlights, dazzled by the kaleidoscopic brilliance of the lights around me.
As for a stroll in the garden, and exploration of nearby attractions, once the weather warms up? This blogger will have to report back to you!