If you are in Korea, especially during winter time, you definitely have to experience the amazing light festival and winter illuminations here! In the Garden of Morning Calm, you can see all the four seasons in Korea, but it is truly magical during winter time! During the colder months, the garden is covered in beautiful lights! The decorations make you feel like you’re walking through Alice in Wonderland.
The Garden’s Origins :
The garden first opened in 1996 by professor Sang-kyung han. Sang-kyung was inspired by his trip abroad to the US where he saw a world-class garden. The name, Garden of Morning Calm came from the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore when he referred to Korea as the land of morning calm. The garden strives to show the beauty of Korea through an immersive and elegant experience.
The Garden’s official website has more details regarding the origin: http://www.morningcalm.co.kr/_ENG/html/main.php
How to get there + Tickets :
The garden is quite difficult to get to from Seoul since it’s located in Gapyeong. There are many different ways to get here though!
I recommend taking the ITX train to Gapyeong station! But here are all the routes in Seoul so you can see how far it is from you: the Seoul Subway Map
Here you can reserve a ticket for the ITX: KoRail
It took me about an hour and a half with no traffic (luckily)! If you want to take the train you can go to Sangbong Station and get on the Gyeongchun Line (towards Mangu), get off at Cheongpyeong Station exit 1 and take the 30-6 bus until the last stop (Arboretum).
From Jamsil station exit 5, take the 7000 bus to Cheongpyeong Middle School, then transfer to the 30-6 bus and it will take you directly to the garden (get off at the last stop, called Arboretum).
This should take only about 2 hours. It seems like a lot, but the garden is definitely worth a visit!
If you don’t want to take the 30-6 bus, you can also get a taxi from Cheongpyeong which will only take about 20 minutes and cost 15,000 won.
Once you get there (if you take a car there is plenty of free parking) you can just grab your tickets from the ticket booths! A regular ticket for adults is 9,500 won and for kids it is 7,000-6,000 won.
Covid Requirements :
The current safety requirements are wearing a mask and distancing yourself from others at the garden. It is especially nice wearing a mask during the winter, since it was pretty cold! You can even see some of the lake was frozen when I went 🤣
Food and Amenities at the Garden :
There are plenty of food options to choose from! My friend and I went before sunset and waited at the cafe until the lights turned on. The cafe had croffles, ice cream, and of course drinks! We both got hot chocolates to fit the weather. Next door to the cafe is a bakery, coffee shop, and restaurant which all had a variety of warm treats! After walking through the garden we stopped at the food stalls on our way out. They sold hotteok, bungeoppang, rice cake, hot dogs, and other yummy foods!
The garden had three shops: a gift shop featuring mainly incense, perfumes and body creams, a shop with tons of cute plants, and a general goods store! There were also two different rooms to walk through at the garden- a gallery featuring pictures of the garden during every season, and a room with some information about the garden.
Once you’re there :
(Image by the official Garden of Morning Calm Webpage The Garden of MorningCalm)
As you can see, the garden is huge! I got there at around three and stayed until six! My friend and I had a great time experiencing all the beautiful decorations and calming atmosphere. There was music playing throughout the garden, so it was hard not to enjoy ourselves!
Make sure to check out this amazing garden! It will be a fun experience during any season ~ from the light festival in winter to the flowers blooming in spring!