Winter Wonderland in South Korea


 South Korea in the winter is surely as cold as a freezer. With temperature sometimes reached minus twenty degrees Celcius, people wouldn't want to go everywhere instead of hiding behind the blanket and drink a cup of cocoa.

But what if we have a choice to explore the peninsula under the vision of Winter Wonderland?

Yes, winter in Korea is bone-chilling-cold with a low average of snowfall, but that makes people more creative to invite more visitors.

Along December and January, besides the come-alive of the ski resort, some places decorate themselves and make a light festival.

There is a lot of light festival in South Korea, but I will introduce the famous two.

Garden of Morning Calm at Gapyeong

Love Tunnel
This private garden is very famous among Korean Drama Lovers, especially during Spring or Autumn whereas colorful flowers blooming or red and yellow leaves paint the horizon.

Since most of the plants are gone 'bald' in the winter, the garden management held The Light Festival during the winter. 

The colorful lantern and neons shaped into a romantic mood and transform the garden into Winter Wonderland.
A colorful House as a background
A Colorful house that reminds us of Home Alone Scene, white snow in the garden, a sea of lights, a tunnel of love, teddy bear lights, and most of all, the stairway to heaven are what we love the most from the garden.

Sea of Light
a Church and a Stairway to Heaven

Unfortunately, when I was there in the middle of January, the temperature has dropped into minus twelve degrees Celcius at night and I forgot to bring a hand-warmer pad. That's why it was almost impossible for me to take a lot of pictures there.

I just take some pictures using my iPhone, even I don't have an urge to take a selfie. Too cold.
The Real Winter Wonderland

The Colorful Garden
a Garden in the paradise
Since Gapyeong is a mountain area that makes there cooler than Seoul, please don't forget to wear your thickest jacket, shawl, hat, warm pad, and gloves. Or else, you will end up like me, spending almost one and half hour in the cafe to warm my self and only an hour to wander around.

How to get there: There is a Gapyeong City Tour Bus from Cheongpyeong Station. However, the bus only runs until 18.00. The best way is to join an open trip via KLOOK or Trazy.

Admission Ticket: KRW 9,500

Herb Island Light Festival at Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do

Just like Garden of Morning Calm, Herb Island is a vast private garden that sublimes into a beautiful winter wonderland during Winter Season.

Usually started in January and last until April every year, Herb Island brings the theme of the merriness of Christmas.

During daylight, this garden function is a botanical garden. There is a huge indoor garden with more than 180 different type of Mediterranean herbs and several benches for the visitor to enjoy the garden.

Once the sun has set, the land has changed into a beautiful lighting festival. From the church, a Mediterranean building that operated as souvenir and coffee shop, little Venice, or just a maze.

Just across the church we can sit and enjoy the light performance with a back sound of Christmas music just as Last Christmas, All I want from Christmas is you.

a Unicorn
Before Sunset at the Mediterranean building 
Another Tunnel of Love

This garden is established in 1998 with focuses on growing Mediterranean herbs. The garden is so huge with complete facilities including Herb Museum, Living & Herb Exhibition hall, Herb Restaurant, a cafe, a bakery, Aroma Therapy Center, Venetian Village, Mini Zoo, and an outdoor performance hall.

There are also pensions with each equipped with whirlpool spa facilities.

The Zoo with lot of donkey

The Maze

The Pension
This garden is so huge that you can spend 3- 4 hours of your day to visit every spot in the garden.

The best time to visit is at 4 PM. The first route is visiting the indoor herb garden because once it gone dark, you cannot enjoy the beauty of the garden optimally. At 6 PM, please walk to the light festival area and enjoy the light dancing rhythmically with the song.

After that, enjoy a coffee in the cafe or go to the restaurant for dinner, then just stroll around the Venetian village and the rest unexplored area up to 8 pm.

I went there together via open trip Pliko at Facebook, but I read in the brochure, there are shuttle buses from City Hall Station at Seoul. For detail of Shuttle bus, please visit here 

How to go there :
Soyosan Station (Seoul Subway Line 1).
Take Bus 57, and get off at Samjeong-ri.
Go straight on Samcheongol-gil Street to arrive at Herb Island.

So, between twos, I personally didn't choose which one is my favorite.  I love both garden so I recommend you to visit the closest one to your destination during winter. If you are in the Gapyeong area, then please visit Morning Garden Calm or if you are in the Pocheon area, don't stop yourself to visit Herb Island.

Both gardens can be your alternative to visiting Korea during Winter instead of playing ski.


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