Jeju Island is well known for its beautiful natural scenery and multitude of native and adapted plants, but if you’re on a quick trip and want to see as many of these plants as possible a visit to one of Jeju’s botanic gardens is a good idea. There are many gardens and nature parks on Jeju that are well worth visiting, some like Spirit Garden are highly maintained and focus on a specific garden style, while others such as Yeomiji Botanic Garden showcase plants not only from Jeju, but from around the world. Halle Arboretum in Jeju-si is a nature park that is more natural and relaxing in its appeal. Easily accessible from Jeju airport by taxi, and with a bit more effort by bus it is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
A large map near the entrance shows where the numerous ‘gardens’ are located and the paths and trails to take to get to the ones you want to see. I particularly wanted to see the bamboo forest while my daughter wanted to see the succulents in the greenhouses. With that in mind we chose a meandering route that also took us through a few other garden and forest areas. The gardens obviously each have a best season to see them so expect to see some looking better than others depending on the time of year you visit.
We were lucky enough to see the lotus blossoms in the ponds in full bloom.
The arboretum (a botanic garden more for ‘woody’ plants like trees and shrubs than for only flowers) opened in late 1993 as a place to preserve, grow, and display the plants native to Jeju Island. It also was built to provide a restful environment for locals and tourists, while conducting important research into things such as plant diseases and insect control. They even have a tree hospital where locals can go to find out what is wrong with their tree and get help fixing it.
The bamboo forest was not very large, but it was impressive and very evocative for those of us who watch Asian dramas. The wind did whisper through the leafy tops, but no epic aerial martial duel took place, and no handsome hero marched out from between the bamboo trunks. It is hard to see the scale from a photo, but each trunk was too wide to wrap my hands around and many times taller than me.
There were multiple greenhouses and also an education center. There were also a couple of walking trails that wound up to the top of the local peak, from where you could reportedly see some cool views. We didn’t do the climb as it was mid afternoon on a hot muggy day and we much preferred to wander among the shady lower gardens. There’s a convenience store and cafe/coffee place down near the entrance and after a stroll an ice cream and drink were welcomed.
Halla Arboretum is free to enter, and is a perfect place for a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It apparently can be packed with tourists, but when we went we only saw a handful of people and they were easily avoided. We had a relaxing stroll around enjoying nature in its many guises, from the tall stately trees to unassuming medicinal plants hiding in the undergrowth. Some signs were in English, as was the handy guide map so that made identifying some of the plants easier. Not as amazing as Yeomiji Botanic Garden, but much closer to the airport if you are only on a quick visit.
Have a great day everyone.
You may also enjoy Spirit Garden, The Stone Men of Jeju, and The Humor in Mud.
Photo credits to me. Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.
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