Light up winter night at Korea's Garden of Morning Calm

Photos by ChiHon Kim
Photos by ChiHon Kim

Light up winter night at Korea's Garden of Morning Calm

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

Located in Gapyeong-gun, only about two hours by car from Pyeongtaek, the Garden of Morning Calm is a popular place for winter illuminations in Korea. Originally farmland and a stone field where goats were raised, this place was turned into a beautiful garden that features 20 themes and several trails in 1996 by Professor Han Sang-kyung, who majored in horticulture.

The most wonderful time of the year to visit the garden? The light festival runs from early December to the middle of March, but the Garden of Morning Calm is open to the public throughout the year and each season boasts its own charm and beauty.

Look forward to wildflower exhibitions offering more than 60 types of flowers in spring.  The scent of charming flowers such as hydrangea, clematis, rose, lily, and peony root will entice you in summer. In autumn, the wild chrysanthemum exhibition and Maple Festival are held every year.

I hadn’t visited this garden in recent years, so I decided to visit in the winter season to see the magical illuminated trail at the garden in the evening.

Even though it has spacious parking, I visited on a weekday to avoid the heavy traffic. And don’t worry about the language barrier because they have English-friendly ticket kiosks at the entrance to the garden.

Once I stepped inside the garden, a pine tree decorated with lights greeted me. I noticed a light tunnel on my right side and made my way toward sparkling light tunnels. As soon as I passed through the tunnels, I lost my way in a dark part of the garden. Though I didn’t know where I was, I gathered myself and walked toward the next theme garden lit up by millions of lights in the distance. Don’t worry, this garden is not big enough to get lost in. I just have a poor sense of direction.

Honestly, at first, I was a little disappointed, thinking that the decorated lights and displays were not as impressive as I thought they would be. But as soon as I entered Sunken Garden, I was totally overwhelmed by the dazzling, jewel-like colored illuminations covering the trees. There not much to say, other than that it was amazingly beautiful!

If you want to fully enjoy Sunken Garden, there are a couple of observation decks where you can enjoy it from different angles.

After I fully took in the beauty of Sunken Garden, I made my way to Moonlight Garden, enjoying captivating lights set along the hill on the way. For me, the elegant plant-themed lights including the dazzling treetop waterfall along the hillside, were more beautiful than Moonlight Garden at the end of the pathway.

There are a number of photo-ops ranging from the Tunnel of Heart to the Tunnel of Happiness, which are perfect places for couples who love the romantic atmosphere when strolling along the light-filled path. Once you take enough photos to feed your social media, warm up your body with a cup of joe at a cafe down the Korean-themed garden or grab some bread at the bakery in the same building if you get a bit hungry.

The direction you wander doesn’t matter in the garden. You can turn clockwise, counterclockwise, or just go where your feet take you like I did. It took me two hours to explore the whole garden. Looking for a romantic winter getaway? Head to the Garden of Morning Calm. I can’t wait to come check out the garden in the spring and summer!

Note: The Lighting Festival runs until March 13.


ADDRESS 432, Sumogwon-ro, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do


DATE Unitl 13 March

HOURS 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), lights turn on at hour 5:00 p.m.

PHONE 1544-6703

ADMISSION Adults 9,500 won, Teenagers 7,000 won, Children 6,000 won


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