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The Garden of Morning Calm – The Ultimate Guide 2023

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The Garden of Morning Calm is a must visit when in Seoul. With 30 gardens to explore and cute cafes overlooking gorgeous green spaces, South Korea’s The Garden of Morning Calm is one of the most incredible arboretums in the world.

The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

From traditional Korean gardens to English cottages, colourful conservatories to pretty ponds, the Garden of Morning Calm has much to explore.

Located on Chungryeongsan Mountain and a popular K-drama filming location, here is our ultimate guide to The Garden of Morning Calm, near Seoul in South Korea.

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How to get to The Garden of Morning Calm

The easiest way to get to the Garden of Morning Calm from Seoul is by public transport or via a Garden of Morning Calm tour – many of these tours often allow you to visit equally beautiful nearby natural delights like Nami Island.

Garden of Morning tours from Seoul usually include admission, a central Seoul pick-up and drop-off plus a knowledgeable guide with local insights.

You can book a tour from Seoul to the Garden of Morning Calm with Klook, Viator or GetYourGuide.

Alternatively, to get to there by public transport, you can take a bus or subway from Seoul to Cheonpyeong Station and then take a 20 minute taxi to the gardens (the taxi should cost between 15,000 Won and 20,000 Won).

The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

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Garden of Morning Calm admission fee

As of November 2023, The Garden of Morning Calm costs the following:

Adult11,000 Won
Youth8,000 Won
Children7,500 Won

There are admission fee discounts for large groups or for elderly visitors (over 65 years old with proof of ID).

The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

Garden of Morning Calm opening hours

The Garden of Morning Calm is open from 8:30am until sunset every day, all year long.

Visitors are admitted until 1 hour before closing time / sunset.

Between December and mid March, the gardens stays open until 9pm (11pm on the weekends) for the Winter ‘Lights’ Festival (additional fees may apply).

The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

The history of The Garden of Morning Calm

Opened in 1996 and curated by Professor Sang-kyung Hang, The Garden of Morning Calm is the result of his vision to open a world-class beautiful garden, inspired by teaching exchange in the United States.

With the title derived from a famous Indian poet (Rabindranath Tagore) and his work ‘Korea – The Land of the Morning Calm’, the garden strives to embody the natural beauty and spirit of Korea.

The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

According to an interpretation panel we read in the museum here, the professor scoured South Korea trying to find the perfect spot to build the garden. This chosen site was originally a rocky field where ‘slash and burn’ farmers settled down and where goats were raised.

One of the key design points and philosophies of the Gardens of Morning Calm is that there are no straight lines on display as there is beauty in curves and asymmetry.

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The Garden of Morning Calm as a filming location

Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, many local people visit the Garden of Morning Calm as it has been used as a K-drama filming location in several major productions.

The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

Several key scenes from ‘The Love in the Moonlight’ (AKA Moonlight Drawn By Clouds) were filmed at the Korean Garden Pond.

Other K-dramas to be filmed here include some of the French set scenes from ‘Now We Are Breaking Up’ plus ‘She Was Pretty’.

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Things to do / highlights

There are over 30 gardens to explore here, all of which change as the four seasons progress throughout the year.

Some of the best things to see and do at Korea’s Garden of Morning Calm include:

Millenium Juniper

The representative tree of the Garden of Morning Calm, the Millenium Juniper, is estimated to be about 1,000 years old and was replanted here in the year 2000 from a village in Andong.

Our tour guide even said it was one of the  most ‘expensive’ and valuable trees in South Korea.

Millenium Juniper. The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

The Sunken Garden

One of the most colourful spots in the Garden of Morning Calm and designed like a Korean Peninsula, this section blooms to life with vibrant hues during spring, summer and autumn.

For the best views of the Sunken Garden, make sure to check out the small observation deck overlooking the whole area.

The Sunken Garden. The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

Road to Heaven and Moonlight Garden

The Road to Heaven is famous for its blooming flowers along the winding road and huge trees whilst nearby, the Moonlight Garden contains white plants that symbolise moonlight, creating a bright array of flowers both by day and night.

At the top of the Moonlight Garden, you’ll also find the smallest church in South Korea (although the inside is reserved for private events so we couldn’t go in).

Road to Heaven and Moonlight Garden. The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

J’s Cottage Garden

An English style country garden, J’s Cottage Garden was built with a cottage centrepiece inspired by typical buildings from the Cotswolds in the UK.

With lots of flower beds and a popular photo spot, the gardens spring into life here between June to September – a little piece of England right here in South Korea.

J’s Cottage Garden. The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

Korean Garden and Korean House

Easily one of the most gorgeous gardens to visit, with a traditional Korean house and shrine – during our autumn visit, there were a few red trees here.

Korean Garden and Korean House. The Garden of Morning Calm near Seoul, South Korea

The Korean Garden has beautiful curves and asymmetry – the designers intention was to create ‘harmony’ between the pavilion and hanok that highlight the garden.

Here you can also see Seohwayeon Pond Garden with its garden reflections and colourful chairs. This is one of the best photo spots and we saw several groups lining up to be photographed here. Just behind the pond, you’ll also find a gardening shop and cafe.

Hometown Garden

A quick nod to the hometown garden, close to the main entrance and with some cute and colourful displays like a car made of flowers.

Near to here, you’ll also find a museum (‘History Hall’) dedicated to the origins and philosophy of the garden.

Hansoo Kyung Greenhouse

Located near to the main entrance, this conservatory style greenhouse is hot stuff (literally – so warm in there).

Inside you’ll find flower displays; we saw floral dolphins on our visit (that’s right, not delphiniums but dolphins!) plus chrysanthemums and bonsai.

The rock gardens outside the greenhouse are nice too and this area also and provides one of the best aerial views of the Garden of Morning Calm.

Food & drink at Garden of Morning Calm

There are several food and drink places / restaurants at the Garden of Morning Calm, both in the gardens themselves plus outside the main gates by the car park. These include:

Morning Spring Bakery

The smell of freshly baked bread and sweet treats enticed us over to the Morning Spring Bakery.

A great place to warm up on a winter’s day or look out over spring flowers, it has a huge table of savouries and desserts to choose from plus coffee and tea. We tried the ham and cheese toastie with some coffee and both were really good.

The Morning Spring Bakery is open Thursday to Tuesday from 10am to 5pm.

Garden of Morning Calm Korean food restaurant

You can try healthy and tasty Korean food here using ingredients from the garden including soybean paste stew, vegetable bibimbap, buldak over rice and mushroom bulgogi.

The Korean Food restaurant is open Wednesday to Monday from 10.20am to 6pm (last orders at 5pm).

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Good Morning Coffee

Open every day between 9.30am and 6pm, enjoy green tea lattes or a coffee in this hanok style roasting house.

Food Stalls

Just outside the main gate, there are a couple of hot food stalls selling Korean street food snacks like fishcakes, tornado potatoes and tteokbokki.

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The best time of year to visit Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm is proud of its four season’s display meaning no matter what time of the year you visit, you’ll always see some form of ‘blooming’ fantastic flora or fauna display.

From winter light trails in December to March or incredible spring flowers and cherry blossoms, there is plenty to see.

For instance, every Autumn, there is a Chrysanthemum exhibition with over 200 species of colourful chrysanthemums.

We were lucky enough to most recently visit the Garden of Morning Calm in autumn / early November 2023, just as the autumn leaves were starting to fall.

We saw bright red maple leaf trees in the Garden of Morning Calm plus yellow ginkgo trees shedding their leaves (which also really smelt).

Other vibrant autumn trees at the garden include katsura trees and the Korean Winter hazel trees.

In springtime, as well as the cherry blossom, there is a Spring Festival held from mid April until the end of May, plus around 60 different types of wildflowers bloom forth.

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Winter Lights Festival

Every December through mid March, the Garden of Morning Calm transforms into a winter wonderland with various themes and displays. The entire site is festooned with festive light tunnels and cute Christmas / winter light displays

This year’s Christmas / Winter Lights dates for the Garden of Morning Calm are 1st December 2023 to March 17th 2024 – the lights switch on at sunset until around 9pm.

Try this – Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival Tour >

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Other things to know

  • There are several free toilet blocks onsite plus a locker / luggage storage area by the front entrance
  • Pets are not allowed in the garden
  • All areas of the garden are non smoking
  • Lunchboxes that may produce food waste are not allowed in the garden (but we didn’t see any form of bag checks)
  • There were a few ‘beware of snakes’ signs but we never saw any so they are likely quite rare.

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How many hours to spend at the Garden of Morning Calm

With 30 themed gardens, 4 cafes and restaurants plus several shops, allow at least 2 to 3 hours to explore the Garden of Morning Calm.

We visited the gardens as part of a tour and had just over 1.5 hours to explore which we felt wasn’t enough (especially if you want to grab a coffee or snacks as well).

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Is the Garden of Morning Calm worth it?

An easy day trip from Seoul, the Garden of Morning Calm is highly recommended and a serene way to spend a morning stroll or afternoon walk, no matter what time of year.

And it isn’t floral beds or flower displays – there are lots of beautiful buildings like a traditional Korean temple or UK style cottage plus gorgeous pond and river views.

There are so many Garden of Morning Calm tours from Seoul departing daily that is can easily be combined with other attractions in the area like Nami Island.

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Other things to do near the Garden of Morning Calm

Nami Island

Nami Island is home to wonderful woodland walks along the river, beautiful landscapes and an incredible array of wildlife including hundreds of wild rabbits.

Popularised by a starring role in the romantic K Drama ‘Winter Sonata” (there is even a commemorative statue of the characters), Nami Island has dozens of cafes and other attractions to enjoy, from zip lines to boat hire.

And don’t worry, you can easily escape these more commercial activities if you want a tranquil trip or peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of Seoul.

We visited Nami Island in autumn and were amazed by the incredible colours and fall foliage of the red maple leaf and yellow ginkgo trees.

From how to get there to admission and attraction prices, check out our Nami Island ultimate guide here >

Garden of Morning Calm Address

432, Sumogwon-ro, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong, Run, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

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