What comes to your mind, when you think about traveling in South Korea? Big cities like Seoul, K-pop, traditional palaces and temples or maybe, food? I have recently discovered one more thing I just love about Korea and it is actually nature!
And you know what part of South Korea has the most beautiful nature? Even though many people would say it is Jeju island, I would add Gangwon province to the list as well! As some of you might have already noticed, this year I am mainly focused on exploring this area and it is working great, so far!
Last Friday I made a visit to Gangwon Nature Environment Research Park (강원도자연환경연구공원), which is located in Hongcheon country. It is reachable by bus, but if you would prefer renting a car to explore more of the province, I would recommend departing from Chuncheon, as looking around this beautiful city on your way too.
Gangwon Nature Environment Research Park is an organization, affiliated with the Gangwon provincial government and was established for the management of natural environment research and ecology research as well as educational reasons. Younger visitors can also enjoy various educational programs, related to the enviroment.
The park is free of charge to visit at any time, between 10 AM to 6 PM (closes one hour earlier in winter), though I recommend coming during the warm season, as all of the plans in exhibition greenhouses are local to the Korean peninsula and usually are out of bloom during the winter. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, I recommend visiting between May to October.
Outdoor gardens are probably the most beautiful part of the whole park, so I would definitely not miss out on that one. If you have time to spare, you can just take a peaceful stroll around the area, but if you prefer saving some time and exploring the surrounding areas too, I’d recommend using their green bus services. Shuttle bus fully runs on electricity, so it is 100% eco-friendly too!
There is also an indoor space, with few big exhibition halls, mainly focused on younger visitors, but enjoyable for people of all ages and sizes. When the outdoor gardens are mainly based on nature, indoor galleries could be used as an interactive learning tool, where you can learn more about
I also had a chance to participate in one of the programs, organized by the research institute team and plant my own succulent, which I was super excited about! Succulents are actually one of the newer Instagram trends these days, so I have been showing up here and there on my news feed and finally, I’ve got one of my own!
In conclusion, I would recommend visiting Gangwon Environment Research Park if you find yourself either in Hongcheon or Chuncheon and if you want to learn more about the ecology of Korea or just want to spend few hours in nature, as it is fully surrounded by the greenery.
Place: Gangwon Nature Environment Research Park (강원도자연환경연구공원)
Address: 25113 강원도 홍천군 북방면 생태공원길 319 (성동리 1157)
Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (~17:00 in winter season)
Admission fee: FREE