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Sejong National Arboretum

Written by : Essential Expat Experiences

Last month, South Korea's first urban arboretum was opened after nearly ten years of planning and preparation. The 65-hectare arboretum the third national arboretum, and in celebration of its opening entrance is free until the end of the year (source)!

I visited the arboretum on a Saturday afternoon, and it was packed with couples and families! Everyone had to have their temperature checked, barcode scanned, and hands sanitized before entering, and masks were required at all times. As soon as I entered the gates I turned left towards the main draw of the arboretum: the Four-Seasons Exhibition Greenhouse. This massive, flower shaped building includes a cafe, shop, art gallery, and three different greenhouses full of thousands of plants.

The first greenhouse I visited was the Mediterranean room, an enormous space filled with thousands of trees, flowers, shrubs, and various other greenery. The main feature of this room was a viewpoint that opened on to a balcony, that allows you a view of the entire arboretum. As I slowly walked around the room, I enjoyed reading about the different types of trees, including where they were from and how they got their names. There were plenty of places along the path to sit and take a rest, so there was no need to rush through and social distancing was easier to maintain.

The second greenhouse was full of bright flowers, and included colorful flower walls to take photos in front of. The center of this room was built like a palace, with pretty vines climbing the walls and a birdcage filled with flowers at the center. This room reminded me of a fairytale, and would have been my favorite if it weren't for the last room.

The third and most impressive greenhouse was rainforest themed, and the humidity and heat hit me as soon as I stepped in the door. Carnivorous plants, waterfalls, ponds and coffee trees surrounded me, and this room also included a bridge and platform that allowed for a full view of the room. I spent the most time in this room, and really enjoyed reading about all the different types of plants.

After leaving the exhibition hall, I was overwhelmed by options for my next stop. The arboretum includes a children's garden, a lifestyle garden, an autumn leaves garden, and a traditional Korean folk garden. I decided to skip the autumn leaves garden, as I believed I was too late in the season to experience the full beauty of the changing leaves. Instead I headed to the traditional Korean garden, which included a stunning pond and a massive temple.

Stepping through the gates was like being transported back in time, and I was blown away by the scale of the pond and temple. Children were pointing at the green frogs swimming through the water, and people were snapping photos of each other outside of the temple. I was very impressive with the architecture and design of the whole pavilion, and it really drove home the fact that this arboretum had been constructed with a lot of careful planning and loving thoughtfulness.

I would highly recommend this arboretum, even to people who are not particularly interested in visiting gardens. Especially for the next two months, it's absolutely worth the trip to southern Sejong to experience for oneself.

The garden is free to all visitors until December 31st, and after that the entrance fee for adults will be 5,000 won. The hours of operation are:

March to October

- Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 6 (last entrance at 5)

- closed on Chuseok

November to February

- Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 5 (last entrance at 4)

- closed on January 1st and 설날 (February 12th, 2021)

To get there, you can take the 221 bus from various locations in Sejong, or you can taxi / drive to:

Sejong National Arboretum

136, Sumokwon-ro, Yeongi-myeon, Sejong Special Self-Governing City



세종특별자치시 연기면 수목원로 136


For enquiries, please call 044-251-0001.

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