One place I wanted to go before leaving South Korea was the Seoul Botanic Park. I tried multiple times with Gina but either it was closing or we got distracted talking and we just never made it. Until eventually we decided we’d get up early and meet there.
The Seoul Botanic Park isn’t the easiest to get to if you live outside of Seoul or even from certain parts of Seoul. Despite being called the Seoul Botanic Park it’s actually closer to Gimpo International Airport than downtown or other touristy destinations. Add to that they they are closed on Mondays and stop letting people in an hour before they close, which during their winter season is 4pm.
Despite all of that anything plant related is a must for me. And the Botanic Park, after failing to make it in so many times was now a bitterly determined space to visit. We arrived in the Gimpo area and walked to the park. We found a locker and stored all our stuff inside then went and bought our tickets. There’s two options. You can purchase your tickets via a person or there are machines you can buy your tickets from. Tickets are 5,000 won.
There are several sections to the Seoul Botanic Park. Some of them have different hours however the part we really wanted to see was the indoor garden. Around the time we went the dust levels were high and had been for weeks, so all Gina and I really wanted to do was to head somewhere with clean fresh air.
The greenhouse was where we mostly focused our time and energy. The beautiful structure was designed by Chan Joong Kim.
First we scanned our tickets and then wandered around the park.
There’s also a lot we didn’t see. In all honesty we spent almost all day just wandering around inside the Botanical Garden taking pictures and breathing in the clean fresh air until we got light headed and tired. Some of the sections we didn’t visit include the open forest, lake and wetland. These are open year round, including Mondays. They’re also found outside. They include walking paths, a Magok Cultural Center that is reproducing a traditional Korean garden. This area includes registered cultural asset No. 363 “Drain Pumping Station in Yangcheon Repair Association in Seoul”. It was built in 1927/1928 during Japanese occupation and “is the only existing Korean cultural heritage site in Korea that retains its original archetypal structure”.
There is also a seed library we didn’t visit. The seed library is located in the plant culture center on the first floor and is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 10am until 5pm. Seed loan occurs between Tuesday and Friday. In order to check-out these seeds talk to one of the librarians. Because you grow the seeds I’m not 100% sure how you effectively “return” the seeds. So make sure to talk to the librarians if it’s something you’re interested in. Either way I think it’s a super cool idea and service. If you want to read more on plants you can also visit the Plant Specialty Library.
There is a lot more to the botanical park then what we saw. It continues beyond the buildings to the surrounding land and even hosts a variety of events and classes. They have an information desk on the first floor of the main building. If they’re open I would go in and talk to them about what all the Botanical Park has to offer, because they do speak English.
Seoul Botanic Park runs on seasons. During regular hours which are from March through October they are open from 9:30am until 6pm, with last entry at 5pm. Their Winter hours are from November to February opening at 9:30am and then closing at 5pm with final entry at 4pm.