wolhwawon traditional chinese garden

Wolhwawon – The Traditional Chinese Garden in Suwon

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Explore a bit of China in Korea at Wolhwawon Traditional Chinese Garden in Suwon. This beautiful garden is stunning during all four seasons and feels like you are getting transported to Southern China without having to leave Korea.

How to get to Wolhwawon Traditional Chinese Garden in Suwon

  • Address: 399 Dongsuwon-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon (경기도 수원시 팔달구 효원로307번길 26 (인계동))
  • Operating hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM, daily
  • Inquiries: +82-228-7043-7044

Suwon is located about 32 kilometers south of Seoul, and there are many convenient ways to travel to the traditional Chinese garden there.

By bus: You can take bus 540 from the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul to Namtaeryeong Station. From there, take bus 7001 and get off at Freedom Federation. The park is right in front of the bus stop.

By subway: The closest subway station to Wolhwawon is Suwon City Hall Station on the Suin-Bundang line. From there, walk for around 15 minutes to reach the garden.

By car: You can park right in front of the park in designated public parking spots. Should they all be occupied, there is more public parking at the Gyeonggi Culture Foundation or Gyeonggi Art Center.

When to Visit Wolhwawon Traditional Chinese Garden in Suwon

You can enjoy a visit to Wolhwawon at any time of the year but spring and autumn are probably the best times to visit. This is when seasonal flowers bloom in the brightest colors adding to the traditional Chinese atmosphere of the garden.

The garden has a lot of tall trees and the many pavilions provide lots of shade – even after noon, when the sun is highest in the sky.

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Why is there a traditional Chinese garden in Suwon?

Wolhwawon is a traditional folk garden built in the style of the southern Chinese province Guangdong from the late Ming Dynasty. The garden opened in 2006 as a friendship project between the provincial governments of Gyeonggi-do in Korea and Guangdong in China.

To strengthen the relationship of both provinces, they agreed to build a traditional garden that represents the other within the city. 80 experts from China worked to create Wolhwawon in Suwon and the government of Guangdong in China provided 3.4 billion won for the construction.

Korean Drama Set

Wolhwawon in Suwon was also used for several scenes in the popular Korean drama “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (달의 연인 – 보보경심 려) starring Lee Joon-gi and IU. The TV series is based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin and aired in 2016.

What you’ll see at Wolhwawon

The traditional Chinese garden in Suwon was built according to the Chinese philosophy of harmony between humans and nature. The buildings in the garden are built from brick and wood in the style of the Canton region in China. There are also several waterfalls and small lakes in between the forested area, four flower gardens, several pavilions, and a traditional Chinese tea room.

Guangdong Style Features

Pay attention to the little architectural details hidden all over the garden representing southern Chinese garden design. These features include green-color glass window details with flower patterns on the walls and differently shaped windows. Also notice the different stones and pebbles used for the pathways, which have a massaging effect when you walk on them barefoot.

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Main Gate of Wolhwawon

The entrance gate of Wolhwawon is already very impressive. Just like any other traditional garden in China, it is guarded by a pair of guardian lion statues. You can spot the male by the embroidered ball under his paw (representing supremacy over the world) and the female by the playful cub on its back (representing nurture).

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Main Pond

The first thing you’ll see once you enter the main entrance is a beautifully ornate wall of green-colored windows. Behind this wall, you’ll find the main pond of the garden. The pond is arranged in a rectangle shape circled by roofed corridors, the large Buyongsa Pavilion, and a decorative covered bridge on the right end.

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden
Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden
Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Buyongsa Pavilion

This pavilion is named after the lotus flower and literally translates to “lotus pavilion”. This type of pavilion is used as a rest area according to Chinese garden architecture techniques.

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden
Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Jichun Gate

To the left of the main entrance, you’ll see a perfectly round gate leading out into the forest area. The Chinese characters on the gate translate to “feel the spring”, which expresses the regionalism of this garden.

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Friendship Pavilion

This beautiful hidden pavilion has a significant role in the garden. Standing at the top of a hill, it overlooks the whole garden. The two-tiered roof makes the pavilion stand out even more.

Although the waterfall beneath the pavilion isn’t large, the sound of the gushing water has a calming effect on body and mind.

Wolhwahon Traditional Chinese Garden

Don’t Forget To Sit Down and Relax

A traditional Chinese garden is a place to unwind and forget the time. Therefore, when visiting this traditional Chinese garden in Suwon, sit down and enjoy the beautiful architecture, bring a good book or a snack.

Where to Stay in Suwon

There are many great places to stay in Suwon overnight, allowing you to not only explore this beautiful Chinese traditional garden but also other attractions, like Suwon Hwaseong Fortress.

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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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