Sejong National Arboretum – Korea’s First National Arboretum
If the city of Sejong (yes, like the great king) hasn’t been on your radar – you might want to plan a trip soon! Korea’s “administrative capital” is home to Korea’s first urban national arboretum. Plant and outdoor enthusiasts are going to love Sejong National Arboretum, and even if you don’t have a green thumb, you’ll be amazed by the sheer size of this place!
How to get to Sejong National Arboretum
Address: 세종특별자치시 연기면 Nam-myeon, 중앙수목원로 212-24
Sejong is located about 120 kilometers south of Seoul, and there are many convenient ways to travel to the arboretum there.
Mit dem Bus: You can take an express bus to the Sejong Bus Terminal. From there, take bus 221 and get off directly at the arboretum. It takes around 30 minutes from the terminal to the botanical garden.
By train: The closest train station to Sejong is Osong Station. It only takes 50 minutes from Seoul to Osong. From there, board bus B1 and get off at 정부세종청사북측. Transfer onto bus 221 and move 6 stops to 국립세종수목원, the arboretum.
Mit dem Auto: There is a large parking lot in front of the arboretum that is free of charge for visitors.
Hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (closed on Mondays)
Admission: Individuals – Adults 5,000 won, Children 3,000 won
Note: there is a 50% discount for Sejong residents and multicultural families
What is Sejong National Arboretum?
Sejong National Arboretum is the first urban arboretum, i.e. located in the center of a city, in South Korea. After eight years of project planning and construction, the park opened in October 2020.
The botanical garden covers an area of 65 hectares or 90 football fields. Visitors can admire over 1.7 million plants of 2,834 different species here. What’s more, the arboretum is divided into 24 different themes, including a traditional Korean garden and a bonsai exhibit.
Sejong National Arboretum also boasts the largest greenhouse in Korea with multi-level walkways for visitors to leisurely stroll around.
Traditional Korean Garden
The Korean Traditional Garden is a melange of popular gardens from across Korea. For example, it features replicas of gardens at Changdeok Palace in Seoul and Soswaewon in South Jeolla’s Damyang. Both are bringing Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) architecture to modern Sejong City. This is not only great for local residents but also for the many foreign delegates visiting Sejong as Korea’s administrative capital to get a glimpse into Korean culture and history.
One of my favorite parts of the Sejong National Arboretum is the Bonsai Garden. It features a vast selection of different styles of bonsai. The trees on display are also regularly changed for a new and fresh exhibition every time you visit. Even though the art of bonsai is much more developed in Japan, Korea has its own unique style of “bunjae”, the cultivation of small trees in a pot. This garden aims at researching and further developing the Korean style of art.
Four Seasons Exhibition Greenhouse
This massive greenhouse complex consists of three connected greenhouses: the tropical, Mediterranean and special exhibition greenhouses.
Exotic plant lovers should head to the tropical greenhouse, the largest greenhouse in South Korea. Here, you can explore a jungle-like atmosphere on several levels with an observation deck, similar to the famous Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
More than 400 different plant species thrive in this greenhouse alongside small waterfalls. The tallest tree in the greenhouse is from Indonesia and can grow up to 32 meters tall. Look around and you’ll also find bananas and papayas dangling from the trees.
Right next to the four seasons greenhouse is a smaller greenhouse dedicated to plants from the Mediterranean region. The layout and style remind of the Alhambra in Spain. You can even take an elevator to get a glimpse of the outside area of Sejong National Arboretum from here.
The special exhibition greenhouse is the only greenhouse that changes according to the season, with special displays for Christmas, spring, summer and autumn hosted each year. Currently, visitors need to book tickets online in advance and reserve a timeslot to enter this greenhouse.
A pollination area is also planned aimed at teaching visitors about interactions between plants, flowers, and insects. I’m excited to go see it when it opens.
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