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Sejong National Arboretum shines bright at day and night

Sept. 16, 2023 - 16:01 By Lee Si-jin
Visitors enjoy a nighttime walk at the Mediterranean greenhouse in Sejong National Arboretum on Sept. 8. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

SEJONG -- After being prominently featured in hit Korean drama series like “The Glory” and “Big Mouth” last year, Sejong National Arboretum in Sejong shot to fame.

Fascinating displays of plants and flowers here are not easily found elsewhere. Yet, one does not need to be a plant lover to travel to the country's first urban arboretum.

About 120 kilometers south of Seoul, the 65-hectare arboretum in Sejong -- South Korea’s third national arboretum after those in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, and Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province -- offers ample space for families and friends to stroll around the nature-friendly locale under bright sunlight during the day, or with the pleasantly cool night air in the evening.

From the entrance to various sections of the arboretum, including the Four Season Conservatory, outdoor flower garden and observatories, the neatly paved road and walking trail covered in fine sand are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

Four Season Conservatory of the Sejong Arboretum (Sejong National Arboretum)

Admission to Sejong National Arboretum is 5,000 won and 4,000 won for adults and teenagers, respectively. Tickets are 3,000 won for children.

Those who are under 7 or over 65 can enjoy the arboretum for free.

Sejong National Arboretum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The arboretum is also offering a special nighttime program on Fridays and Saturdays until Sept. 23.

Mediterranean greenhouse at Sejong National Arboretum (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)


Taking emotional refuge with plants is a great idea for a break from busy, urban life.

At a seven-minute walk from the iconic parking lot, where Moon Dong-eun (played by Song Hye-kyo) conspired her revenge with domestic violence victim Kang Hyeon-nam (Yeom Hye-ran) in “The Glory,” visitors can easily spot the glass-covered building.

The iris petal-shaped Four Season Conservatory is home to almost 600 types of plants and flowers. The three flower petal-shaped sections of the greenhouse house Mediterranean, tropical and “special exhibition greenhouse” exhibits that offers various cultural performances and plant-themed events.

Closest from the entrance is the Mediterranean section, where a fascinating baobab tree beckons.

Many visitors stop here and talk about the tree from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's well-loved "The Little Prince."

At the Mediterranean greenhouse, one can enjoy a light stroll in the scent of various herbs. Visitors can also see plants that are unfamiliar to many Koreans, such as jacaranda, the Wollemi pine tree and more.

Take either the stairs or an elevator to take in a bird’s-eye view of the whole Mediterranean greenhouse section. Sunlight passing through the glass windows make the plants shine brighter and creates scenic views, a captivating moment for plant lovers as well as casual visitors.

A personal favorite was the fascinating displays of cactuses.

More than 40 types of cactuses of different shapes, sizes and colors fill the cactus zone near the exit, offering a rare chance to see so many cactuses in a single place.

Lucky visitors might even get the chance to see a beautiful cactus flower blooming.

A visitor climbs the stairs at the tropical greenhouse at Sejong National Arboretum on Sept. 8. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Unlike the calm, tranquil Mediterranean section, the tropical greenhouse is buffeted with the sounds of its waterfall.

The synthetic cave, small pond and artificial waterfall create an Amazon-like atmosphere.

Walking through the spectacular vines evokes the feeling of exploring an untouched primeval jungle, like a character in "Indiana Jones."

You can take the wooden stairs to enjoy the tropical greenhouse from a little above the ground. The tropical section presents some familiar plants, including tropical fruit plants, carnivorous plants, Victoria water lilies, palm trees and more.

A small river flows through the center of the arboretum, and visitors can look around different areas of the Sejong arboretum, spotting amphibians, wildflowers, popular crops, rare plants and bonsai displays. There is even a children's playground.

According to Sejong National Arboretum, it takes about two hours to enjoy the arboretum's full 2.3-kilometer walking trail.

The arboretum offers umbrellas for use for free as well.

Visitors carrying small lanterns enjoy a stroll through the Mediterranean greenhouse on Sept. 8. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)


Sejong National Arboretum shines even brighter at night.

At night, a very different atmosphere takes over the Mediterranean and tropical greenhouse with glowing light. The highlight of the greenhouse at night is “Secret Garden of Peter Rabbit,” a special exhibit that runs through Oct. 29.

Filled with garden plants and slowly disappearing native plants, the greenhouse is illuminated with colorful light fixtures and lanterns.

Photo zones have appropriately been set up at highly Instagrammable spots. The nighttime tour also offers traditional lanterns at the arboretum’s entrance for free.

The warm, orange-colored lights create a romantic ambiance, offering a memorable experience while strolling around the arboretum.

A visit to the hanok-themed Solchanru building of the Korean Traditional Garden is a must. Inspired by Changdeokgung, one of the five grand palaces built by kings of the Joseon era (1392-1910), Solchanru features a medium-sized pavilion and a pond.

Solchanru is, of course, a popular place for many visitors to post themselves in photos online.

Night view of Solchanru at the Korean Traditional Garden (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Many people also take a moment to rest on a bench or sprawl out on a picnic mat under the starry sky.

Meanwhile, a live busking event will take place at Garden Square at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16. Magic, bubble and laser shows will entertain those visiting the arboretum on Sept. 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Garden Square.

Nighttime flea market at Sejong National Arboretum (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Visitors can also check out accessories, wood-themed items, small charms and potted flowers and plants at the outdoor flea market at night.