Boseong Green Tea Fields, South Korea
The Boseong Green Tea Fields (or 대한다원) in the South Jeolla Province (전라남도) of South Korea are everything I dreamed they would be and more. I don’t remember how I first found out about them, but they’d been at the top of my ‘to travel: Korea’ list since before we even moved abroad.
This past weekend happened to be a long long weekend for me, the last weekend of moderate fall temperatures, and the weekend before my birthday, so I decided it was a better time than any to make the trip south.
We took a first-class express train (KTX) from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Gwangju Songjeong Station, 300+km in two hours. We recommend booking first class if you can as we highly enjoyed the experience, and it’s a difference of about 20,000 KRW (~$17.73 USD) for bigger and more plush reclining seats, more leg room, and fewer seats and rows per car. We had access to free WiFi and water, and were each given a small package with nuts, a cookie, and hand wipe.
We stayed overnight in Gwangju and took the early Mugunghwa (무궁화) train, which runs only three times a day, from Gwangju Songjeong Station to Boseong Station the next morning. From Boseong Station, we took a taxi (~10,000 KRW, or ~$8.87 USD) to the green tea fields.
Getting back to Seoul was less smooth. There’s a convenience store as you exit the fields that sells bus tickets (8,000 KRW each, or ~$7.10 USD) to U-Square Gwangju Bus Terminal. From there, we took a taxi to Gwangju Songjeong Station, and were able to buy two last-minute tickets on the next KTX to Yongsan, one reserved economy seat and one standing ticket. There are probably more efficient and convenient ways to return to Seoul, but we always prefer trains to buses, and by not planning ahead, we were able to explore the fields and enjoy meals at our leisure.
You could certainly get to Boseong and back in a day as there’s not much else to see in the area, or you could make it a full trip and even visit historical Gwangju and/or scenic Damyang. We chose to head down the night before so that we could get to Boseong early in the morning. The fields open at 9am, but the attendant kindly let us in before then, and even later into the morning, we essentially had the fields to ourselves!
At the restaurant right next to the entrance, we were able to enjoy a breakfast of a savory Korean pancake and spicy beef soup, both with hints of green tea. Above the restaurant, there’s a cafe that serves some brunch items and beverages. Next to the two is the ticket vending machine. General admission is 4,000 KRW (~$3.55 USD).
There are breathtaking tree-lines along the plantation and there’s even a bamboo forest. Walking through the forest is exhilarating as not much sunlight gets in, the canopies sway in the breeze, and you can hear the hollow sound of the bamboo. In the spring, there’s a path where visitors can view the cherry blossoms. And all around and in between are swirls of green tea shrubs, and shops with sweet souvenirs and delicious green tea ice cream.
We shivered in the crisp air as we ate our ice cream, but I’m so glad we visited in the fall, with the last bits of foliage hanging on to the trees, rather than the spring or summer when it gets quite crowded and unbearably hot and humid. If you want to experience the beauty of Boseong without all the selfie sticks or breaking a sweat, go in the fall!