|▲ Whether your interests lie in culture, botanics or geology, Hallim Park has great variety throughout the year. Photos by Agne Latinyte
This is an advertorial for Hallim Park.
“One of the best botanical gardens I have seen,” was the first thought that came to mind after visiting Hallim Park, the tourist attraction in northwest Jeju which celebrates its 42nd anniversary this year.
Although some other botanical gardens on Jeju are best viewed in particular seasons, at Hallim Park each month is dedicated to a different bloom or blossom: doughty daffodils in January, to world-famous cherry blossoms in March, huge hydrangeas in June, chrysanthemums and camellias in early winter, and much more.
I visited just as the water lilies and lotuses were about to bloom and the whole park had been rearranged in empathy with them. Water is always welcome when temperatures are soaring and jars of water lined the main walkways, giving a refreshing feeling in the summer heat.
Although I was slightly too early for the peak of the water flowers, I was far from disappointed as there are always flowers throughout the park in bloom. My favorite place has to be the Wild Grass and Flowers Garden where you can stroll along narrow paths and feel at one with the beautiful nature surrounding you.
In the summer heat it is not just the water or blossoms getting visitors’ attention as the lava caves are without doubt the most crowded, and refreshing, parts of the park. There are two in Hallim Park — Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyonggul caves — and visitors are able to visit a 500-meter portion of them.
The fact they are a haven from the heat, remaining around 17-18 degrees Celsius even in summer, explains some of their popularity. Their atmospheric features are also rich in local myth, with “Ssangyong” meaning “Dragon Twins” in English.
The rock of the cave roof and passage resembles the scales and bones of two huge dragons — the imaginative might even shiver at the thought of the huge creatures actually living in the cave.
Additionally, Ssangyonggul Cave is the only two-dimensional cave in the world, housing another cave within it. In comparison to other lava caves in the world, Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyonggul are also home to a wealth of stalactites and stalagmites not found elsewhere.
To top it all off, as you again reach the surface between the two caves, dozens of little stone figures greet you. If you have ever seen Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke” animation, the resemblance to the little forest spirits seen there will not escape you.
Hallim Park, certainly a treat for the imagination.
300, Hallim-ro, Hallim-eup, Jeju-City (064-796-0001)
Directions: Jeju International Airport→ 1132 road→ Hallim→ Hyeopjae→ Hallim Park[50mins]
* Enter at least an hour before closing
Mar. to Sept. - 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Open until 7:30 p.m. in summer season (July to Aug.)
Oct. 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Nov. to Feb. 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adults: 10,000 won / Youth (middle and high school): 7,000 won / Children (over 36 months): 6,000 won
Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal→ #700 bus (westbound)→ Hallim Park [1h]