Hallim Park is one of the leading tourist spots in beautiful Jeju Island because of the subtropical plants that grow in its more 100-square kilometer area. Located about 33 kilometers from Jeju City, the island’s capital, the park features a variety of gardens including Jeju Stone and Bonsai Garden, Water Garden, Palm Tree Garden, Tropical Botanical Garden, Subtropical Botanical Garden, Foliage Plant Garden, Washingtonia Palm Garden, and Kiwi Fruit Garden, among many others. Other attractions inside Hallim Park are the Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyonggul Caves, a folk village, children’s amusement park, the spectacular Palm Tree Road between the Bird Garden and Subtropical Botanical Garden, and outdoor resort facilities for adults and children.
The Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyonggul lava caves are connected with Socheongul and Hwanggeumgul lava caves, and together they make up the 4th longest cave in Korea at 2,980 meters long. Inside are a variety of moss plants, interesting stalactites such as the “Shark Tooth”, shining golden-colored lava formations called “Golden Underground Palace”, and another 240-meter long cave called “Coffin”. Hyeopjaegul Cave is 99 meters long and six meters high, while Ssangyonggul Cave is 393 meters long. “Ssangyonggul” means “two dragons” because this is exactly what the cave looks like. Observers and spelunkers agree that the insides look as though two dragons just came out from the cave. This network of lava caves is very popular not only among tourists but also with researchers and scholars for its still growing stalactites, stalagmites and lava columns. Some parts, specifically the Hwanggeumgul Cave, are not open to the public. This 180-meter long cave was discovered in 1969. Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyonggul Caves are designated as a Natural Monument.
Hallim Park opened in 1971. Song Bong-gyu, a local Jeju resident, purchased a desolate piece of land between the Hallim and Hyeopjae coastal villages not very far from the famous Mount Halla (Halla-san). He planted hundreds of palm tree seeds but not before bringing in truckloads of soil to make sure the land is fertile. He took care of his plants well and patiently waited and tended for ten years before seeing the fruits of his labor in full bloom. Today, Hallim Park is home to thousands of trees, more than 200 species of flowers, and several birds including Mandarin ducks, peacocks, pheasants and ostriches. Around the park is a dense pine and palm tree forest.
The park is open all year round, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and until 7:30 p.m. in summer. It is best visited in April for the Spring Flower Festival when beds of tulips, rapeseed flowers, cherry blossoms and other colorful flowers are in full bloom; in May for the Calanthe Exhibition, which displays over 100 varieties of calanthe orchid; and in October and November for the Chrysanthemum Festival.
Hallim Park is 50 minutes away from Jeju City by bus, 60 minutes away from Jungmun by bus and 80 minutes away from Seogwipo by bus. Admission fee is 5,000 won for adults (4,000 won if in a group of at least 30 people), 4,000 won for youths and soldiers (3,000 if in a group), and 3,000 won for children and seniors (2,500 won if in a group).