Yeomiji Botanical Garden is a major tourist destination in Jeju Island’s Jungmun Tourist Complex. The island is South Korea’s most popular island getaway destination, and known worldwide as the perfect place for honeymooners. It is an isolated volcanic island, and its bizarre lava formations transport guests and honeymooners to another planet, making the experience more exotic and memorable. Jeju Island is widely known as the “island of the gods”. Three major tourist areas are Jeju City, Seogwipo City and Jungmun, and Jungmun’s tourism Mecca is clearly the Jungmun Tourist Complex. The island receives millions of tourists from around the globe every year.
Yeomiji Garden was opened to the public in October 1989. Many island visitors, specifically plant lovers, contend that this botanical garden is the best attraction in Jeju Island.
Yeomiji’s total land area is 122,919 square meters; its indoor botanical garden is 13,737 square meters, making it the largest botanical garden in the world. It is composed of a Flower Garden, Water Lily Garden, Subtropical Fruits Garden, Jungle Garden, Cactus and Succulent Garden, several theme parks, and 2,000 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants. The outdoor garden, on the other hand, is made up of the Jeju Native Garden and folk gardens representing Korean, Japanese, Italian and French gardens. Yeomiji also has a wide observation platform raised to a height of 12 meters, allowing visitors to see much of the many plants and trees. Faraway Maria Island on the southernmost tip of the mainland and Mount Halla in the center of Jeju Island are, in fact, visible from the observation deck. Yeomiji also offers seasonal and annual shows and events for its visitors that come from different parts of the world.
This leading botanical garden in Korea engages in seed-exchange cooperative programs with about 180 botanical gardens in 130 different countries. This guarantees a vast and wide collection of unique plant and tree species. Some of the leading garden attractions are 40-kg jackfruits, papyrus (from which paper was made in ancient Egypt), mucho plant that responds and “dances” to music, insect-eating plants, and other rare hard-to-find species.
Other than its rich plant-life displays, the garden also has restaurants, souvenir shops, snack bars and plant shops. On sale are rare oriental orchids, coffee trees, cacti, and the exotic Venus flytrap.
A visit to Yeomiji Botanical Garden is never dull, even for non-plant enthusiasts. The garden is surrounded with many other major island attractions that make up the Jungmun Tourist Complex. These attractions include the alluring 3-tiered Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, the Jusangjeoli Cliffs that stand as gigantic rock sentinels protecting the country from the wrath of the ocean, Teddy Bear Museum (cute and very interesting), Jungmun Folk Museum depicting the lives of ancient Jungmun locals and the posh Jungmun Country Club.
Yeomiji Botanical Garden is open every day except for New Year’s Day, Seollal and Chuseok. Visitors may come from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. To reach the garden, visitors can simply take Airport Limousine Bus 600 that goes straight to the Yeomiji Botanical Garden bus station in Jungmun. The bus ride is 50 minutes long.