The Prettiest Autumn Spot In Korea: Yangju’s Nari Park
Having lived in Korea for more than a decade, I have seen A LOT of this country and I can honestly say Yangju’s Nari Park (양주나리공원) is one of the prettiest places I’ve seen in the whole country.
There are numerous parks around the country and each is a bit different in what they offer. Nari Park is purely for the flower lover within you. Expansive plot after plot of curated flowers await in colors like purples, pinks, oranges and bright reds. As the autumn sun heats up the days with cool breezes blowing in, this is where to go to appreciate the changes of the season.Oddly enough, other than the gorgeous flowers, there is really not much in the area so keep that in mind if you plan to go. Not only is there a lack of restaurants, cafes or other tourist friendly spots to chill out, parking is nil to none too. We parked on a dirt road that ended up becoming one lane by the time everyone came to enjoy the views. I don’t say this to dissuade you from going, but do be aware and have a plan in place for where you want to go before or after to eat some grub after the hour trek up to the area from central Seoul. (UPDATE –> As of autumn 2018 parking lots were added to the area. woohoo!)
Now on to the views!
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The Kochia scoparia flowers (꽃담싸리) are a shrub that also go by the name of Mexican Fire Brush, Fireball, or Burning Bush and this annual shrub goes from green to deep red come autumn. Walking through this section of the park really had me feeling as though I were walking in some other country or planet. They are just so different in their shape to anything I’ve seen in Korea and the pinks and reds were incredibly gorgeous and left me feeling grateful to have come here. The shrubs are sturdier than many of the other more delicate flowers in the park which also made them interesting to walk among. These have really become wildly popular in parks around Korea and were planted in the gardens at World Cup Park as well as a few other spots. Over Chuseok week, the park became home to a festival but it wasn’t large by any means. A few local vendors set up shop to sell some Korean street food, cotton candy, balloons and other knick knacks you could expect from a little fest. I imagine in coming years, this festival will likely become much larger due to how beautiful the surroundings are. There is a flower festival twice a year at Ilsan Lake Park and I can definitely see Yangju becoming host to something even larger. We brought our own bubbles to play with and I’d recommend taking a sun umbrella if you don’t want to be in the sun because there isn’t much shade.
Of course, also take your smiles, your laughter and have some fun as you walk among the flowers taking in the beauty of nature that abounds.
The most substantial plots are for the Globe Amaranth (천일홍). This flower is known as the 1000 days unchanged flower as it doesn’t change color even after being dried. Symbolizing eternal and unchanged love for Koreans, you can imagine these fields are extremely popular with young lovers and couples. While many areas of the plots are roped off, it’s easy to see where photo zones are and where you can step in to get those wanted nonchalant sitting among the flowers shots… because we all know how often we do that. While they are popular, again, they are the most substantial plots, so there is plenty of space to spread out and get pictures. We arrived around 11:00 and the place was already abuzz with people but really not too many people that it hindered our day. We also happened to show up on a day when a small flower festival was actually taking place. Without the fest, I’m not sure this park really gets all that busy. It got busier as we were heading out and hour and a half later so be aware, it’s best to get an early start whatever day you hope to head there.
We walked into the park and headed straight to the cloud of moving butterflies. The Whirling Butterflies (나비바늘꽃) come in pinks and whites and while they look delicate are pretty sturdy flowers. The park is quite long so make sure to walk around and take it all in. After the whirling butterflies were orange cosmos flowers and there were other plots too. Like I said, the park was just considerable plot after considerable plot of flowers. Some were small and some were tall. Some were bushy and some were delicate, but all of them were gorgeously blooming in the autumn sun… which turned out to be pretty hot since there weren’t any trees to sit beneath.
If you’ve got a bit of energy after the fun at the park and don’t want to head straight back into the city but want to continue your trek, try to find this next place… I dare you! Yes, I got a little lost finding my way, but in the end, it was so worth it.
For an added surprise, if you’re out in the Yangju area, then I’d highly recommend continuing on and trying to find your way up to 비루개. I’m not saying this will be easy, but it IS worth it. There really isn’t a ton of information about this place yet and it seems just about impossible to get to if you don’t have a car. It seems pretty new so I couldn’t even tell you the English name because it doesn’t seem to have one. Not only that, when I asked my husband what it means, he said he had no idea. I CAN say, this place is SUPER unique. It’s three greenhouse structures that are combined to make one large greenhouse cafe. The design is really something else. The standard chairs and tables to overlook the beautiful mountain views in Namyangju, but there are also hovels with large pillows, nets to lie in, swinging chairs and more.
The menu currently just has coffees and muffins and snacks to be purchased though I hope they add more to this and maybe get a kitchen. The trek up will leave you wanting a bit more in the way of food once you get there, so if you want more than coffee, take something with you. They do have board games, ping pong tables and other games to play though. Seems they’re going for a relaxing yet fun experience in the middle of nowhere. And it really is in the middle of nowhere. The only other things around are local farms and farm houses so this places really stands out among them. I wonder how the farmers feel about this new popularity their little dirt roads are experiencing…
This cafe is super cool, super unique and if you want to go you’ll either need a car or to get a nice taxi driver or else it’ll be quite the walk but the greenhouse affect, greenery left to fill the space and scenery is pretty magical.
If heading up to Yangju is a bit far, there are plenty of other places to visit to enjoy autumn in Korea. Check out Sky Park where the reeds are waving, the sunflowers are blooming, there are cosmos too and of course views of the Han River from the sky. This would also be a great time to walk around the Seoul City Wall, get the views, see the foliage and see the city while you’re at it. Autumn is a gorgeous time to get out and about and see what you can see. I hope you enjoy the view!