Herb Village: Lavender Fields & Waterfalls Near Seoul
Searching for flower fields has become somewhat of a hobby of mine. There are flowers everywhere but seeing an entire mountainside covered in azaleas, a field of tulips or the gorgeous fields of Nari Park in the autumn is just breathtaking. There’s a lavender farm in the northeast of Korea that I’ve had on my list for some time to go see. The only problem is that it’s not the easiest place to get to, it’s a bit far and while beautiful, requires just a bit more planning. That’s all good and fine, and I will likely get up there eventually, but this season just seems to be packed. So, with only one day, I came upon a picture of Herb Village north of Seoul in Yeoncheon-gun and decided we would head up there to see what we could see. (As always, make sure you scroll down to the bottom to see the map and get the location.)
Herb Village was all that and more with beautiful flowers, delicious eats and calming herbs everywhere.
I really had very few expectations. Practically none actually, but we were so pleased and easily spent four hours roaming the grounds and enjoying a lovely lunch. BONUS: There’s a beautiful waterfall just 25 minutes away too!
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Herb Village (허브빌리지)
Herb Village sits very very close to the DMZ and about an hour and a half north of Seoul and has some beautiful views of the Imjingang River that flows in the area. There are quite a few spots north of Seoul that are just ideal for a little day outside of the city. If you want to go and see more, look into heading up to Pocheon.
The views of the garden itself were what drew us out though. The highlight of the garden is a massive lavender field. It was actually larger than I expected. Pictures just don’t do this place justice. The scent of the herbs grown everywhere waft into the air and if you look closely, you’ll easily find mint, lemon balm, thyme and a ton of other herbs everywhere you look.
Looking for THE place to calm those nerves that’s beautiful to boot? This is definitely that place.
The lavender field can easily be found just after entering the grounds. There’s also a rather large cafe that offered quite a few options to stay hydrated and happy and is a perfect shady respite if you need a break from the sun in the field. Head south of the field and there’s a lotus covered pond where my little one was sure frogs should be living and then the paths naturally take you up to the hillside where visitors can choose between two restaurants. Along the paths are numerous chairs, benches and tables just asking to be used. The goal when spending any amount of time here is definitely to take in the natural surroundings and to relax.
There is a western Italian style restaurant called Farmer’s Table connected to the greenhouse and a Korean restaurant called Chori that sits on the highest point of the garden and offers the best views of the entire area and of the river. We opted for the Korean restaurant because from experience, Arielle and I both agree that the “western” style “Italian” that we often find at parks is just not… up to par and is usually overpriced. Chori on the other hand was delicious, offered organic vegetables and herbs, was healthy and offered a very pretty flower covered bibimbap and other dishes that really hit the spot and didn’t break the bank. Even if you don’t want to eat at Chori, head up to the building because you can get great views on the veranda, head up to the rooftop and take a rest upstairs as well. You can see the expansive Herb Village as well as Imjin River and the surrounding rice paddy fields and more from this vantage point.
From there, we headed down the backside through the Moon Garden to a pond with a small waterfall and an area where black and white swans are housed and happily honk away. This naturally took us over to the greenhouse or Herb House which is divided into 8 gardens according to the purpose or use of the herbs. There are over 100 herbs and 20 kinds of temperate trees. There are even olive trees that are over 300 years old inside. The greenhouse is quite large and the plants are very lush and fill the large space. There are birds in cages throughout the space to see as well.
Admission: Adults: W7,000; Children: W4,000
Hours: April ~ November: 9:00am – 10:00pm; December ~ March 9:00am – 8:00pm
Amenities: parking, restrooms, cafe, two restaurants, foot baths, Korean sauna, handicap accessible
Jaein Waterfall (재인폭포) & Flower Fields
During my sleuthing, I noticed that quite a few Korean visitors to Herb Village added a visit to the Jaein Waterfall to their trip north so decided to do the same. The waterfall is just a 25 minute drive through beautiful sprawling rice paddies. The entire area was a pleasure to drive in. No traffic of course, and the lush green mountains and paddies were just so calming to see. Living in the city is fun, but getting out of the city is a necessity I find. Driving along the road to the waterfall, we also came upon a giant field of yellow flowers and had to jump out of the car to enjoy them.It’s funny, sometimes I think I’ve been here too long when I have a split second thinking… wait, can we get out here? Are we allowed to just get out of our car and walk into this field? Maybe I’ve been around one too many “photo zones”. This was definitely a worthy stop and we weren’t the only car in the end that decided to stop and just take it all in.
The Jaein Waterfall is one of the seven scenic views promoted in Yeoncheon. The other ones didn’t look nearly as impressive and this apparently claims the top spot for best tourist attraction in the area. That said, there weren’t lines or hoards of people so despite its title, it’s not as well known as sites in other areas clearly. Good for us.
A tour guide that decided to give us a private tour after we stopped into the tour booth explained that depending on the rainfall, the falls could be more or less impressive. He said that just a week before, the falls were pretty big and full and the water a bit higher. Sometimes it rains so much that you can’t go down the 9 flights of stairs to get up close. Even though it hadn’t rained this week, we still found the area lined with lava tubes, rocks and water falling into a clean blue basin beautiful.
The waterfall is 18.5 meters tall but luckily doesn’t require any hiking to find. Parking is right near the entrance to an observation platform to view the falls from above and if visitors wish/can, they are free to walk down 9 flights of stairs to the bottom of the quarry to see the waterfall up close. The name of the waterfall, Jaein, means clown and comes from a folk tale about a tightrope walker who had a beautiful wife. One day he was traversing a rope tied across the ravine and a man who had a secret crush on the tightrope walker’s wife, cut the rope!
Just so you know how easy it is to get to the waterfall. Ava fell asleep in the car on the way from Herb Village to the waterfall and I carried her down from the parking lot and over the rocks in my Birkenstocks and a long dress. She finally woke up to enjoy the falls… of course just after I got to take a seat on a rock.
들꽃가람농장 X Atelier 786
Other than a couple vending machines and a tourist office, there wasn’t much more AT the waterfalls, so it’s best to take anything you need with you. We decided to head out to get one last snack before we made our way back to Seoul and randomly came upon this strawberry farm and cafe just around the corner. This was THE perfect ending to a great day out and we were even lucky to get there just before they closed. Only open from two o’clock until 6 o’clock, the cafe sells all things strawberry. On Saturdays, they also allow visitors to head in and pick strawberries as well, so if you make the time, it would be a great addition to the day of flowers, waterfalls and more!
If you loved this, then you’ll definitely love the other great summer finds Arielle and I have put together in our SUMMER Guide. Check it out and know where to go this summer. We’re always out and about finding new cool, off the beaten path and fun spots to check out and we want to make it easy for you to get out and about too! Get your guide and enjoy the summer! From coastal spots that are easy weekend getaways to places in Seoul that will give you those island vibes if you just can’t get away, we’ve got it all in here for you. Just download it and see what you can see. Happy summer hunting!