Jeju Island was at the top of my list for a short and quick get-a-way when I worked in Asia. I went often, but only in spring, summer and fall. I regret not getting there in winter.
The gardens are prolific. There are thousands of hanging baskets with gorgeous flowers all along the roads and highways.
sits in the Pacific just off the southern shore of South Korea and it has the perfect climate for tropical flowers. Too hot and humid at the peak of summer for my liking, but the plant life thrives.
It's my favourite island paradise, small but....
Good things come in small packages!
Think you'd like to visit? Get more information here at the Life in Korea website.
Here are some of my suggestions of places to see the best of Jeju Island and get great flower and garden photos. There are many more that I haven't touched on, I've concentrated on the south side of the Island where I like to hang out.
Right beside Yeomiji Botanical Garden, there's a pavilion overlooking the Bridge of the 7 Fairies at Cheongyeon Falls. This photo is the view when you're at the top of a hill . The view from the bottom of the hill on the other side at the entrance to the falls has lots of pink rhododendrons and pretty foliage in the rocky garden.
This picture shows Halla Mountain in the distance and the foreground is a massive volcanic rock, one of millions that creates such fertile soil on the island. I only had to pull the car over to the side of the road to get this photo and there were more flower scenes on the other side.
In the spring, the island is covered in cherry blossoms and brilliant yellow canola fields. All around Halla Mountain, the landscape is electrified with fuchsia azaleas. Spring is the the most colourful time to visit... do not forget to pack your camera!
Climb up Halla Mountain but plan on a full day. Check online for different ways to enter the park and choose one of the trails that suits your fitness level. I thought the shortest and easiest trail would be best since I had my tripod and heavy backpack with all my lenses and camera body. I was wrong! The easy trail is not so easy. Take it slow and take lots of water.
There are native fruits and vegetables in the gardens and orchards and along roadsides. Koreans make use of every inch of land. Maybe you'll see baskets of brilliant red peppers that make colourful photos. Korean food is famous for being hot and spicy and they use lots and lots of red pepper.
The island is famous for its Hallabong and tangerine oranges. I've never tasted such delicious oranges. Yes, the hallabongs are quite expensive but you'll totally understand why when you put the first slice into your mouth.
You can order images on this page. Also there are many more beautiful flowers from all around the world as both prints and note cards. Browse and find your favourites. Click on the images below to see the collections.
You'll also find lots of lovely impressionist images of the fishing boats, sea shells and our indigenous animal life here on Vancouver Island as well as the flowers. Do you like the artistic touch I give my photos? I enjoy the process and the painterly look of my photos.
If you would like a picture that you don't see in my "print shop", contact me and I'll be happy to let you know if it's available in the size print that you need or as a note card.
I'm happy when people appreciate my work. If you have a comment, please leave one at the bottom of any page or contact me.
The Jungmun Resort is the area for top notch hotels and they're all adorned with sensational gardens. It's the humidity, heat and the volcanic soil. Kind of the perfect recipe for a botanical explosion.
This photo is of the Hyatt Resort... they have the most spectacular site on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The gardens and the site itself attract the movie industry and lots of weddings. In fact, the Hyatt has it's own small wedding chapel surrounded by gardens on the lawn.
There's a climb down to two separate beaches, one on each side of the hotel. One is the popular, beautifully sandy beach with beach volleyball games. The opposite side is Black Rock Beach that's more secluded and it's my favourite.
There are several gorgeous 5 star hotels in the resort and if you're able to stay at the best, pamper yourself and have an afternoon at the spa. All the hotels have garden spaces indoors and out with water features and Koi fish.
You hardly have to leave your hotel to get all kinds of flower and garden photos.
I spend most of my garden time at Yeomiji Botanical Garden when I'm on the Island. Come see why!
The garden is in the posh Jungmun Resort (say it “Jung-moon”) on the southwest Pacific shore of Jeju-do. About 50 minutes drive from Jeju City.
The conservatory is a central observation tower with five adjoining greenhouses.
It only takes one visit to see why this Jeju Island botanical garden claims to be the largest and best in Asia! Go here to see why.
The outdoor gardens could take half a day but if you want to spend time photographing (and it's not raining) a full day goes by quickly.
Yeomiji Botanical Gardens, Centre Hall & Observatory
Yeomiji Botanical Gardens - Outdoor Gardens
Yeomiji Botanical Gardens - Indoor Gardens
The OSulloc Green Tea Fields and Museum is one of the most popular tourist sites to visit on Jeju Island for several reasons. It's a major business that's put Jeju-do on the world stage for production of fine teas. As well, when the Tea Museum was added in 2001, that pulled in many more tea-cultured tourists to view the extensive historical collections.
They also produce black teas and you'll find a wide variety as well as other green tea products from food to beauty products in their
shop. "Innisfree" is the brand name you'll see on the beauty products and
there are a few that I absolutely love. Innisfree is a popular shop that you'll come across all around Korea... very similar to The Body Shop.
Osulloc has 3 separate tea fields on Jeju-do and each one has a distinct environment with diverse soils. The Tea Museum with a gift shop and a restaurant are at the Seogwang tea fields. You can watch them roast the tea and if you're lucky, you'll get to sample a few exquisite teas.
This is the most popular of the tea fields for tourism because of the Museum and such, but there are two more tea fields to the east on the island. Osulloc teas are certified organic. The most visible example of their pest control is the tall windmill-like structures throughout the ields. The small blades at the top create an electric charge and bugs that fly close by get zapped... very effective with no insecticides.
Gardens surround the building that houses the Museum, shop and restaurant. Even along the roads you'll get opportunities to photograph wildflowers against the basalt rock fences. The Osulloc Seogwan Tea Fields are a must to see when you visit Korea.
I was at Yeomiji Botanical Garden, sitting on a bench in the centre hall and there it was... hovering beside my arm. I thought it was a hummingbird at first but couldn't explain the long siphon in place of a beak!
... First encounter with one of these strange little whirlybirds.
Meet the hummingbird hawk moth (Sphingidae)! Absolutely incredible and, no, the video isn't in fast motion! This fellow is about the size of my little finger and insanely fast.
He rolls that little siphon up and then he shoots it out again into another delicious flower.
Yeomiji Botanical Garden page has more about my encounters with the hummingbird hawk moths.
The photos are from Jeju-do but the video was taken at Daegu University. These little nectar lovers adore honeysuckle and there's lots of it on campus!
It seems there aren't any 'real' hummingbirds in South
Korea and hummingbird hawk moths are widespread throughout the world.
The convention centre is surrounded by gardens so walk to the back of the building. You'll be awed by the scene along the ocean... the Jusangjeolli Cliffs, slim, tall columns of basalt rock formed by volcanic action. Amazing! You'll want your camera ready for them as well as the flowers and gardens.
If you want more information about this amazing island, check the English language site for the island here.
Jeju-do is a hotspot to visit in East Asia and I whole-heartedly urge you to go. The entire island is one big garden and everywhere is lush greenery.
My favourite place to hang out is around Seogwipo and Jung Mun Resort on the south shore. So much to see and do with Yeomiji Botanical Garden and flowers around the International Convention Centre. With the high humidity and heat, the Island is a lovely large greenhouse where the plant life thrives.
Make sure you pick up a box of Hallabong oranges. If they aren't in season you'll find the tangerines. Don't worry because they stock boxes of them at the airport. You have never tasted such juicy, sweet oranges like the ones on Jeju-do.
Other goodies you can pick up for a refreshment along the way... sip some refreshing coconut water, it's healthy. I always went straight for the squares of fresh pineapple on a wooden skewer. Juicy... sweet... oh yum.
The Island is bursting with photo opportunities for nature and flower photographers. Take the detour if you're in Seoul or you'll be so sorry you missed out.
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