A slice of paradise
A slice of paradise
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Yeomiji Botanical Garden has been called ‘Garden of Eden’

▲ The space-age spider look of the Yeomiji Botanical Garden is an iconic landmark in Jungmun. You literally can’t miss it. Photos by Kang Hye Kyung

As you drive towards the palm trees surrounding Jungmun’s peaceful scenery, you’ll notice there’s something unique in this resort that instantly captures your imagination. Surrounded by tall, exotic greenery and simple-style hotels, Jeju Yeomiji Botanical Garden effortlessly harmonizes with the environment that assembles many tourist attractions into one.

Yeomiji, said to be the largest botanical garden in Asia, is located in the heart of Jungmun tourist complex, where many call it “paradise,” or the “Garden of Eden.” It was selected as one of the most popular attractions in Jeju island, with its vast size, theme parks, and observation platform.

The sunflower-shaped indoor garden embraces five distinct thematic greenhouses: Flower Garden, Water Lily Garden, Cactus Garden, Jungle Garden, and Tropical Fruits Garden. With each boasting features of its vibrant ecosystem, the greenhouses invite visitors to enjoy romantic moments to the fullest, even if you aren’t here on your honeymoon.

▲ The Jungle Garden at Jungmun’s Yeomiji Botanical Garden features jungle-like foliage and a pond.

The Flower Garden, as its name suggests, fosters a wide variety of flowering plants that originate in tropical and subtropical climates. With an elongated fountain running across the center, the garden nourishes vines and more than 300 rare, flowering plants.

To the right of the Flower Garden stands the Water Lily Garden, which nurtures tropical aquatic plants with four synthetic ponds and waterfalls. The splendorous sight of the water show highlights the humble beauty of the water lilies even more, particularly the Yellow Queen and the Perry’s Double White.

The Cactus Garden has a complete different look. Home to 500 species of North American cactus and succulents, this garden exhibits the theme of deserts and dry lands. The tall and the short, and the chubby and the lanky, the Echinocactus and the baobab trees remind visitors of the storybook character Little Prince, and his home, the desert planet.

▲ Prickly Echinocactus can be found in the dry Cactus Garden.

The Jungle Garden, also known as “rainforest ecosystem,” is the place for Tarzan fans. Amidst the palm and various rubber trees that shape the canopy of the greenhouse, there is swamp in the middle with a “menacing” plastic alligator.

The last spotlight of the indoor garden is the Tropical Fruits Garden that literally produces tropical fruits, such as bananas, mangos, pineapples, papayas, and more.

The cultural outdoor gardens, including Korean, Japanese, French, and Italian garden hold their own against the draw of the greenhouse offerings.

▲ Peaceful waterlillies bloom in the harmonious Water Lily Garden.

The Korean garden, carefully planned based upon Korean traditional landscape, is exquisitely decorated with flower steps, while the Japanese garden displays its modest architectural beauty through a rainbow-shaped bridge.

With a charm of its own, the French garden shows us something special: a neatly cut geometrical garden with mazelike flowerbeds encircling a fountain statue. Similarly, the fifteenth century-themed Italian garden, featuring a statue of a young boy, is faithful to the formal gardens found in the finest of Tuscan villas.

Yeomiji Botanical Gardens in Jungmun provides a restful oasis for visitors and locals alike.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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