How to See the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival in Winter 2023 / 2024
Holiday festivals can be found all over Korea, but the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival in winter is definitely one of the biggest and brightest. If you’re visiting South Korea at this time, this lighting festival is well worth your time and effort.
In this guide
- 1 The Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival | 아침고요수목원 오색별빛정원전
- 2 Visiting the Garden of Morning Calm in Winter
- 3 Limited Edition Winter Tours in Korea
- 4 How to get to the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival from Seoul
The Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival | 아침고요수목원 오색별빛정원전
The Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival has an awe-inspiring display of glimmering lights and festive cheer. You’ll be totally wowed by the sight of tens of thousands of twinkling bulbs brightening the night sky, as far as the eye can see.
I am not exaggerating in the least. There are literally 30,000 bulbs, illuminating over 30,000㎡ of the Garden.
Anyone from couples to solo travellers to families with small children can enjoy this event. There are separate areas to explore, with displays and exhibitions decorated around the themes of animals, love, flowers, and more.
Look out for illuminated arch tunnels, a glowing horse and carriage, and my personal favourite – a swing in front of a twinkling heart. There is no shortage of interactive spots at the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival to take the perfect pics for the season.
ALPACA WORLD + THE GARDEN OF MORNING CALM LIGHTING FESTIVAL | Pet fluffy alpacas and see the Garden of Morning Calm’s stunning Starlight Festival on this day tour designed with plenty of time to explore. Check full details and availability here.
When is the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival?
Festival Dates: December 1st, 2023 – March 17th, 2024
The Lighting Festival will take place at the Garden of Morning Calm in winter from December 1st , 2023 to March 17th, 2024. During the festival, opening hours are extended late into the night, so visitors can fully enjoy the spectacle after dark. I’d budget at least 2 hours to wander the grounds, to avoid feeling overly rushed.
Typically, the lights come on just before sunset at 17:00, and stay on until 21:00 on weekdays and 23:00 on Saturdays.
The Garden of Morning Calm IS also open during daylight hours, starting from 8:00, so it’s possible to spend an entire day there if you wish. Unless it snows however, there’s not much point to visiting earlier in the day, since most of the flora will be wilted.
South Korea Travel Essentials
Hotels and Other Accommodation
Wifi, SIM Cards, and Portable Wifi
Airport Transfers and Luggage Delivery
Money-Saving Transit and Transport Passes
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours
Day Tours and Discounted Admission Tickets
Visiting the Garden of Morning Calm in Winter
If you want to see snow during winter, the Lighting Festival at the Garden of Morning Calm is a good place to try. After all, what could be more romantic than white snow-covered mountains, aglow with gleaming lights. It’s enough to make you think you’re in your own private life-sized snowglobe.
The best time to see the snowy landscapes of your dreams is early to mid-February. This is when weather stations in Gapyeong report the largest amounts of snow on the ground in the region. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go!
Limited Edition Winter Tours in Korea
Winter in Korea might feel downright brutal, but there’s plenty of fun things to do to help you forget the cold. Don’t miss these special events and activities that are only available in Korea for 2 or 3 months of the year.
- Alpaca World + Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival (with optional sledding + strawberry picking) | December 1st, 2023 – March 12th, 2024
- Vivaldi Ski World + Nami Island | December 1st, 2023 – February 29th, 2024
- Elysian Ski Resort + Nami Island + the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival | December 1st, 2023 – February 29th, 2024
- Vivaldi Park Snowy Land Sledding Tour | December 6th, 2023 – February 29th, 2024
- Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival, Herb Island + Pocheon Art Valley | December 21st, 2023 – February 9th, 2024
- Wondae-ri Birch Forest + Maebawi Icewall Day Tour | December 22nd, 2023 – February 28th, 2024
- Eobi Ice Valley, Nami Island, Alpaca World + Garden of Morning Calm | December 26th, 2023 – February 29th, 2024
- Cheongyang Alps Village Ice Fountain Festival + Strawberry Picking | December 26th, 2023 – February 29th, 2024
- Pyeongchang Trout Fishing and Ice Festival Tour | January 2nd – 29th, 2024
- Sanjeong Lake Sledding Festival + Hantan Ice Canyon Walk | January 4th – February 10th, 2024
- Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Fishing Festival Tour from Seoul | January 6th – 28th, 2024
- Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival + Garden of Morning Calm Starlight Festival | January 8th – 26th, 2024
- Ice Fishing and Snowflake Tour in Gangwondo | TBA for 2023 / 24
- Skiing, Snowboarding, and Sledding Tours across Korea | Various dates
What to Wear to the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival in Winter
In the Korean winter months of December, January and February, temperatures at the Garden of Morning Calm range from -11°C | 12°F to 4°C | 40°F. In other words, it’s freezing cold… especially after the sun goes down.
Since the Lighting Festival is best enjoyed at night (duh), it’s important to dress appropriately so you can appreciate it comfortably. While there are a few cafes and indoor spaces available on the grounds, they aren’t heated very well.
There really isn’t anywhere at the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival to get a respite from the frigid air.
A parka, hat, and gloves are minimum requirements. If you’re someone that gets cold easily, warm boots, thick socks, a scarf, and Heattech layering or similar might be helpful.
Disposable hot packs in your pockets will do wonders at keeping your hands (and even your feet) warm. You can pick these up for a couple thousand won in any convenience store, Daiso, or pharmacy.
How to get to the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival from Seoul
Address: 432, Sumogwon-ro, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 가평군 상면 수목원로 432
The Garden of Morning Calm is approximately 65-km northeast of Seoul in Gapyeong-gun. It’s part of Gyeonggi-do Province. If you have a car, you can drive there yourself in around an hour, depending on traffic.
There’s parking available on site, though it does get quite busy during the festival.
If you don’t have your own car, there are a number of ways for getting to the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival, either via public transit or on a day tour. I’ll run down the options below.
Join an all-inclusive tour
In combination with Nami Island, Alpaca World, Petite France, and the Gangchon Rail Bike, the Garden of Morning Calm is one of the most popular day trips from Seoul. With good reason. I’ve visited some of these destinations multiple times myself, and they’re totally worth a visit.
It makes sense to visit some of these places on the same day, because they are geographically close to each other, but not that close to Seoul.
Many tours also offer many stops in one day, but in my opinion, visiting more than 3 places on a single day is a bit too much. You’ll just end up rushing around and not really enjoying anything. It’s better to pick 2 or 3 places at most.
If you don’t have a car, you’ll have to rely on expensive taxis, local buses, or the Gapyeong City Tour bus to get between locations. It’s time-consuming and inefficient to say the least. And really, who wants to deal with waiting for public transport when it’s -100 degrees outside, with Siberian winds blowing in your face.
Joining an all-inclusive tour that includes the convenience of round-trip transport from Seoul and between all locations + admission fees is absolutely the best way to visit the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival and other attractions in the area if you don’t have a car. Check out all the options here.
WINTER HIGHLIGHTS TOUR | Seeing the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival, snow sledding, picking sweet strawberries, and marveling at a wall of ice are 4 of Korea’s best winter activities, and you can do them ALL on this convenient one-day tour. Check full details here.
Using Public Transport
If you ONLY want to visit the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival, and nothing else, your only option is to get there using public transit. Keep in mind that ANY public transit route from Seoul to the Garden of Morning Calm requires multiple transfers and quite a bit of time.
If you are set on using public transportation, be sure to check and double check your final destinations, because it can be super confusing. Many transit stations have the exact same name, but are in slightly different locations (like Cheongpyeong subway station vs Cheongpyeong ITX train station vs Cheongpyeong bus terminal).
I’ll provide a detailed overview of all the different ways you can get to the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival using public transit below. I recommend mapping your route personally on an app like Naver Maps for the most accuracy.
Using the ITX-Cheongchun Train
Via Metro Seoul Subway
On a Long Distance or Express Bus
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Garden of Morning Calm: Essential Info and FAQs
You’re all set now with everything you need to know to visit the Garden of Morning Calm Lighting Festival this winter. Who’s going?