Gonjiam Hwadamsup Healing Campus in Gwangju City, Gyeonggi-do Province is a place where visitors can appreciate a wide variety of maples trees and various colors of autumn foliage.
At Gonjiam Hwadamsup Healing Campus, visitors can see some 480 species of maple trees — the largest in Korea — such as Naejang Danpung (Acer palmatum var. naraii), Dang Danpung (Pseudo-sieboldianum Kom.), and Teol Danpung (Acer palmatum var. pilosum). They will also be able to see rare species of beautiful colored maple trees that cannot be seen at other botanical gardens. Gonjiam Hwadamsup consists of 17 theme gardens on a 410,000 pyeong (approx. 1,350,000m2) land. Among the theme gardens, Gajae Valley, Pine Tree Garden, and Rock Garden offer the best scenic view of maple trees. The autumn scenery of “Gajae Valley” looks very refreshing in harmony with red Naejang Maple tree. “Pine Tree Garden” has various shapes of pine trees and colorful maple trees, and “Rock Garden” provides autumn sentiment created with silver grass and pearl mullet. The maple trees in Gonjiam Hwadamsup Healing Campus look similar at first glance, but they all have different colors and shapes when looking at them from a distance. The maple leaves develop a vivid color and become stronger if the temperature difference between day and night gets bigger. In particular, thanks to the big temperature difference between day and night and abundant sunlight this year, visitors will be able to enjoy more colorful maple tree leaves.
While walking along Gonjiam Hwadamsup Healing Campus teeming with colorful maple trees, looking at Korean native insects, fish, and birds will provide a unique experience. As part of the plant species restoration project, Gonjiam Hwadamsup, jointly with the Korea National Park Service, is constructing an inhabitant environment in order to restore ecology for endangered species native to Korea such as firefly and mandarin ducks. The Mandarin Duck Lake at the entrance of Hwadam has 100 mandarin ducks, and the Firefly Habitat teeming with fireflies holds a firefly festival every June. Thanks to the ecological restoration effort, visitors can easily see salamander and hedgehog as well as cute squirrels across Hwadamsup.
Also worth touring is the Freshwater Ecological Center, an experience-oriented learning place where visitors can see many Korean native freshwater fish in one place. Visitors can observe 40 species of 8,000 Korean native rare freshwater fish such as Shiri, minnow, and trout, which live only in pristine waters, as well as Siniperca, Korea’s natural monument. The center also has an insect ecological hall where visitors can observe beetles and stag beetles, so it is a popular educational place among visitors with children to experience beautiful nature as well as the value of ecological protection.
Admission fees are 9000 won for adults, 7000 won for teens, and 6000 won for children. Additional fees will be charged for the use of monorail. Gonjiam Resort near Gonjiam Hwadamsup boasts of a condominium and the peak observatory that can be reached via the ski resort gondola as well as spa and sauna, so it is the perfect place for couples and family-unit visitors. At the restaurant within Gonjiam Resort, you can get a 5% discount if you present your admission ticket to Gonjiam Hwadamsup.