From filthy landfill to flourishing landmark
Once you get through the ranch style fencing, the beautiful landscape of the arboretum awaits.
May is known as "Family Month" in Korea as three important days honoring family members are observed this month: Children's Day, Parents' Day and Married Couples' Day. With so much to celebrate, now is the perfect time to grab your family and enjoy the great outdoors. Haeundae Arboretum, with its lush landscape and fragrant gardens, is the best place to enjoy a breezy spring afternoon.
Located in the Seokdae-dong neighborhood of the Haundae-gu district, Haeundae Arboretum is one of the top green spaces in the city - but this was not always the case. In fact, the area served as a landfill from 1987 to 1993. In 2010, the city began plans to develop the former garbage dump into the botanical garden it is today. It features 190,000 trees of 634 different species, as well as various amenities such as walking paths, pavilions and restrooms.
The arboretum will be officially completed in 2025, eventually covering 628,275 square meters, which is 1.4 times larger than Busan Citizens Park, currently the largest park in the city. The first phase of the arboretum, which is open to the public, covers 439,420 square meters.
Beautiful flowers can be seen throughout the park.
The first phase of the Haeundae Arboretum is filled with numerous trees and plants, earning the name "Healing Forest." Once past the entrance, visitors can see the Ecological Wetland Garden, a pond home to aquatic plants such as reeds, willows, water iris, cattails and water lilies. Those that walk to the water's edge can find carp and koi swimming happily. The pond is also frequented by mallards, Mandarin ducks and herons.
Further into the park stands the Wall Garden, built to address the area's height differences caused by the former landfill. The path up and down the slope has been designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities, with and without stairs. Beautiful flowers, such as hydrangeas and herbs, adorn the walking path.
Those that reach the top of the Wall Garden are rewarded with an expansive view of the area. Anyone lucky enough to behold the verdant landscape will immediately feel inner peace. Next to the hill, gardens of different flowers invite guests to stop and stay awhile. The Rose Garden features 50,000 roses of 200 species, creating a wondrous palette of colors and fragrances. The Herb Garden includes a variety of scented herbs to treat visitors' fatigue and restore their energy levels. The gardens and the hills surround a large meadow where visitors can run around, read a book or just rest and breathe in the fresh air.
Wandering sheep are not scared of visitors.
There are many spots around the park to stop and enjoy the scenery.
The cute mini donkeys win the hearts of many visitors, especially children.
One of the more popular attractions in the arboretum is the miniature petting zoo. Guests can spend time with sheep, goats, donkeys and an ostrich or two. The donkeys and ostriches remain fenced in for visitors'safety, but the sheep and goats are free to roam the grounds and mingle with guests young and old. Herds of sheep graze happily, waiting to be fed carrots and other natural treats. In contrast, the goats prefer to be on their own, standing on the slopes to be admired from afar.
The arboretum offers a free shuttle service, which takes guests on a 50-minute tour of the whole grounds. The electric shuttles can accommodate up to 12 adults and run every hour, on the hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Reservations for the service are recommended and can be booked at Busan Metropolitan City Integrated Booking Service (reserve.busan.go.kr). Guests without reservations can be accommodated if seats are available.
Address: Seokdae-dong, Haeundae-gu
[Free on-site parking available]
Hours: Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays or the following Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday.
How to get there: Banyeo Agricultural Market Station (metro line 4) exit 1. A free shuttle runs between the station and the park, except on Mondays and Fridays.