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Asia

April 24, 2012

Off the Beaten Path: The Boseong Green Tea Fields in South Korea

The terraced rows of green tea at the Boseong Green Tea Fields in South Korea.

While living in South Korea for two years and traveling extensively around the country, I discovered many beautiful and awe-inspiring places. However, if you had to ask me for my favorites, the Boseong Green Tea Fields would easily be near the top of the list.

The town of Boseong is located on the southern coast of Korea in South Jeolla Province. It is one of the most famous green tea producing regions in Korea, and forty percent of the country’s green tea comes from the fields around the town.

I went for the first time in late May of 2011 with my wife and a friend. After a long journey to get to the fields, we finally arrived in the early afternoon of a beautiful Spring Saturday. The walk way up to the fields is lined with rows of very tall and straight cedar trees that cover the path in a cooling shade.

After paying the admission charge of 2,000 Won (about $1.75), we began the short approach to the field. Before arriving, we could smell the sweet and spicy smell of the green tea leaves awaiting us.

Once we arrived at the base of the field, we were awestruck. Straddling the mountainside and rising 350 feet up, the green tea bushes are separated into very neat, terraced rows. After taking a few pictures at the base of the field, we started the long, but beautiful and well-marked, hike up to the top of the mountain.

During our walk, we would occasionally come to small viewing platforms, perfect for taking pictures of the fields. It is even possible to walk through the rows of green tea, surrounding yourself in the lushness of the bushes.

One of the viewing platform, with a picture perfect background at the Boseong Green Tea Fields.

One of the viewing platform, with a picture perfect background at the Boseong Green Tea Fields.

The hike through the fields takes around one to two hours, depending on how often you stop for pictures and to admire the view.

Once you have finished walking through the fields, I would highly recommend a stop at the restaurants inside the ticket area. The menus feature fairly standard Korean fare, such as jajangmyeon and bibimbap, but with the added twist of green tea incorporated effortlessly into the dish.

You can also get some excellent green tea ice cream or even a glass of hot or cold green tea.

Make sure to stop by the gift shop before you leave. They sell a myriad of souvenirs including large boxes of ujeon green tea, the highest quality, for very reasonable prices. I’m not a big tea drinker, but the green tea that I purchased in Boseong is easily the best tea I’ve ever had.

A trip to the Boseong Green Tea Fields is something that every expat and any traveler interested in seeing some of Korea’s most breathtaking scenery should do. The fields are picturesque all year, but I found the fields to be much more photogenic and lush when I went in May than when I returned at the end of July.

If you love Korean festivals, the Boseong Green Tea Festival is held every May and features hands-on demonstrations of green tea picking and other cultural activities. For more information, visit the Korean Tourism webpage.

Getting to the Boseong Green Tea Fields

Located in the small town of Boseong, South Jeolla Province, the Boseong Green Tea Fields are about as far south as you can get on the Korean peninsula.

From Seoul, you can take a bus or train to Gwangju and then a bus from the Gwangju bus station to Boseong. You can also take a bus directly from Seoul Express Bus Terminal to Boseong.

A close-up of a green tea bush with the rest of the Boseong Green Tea Field in the background.

A close-up of a green tea bush with the rest of the Boseong Green Tea Field in the background.

Once you reach Boseong, you have two choices. You can either take the hourly bus that departs the bus terminal for Yulpo Beach and get off at the Green Tea Fields, or you can catch a taxi. A taxi will cost you around 10,000 Won ($9).

To return to the bus station, walk back to the main road and go to the far side of the street, crossing under the highway. From there, you can pick up the local bus or take a taxi if one passes by.

When I went, I dropped my bags off in a locker at the Gwangju Bus Terminal, went to Boseong, and then returned to Gwangju for the evening. You could also spend the night in Boseong or venture 10 minutes further down the road to Yulpo, a small beach-side town for the evening.

If you are planning on returning to Gwangju in the evening, make sure to note the time of the last bus, as they stop running shortly after sunset.

Note: There are no lockers at the Boseong Bus Terminal, so if you plan on spending the night in Boseong or Yulpo you’ll need to carry your things with you when you visit the fields.






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