Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
September 13, 2004
The grounds are divided into eight different sections, including lava caves, a subtropical botanic garden, a small folk village, and Palm Tree Road, where the original seeds were planted.
Arguably, Hallim’s most famous sights are the Hyeopjae and Ssangyong lava caves. Part of a larger complex of nineteen caves stretching for over a mile, the caves are remarkable for having both stalagmites and stalactites inside. The discovery of fossilized seashells in the ground above, Hyeopjae has led scientists to believe that the area was once below sea-level.
The peaceful Jeju Stone and Bonsai Garden start where the caves end. One of my favourite sections of the park are where you can find persimmon and zelkova trees alongside three-hundred-year-old pines, bonsai lined pathways, and strange rock formations.
The Jae-am Folk Village is not quite as interesting, though it does provide a good introduction for a later visit to the much larger Jeju Folk Village. Look out for the island’s tallest tolharubang figure. At the end of the village, you’ll find the Stone Exhibition Hall, showcasing a collection of more than 200 sculptures and rare stones gathered together by the owner and his wife.
Palm Tree road divides the Bird Garden - home to Mandarin ducks, pheasants, peacocks, and ostriches – from the Subtropical Botanical Garden. Among the 200 flower species here, are tangerine and banana trees, tulips, herbs, and many varieties unique to Jeju Island.
Beside the restaurant, gift shop, and car park at the entrance gate, the Water Garden is a nice spot to relax before you leave, with five ponds full of sculptures and lotus blossoms.
Only 33km from Jeju Airport on the western coastal road, Hallim Park is man’s finest adornment to Korea’s paradise isle. Open daily from 8.30am, like most places on Jeju Island, it pays to get there early.
From journal Island of the Gods