Pocheon Herb Island, consisting of a botanical garden and exhibition hall, stands as Korea’s largest herbal botanical garden. The garden maintains its greenery throughout the year, featuring over 250 different varieties of herbs and plants. The Herb Garden Museum includes four indoor exhibition halls and one outdoor exhibition space. Beyond its botanical aspects, Herb Island functions as a healing space and eco-education facility, particularly for children.
Approximately two hours away from Seoul, Pocheon Herb Island was established about 20 years ago when herbs were unfamiliar to the Korean public. It started with the planting of herbs in a small greenhouse on desolate land, eventually becoming a specialized Herb Plant Museum in Korea and a landmark in Pocheon city.
Despite its name, Herb Island is not an actual island. Accessible by a tour bus that operates on Saturdays, it attracts over a million visitors annually. The site has a certain charm that makes it a popular destination, often frequented by young couples on romantic dates.
Initially, the area was only 10,000 square meters and consisted of barren land overgrown with weeds and gravel. The lack of roads, water, and electricity posed significant challenges. The transformation involved clearing weeds, sowing seeds, and planting Mediterranean herbs. However, adapting these herbs to the Korean soil and climate presented difficulties, with several attempts and failures before finding success, especially considering the variance in sunlight between Korea and the Mediterranean.
The enormous herb greenhouse, known as the Herb & Plants Museum, is considered one of the most valuable attractions at Pocheon Herb Island. It proudly showcases several hundred types of herbs, reflecting a rich history of cultivation. The greenhouse goes beyond being a simple cultivation area; it becomes a space where each tree is treated with care and attention. I sensed that the herb plant museum serves as the essential foundation of Herb Island, playing a pivotal role in shaping its identity and character.
The Santa Claus village, situated at the back side of these herb greenhouses, provided me with another delightful experience. The sweet and cool atmosphere, accompanied by the fresh aroma of herbs, was particularly enjoyable during the hot summer days. The village hosted a cooling event featuring aromatic herbal showers along the path, continuing until the end of August. Visitors and Santa Clauses lined up on this path, immersing themselves fully in the foggy herbal vapor. It was a very pleasant and uniquely aromatic experience.
Summer Santa Clauses dressed in blue, small box houses adorned with items related to Santa Claus, and a tiny church on the hillside where people could send pre-Christmas cards—these elements created an enchanting atmosphere in the village. Despite it being August, visitors could feel the early Christmas mood. The fairytale-like setting encouraged people to capture the magical moments through photographs, and everyone seemed to be busy enjoying the anticipation of an early-arrived Christmas day.
The herb museum comprehensively showcases information about herbs, covering aspects such as their use in food, flavoring, medicine, and more. The exhibits include the history of herbs, herb-related products like oils, wines, liquors, vinegar, and teas, as well as demonstrations on making herb candles and soaps. The museum also features a handicraft corner, a distillation corner for essential oils, and various details about different herbs, enhancing my knowledge on the subject. Additionally, the inclusion of tiny aromatic items in every corner provided an added layer of aromatic pleasure. I highly recommend not missing out on this informative and sensory experience.
As time passed quickly, we started feeling hungry. We decided to try the herb dishes at the Athens Hall restaurant, which is decorated in a Greek style. While the ambiance in the restaurant was very pleasing, the taste and price of the dishes didn’t leave a strong impression on me.
As the sun set, the place transformed into a more beautiful, stunning, and romantic site than during the daytime. The millions of starlike lights created a magical atmosphere, providing a wonderful backdrop for photography. The live show on weekends at the square added to the charm, and watching the youth boarding mini gondolas circling the square brought a sense of joy, even though I didn’t ride one myself. I took a coffee break for a while and enjoyed the ambiance.
During the live show, I couldn’t help but notice that the two performers on stage had some difficulty with their singing ability. They struggled with hitting the high notes, and some portions of the notes were stretched longer than usual. I overheard the person next to me commenting humorously, “What makes them sing just like crying?” Whatever the critique, it didn’t dampen my romantic feeling at all. The night has a powerful ability to make everything look beautiful. This nightly light festival continues throughout the year, so there’s no need to wait to experience the beauty of the night at this enchanting place.
On the backside, there were two accommodation zones: the Herb Healing Center and the Experience Building. These areas offered a variety of experiences, including herb hydrotherapy, herb & hay therapy, aromatherapy, tea therapy, stone therapy, and more. Some rooms even featured a whirlpool bath infused with herb essential oil. The accommodations appeared to be of high quality and didn’t seem budget-friendly just from a distance. The provision of such diverse and luxurious experiences hinted at a premium and indulgent stay.
How to get there
1.Shuttle bus run by DOOREBUS co.: Seoul city hall>Sport complex>Herb Island (running duration: 2hours).
Night course is available only on Saturday. Day courses are available on Sat/Sunday.
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for your booking.
2. Midweek:to Subway1 Soyosan st.#1>transfer to bus 57-1 across the street, not sure about the duration because the bus runs every 2 hours.
- Address35, Cheongsin-ro 947beon-gil, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 포천시 신북면 청신로947번길 35 (신북면)
- TypeVillage Experiences/Sightseeing Plantations
- Inquiries• 1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330
(Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
• For more info: +82-31-535-6494
- Homepage herbisland.co.kr