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Korea’s Rolling Hills of Green Tea in Boseong

Recent Posts, Posted by Matt in ALL DESTINATIONS,Best of DK,Festivals & Holidays,Food & Drink,Hotels & Resorts,Jeolla,Nature, 28 Comments

Korea’s Rolling Hills of Green Tea in Boseong


Tea was first cultivated in China over 2,500 years ago. But shortly thereafter, green tea was introduced to Korea, and the country has a long history of producing excellent tea. The earliest mention of tea in Korea dates to the 7th century and Queen Seondeok (선덕여왕) of the Silla Kingdom. And two hundred years later, tea seeds from China were planted at the foot of Jirisan mountain (지리산) near the village of Hadong. Today, Korea’s rolling hills of green tea in Boseong are among the its most famous. In fact, some say that Boseong is Korea’s tea growing capital.


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Among the fields of green tea in Boseong, the largest and most famous is the Daehan Green Tea Plantation (보성녹차밭 대한다원). Originally planted during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the Daehan plantation was purchased by Korean entrepreneurs in 1957 and transformed into a major tourist destination. Today, Boseong’s tea plantations account for 40% of Korea’s total green tea production.

Although the best time to pick green tea in Boseong is usually around mid-April, the fields are gorgeous to view throughout the spring, summer and fall. My friend and I arrived at the plantation shortly before sunset, and the spicy scent of un-harvested tea met us long before we saw any fields. But after walking up a path lined by tall cedars we were greeted by a stunning sight.

From Boseong’s Green Tea Fields (보성녹차분야)

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boseong green tea plantation koreaIn the 14th century, tea’s close association with Buddhism caused it to fall out of favor during Korea’s Confucian-influenced Joseon Dynasty. But even during this era, some Koreans still enjoyed tea and wild tea plants continued to thrive on the foothills of Jirisan mountain.

In recent history, the Korean way of tea has resurfaced, and today there are three famous green tea producing areas in Korea: Hadong, Jeju Island and Boseong. Among them, the green tea in Boseong is considered the best. Boseong tea is known as yubi-cha, and is prized for its superior taste and scent. At the base of Hwangseongsan mountain (황성산) there are about 20 green tea fields that cover several hundred kilometers.

Among the audible oohs and ahs of the visitors around us, we looked up at the verdant hill covered in winding rows of tea hedges. Rising some 350 meters at a steep incline, the rows of green tea in Boseong are covered in stripes of neatly trimmed tea plants. As we climbed farther up into the fields, special viewing areas provided even more spectacular sights. If we had arrived in the morning, chances are we could have had the added treat of seeing the tea rows blanketed in fog. I read (but unfortunately didn’t visit) the Botjae Tea Plantation, which is just another five minutes up the road from Daehan, and offers views of tea fields all the way to the South Sea. Another nearby place worth visiting is the historic town of Beolgyo.

From Boseong’s Green Tea Fields (보성녹차분야)

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After about an hour of wandering among the winding rows of green tea in Boseong, my friend and I decided to enjoy some green tea cuisine at a restaurant located near the plantation’s entrance. Since we are well aware of green tea’s positive impact on physical and mental well-being, we enjoyed green tea ddeok-guk (떡국), or rice cake soup, slices of grilled pork called samgyeopsal (삼겹살) that was sprinkled with green tea power, and some delicious green tea ice cream for dessert.

From Boseong’s Green Tea Fields (보성녹차분야)

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Since it was already late, my friend and I decided to spend the night in Boseong. Thankfully, there are several hotels and guesthouses. After a good night’s rest, we looked forward to visiting the Yulpo Seashore early the next morning. At 6 am, the Yulpo Haesu Nogchatang, which pumps seawater from 120 meters below ground level, opens. What makes this spa unique is that the seawater is mixed with green tea. It sounded like a great way to start the day.

From Boseong’s Green Tea Fields (보성녹차분야)

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But don’t take my word for it! Each spring, nearby Hadong county hosts an annual green tea festival. Closer to Seoul, check out the world tea festival at the COEX center, usually held in June. Or, visit the Panyaro Green Tea Institute in Seoul’s Insa-dong (인사동)  neighborhood, open year round..
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For your information…

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09:00-19:00 (Mar-Oct); until 18:00 (Nov-Feb)Admission: 2,000 (adults); 1,000 (children & youth;061-852-2593
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South Jeolla Province Boseong-gun Boseong-eup Nokcha-ro 763-43From Seoul Central City Bus Terminal, take an express bus to Gwangju. From Gwangju, take an intercity bus to Boseong. From Boseong, take a local bus bound for Yulpo and get off at Daehan Dawon.website
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28 Comments

9 December 2008 17:04

dong ho

this place is so unreal. i cant even imagine how they made and maintain it.

very beautiful place! beautiful korea! i wish i can visit your country one day.

19 December 2008 01:29

Matt Kelley

Hi Dong Ho,
Thanks for your note. Yes, Boseong’s tea fields are great. I wish I had visited in the spring, when the air is filled with the scent of green tea!

Matt

4 April 2009 12:58

cherry

I love your pictures a lot. Oh! thank you for sharing such a nice part of your experience. Keep going and I will spend more time to see your blog.
Thank you again;]

21 November 2009 01:14

Mark

My family has visited Korea many times over the years. The tea plantations were a wonderful place to explore. The last time we visited was during the summer. Do you know what we’d expect to see in Boseong during February? Do they close the plantation down in the winter months?

December 14 2009 11:06 am

Matt Kelley

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the note and question. Glad to hear you're familiar with traveling in Korea. I read recently that the most famous Boseong tea plantation is continuing its famous winter lights display, when it turns the whole plantation into an evening light show. It's a little corny (in my opinion) as I'd prefer to see the rows of tea plants covered in early morning frost... but I guess they figure the lights are a bigger draw this time of year. Anyhow, the lights are scheduled to stay up until January 31st, so maybe you'll just miss them... is that a good or bad thing? ;)

Best, Matt

4 January 2010 10:57

Winter Festivals Calendar | Discovering Korea

[...] South Jeolla Province) December 11-January 31 Boseong is justly famous for its beautiful rows of green tea fields, and its most famous plantation has turned its plants’ dormant season into a light show. For [...]

2 February 2010 07:23

Valorie

My husband took me to the Boseong Tea Festival in May 2005, as I am a green tea fanatic. It remains the most unforgettable travel experience I have had. I brought home a suitcase of tea! We rented a car and traveled throughout the country. I believe South Korea is a well-kept secret for travel destinations. We loved Seoul, Yeosu, the Hyn giram Hermitage, Goemantae, seeing the Dolman, Ssanggyesa temple in Jurisan, Jin-Ju, Gyeongju City, Soekguram grotto, Seorak-San, the Sinheungsa Temple and the cable car ride, Biryong waterfall, Insadong, on and on. We toured the DMZ and I will never forget it. Please give me love to Korea and its wonderful people who gave us hospitality beyond any we have experienced in all our travels.

February 06 2010 13:43 pm

Matt Kelley

Hi Valorie,

Wow! It sounds like you had a really fantastic trip- although I get the impression you have a great attitude about traveling, which makes all the difference. It's pretty unusual for foreigners to rent a car, but I'd definitely recommend it. Anyhow, thanks so much for sharing about your wonderful experiences!

Best, Matt

17 April 2010 11:58

erin

hi matt,

this is a wonderful blog, thank you for taking the time to post all this info! do you think the last wknd. in april is too early to visit? thanks!

erin

April 17 2010 22:30 pm

Matt

Hi Erin,
Thanks for visiting. Late April isn't too early at all to visit the tea fields. Actually, they look pretty great all year round, they're just greener and smell like tea during the summer mornings. I hope you enjoy your time there... if you go, there are a number of great locations also nearby, like Suncheon Bay! Best, Matt

21 July 2010 12:48

Vivien

Hello Matt,

great blog on korea you have here! My friends and I are planning to backpack S.Korea this year end. Will the green tea plantations be too bare for visiting? I’d also like to ask if you could advise me on the tourist transport pass. Is it advisable to purchase the KTX passes?

Cheers,
Vivien:)

2 August 2010 18:37

cecille

hai. . hope to see kim nam gil here in the philippines. . !

13 September 2010 08:25

Discovering Korea – All Destinations

[...] Hwaseong Fortress [January 19, 2009] Winter 2009-10 Festival Calendar [January 14, 2009] Boseong’s Green Tea Fields [December 3, 2008] Andong’s Gorgeous Hahoe Village [November 12, 2008] Gwangju Biennale 2008 [...]

17 October 2010 22:34

Discovering Korea – Slowing Down in Hadong County

[...] warmer, southern regions, and the best-known tea plantations are in South Jeolla Province’s Boseong, on Jeju Island, and in Hadong. Among them, Hadong’s tea has been cultivated the longest. [...]

22 June 2011 19:27

Tracy

Hi Matt,

I am in Seoul right now and planning to head out to Boseong Green Tea Plantation this weekend. I am a female solo traveler feeling a little sad at the moment, but the thought of visiting the plantation gives me this special feeling. I am excited and cant wait for this visual experience.

Love reading our blog! Your look familiar…were you featured on Arirang?

February 06 2013 07:37 am

Matt

... unfortunately I was. lol.

10 September 2011 12:38

Kelly

Hi Matt-

I realize this is an old post, but am looking for things to do when my brother comes to Korea and this looks perfect!! We have a car and will be driving from Anyang, and chance you know how many hours drive that would be?

Thank you so much and I just LOVE your website- I am getting all sorts of great ideas from you :)

September 13 2011 08:58 am

Matt

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for your compliments.
Looks like it would take 4.5 hours by car from Anyang to Boseong (probably a bit shorter). If you've got the time, I highly suggest a pit stop in Jeonju, which has a wonderful traditional hanok village with lots of great restaurants, cafes, galleries and some impressive cultural treasures. I've written a couple of posts on it here and here.

Enjoy your trip!
Best,
Matt

22 December 2011 08:27

Pat Rock

Matt:

My Daughter is moving to Busan this January and I am looking forward to visiting her next October, though; your tea plantations have me considering an earlier visit.

How far are you from Busan, and where can high quality South Korean loose leaf Teas be purchased?

Thank you for the blog,

Pat

February 27 2012 20:31 pm

Matt

Hi Pat,
Sorry for the late response. Busan is only about 2.5 hours by KTX high-speed train. You can get top-quality loose-leaf teas in Seoul. However, if you'd also like to experience Korea's top tea destinations, don't miss Hadong County, Boseong or Jeju Island!

I hope your daughter enjoys her time in Korea and you have a great visit.

Best,
Matt

8 May 2012 13:39

Green Tea Fields, Check! |

[...] doing some of my initial research (discovering Korea ,official Korea Tourism site) on going there, I came across some interesting history. Apparently [...]

12 October 2012 10:51

Helen

Hi Matt,

My friend and I are going to Korea at the end of the year. I am a green tea fanatic and really want to go see Boseong. We will be staying in both Busan and Seoul, so I was wondering where it’d be easiest/quickest to depart from?

Thanks so much for your blog, it has made planning for this trip so much easier.
Helen

November 12 2012 18:46 pm

Matt

Hi Helen,
Hmmm... it's going to be a bit of a haul from either place. From Seoul you could take the KTX bullet train to Gwangju and then take a bus from there. From Busan, there are surprisingly few buses west, in my experience. Then again, since they opened the KTX rails to Yeosu for the recent World Expo, you might be able to get pretty close, and then transfer to a standard Mugunghwa or Saemaeul train towards Boseong. Good luck!

24 October 2012 19:08

Going Green in South Korea | Kimchibytes

[...] Discovering Korea – Kimchibytes is nothing but a dirty reflection of this great blog put together by Matt and his dog.  He wrote a great article and took some fantastic pictures. [...]

November 12 2012 18:41 pm

Matt

You are way too kind. ;)

1 May 2014 23:06

Joyce

Hey Matt,

I enjoyed reading your blog. I LOVE Korean green tea!! Do you know if Boseong green tea is sold in the US?

May 08 2014 07:58 am

Matt

Hi Joyce,
That's a good question, and I'm sorry to say I don't know the answer. Sorry!
Best, Matt

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