Wondae-ri Birch Forest, A Stunning Forest In Korea
South Korea is very well known for having stunning scenery and natural mountainous parks. The Wondae-ri Birch Forest is no different, and might be one of the most stunning forests in Korea. Beautiful all year around, but the birch trees in winter are especially stunning. Read on to find out more.
Birch trees have a long history that dates back millions of years to the Paleocene epoch. Fossil evidence suggests that birch trees first appeared in what is now Europe, Asia, and North America. They were among the first deciduous trees to emerge after the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. Birch trees are well adapted to colder climates and thrive in areas with short growing seasons and harsh winters.
They have also played an important role in the cultural history of many indigenous peoples around the world, who have traditionally used the bark, leaves, and sap of the birch tree for food, medicine, and crafts. Today, birch trees are found in many parts of the world and are valued for their beauty, as well as their ecological and economic importance.
- Things To Know When Visiting The Birch Forest
- About The Birch Tree Forest
- Hiking Trails To The Birch Tree Forest
- Birch Trees In Winter
- Birch Forest Opening Times
- Getting To The Birch Forest
- Other Things To Do In The Area
- Frequently Asked Questions
Things To Know When Visiting The Birch Forest
- What To Wear – First of all make sure to dress appropriate for the season, in winter wear thick socks to see the birch trees in snow. Wearing sport shoes or comfortable walking shoes is recommended as the forest is located a 40 minute hike away from the car park. Check what to pack for Korea here.
- Book A Tour – Make your trip to the birch forest easier by booking a package tour. Click here for more info on package trips.
- Tipping Culture – Going with a tour to the birch forest? Then check out this guide on tipping in Korea.
- Best Time To Visit – The forest is beautiful all year around, but seeing the birch trees in winter is extra magical as they landscape is snow covered.
- Korea Itineraries – Check out the best 5 days and 7 days Korea itineraries. Taking you to the best touristic destinations in South Korea.
About The Birch Tree Forest
After the area burnt down more than 50 years ago, the government turned this 138 hectares of land into a birch forest. From 1974 to 1995, over 690 000 trees have been planted. The forest was designed to help promote educational and environmental values of the birch tree forest.
The park opened back in 2012 and is one of the top must visit sights in South Korea. The forest attracts over 200 000 visitors a year. Even though the forest is stunning all year around, when snow-covered the forest is extra magical. It is highly recommended to go and see the birch trees in winter season as that’s when there is snowfall in Korea.
Hiking Trails To The Birch Tree Forest
There are a total of 7 trails leading to the birch tree forest. Each trail has an uphill part, that is very doable, but not easily accessible for wheelchairs or a walking restriction.
- 1st Course: Birch Forest course 0.9 km: approx 40 minutes
- 2nd Course: Healing Course 1.5 km: approx 1,5 hours
- 3rd Course: Exploration Course 1.1 km: approx 40 minutes
- 4th Course: Danger Course 3 km: approx 2 hours
- 5th Course: Healing Course 0.9 km: approx 30 minutes
- 6th Course: Hard Course 2.3 km: approx 1,8 hours
- 7th Course: Short Course 1 km: approx 50 minutes
Birch Trees In Winter
The winter season is the most beautiful time to visit the birch tree forest, especially after it snowed. The white of the trees in combination of the white of the snow is just wonderful. It is a great day trip from Seoul and one of the top things to do in Korea in winter.
Birch Forest Opening Times
The forest is open in summer from May 31st till October 31st (9 am – 6 pm, last entry at 3 pm) and in winter from December 15th till January 31st (9 am – 5 pm, last entry at 2 pm). The rest of the year the forest is closed as part of the fire protection program.
You might be asked to register upon entering the forest. Leave your name and phone number at the information office. This is just in case of emergencies or fire.
Getting To The Birch Forest
There are two ways of getting to the birch forest, going by yourself using public transport or booking a package tour that includes the birch forest.
Address: 763-4, Inje-won, Inje-gun
1. Public Transportation
Take the bus from Dong Seoul Bus Bus Terminal to Inje Intercity Bus Terminal. The bus ride takes approximately 2 hours and costs 12 900 krw. From Inje bus terminal it is recommended to take a taxi to the forest. This will take around 20 minutes and cost approximately 20 000 won. Same to get back to Seoul. Take the taxi to the intercity bus terminal and then the intercity bus to Seoul.
2. Book A Tour (Recommended)
Other Things To Do In The Area
Inje is a small town in South Korea, quite close to Sokcho and Gangneung. When staying at the east coast, it is worth taking a trip to Inje.
Inje is a county located in the northeastern region of South Korea and is known for its beautiful natural scenery, including forests, mountains, and rivers. Inje is home to several tourist attractions, such as the Inje Speedium, a car racing circuit that hosts various motorsport events throughout the year, and the Inje Smelt Festival, an annual winter festival that celebrates the traditional fishing of smelt.
Inje is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and winter sports. The county has a rich cultural history and is home to several historical landmarks and museums that showcase the local heritage.
1. Inje Ice Fishing Festival
Each year the Inje ice fishing festival takes place. This is a much smaller festival than Hwacheon or Pyeongchang Ice Fishing Festival, but still worth visiting. The one week festival takes place at the end of January.
2. Naerincheon Stream Rafting
The rafting at on Naerincheon stream is considered to be in the top 3 rafting experiences in South Korea, along with Hantangang River and Donggang River. It is a great way to enjoy the natural scenery and have an exciting challenge. The stream runs from south to north and has 10 rapid sub-streams. Daily shuttle buses from Seoul are available. Check more info here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wondae-ri Birch Forest is a natural forest located in Gangwon Province, South Korea. It is known for its beautiful scenery and abundant birch trees, which turn white during the winter months.
The easiest way to get to Wondae-ri Birch Forest is by car or taxi. From Seoul, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive to the forest. You can also take a bus from Seoul to Hoengseong Bus Terminal, and then take a taxi or local bus to the forest.
There are many activities you can do at Wondae-ri Birch Forest. You can take a leisurely stroll through the forest and enjoy the scenery, have a picnic with friends or family, or go hiking on one of the nearby trails. In the winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding at the nearby ski resort, or take a sled ride down one of the forest’s hills.