Monday, July 21, 2014

Lotus Lilly Garden - Taean City

I've seen pictures of the lotus gardens in Korea and, being a keen gardener, wanted to check them out. The closest city I was able to find with a nice lotus garden was Taean, about 2 hours by express bus west of Daejeon. The name of the lotus garden is "Green Reach Farm" (그린리치팜).


We purchased express tickets (13,500won) to Taean, a small town on the west coast of Korea. It is a 2 hour trip on the express limousine bus from Daejeon. The seats are super comfortable and there is loads of leg room. There is a cheaper (9000won) bus that takes 3 hours and stops along the way too.



The Taean city/region tourist map at the Taean bus terminal. 




We stopped for a quick bite to eat at the restaurant in the Taean bus terminal before catching a taxi to the lotus lily gardens (about 15minutes south of the city). The food wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. Meals were less than 5,500won each, so nice and cheap. 




In the taxi heading to the garden, with Korean traditional music blaring over the stereo and dancing flowers on the dash board. There is a bus that will take you most of the way to the garden too, but the taxi only cost us about 11,000won ($11) and was infinitely more convenient.




Map of the garden. I wish I had of paid more attention to this map when I saw it at the garden. It wasn't until I got home and reviewed photos that I realised we had missed part of the garden (the non-water part). Oh well. 




Buying a ticket at the ticket booth. Entry is 6000won ($6) each. 






We made our way down the road and started wandering though the fields of lotus lillies. 






The water was alive with thousands of frogs. 






White lotus flower. 






Some baby frogs resting on lilly pads. 





Look, frogs!





Taking an umbrella was definitely a good idea. There was a nice breeze that stopped it feeling too hot, but the sun was bloody strong. 




Some more lotus flowers. 








The best thing about having unusually long arms is it makes taking selfies easier. 






A frog still rocking its tadpole tail. 






Some of the lotus lilies had water trapped in their giant leaves which would roll around like a skateboarder on in a bowl at the skatepark. 




I love how tall the lotus lily leaves stick up above the water level. 




Look! More frogs!




Stopping to smell the flowers. 




Throughout the garden is seating and some shaded resting areas where you can enjoy the calm and relax in the cool breeze off the rice field next door. 






Taking a break on a swing seat. 




More flowers!






Some strange art in the garden. 




Bee's hard at work. 














Next to the coffee shop is a lotus and herb shop with a risque painting on the wall. 




Inside the shop. 




Next to the herb shop is a small cafe with a very limited food menu (4 things) and coffee (obviously). 



We sat at the cafe and had a rest before wandering through the next part of the garden. 



More lotus lilies!



More strange artwork.






Down the garden path. 





We then started wandering back through the garden, and out to the main road where we would catch the bus to the beach. 




Quick photo snap on a seat in the garden. 




Some more flowers. 






A shady walkway. 




Back out on the main road we found a bus stop. While we were debating if we should wait the for bus on the other side of the road, it whizzed past us. Damn. Luckily, a few minutes later a taxi came by. We flagged it down and asked him to take us to the beach. It was a short trip and cost about 3000won ($3). 




Welcome to Mongsanpo Beach. It was low tide when we arrived at the beach and a thick heavy fog had rolled in. This beach is popular because the beach extends so far out and is very flat. When the tide is in the water is very shallow, meaning you can swim and play in the water without any serious risk of drowning (which is good for Koreans, since many of them can't swim). 




Out there... somewhere... is the ocean. 




We started walking out to find the water. As we walked through the thick fog, lots of kids were busy playing on the sand-flats/beach. 




These weird brain looking piles of sand were everywhere on the beach. 




After walking out about 200m, we finally spotted the water. 




Looking back... oh crap. Where did the land go?




We rested on the beach snacking on watermelon we brought with us until the fog finally lifted and we could see Mongsanpo Beach in all its glory. Not as pretty as Australian beaches, but interesting how far the sand extends out at low tide. 



You can also go camping here right on the edge of the beach. Not as nice as camping on the beach dunes on Fraser Island, but still a nice sea change from the big city in Korea. 






There is also a tent restaurant serving seafood right on the beach. 




Since I'm not the biggest fan of seafood (particularly how it is prepared in Korea) we started to make our way back to Taean so we could catch the bus back to Daejeon. We followed the signs and eventually ended up at a local bus stop and caught a bus back to Taean. 






At the bus stop were wanted posters for the guy that owned the Sewol ferry, and those suspected of helping him hide/escape the country. 




Once back in Daejeon, we grabbed a hamburger and kicked back to rest our feet. All up, it was a good day.