If you’re a fan of green tea, the Boseong Green Tea Fields should be #1 on your list of places to see in Korea. Even if you’re not a fan of green tea, Boseong should be pretty high up on that list! Here’s everything you need to know about visiting.
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I love Boseong. I originally went on the first cool day in September way back in 2015 with my friend, Maggie, and I just went back to visit again with my friends, Autumn and Stacey. Each time I’ve left with a belly full of something green tea related, and about a million photos saved on my camera.
Now that I’ve seen all three major tea fields, including Hadong and the O’Sulloc, I can safely say Boseong is my favorite. It’s just massive, and I love how the field is tiered. Even for those who are tired of Korea, it’s a “wow” moment when you get to the main square and see everything from below.
Boseong Green Tea Fields: A History
Wild tea has been cultivated here as far back as the mid-300’s BC while green tea was introduced to Korea from China in the 600’s AD during the Silla Dynasty. During the Goryeo Dynasty, it was mainly farmed at the temples and the royal court, while in the Joseon Dynasty, it began to grow naturally in Jeolla and Gyeongsang provinces.
According to the brochure, the best conditions for tea are:
- 1,500mm or more of rainfall annually
- soil that works with air and water
- a cooler climate
- a huge temperature range throughout the day
- humid conditions like those found near bodies of water
An official green tea plantation was developed in the 1930’s after the Japanese decided it was the best place to cultivate green tea in the peninsula. However, the plantation fell victim to the Korean War and was pretty much destroyed.
In 1957, Chang Young Seop re-established the Daehan Tea Garden and built it into what it is now. (This is also why you’ll sometimes see “1957” on different souvenirs or stores.)
Today there are over 5.8 million tea trees and 3 million other trees around, and Boseong as a whole is responsible for 40% of Korea’s tea production. While there are some other privately owned plantations in the county, the Daehan one is the biggest. Its farming methods are also fully organic.
A Walking Guide to the Boseong Green Tea Fields
Going to the Top
I recommend doing the mini-hike up to the top of the mountain. When you first enter, you’ll go through the ticket office and along the Cedar Road (삽나무길) to the Main Square (광장). There are a little teahouse and souvenir shop (대한나업) to your left and the ice cream shop and cafeteria (대한다원쉼터) to your left.
I’d go all the way right towards the Cherry Blossom Trail (벚꽃길) and keep following the signs for the Ocean Observatory (바다전망대). After you pass by the area where they shot a lot of commercials, movies, and dramas, there’s a bit of a fork to go to the Central Observatory (중앙전망대) to the left and the path to the left. Keep to the left. I think there’s a sign to help you out.
Keep going up past the Juniper Forest (향나무숲) and you’ll get to the Green Tea Farm Observatory (차밭전망대), which is a pretty break to enjoy the views! You still won’t quite see the sea yet though. From here the path up to the Ocean Observatory (바다전망대) gets a little rocky, and decently steep, but if I could haul my bum up it in a skirt, you’ll be fine.
The view out to the sea is beautiful, especially if you get a nice, clear day!
Going Back Down
Once you’ve caught your breath, you can go down a different way towards the Sun Tree Trail (편백나무 산책로). You’ll basically go straight behind the observatory instead of back down where you came from. This’ll take you to a little waterfall area (폭포). The icon on the map makes the waterfall look way more impressive than it is, just a warning. It’s cute, but not like the ones in Jeju.
Around the falls area, you’ll either be able to continue going down or towards the center path in the tea fields. I’d take the center path back towards the Central Observatory(중앙전망대). Then take the Central Stairway (중앙계단) back down to the Square (광장).
The whole trip takes maybe 1 1/2 – 2 hours depending on how fast or slowly you move. I was somewhere in the middle both times, and we stopped to take plenty of photos!
What to Eat
Treat yourself to some green tea ice cream once you’ve made it back down (or before)! It’s seriously my favorite thing ever. If you want it cheaper, then actually wait until you get out to the parking lot. There’s a mini shop we saw and the ice cream was only 2,000KRW there vs. the 3,500 KRW at the cafeteria. Granted, you don’t get a nice tea field background…
But, you know, if you’re on Ice Cream #2 or want that extra 1,500 KRW for something else, then wait until the parking lot.
As for regular food, I did something different both visits. The first time, we ate lunch before we hiked up through the fields. It was a little area right next to the ticket office. We ordered green tea jeon and green tea noodle soup, and it was delicious.
Since we drove on this second trip, we decided to pop into the actual town of Boseong and see if there were any better options away from the main tourist area. We found one restaurant open, and it was so worth it! It’s right by Boseong Elementary School, and it’s called 숙복식다.
We got two servings of 녹차ㄱ떡갈비, which was some kind of meat cooked in green tea between the three of us. With all the banchan, it was more than enough. The banchan alone included fried sweet potato, pajeon, and a tofu soup with kimchi broth (not kimchi jjigae though) as well as the usual side dishes! And it was all for only 28,000 KRW (~$28 USD).
What to Buy
We also popped into the gift shop (대한나업) before we left. I’m so excited about how cute some of the souvenir offerings are! When I first went in 2015, I only picked up some green tea desserts because the rest of the souvenirs were just photos or kitschy Korean things you can get everywhere.
This most recent trip, though, we found pretty illustrations on magnets, postcards, and even some notebooks and bags! I’m a magnet and postcard addict, so I bought a bunch of those.
Types of Boseong Green Tea
As for the tea, definitely treat yourself to some to take home. I think my first trip, I got green tea latte packets, but this trip I got a big bag of tea leaves. They give you a nice little English brochure now, so here are the types of green tea accordingly:
- Woojeon Tea (우전찬) – made from the first, young tea leaves collected before April 20th
- Sejak (세작) or Jakseol (작설) – most popular tea, made from leaves collected in early May
- Jungjak (중작) – made from leaves plucked in the middle of May
- Daejak (대작) or Ipha (입하) – made from leaves plucked in late May
- Yeop Cha (엽차) – made from leaves picked in June and July – this was the tea I got in loose leaf form
How to Visit Boseong
- Korean Name: 보성녹차밭 대한다원
- Address: 전라남도 보성군 보성읍 녹차로 763-67
- English Address: 763-67, Nokcha-ro Boseong-eup, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do
- Cost: 4,000 KRW (~$4)
- Open: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (summer), 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (winter)
Best Time to Visit Boseong
Boseong is going to be quite beautiful all year round, even with some snow! However, though I haven’t been in July, I imagine with all the cultivation, most of the fields will be pretty bare (and it’ll also be humid). Everything was fully green in late September, but some parts were plucked in late May.
There are also two festival periods in Boseong:
- The normal Boseong Green Tea Festival (보성다향대축제), which runs around late May.
- The Boseong Tea Plantation Light Festival (보성차밭 빛축제), which runs from mid-December to mid-January
How to Get to Boseong
Seoul to Boseong
- Get the bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal. The bus will take around 5 hours depending on traffic. I looked on Kobus, and so far I see only a 3:10 departure during the week and 8:10 and 3:10 departures during the weekend.
- Take the slow train from Yongsan Station (영산역) to Boseong Station (보성역). There’s only one I saw, and it leaves at 8:55 a.m. and arrives at 2:35 p.m.
Busan to Boseong
- Get the bus from Busan Sasang (부산 사상) to Boseong Bus Terminal. It’ll be nearly 4 hours with a bunch of stops in between. When I looked on Bustago, the times all through the week were:
- Take the S-Train from Busan Station (부산역) to Boseong Station. I could have sworn there were more time options, but plugging in a bunch of different dates on Korail, and I only saw an option for 8:25-11:51.
Gwangju to Boseong
If you didn’t notice from those long commute times, this is why I include Boseong as part of the Gwangju week in my Korean itinerary guide.
- By bus, you can leave from Gwangju Bus Terminal, and it’ll be 1 hr 30 minutes. The buses start at 6:30 a.m. and run every 30-50 minutes until 5:30 p.m. Then they’re every hour until 8:45 p.m. When I lived in Namwon, we took a bus to Gwangju and then from Gwangju to Boseong. Check Bustago for specific times.
- If you want to take a train, I found 3 slow trains from Gwangju-Songjeong Station (광주송정역) to Boseong Station (보성역) at 6:15 a.m., 10:34 a.m., and 7:18 p.m.
From Boseong Terminal
- So when I went the first time, there was a bus that went to Yulpo Beach about every hour and you just got off at the green tea fields stop (대한다원). It looks like there’s a direct bus from the terminal, and you can check the times here.
- You can also just grab a taxi and head there. Maggie and I took a taxi because we had just missed the bus by about 5 minutes. It was a 10-15 minute taxi ride that cost us about 10,000 won (less than $10).
** Side note, if you’re in Seoul or Gwangju, and you have to pee, go there or wait until the plantation’s bathrooms. It may have gotten a big update since 2015, but I remember the bathrooms being super gross at the terminal.
From Boseong Station
Looking at my map, it looks like the tea fields are about 10 minutes from Boseong Station and a little under 10,000 KRW by taxi. If you take a bus, it shows Bus 70 or Bus 72 to the Tea Fields (대한다원), around 30-40 minutes.
Where to Stay in Boseong
If you live in Korea and want to make it a nice weekend, there are quite a few options near the tea fields! Check out Yongwook Lee’s Traditional House, this hanok house, or this farm stay. For more places, check here
Tours that Go to the Boseong Green Tea Fields
While it’s easy to visit by yourself if you’d prefer to go with a tour, here are a few different options:
- Boseong Green Tea Festival Tour from Busan (1D) – This tour will take you from Busan to Boseong during the big festival period. Check here for details
- Boseong Festival (1D) – This tour is pretty straightforward. It’ll take you from Seoul to Boseong and back within a day. Overall, you’ll have about 4 hours in the fields. The only problem is I’m pretty sure it only runs once in a while, mostly in May. Check here for dates.
- Boseong + Naganeupseong Folk Village (1D) – If you’re in a bigger group of people, you might want to just book your own private tour for the day. You’ll have about 2 hours in Boseong and 2 hours at the folk village with this tour. Check here for details
- Western Korea Tour (3D, 2N) – If you want to see the major sites along the western side of Korea, then you’ll like this tour. Boseong is on the second day. Check here for details
- All Around Korea Tour (5D, 4N) – If you want to include Boseong on a bigger tour of Korea, then this is the tour you’ll want to take. It’s included in Day 2, and you’ll probably have a few hours there. Check here for details
Other Things to Do in Boseong County
So, there’s the main town of Boseong and the county of Boseong. If you want to stay in the area, the three big things I’ve seen listed are:
- Dinosaur Museum
- Tea Museum
- Yulpo Beach
I keep meaning to go to Yulpo Beach as I’ve heard the sunset there is beautiful, but I haven’t had a chance yet! There’s also the Yulpo Haesu Nokchatang (율포해수녹차탕), which is a green tea bathhouse that faces the sea. My students went and said it was lovely!
Have you been to the Boseong Tea Fields? It’s pretty stunning, and I could easily have roamed the plantation for hours!