Jeonju is famous for many reasons. While the Hanok Village, Jeonju Bibimbap, and place in history may get all of the attention, Deokjin Park might be the most underrated and beautiful example of Jeonju’s attractions. This park, located near Jeonbuk National University, is a wonderland for photographers and tourists, alike. Since we are both visitors and love to take photos, this place was the obvious choice for a recent weekend getaway. It was everything we could do to skip the cultural village in town in favor of this unknown park, but we were blown away when we arrived.
To avoid crowds, we pulled into Deokjin Park around 6:30am. Having seen pictures of the park online, we were cautiously anxious to see if we’d arrived in the right season for the pond to be putting on its spectacular display of bloomage. Although the Lotus Flowers that dot the pond weren’t present (that apparently happens in late July/August) we did find ourselves delighted by the scene we’d found. A huge park centered around a massive pond, Deokjin Park more than satisfied our expectations and delighted our senses. It became apparent very quickly that we’d made the right decision to avoid the tourist hotspots and focus on something new.
A Sea of Lotus Plants
For a morning or afternoon of wholesome fun in a beautiful place, Deokjin Park is well appointed to provide relief from the city. Commonly referred to as lily pads, lotus plants such as these are distinctly different in that they stand more than a foot off of the pond surface. When we first arrived we thought them to be wildly shaped lily pads, soon realized that their stalks were elevating them toward the sun in a dramatic fashion not typical of lily pads. These green majestic monster plants are packed so tightly that they cover half of the pond from bank to bank. Ducks, turtles and fish can be seen living near the stalks of the pads in this unique ecosystem. A wooden walkway wanders through the field of pads as well, with a pagoda out in the middle.
A Tale of Two Ponds (A Bridge Story)
You can’t visit Deokjin Park without seeing and experiencing the giant pedestrian suspension bridge that bisects it’s pond’s waters. Far too large for the pond, but impressive in its size nonetheless, this bridge makes for an impressive landmark. At the center of this walkway-with-towering-columns is a large pagoda that houses a convenience store, coffee shop, and awesome elevated views of the park. Just outside this building is a small island with ample seating for people to rest at the halfway point of the bridge. Crossing the pond on this bridge is a great way to ground yourself in the park’s allure before taking the path around the water’s edge. Crossing the walkways that cross the water (both the bridge and the boardwalk to the open pagoda) are much more entertaining than the cyclical paths found around the park but lack shade.
What would a local pond be without a dock offering paddle boat rides? Answer: nothing. For around $12 we rented a paddle boat for 50 minutes but we could have had an electronic version for a few dollars more that would have saved us a lot of work. The deep half of the pond was larger than the side with the Lotus pads and provided ample room for cruising around on the water. Neither Stephanie or I had been in a paddle boat in a long time, so we dug deep and channeled our inner child for a bit while we cruised around in a giddy state. Families didn’t seem to appreciate our aggressive driving and threats of ramming, but I’m sure they’ll get over it. We pulled into shady enclaves and battled trees after stints of poor steering, and simply enjoyed the park from a different perspective. People-watching from the boats was very humorous and we even had a drift-nap in the summer’s heat.
Thoughts on Deokjin Park
We love Jeonju and have had several posts on its offerings, but Deokjin Park might be our new favorite spot. The natural beauty and harmony of a pond inside a city was beautiful and lives up to all of its hype. The flora, fauna (duck boats included), and walking paths all make this park an incredible escape from Jeonju’s typical attractions. While this city offers many things, Deokjin Park might be the most relaxing and enchanting. From the plant life to the walking paths, this park is everything a visitor could wish for. You might not be alone long after sunrise, but you can’t blame locals for their dedication to such a beautiful park. If we had something like Deokjin in our city we’d go every morning.
Enjoy the rest of the photos below!