Reading Time: 5 minutes

written by Hugo J. Smal

If you are Dutch like me, then the nature of Korea is one of the contrasts. The Netherlands have the countryside and the city, a few hills in the south and just under 50 islands. The Meuse and the Rhine split the country in two. Holland is a swamp delta drained by the Dutch. Korea has remained more itself throughout its existence. There are big cities, and the politicians broke the country in two, but much is still more or less untouched. You won’t find so much variation on such a small surface of the earth anywhere else. That is why Korean nature is unique.

Seongsaheon River
Seongsaheon River

Hanguk is a relatively small country.

Korea is 112,264 square kilometres in size. North Korea occupies 120.54. Unfortunately, I can tell almost nothing about nature in the communist part of the country. We know too little about it. Even the demilitarized zone holds many secrets. Animals and plants that have become extinct in South Korea can still live there. That zone is a large natural secret because no one has come there for about 70 years. South Korea is about the size of Iceland or Hungary. So relatively small. That makes the great contrasts you encounter in Korean nature unique.

High and low.

High, steep mountains dominate the landscape, the coastal areas and small islands. These features contribute to the diversity of Korean nature and the presence of a wide range of plant and animal species. Korea has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The country experiences hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters, with a rainy season in the summer and autumn. This climate supports a variety of ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

Plants and animals make Korean nature unique!

Korea is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Some animals are the Korean leopard, the water deer, and the musk deer.

Unfortunately, the Korean leopard, known worldwide as the Armur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis, Korean 한국 표범 hangug pyobeom), is extinct in South Korea. There is some hope that the world’s rarest big cat is still hunting in the demilitarized zone ore in North Korea. But that is seen as hope in vain. Only 50 or so Armur leopards, belonging to this subspecies common to the Korean Peninsula, live in the Kraj Primorski in Russia and Jilin in China. Read more about the Armur Leopards at

Unique Korean nature at Baedagol.

The Seongsaheon River flows through the Baedagol theme park. It is a river when the snow melts in the mountains and during the rainy season. Most of the time river is a narrow stream. It ensures two unique animal species in and near the theme park and the Goyang Koi Farm.

In addition to the cicada, the area has another “troublemaker”. The male Suweon (Hyla suweonensis) calls his female with a loud and high whistle. He’s not having a good time. The family has about eight hundred members, living between the Mangyeong and the Imjin rivers. They are closely related to Hyla Japonica whistling from Hokkaido to Yakushima in Japan, to the Ussuri River in the Russian part of ancient Goguryo and northern China and Mongolia.

The tree frog lays her eggs in rice fields. At the Baedagol theme park, they have managed to conquer a warm bed in the many water features. I think that there are several hundred living at the theme park. How the Suweon will fare in the future is unclear. Baedagol must make place for new high-rise buildings.


Read a detailed description of the tree frog here: PDF

 I have only seen the hoof marks of the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus, Korean 한국물사슴) in the river bed. They pass through it foraging at dawn.

Like the Korean musk deer, the water deer has tusks. They do not use them for hunting but as a weapon in territorial battles. First, a mock fight takes place. The males walk impressively towards each other and make clicking noises. Sometimes a weaker deer gives up at this point. When they fight, the males try to injure each other with their tusks. The loser himself indicates when enough is enough. He lays his head and neck flat on the ground or takes flight. The females live peacefully in groups.

At Baedagol theme park, C.E.O. Kim Young Soo collected many trees and plants.

Korean nature is unique for his fir. Source: Photographer: W. carter Public Domain Image
The Korean fir (Abies Koreana, Korean: 구상나무, Gusang namu): is a species of the fir tree that is native to the mountains of Korea. It is known for its distinctive conical shape and the fact that it retains its needles all year round.
The Korean bellflower is unique Korean nature
The Korean bellflower (Campanula takesimana, Korean: 섬초롱꽃, seomchorongkkot) is a flowering plant that is native to Korea and Japan. It is known for its blue or purple bell-shaped flowers.









Korean nature is unique for pine tree
The Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis, Korean 소나무, sonamu) is native to the mountains of Korea. It is known for its long, slender needles. It survives in cold, snowy environments.

The trees and plants are lucky. They find a home at the new locations of the Baedagol theme park and the Goyang Koifarm. For the tree frogs moving house will be a bigger problem. I am sure C.E.O. Kim Young Soo will find a solution.

Korea has a range of natural landscapes and ecosystems, ranging from subtropical forests on the southern coast to temperate forests in the central regions to subarctic forests in the high mountains. 

One of the most notable features of Korean nature is the presence of many high, steep mountains that dominate the landscape.

Korean coastline is unique.

Korea is also known for its beautiful coastlines, which feature a mix of rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and small islands. The country has many small islands off its coast. The coastal waters of Korea are home to a variety of marine life. Dolphins, whales, and sea turtles are some of the beautiful animals that visit the beaches.

The flat land in the Han river basin, for example, the mountains that mainly border the peninsula on the east side, and the many rocky islands and sandy beaches ensure that the nature of Korea is unique. You won’t find so much variation on such a small surface of the earth anywhere else. Geonggi-do alone, the province in which Seoul is located, offers its visitors numerous nature adventures.

If you like unique Korean nature: Page

Leave a Reply