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Suncheon Bay sings songs of nature

At Suncheon Bay, a traveler might feel overwhelmed and dwarfed by the magnificence of nature. Created over thousands of years, Suncheon Bay in South Jeolla Province boasts endless tidelands and massive reed fields where rare birds and plants find homes.

In 2006 it became the first coastal estuary in Korea to be put on the Ramsar List, an international convention for wetland protection, and is globally recognized for its good ecological preservation.
Suncheon Bay from the Yongsan Observatory. (Suncheon City/KTO)
Suncheon Bay from the Yongsan Observatory. (Suncheon City/KTO)

Before visiting the bay, you should check out Suncheon Bay Ecological Park at the mouth of the bay where you can briefly study about migratory birds, the bay’s ecology and wetland plants through various exhibits and visual aids.

After crossing the Mujin Bridge, you can start exploring the reed field from wooden decks. When the tide ebbs, you can see little crabs busily moving here and there on the mud flat.

To take in a panoramic view of the reed field, you should climb up to the Yongsan Observatory, which is about 1 kilometer away from the end of the reed field.

Yongsan, or Mount Yong, is a small mountain covered with pine trees and bamboo. At the observatory, you will see many photographers waiting to take a picture of Suncheon Bay’s S-shaped stream glimmering in the sunset.

Another way to look around the reed field is to take a “reed train” which runs back and forth on the road between the reed field and the swamp park.

Recently, a walking trail has been established along the Suncheon Bay. The 16-kilometer Suncheon Bay Reed Road, one of the 11 walking courses around the Suncheon coast, starts from Waon Village and ends at the mouth of the bay via Yongsan Observatory.

Another recommended site is Suncheon Drama Film Set, a 20-minute drive from Suncheon Bay. Popular TV dramas including “Love & Ambition” and “East of Eden” were filmed here. The set showcases old Seoul streets from the 1970s and 1980s. You will be able to see more than 200 residential houses and commercial buildings. The streets of Suncheon and a coal-mining town in the 1960s have been recreated as well. A city tour bus, running from Suncheon Station at 9:50 a.m., will show you around Suncheon Bay, the film set, Naganeupseong Folk Village, Songgwang Temple and Seonam Temple. The tour bus is very popular so you need to make reservations.

The Naganeupseong Folk Village shows well preserved thatch-roofed houses of the Joseon Dynasty. More than 100 households live there, living a traditional Korean lifestyle. For more information, call (061) 749-3107.

(Source: Korea Tourism Organization)

How to get there:

― By car: Take the Honam Expressway and head to Seosuncheon IC. Follow the direction of Suncheon City Hall, Suncheon Bay and make left in the direction of Boseong, Beolgyo and take the No.21 national road. Make another left to Suncheon Bay.

Related Websites:

- tour.suncheon.go.kr

- www.suncheonbay.go.kr

- scdrama.sc.go.kr

- www.nagan.or.kr

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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