Welcome to the Garden of the Earth

By Korea Herald

Site of Garden Expo, Suncheon offers spectacular views and eco-friendly travel

  • Published : Apr 12, 2013 - 21:29
  • Updated : Apr 12, 2013 - 21:29

SUNCHEON, South Jeolla Province ― As one of the cleanest cities in country, Suncheon in South Jeolla Province provides visitors with countless opportunities to experience nature at its finest.

Suncheon strives to be green, and has Korea’s lowest emissions of greenhouse gases. It also won the right to host the 2013 international garden exposition organized by the International Association of Horticultural Producers.

The 2013 Suncheon Garden Expo Korea, the first of its kind to be held in Korea, will not only focus on displaying beautiful gardens and botanicals, but will stand as an example of green development such as the use of solar energy, sustainable garden development and electronic monorail transportation. The six-month garden exposition event will open its doors on April 20, with the expo site stretching to the city’s iconic natural wetland, Suncheon Bay. 
A computer-generated image of Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013, to begin April 20. (International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013)

The site has been divided into three sections: the main expo site, the International Wetland Center and the Arboretum. It will feature gardens modeled in the traditional styles of 10 countries including traditional temple structures of Korea and China; the iconic windmills of the Netherlands; as well as around 60 themed gardens such as a flower garden, world garden, water and forest garden, an oriental medicinal herb garden, and a play garden.

Connecting the main site to the second section of the expo, the International Wetland Center, is the thoughtful and cleverly designed scenic “Bridge of Dreams,” which is a two-lane freight bridge that has been decorated with around 160,000 colored tiles that were individually created by children from all over the world.

Across the bridge, the International Wetland Center features an animal and plant exhibition hall, an ecology learning hall, a wetland experience hall as well as an arboretum. The wetland center is located underground in an environmentally sound building, minimizing the negative effects on the protected wetlands, and focuses on sustainability and ecological education.

The final section of the garden expo is the arboretum, which features a wide variety of garden experiences including a Korean garden, a vibrantly colorful and fragrant royal azalea garden and the Garden Trees Experience Center, where visitors can see various garden plants used in other countries. The main purpose of this space is to allow for educational and hands-on experiences to help visitors gain a better understanding of the value of ecological wetlands.

Along with the Suncheon Garden Expo, a trip to Suncheon would not be complete without a visit to the city’s representative destination, Suncheon Bay. The bay spanning across the entire city is one of Korea’s more picturesque and peaceful wetlands, as well as host to one of the country’s largest populations of about 140 different species of rare migratory birds.

The environmentally friendly and self-operated PRT (personal rapid transport) streetcar can be used to visit Suncheon Bay from the main expo site. Operating along the 4.6-kilometer course between the expo site and Suncheon Bay, the PRT was built using electric power and minimal structures in an attempt to uphold the environmental integrity that Suncheon has come to treasure and maintain.

By Julie Jackson (

The 2013 Suncheon Garden Expo Korea

- April 20-Oct. 20

- One-day pass: 

Adults (ages 19-64): 16,000 won /
Group: 13,000 won

Youth (ages 13-18): 12,000 won /
Group: 10,000 won

Children (ages 4-12): 8,000 won /
Group: 6,000 won