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International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013 Preview

International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013 Preview

International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013 (Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013) is the first international environment and ecology event to be held in Korea. The expo begins its six-month run on April 20, 2013 at its venue of Suncheon Bay in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do Province. The expo’s theme is “Suncheon Bay, Garden of the Earth,” and it features 82 gardens from 23 countries at its main venues of the International Wetland Center and Arboretum Zone. Dongcheon Stream* is the scenic backdrop for the performance stage, which will host daily cultural events.

The expo is expected to draw a large number of tourists to its 11 world gardens and 60 participatory gardens, which were created by artists from Korea and abroad, businesses, and cities. Theme gardens will also highlight the significance of the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo.

A garden is a place where people can relax and interact with nature. Thus, the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo is an international event befitting the 21st century ideals in pursuit of the coexistence of humans and nature.

Expo admission tickets give access to all gardens and facilities inside the venue. Exploring the expo site in its entirety requires more than one day. To ensure ample time to visit other tourist sites in Suncheon, plan a three-day, two-night trip including travel time. Visitors that are short on time should take a map of the expo venue and plan which attractions are a priority during the visit.
All visitors that are ready to take a tour of the expo should be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. The spring sun can be strong in Korea, so don’t forget to bring sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses.

* Dongcheon Stream: The stream runs through the heart of Suncheon and flows into Suncheon Bay.

Learn More About the Expo!

Kkuru and Kkumi Mascots

The international garden expo’s mascot is the hooded crane, also known as Natural Monument No. 228 and a major migratory bird of Suncheon Bay. The names Kkuru and Kkumi were given based on the calls of the hooded crane. The hooded crane has long been associated with longevity, fulfillment, luck, and love in Korea.


The official logo of the international garden expo is ECOGEO, which combines the words “ecosystem” and “geo (earth).” The logo was designed to express the expo’s promotion of coexistence between humans and nature and concern for the future of the earth.

Suncheonman (Suncheon Bay)

Suncheonman (Suncheon Bay) is a coastal wetland formed at the mouth of a river in the city of Suncheon. It is one of the world’s five major coastal wetlands. The bay features 22.60 million square meters of mudflats and 5.4 million square meters of reed fields. It offers a habitat for a variety of hydrophytes and amphibians. The wetland’s environment draws about 235 species of migratory birds every year. A repository of a diverse range of biological species, Suncheon Bay is ecologically valuable. As such, it was registered under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2006 for international protection. The bay area is by itself a garden that is a gift of nature, making it the perfect backdrop for the garden expo.

* What is the Ramsar Convention?
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands. The full name of the convention is the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat. The convention was signed by 18 countries in the city of Ramsar in Iran in 1971. Today, 162 countries adhere to the convention.

Suncheonman Bay Ecological Park

History of International Garden Expos

International garden expos originated in Europe about 150 years ago as a way of showcasing garden designs from around the world. The expo is an international event organized under the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) based in the Netherlands. Garden expos are classified into four categories based on scale and content: A1, B1, A2, or B2. The expo held in Suncheon is classified as an A1 event. It is significant in terms of its scale and as the first garden expo held in Korea certified by the AIPH. 
In contrast to other expo venues that are dismantled after the event ends, the garden expo venue will continue to be used as a rest and recreation area for citizens. Over time, the site will become more valuable as the trees and flowers grow more abundant.
The first garden expo was the Great Spring Show, which was held in Kensington, Greater London, U.K.

* World-Renowned International Garden Expos
  • Chelsea Flower Show (annual)
    - Flower show originated from the Great Spring Show
  • International Garden Festival of Chaumont sur Loire (annual)
    - First organized in 1992 and features unique garden designs every year
  • Bundesgartenschau in Munchen (1983, 2005)
    - Organized on neglected land and a closed airfield
  • International Garden and Greenery Exposition Osaka, Japan (1990)
    - Gave life to a garbage landfill
  • Stuttgart Garden Show (1993)
    - Linked nine parks into one and rejuvenated the city’s green landscape

Take a Virtual Tour of the Expo Venue!

Click to enlarge the map

Main Gates

The main gate is the first point of contact for each visitor, and is an important element of a visitor’s first impression of the venue. The Suncheon Bay International Garden Expo 2013 strives to incorporate elements of nature into its gates in order to highlight nature throughout the venue from the moment visitors enter until the time that they leave. There are three gates at the venue: the West Gate of Light, the East Gate of Earth, and the South Gate of Dreams.
The West Gate of Light is in the form of a sunken plaza that draws on natural light. It was designed to attract the interest of visitors so they enter the venue full of anticipation and curiosity. The East Gate of the Earth is shaped like a stony mountain. It was designed to deliver healthy and strong natural energy to visitors. The South Gate of Dreams is connected with the Bridge of Dreams over Dongcheon Stream. It conveys the idea of “The meeting of humans and nature.”

Arboretum Zone

The Arboretum Zone features the Korean Traditional Garden, Tree Grounds, and Royal Azalea Garden. The Korean Traditional Garden, in particular, reflects the time-honored garden culture of Korea. It uses Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and Soswaewon Garden in Damyang as motifs.
The Royal Azalea Garden features various trees that could only be seen in illustrated flora books and azalea trees grown locally in Suncheon. The Cypress Plantation Forest is great for enjoying a slow, meditative walk, and the Woody Mountaintop View offers a stunning view of the entire venue and Dongcheon Stream.

Wetland Center Zone

The Suncheon Bay International Wetland Center is a place where visitors can learn more about and experience international coastal wetland Suncheon Bay and the Suncheon Bay International Garden Expo. The center includes the Green Theater, Eco City Hall, Eco Experience Hall, Wildlife Conservation Park, and Waterbirds’ Playground.

The center also houses the Suncheon Bay WWT Wetland and ECOGEO Greenhouse. The Wild Fowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is an international conservation organization dedicated to saving wetlands and wild birds. The WWT Wetland was built in consultation with this organization and features a variety of water plants and fowls. The ECOGEO Greenhouse is home to more than 250 species of plants.

World Garden Zone

The World Garden Zone is the focal point of the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo.Garden designers and installation artists from around the world took part in creating this unique garden. This zone is likely to be the most popular attraction for local and international media and tourists.

With about 98 percent of the construction completed as of the end of March, the World Garden Zone features gardens of 11 countries overseas, including Germany, the Netherlands, France, and China. The World Garden Zone also features 60 or so participatory gardens created by cities, businesses, and artists from Korea and abroad took part, and 11 theme gardens highlighting the significance of the Suncheon Bay Garden Expo. The participatory gardens were built by various groups or individuals with unique ideas. They are divided into indoor (26) and outdoor (34) spaces. The theme gardens include the hooded crane garden that highlights the symbol of the expo, the riverside open-air stage, wild greens garden, and Oriental Herbs Experience Center.

Other attractions

Additional must-see attractions are Dongcheon Stream running between the arboretum and the World Garden, as well as the Bridge of Dreams. The Bridge of Dreams is made out of recycled containers. Inside the bridge are about 140,000 paintings and written messages from children around the world. The bridge, which stands above Dongcheon Stream, conveys the spatial message of the garden, which dreams of coexistence between humans and nature.

In addition to various facilities for the convenience of visitors, the expo also offers a market selling agricultural and specialty products of Suncheon, and a market selling landscape and gardening products at various points around the venue. Convenience facilities include three restaurants serving regional food of Jeollanam-do Province, two cafes, five fast food restaurants, one regular restaurant, and 11 convenience stores. Other on-site facilities include a parking lot, emergency medical center, and designated rest zones.

Tip. Everything Was Designed With an Eco-friendly Mindset!

Trees in crisis replanted along gardens and walking trails
Trees that were left neglected or at the risk of being cleared away were moved to the expo site to be planted in gardens and along walking trails. The trees are experiencing recovery in their new environment thanks to the supply of good nutrients.

Take a look at the stones!
Stones found around Suncheon and at the expo construction site were used to accent the venue. They are a great material for designing the venue in style.

From earthworms, an eco-friendly manure
Eco-friendly compost is made by mixing microbes obtained from the 500 square meters land of the expo venue and the feces and urine of earthworm. It is used to nourish the trees and flowers at the expo.

Bridge of Dreams’ recycled containers
Made of recycled containers, the Bridge of Dreams not only serves as a bridge across Dongcheon Stream but also as a rest area to escaping from the sun or rain. This structure is a great reminder of the value of recycling.

More info

☞ Venue:
Suncheon Bay area, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
(Address: Pungdeok-dong 339-2, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do Province)
☞ Festival period:
April 20, 2013 - October 20, 2013
☞ Admission fees
Admission fees
  Adult Youth Children Notes
Normal ticket 16,000 won 12,000 won 8,000 won Valid for one day
Night-time pass 8,000 won 6,000 won 4,000 won June-August (17:00-21:00)
Two-day pass 24,000 won 18,000 won 12,000 won Valid for two consecutive days
Group ticket 13,000 won 10,000 won 6,000 won For groups of 10 persons or more
※ The above admission fees are base prices; discounts apply if tickets are purchased in advance.
Purchase Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 tickets
Purchase Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 tickets (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Official site: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Tel:
+82-1577-2013 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Korea Travel Hotline:
+82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013
International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013
☞ Related column:
Eco City Suncheon – a Michelin Green Guide top pick
☞ Related news:
Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013

Photo courtesy of Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 Organizing Committee
(Suncheonman (Suncheon Bay) photo by KTO)

Date 04/09/2013

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