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Wonders of nature: Incredible Biodiversity at Suncheonman Bay!
Wonders of nature: Incredible Biodiversity at Suncheonman Bay!
Wonders of nature: Incredible Biodiversity at Suncheonman Bay!Suncheon is the ecological capital of Korea. It represents Korea on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and shares information on environmental conservation with the international community. Suncheonman Bay’s vast tidal flats and reed fields offer not only a beautiful landscape, but also incredible biodiversity. Other than the bay, Suncheon has many tourist attractions, including Seonamsa Temple, which is over 1000 years old, and Naganeupseong Folk Village, which has thatched roofs and dates back to the Joseon dynasty, but is still inhabited. Songgwangsa Temple, one of the Korea’s three major temples, is also located in Suncheon, as well as Suncheon Drama Film Set, where many popular TV dramas and films have been shot. Visit the Suncheon area to experience untouched beauty and get a taste of Korea’s history.

  Suncheonman Bay
Suncheonman Bay
Suncheon, in Korean, means to follow the heavenly principles, and as the name suggests, Suncheonman Bay has only even been subject to the laws of nature. The bay’s endless tidelands and extensive reed fields reveal some of the wonders of nature. The 40km-long wetland was the first coastal estuary in Korea to be put on the Ramsar List (a convention that protects wetlands) in 2006 and is recognized worldwide for its high standards of ecological preservation. Vast fields of reeds (a combined surface area of 210 hectares) make for a spectacular and mysterious landscape.

The reed field is also important from an environmental perspective. The reeds are extremely effective in purifying water, and so the water in these wetlands has stayed clean, pleasant smelling, and without problems such as red tides, for the last three decades. Walking paths have been placed through these golden fields of reeds, so visitors can take a stroll and observe the abundant wildlife. When the tide comes in, visitors can take boat rides out into the bay. At the Suncheonman Bay Eco-Observatory, visitors can learn how the bay was created and see a variety of rare birds.

☞ For details on Suncheonman Bay Eco-Observatory, Click here.
☞ Suncheonman Bay Homepage (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Italian)
☞ Ramsar Homepage (English, French, Spanish)

A must-visit place: Yongsan Observatory
 
You cannot even say that you have been to Suncheon without visiting the
Yongsan observatory.The observatory is the perfect spot to observe the S-shaped waterway of Suncheonman Bay and the reed fields that surround it. Chilmyeoncho plants, whose color changes from green to red according to the salinity of the water, are also visible from here. All year round, the observatory reveals the wonders of the nature of Suncheonman Bay: golden fields of reeds in autumn and more than 200 species of migratory birds in winter. A one-hour walking course from Suncheonman Bay Ecological Park to Yongsan Observatory brings you through the fields of reeds to the mountain.
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  Some of the Best Nearby Tourist Attractions
no.1Naganeupseong Folk Village: Straw-roofed houses from the Joseon dynasty
Naganeupseong Folk Village: Straw-roofed houses from the Joseon dynasty
In Naganeupseong Folk Village, a fortress, a municipal office, Gaeksa (accommodation facilities for civil servants), and the thatch-roofed houses of the Joseon Dynasty are very well preserved. Within the village, more than 280 people still live in around 100 of the houses, making the village the only living folk village in Korea. Here, visitors can observe the life styles indigenous to the south provincial area of the Joseon Dynasty. You can also make traditional equipment by using wood and straw in the ten “experience houses”. If you walk along the 1,410 meter-long fortress wall, you will enjoy picturesque views of the whole town.
  * Admission Fees: Adults 2,000 won, 13-19 years old 1,500
won, 7-12 years old 1,000 won

* Opening Hours: December - January 09:00~17:00,
February - April / November 09:00-18:00, May - October
08:30~18:30

☞ For more details on Naganeupseong Folk Village, Click here.
☞ Naganeupseong Folk Village Homepage (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
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no.2Seonamsa Temple: More than 1000 years old
. Seonamsa Temple: more than 1000 years old
Seonamsa Temple, which is about 1,200 years old, is famous for its beautiful surrounding forests and Seungseongyo Bridge, which is shaped like a rainbow. The temple buildings were built in three separate areas in order to preserve the natural surroundings. To reach the temple, visitors walk through a forest. In spring, white ume blossoms (flowers of Japanese apricot trees) cover the surroundings, making for picturesque scenery. Visitors can also see a rare pine tree that has grown askew for more than 200 years and there is a wild green tea field here.

Wild green teas are much more delicious than cultivated green teas because the wild teas’ roots, which are three times longer than those of the cultivated teas’, absorb water from deep in the ground. Visitors can learn about the tea ceremony in a Hanok, Korean traditional house. A wide selection of teas grown by 174 of Suncheon’s farmers is sold here. Visitors can also sample the teas.
☞ For details on Seonamsa Temple, Click here.
☞ Related Column: Seonamsa Temple
☞ Seonamsa Temple Homepage (Korean)
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no.3Songgwangsa Temple: One of the three major temples of Korea
Songgwangsa Temple: one of the three major temples of Korea
The 800-year old Songgwangsa Temple is one of the three major temples of Korea.
The temple has produced a total of 16 Guksa (high-ranking monks who were qualified to become the nation’s mentors). Here, disciples, even foreign ones, can learn about the virtues pursued by Korea’s Buddhism. Visitors can relax in the calm atmosphere created by the devout monks. The temple’s yard in front of Daeungjeon, the main building, is large because it does not contain a pagoda. Visitors can see a wall painting, which shows Buddha’s achievements and teachings.

The entrance to the temple is over a river, and visitors must cross a charming bridge, which is covered by a pavilion. The columns of the pavilion are reflected in the water, and this tranquil scene is in perfect harmony with area’s natural surroundings. Songgwangsa Temple offers a one-night-two-day temple stay program, where visitors sleep at the temple and take part in Buddhist ceremonies. Anyone who would like to learn about and experience Korean Buddhist culture firsthand can participate in the program. Reservations are required.
* Temple Stay: 16:00 on Saturdays - 12:00 on Sundays (Program not available in July and August)
* Fee: 40,000 won
* Inquiries: +82-61-755-0107~9
☞ For details on Songgwangsa Temple, click here.
☞ Songgwangsa Temple Homepage (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
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no.4Suncheon Drama Film Set: A glimpse into the Korea of the past
Suncheon Drama Film Set: a glimpse into the Korea of the past
Suncheon Drama Film Set is a 20-minute drive away from Suncheonman Bay. Popular TV dramas and movies such as Love & Ambition, East of Eden, and Sunny were filmed here. The film set (39,600㎡ in size) shows different eras of Korean history, from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Visitors can get a glimpse into the Korea of the past from more than 200 residential houses and commercial buildings. The streets of Suncheon and a coal-mining town in the 1960s have been perfectly recreated. Visitors also can see how the streets of Seoul looked in the 1980s. Daldongne (Seoul’s slum towns on the hill sides of Seoul from the 1970s) have been set up on a hillside inside the film set. From the top of the hill, visitors can see the buildings of the film set and Suncheon’s real apartment buildings at the same time.
* Admission Fees: Adults 3000 won, 13-19 years old 2000 won, 7-12 years old 1000 won
* Open: 09:00-18:00 (No closings all year around)
☞ Click here to learn more about Suncheon Drama Film Set
☞ Suncheon Drama Film Set Homepage (Korean)
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  Travelers’ Tips!
 
What to eat
What to eat

Jeollanam-do, where Suncheon is located, is famous for making the most delicious food in Korea. Visitors can enjoy the traditional Korean Hanjeongsik (full course meal), which consists of rice, soup, and a wide variety of side dishes such as seasoned wild greens (Sannamul Muchim), seafood, grilled fish (Saengseon-gui), and boiled pork (Samgyeopsal suyuk).

Recommended Restaurants:
- Gilsang Sikdang (길상식당) : +82-61-755-2173
- Dasimjeongga (다심정가) : +82-61-744-5009

Accommodation
- Suncheon Royal Tourist Hotel: +82-61-741-7000
- City Tourist Hotel: +82-61-753-4000
Transportation
- Seoul -> Suncheon
* From Yongsan Train Station, take the Suncheon bound train (6:50am - 10:50pm / Takes about 5 hours / Fares: Adults 23,500 won~40,000 won)
* From Gimpo airport, take a flight to Yeosu airport (Takes about 1hr), then take an airport bus bound for Suncheon Train Station (Takes about 40mins.)
Suncheon City Tour
We recommend that travelers take the city tour bus in order to visit Suncheonman Bay and its nearby tourist attractions. The tour departs from the tourist information center in front of Suncheon Train Station at 09:50 and returns at 17:00. The tour route varies on a daily basis. Although an English-speaking tour guide is not available, this is still a convenient way of reaching all the main destinations in Suncheon.
- Reservations are required: ☏ +82-61-749-3107
- General Tour Route: Drama film Set→Seonamsa Temple (or Songgwangsa Temple)→ Naganeupseong Folk Village →Suncheonman Bay→Suncheon Train Station
- Suncheon City Hall Homepage (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, French)
- Korea Travel Phone: +82-61-1330 (English, Japanese, Chinese)
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Date 07/07/2009



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