Suncheon is one of the most well-preserved cities in Korea in both aspects of nature and culture. To wholly embrace the beauty of Suncheon, sign up for the Suncheon City Tour. Visitors to Suncheon can enjoy a tour around the city in a bus that runs in three different courses: the Seonamsa Temple Course, Songgwangsa Temple Course, and City Circulation Course. Taking the city tour bus is especially convenient for backpackers as the bus stops by all the major attractions of Suncheon.
Songgwangsa Temple Course and Seonamsa Temple Course both include Suncheon’s representative nature attractions like Suncheonman Bay National Garden, Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve, and Naganeupseong Folk Village. On the other hand, the City Circulation Course takes passengers around notable city attractions such as drama filming sites and Utjang Market. Unlike the temple course buses, the city circulation bus is scheduled to travel around the city frequently enough for passengers to freely get on and off the bus. In this article, we take a closer look at the attractions included in the Seonamsa Temple Course one by one.
Suncheon City Tour departs from Suncheon Station, accessible from Seoul by KTX. You can find Tourist Information Centers both inside and outside the station, allowing even first timers to Suncheon to get access to necessary information related to Suncheon City Tour. Even those who are not interested in the city tour can make inquiries and acquire Suncheon guidebooks, bus schedules, tour maps, and even store luggage at these information centers. If you just arrived at Suncheon Station without any plans at hand, head straight to one of the Tourist Information Centers at Suncheon Station.
[Suncheon City Tour – Seonamsa Temple Course]
The first stop after departing from Suncheon Station is Seonamsa Temple. On the way uphill to the temple, you will pass by Seungseongyo Bridge, praised as the most beautiful bridge in Korea. Once you reach the temple, take a sip of refreshing water from the well before looking around the temple grounds. Seonamsa Temple is a charming and beautiful monastery which has earned the nickname “an arboretum created by nature” for its surrounding lush forest and colorful flowers. The buildings within the temple withhold the ancient beauty of the past up to this day as they remain untouched, except for minor repairs.
On your way down from Seonamsa Temple, stop by the Wild Tea House to participate in a tea ceremony experience program. The tea ceremony experience program is a perfect way for you to learn basic etiquette and customs of Korea’s darye, or tea ceremony, through demonstration and experience. Darye is an important part of Korea’s culture as Koreans have dedicated their time to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea since ages past. Take this opportunity to cleanse your body and mind while learning Koreans’ respect for tea.
First, boiled water is poured into a bowl and left to cool down until it reaches just the right temperature for brewing tea leaves. Once the water is warm, it is then poured into a teapot together with the leaves for brewing. Each brewing process and teaware, including the special tool used to scoop tea leaves, holds a special meaning and charm of its own. Tea is often served with dasik, traditional tea desserts that bring out the deep flavors of the tea.
The second destination of the Seonamsa Temple course is Naganeupseong Folk Village. This village is a remnant of the past, preserving its appearance since the Joseon Dynasty. Despite the years that have passed, the strong stone walls surrounding the area have withstood the test of time to protect this traditional village, even against battles of war. The village is lived-in even as of today, with some places operating as guesthouses for tourists.
One of the must-visit attractions in Suncheon is none other than the botanical paradise, Suncheonman Bay National Garden. Visit Suncheonman Bay National Garden and it will greet you with the gift of nature any time of the year, from lovely hydrangeas and vibrant sunflowers in summer to colorful leaves and lush silver grass in fall. The garden also features a set of themed gardens dedicated to flora from different countries and serves as a perfect outing spot for couples, families, and friends.
If the garden is too vast to tour on foot, you can enjoy the garden’s major attractions on a trolley. The trolley is an electric vehicle, serving as an environment-friendly mean of transportation within the garden. Appreciate the view and the gentle wind against your cheeks as you sit back and enjoy your ride in the trolley.
Once you have finished looking around Suncheonman Bay National Garden, continue your city tour at Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve. If you by any chance miss the city tour bus, there’s no need to worry. Other transportation options are available from the national garden to the wetland reserve, such as the monorail Sky Cube and the city bus.
Suncheonman Bay National Garden and Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve are only 5-km apart, but the two have a completely different look. In contrast to Suncheonman Bay National Garden’s attention-grabbing arrangement of floral gardens, Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve’s wide-open view is simply breathtaking for its expansive wetland, field of reeds, and the wild animals inhibiting the area. Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve is a prominent landmark of Suncheon, the city designated as a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO. It’s not a stretch to say you haven’t seen Suncheon without a visit to the Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve.
If you are in need of a refreshing drink after looking around the spacious Suncheonman Bay, you’re in luck. Head to Unknown Coffee Service, a café located within a walking distance from Suncheonman Bay National Garden. Take a seat near the windows to let the sunlight coming through wash your fatigue away. Recommended menus at this café are the lemonade and apple cinnamon crumble. Unknown Coffee Service provides updates on seasonal menus on their Instagram.
For those who’d like to linger at bit longer in Suncheon after the city tour, we recommend you to stop by Waon Beach. Get there just before dark and you’ll get a chance to see a gorgeous sunset. This sunset spot used to be popular only among local residents of Suncheon, but it gained widespread attention from domestic travelers after it went viral on social media. It is especially popular as a dating spot for couples thanks to the crimson-lit sky and shimmering golden waters that set a tranquil yet romantic atmosphere. The sunset at this beach was also recognized as one of the top 20 ocean-view spots in Korea’s South Coast.
Youth Store is a place full of Suncheon’s youthful energy. This space served as a granary for 80 years before it was renovated into a market place for young entrepreneurs. The first floor consists of restaurants and cafés while the second floor mostly houses arts & craft shops where visitors can shop and personally experience diverse handicraft activities, such as ceramics and paper craft.
Youth Store is also a perfect place to stop by for a quick look around before you leave the city as it is located only 10 minutes away from Suncheon Station. Recharge your energy with youthful vibes at Youth Store to get you back on your feet after your busy day of sightseeing!
* This column was last updated in August 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.