Nature’s generosity is often likened to the bosom of our mothers. This metaphor is perhaps exemplified the best by Suncheonman National Garden, whose open skies and massive flower fields certainly seem to embrace its visitors all year round. It is a place that gives you joy, even if you are just passing through the gardens.
The act of caring for a garden is not all about the beauty of the flower. A garden also shows you different sceneries each season, help to calm you, and brings light to your body and mind. Even a small candlelight in your room calms your heart, so imagine how much healing you would get in a massive garden managed by the Republic of Korea. Suncheonman National Garden is the first national garden to be designated in Korea.
It is home to more than 500 species of trees and 800,000 flowers in a 920,000m2 area. Its size is such that it is very hard for one to explore the complex in its entirety in a day.
Because of this, it could be a good idea to use the SkyCube, a small unmanned train running between Suncheonman National Garden and the Suncheon Literature Center. Tickets can be purchased at the station’s ticket booth, located across from the National Garden’s Dream Bridge. The trip is a great way to take in the view of the surrounding areas, and once you’re at the Literature Center station it takes only five minutes by foot to reach the Suncheonman Bay Wetland. The first thing one sees at the National Garden is the Lake Garden. It was created in the image of Suncheon by a globally renowned landscape artist, Charles Jencks. The Lake Garden serves as the centerpiece of the National Garden, around which 11 national gardens like the Dutch Garden, Italian Garden, American Garden, Chinese Garden, French Garden, and Japanese Garden are organized around. In the Suncheonman herbarium, which is filled with beautiful flowers and trees, is a traditional Korean medicine experience center with Hanok houses here and there. Around a wide courtyard there's a healing hall, an exhibition hall, a gift hall, a healing cafe and a medical botanical garden.
The Healing Hall has a system that allows visitors to check their body conditions quickly. By filling out a questionnaire, they can figure out their physical well-being. A machine scans the state of the five major internal organs, as well as blood pressure, body components, and stress levels. Based on the results, visitors can learn about their current health status. In-depth analysis and advice on body type-specific food, stress relief, and lifestyle habits are also available. In addition, attending a warm and detailed counseling session will leave you feeling more comfortable and healthier. Other programs include drinking medicinal herbal tea, foot bathing in sparkling water with medicinal herbs, creating incense pouches, and packing prepared herbal medicine. Every program guarantees quality time for the relaxation of the mind.
On hot summer days, one can enjoy a cool foot bath in the valley to beat back the heat and fatigue. Medicinal foot baths using traditional medicinal herbs are also offered at the Healing Hall. Take your place on the wooden porch, dip your feet into the medicinal foot bath, and enjoy the view of the hanok and the scenery for a healing experience. A cool bowl of Omija tea is the ribbon wrapped around this gift. Because of how massive the National Garden is, an opportunity to rest your tired feet with a foot bath is godsend in Suncheonman National Garden. The National Garden also has a wild zoo, in which you can meet European rabbit, seals, guinea pigs, and flamingos. A visit to the zoo is like a childhood dream come true.
If you’re in the area, don’t miss the Suncheonman Bay Wetland as well. This wetland reserve, famous for its remarkable view in fall, maintains the natural ecosystem formed 100 million years ago. Indeed, the view of the expansive mud flat and reed beds forming along the S-shaped stream is a truly impressive one. The view of the birds flying over the reed bed is a view straight out of a movie. If you’re lucky, you can even catch a massive flight of 2,000 sandpipers and plovers, taking off as one. But even without these sights, the view of the reed bed dancing to the wind is a calming sight that one can only have at Suncheonman Bay. It is the greatest solace one can get from nature.
Some facilities in Suncheonman National Garden are closed due to COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 2021, Suncheon Bay Observatory, Ecological Exhibition Hall, Suncheon History Hall, and Nature’s Sound Experience Hall remain closed. Ecological Exhibition Hall and the Suncheon History Hall are expected to re-open after their remodeling. The act of cutting flowers or plants, and collecting insects at Suncheonman National Garden are prohibited. Outside food and entry of pets are also prohibited on the premises.