Suncheon Bay

South Korea recently celebrated Seollal (설날), aka Korean Lunar New Year, and I actually wound up with a few days away from work! With time of work being not a common occurrence, in keeping with my before-I-leave-Korea resolution, I planned a three-day trip to the peninsula’s southern coast, recruited my friend Dana (Gil Dong was with family in Goheung), and then took a bus bound for Suncheon. Our first day’s mission? Exploring Suncheon Bay.

 

Suncheon Bay (순천만, Suncheonman) ended up blowing both me and Dana away. A wetland area of Korea, I expected it to be like a slightly less spectacular version of Korea’s largest wetlands, Uponeup. However while there were definitely some similarities, Suncheon Bay has a character all of its own.

 

Suncheon Bay train

Suncheon Bay also has this little train you can ride. Quite how I managed to resist hijacking the entire thing, I’ll never know.

 

Situated in the very south of Korea, Suncheon Bay is easy enough to get to – take any bus heading for Suncheon, get off at the main bus terminal, cross the road, head left, turn right at the end of the street, and then you’re at the bus stop (do NOT cross to the bus stop on the other side of the road!). Hop on the number 67 bus, and the journey should be about twenty minutes.

 

Suncheon Bay reeds

My reed obsession continues…Although Dana wasn’t too wowed by this part of Suncheon Bay. I mean hey, he’s from Kansas. It’s practically all reeds.

 

OK, now that you know how to get there, well, what is there to actually see at Suncheon Bay? The answer is simple – nature. And lots of it. Now, I’m not really a nature boy, and despite Korean cities often being a little too similar for my liking, give me an urban area over the countryside any day of the week. Yet, there’s something about the Korean wetlands that makes me just instantly fall in love with them.

 

Suncheon Bay

I kinda wanted to jump into this river and swim, but not a good idea as it’s currently February, and I tend to flail a lot when hurled into water, either voluntarily or by force.

 

The landscape is unlike anything else in Korea, and you feel like you’re in a completely foreign country. Even though Suncheon is the third largest city in Jeollanamdo province (after Gwangju and Yeosu), the city has a small town feel to it, not to mention super friendly people who smile and greet you for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Suncheon Bay’s close proximity to the city is possibly one of the reasons for all the smiles – I mean, wouldn’t you be happy if you lived close to somewhere so beautiful?

 

Suncheon Bay 2013 순천만2013

Look! They wrote 2013 순천만  in the reeds! But the question is…who is “they”? DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNN!

 

The stroll through the reeds at the beginning of our trip to Suncheon Bay made me think that Dana and I were just walking into Uponeup round two, but we kept going and once we walked up an uphill area called Yongsan (용산), we were treated with some breathtaking views of Suncheon Bay and a seemingly never-ending expanse of water stretching out onto the horizon.

 

Suncheon Bay

I also totally didn’t get scared by the fact that we were quite high up. Why? Because there were barriers. You hear that, Suwon Fortress? BARRIERS.

 

Suncheon Bay is Meandering

Look at the S-bend and how the river meanders. See. I paid attention in class – that A in AS Level geography wasn’t for nothing!

 

Suncheon Bay

I could’ve sat and enjoyed this view of Suncheon Bay for hours. Bliss!

 

We could’ve sat and stared at the view forever, but alas our stomachs were grumbling, so after a couple of hours at Suncheon Bay, we headed back into the city and indulged our stomachs with some Korean dalkgalbi before climbing on board an intercity bus heading to Yeosu, determined to slither into the Year of the Snake in style.

 

So there you have it, folks! Now, I want to hear from you! Does Suncheon Bay look like the kind of place you’d love? Have you ever been there before? Did you do anything special for Lunar New Year? Let us know in the comments below, or shout out on Facebook or Twitter.

12 Responses to Suncheon Bay

  1. Scarlett says:

    Ahhh this looks like such a lovely start to the Year of the Snake – so peaceful xx
    Scarlett just posted How To Date A Total Creep This Valentine’s Day…My Profile

    • It was soooooooo peaceful! So relaxing, exactly what I needed!

      • Dee N. says:

        Hi Tom,

        On our trip return to the US from Asia, my husband & I will stop in Seoul for 7D/6N. Suncheonman Eco. Park is our dream trip. We are planning to join Hanatour but recently we read some bad reviews about this company. We are glad to read your article and really love it.

        Our tour also covers some other areas, such as Jeonju, Gwangu, Green Tea Plantation in Boseong, Yeosu…, Should we travel independently? We cannot speak Korean. Do you recommend any tour company?

        Thank you!

        Dee N.

        • Hi Dee,

          Honestly, I don’t think you need a tour company. Not much English is spoken in the areas you’re going to, but you can certainly do it independently, providing that you do a bit of research before hand.

          Make sure you know the names of the places you’ll be going to in Korean. For example, Suncheon Bay in Korean is 순천만 (pronounced as soon-chon-man). Public transport is great in Korea, with buses and trains connecting everywhere very easily.

          7D/6N though, that’s probably too short to do everything you’ve listed – you’ll spend half your time on buses or trains! It may all look close together on a map, but you don’t want to be rushing around too much.

          If you need any more info/advice, just send me an email using the ‘contact me’ form and I’ll try and help as much as I can!

          Tom

  2. Victoria says:

    You’re right, is does look way different from the urban Korea that I know. Can’t wait to explore a little bit more there when I have the chance. Thanks for the article.

    • You’re welcome! South Korea has so much to explore that isn’t really covered by a lot of English-language guidebooks or websites. Definitely more to the country than just Seoul, Busan, Jeju and Seoraksan!

  3. Tanja says:

    I would like to visit it too!
    Can I get there by bus??

    Thank you!

    • You can indeed, Tanja! You’ll need to get to Suncheon by train or bus from another city. I even tell you how to in this post!

      “Situated in the very south of Korea, Suncheon Bay is easy enough to get to – take any bus heading for Suncheon, get off at the main bus terminal, cross the road, head left, turn right at the end of the street, and then you’re at the bus stop (do NOT cross to the bus stop on the other side of the road!). Hop on the number 67 bus, and the journey should be about twenty minutes.”

      Hope that helps! :)

  4. Hui Ee says:

    Hi Tom!! I am planning a trip to Suncheon Bay this Nov but I am really unfamiliar with the place.. is it easy to access around the area? i noted your directions to suncheon bay but how about to the other attractions in suncheon? thank you!!

    • There aren’t really many attractions in Suncheon – only Suncheon Bay really. However, Yeosu is just 20-30 minutes away on the bus, and there’s a lot more to do there! If you search my posts, you should find one called ‘Things To Do In Yeosu’, and another about Geumodo, an island that can be accessed from Yeosu’s ferry terminal. Yeosu is one of my favourite places in Korea!

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