Most weekends, we stay pretty busy. There’s really no time to relax whenever there is so much to see and do! However, this past weekend we were feeling drained and found ourselves without any travel plans. We thought we would just have a nice lazy Saturday at home, but right around lunchtime we found ourselves already talking about what we should do for the day. We looked at the train schedule and saw that if we hurried, we could catch the next train to Suncheon, the city just north of us.
Suncheon has claimed the titled of the Ecological Capital of Korea. The city recently held the International Garden Expo in 2013 and the Suncheon Bay is a wetlands that contains the largest colony of reeds in Korea. I remember seeing articles and pictures of this beautiful bay online before coming to Korea and putting it on the top of my list of things to see.
We decided to start at the Garden Expo and walk along the river towards the bay. However, there is a monorail car inside the gardens called the Sky Cube that will take you the entire way. Our walk quickly turned into a trek as we started noticing just how far the bay was. After walking for close to three hours, we finally made it to the bay!
The scenery alongside the river!
The Suncheon Bay Park requires an entry fee of 5,000 won (2,500 if you live in Suncheon). We paid and made our way inside. As we casually walked along the boardwalks watching the crabs and mudskippers playing in the reeds, we looked up and saw a mountain ahead of us. We then realized that our journey was not yet finished. We now had to hike up Yongsan Mountain to get to the observatory that overlooks the bay. Though only a twenty minute hike to the top, we were already very tired and sunset was fast approaching.
The Suncheon Bay Park
We booked it up the mountain, praying for a perfect sunset picture of the bay. When we got to the top, we realized we weren’t the only ones with that idea. People crowded the railings of the observatory with their $7,000 dollar camera set ups, while others posed with their cell phone extension poles; a major market in Korea since so many are obsessed with the selfie. We tried our best to find a good spot to take some shots of the sunset, but to no avail. I convinced Ryan to let me get on his shoulders and take a few shots as the sun dipped down behind the mountains. Not exactly the ideal serenity we were looking for, but whatever.
There are many ways to get to the bay. If you aren’t up for a long walk down the river, you can either take bus number 66 or 67 from outside of the train station.
For a more unique experience, try out the Sky Cube at the Garden Expo. If you decide to go this route, you may want to give yourself a whole day so you can explore the gardens before taking to Sky Cube to the bay. The entrance fee to the Expo is 5,000 won and the Sky Cube is 8,000 or 10,000 won ONE WAY. However, you could always take bus 66 or 67 back into town afterwards.