What to Do in Suncheon
There’s actually a fair amount of things to do in Suncheon. Although it can be done in as little as half a day, I’d recommend a full day or a weekend. While I went to both Suncheon and Yeosu on the same weekend, I think I should have given each place a full weekend. I would have been able to see the temple in Yeosu, and the famous bay in Suncheon. Anyways, What to Do in Suncheon!
Oddly the most famous thing in Suncheon and yet it was the thing I didn’t get to do. Pro-tip: Don’t think you can do everything you want with a massive backpack killing your back.
The gardens themselves were actually built in order to relieve the stress on the Bay’s ecosystem. It’s home to over 140 different species of birds and other wildlife. It has some excellent walks and hiking with beautiful wetland views. There is also a museum and observatory!
Suncheon National Gardens
At first I thought this was incredibly overpriced at 7,000won. I’ve never spent more than 5,000won on an entrance fee in Korea. But, I was already there so…In I went. And Wow! It is massive. Like a Disneyland for gardens. It spans across the river. While I went in winter which is likely not the best time to go, it was still incredibly enjoyable.
The World Gardens seemed to rely more on Spring and Summer flowers as hardly any of them had much to look at. But there were a few rose gardens mixed in. On the other side of the river from the World Gardens there was a lot more to see in Winter. Beautiful ponds with huge fish and swans and ducks. Then don’t even get me started on the Azaleas. Like the Camellias, Azaleas can bloom in winter in tropical climates. However, only a few of the 100+ varieties on display were blooming 🙁 But even the masses of purple leafed bushes in varying shades was enough to cause delight!
You wouldn’t think the Korean Gardens would be all that interesting given that I live in Korea and have certainly seen my fair share. But actually these wound up being the highlight. The thing is, most of the “real deal” temples and palaces don’t allow you to actually step inside and touch things. And sometimes they’re swamped with people. I got to actually lie down in one of the traditional resting areas for a half an hour and stare at the sky, surrounded by the gentle sound of a trickling stream and waving grass. It will probably go down in my mind as one of the most peaceful moments of my life. And I felt instantly transported to Korea’s past. I got to experience a little piece of what it might have been like, and that was incredible. And completely worth the entrance price.
Suncheon Drama Set
This should be gimmicky. It’s not real, there are places to rent cheap costumes, and they sell slushies. However, if you go at a time when there are not a lot of people it can be surprisingly immersive.
It feels a bit like a ghost town but you also really do get a sense of what Korea was like in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Because Korea modernized so quickly (and efficiently) it is sometimes very difficult to understand that Korea has suffered incredibly in the last two centuries. It is such a contrast to the bright, happy cramped villages in Busan, Tongyeong, and Yeosu. But it’s also still a lot of fun to see what might have been everyday life then, right alongside Korean people in leopard-print suits and caps.
Things I Didn’t Do
I‘ll be honest, I got most of my ideas from this website. It would have been nice to actually see the Bay (not from afar as I did), as well as the mudflats. There are also a few temples in the area, although at this point I’m a bit picky with which ones I go to. If you are doing both Suncheon and Yeosu in a day, I recommend going to the Hyangiram in Yeosu.
And that’s it for What to Do in Suncheon!
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