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Suncheon; The Best Korean City You've Never Heard Of

I'm going to be living in Suncheon, Republic of Korea for at least eight more months as of this blog posts first publication. In a Wanderlust With With Will first, I'm going to continue to update this post with every adventure I go on in Korea's ecological capital.

Jogyesan Provincial Park October 20th, 2018

For a ₩2,640 ($2.50) one-way bus commute and a ₩2,000 entrance fee, an adventure seeker can take a two hour trip north-west of downtown Suncheon into the Jogyesan Mountains to hike through Jogyesan Provincial Park. A taxi can take roughly 30 minutes but costs ₩22,000 ($20). Pick your poison.

This popular local tourist attraction contains several Buddhist temples. Most famously the largest Buddhist temple named Seonamsa Temple.

Seonamsa Temple was believed to have been originally built in 861. However, during the Japanese Invasion from 1592-1598, the original temple was burned down (as was much of Korea). The temple was reconstructed after the Japanese occupation and construction has been underway since 1992 to return the temple to its 11th century configuration.

While there are crowds at the site that range from devoted Buddhists making a trip to pray to curious tourists, the site remains peaceful and it's beauty can't be properly put into words. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

The Seonamsa Temple Entrance. Immediately you can get a feel for the Chinese influence as the writing is not Hangul, but Mandarin, Chinese.
The main temple's Buddha statue
A side temple in the Seonamsa Temple compound

When deciding to go on an adventure to Jogyesan Provincial Park, please be fully aware that this is an adventure that will take up your day (if you take the public bus...definitively all day). The best way to experience the park is to not have anything else planned that day and take your time. Take in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains from the high points of the other temples in the park and be open to seeing everything. Nothing in the park isn't worth seeing.

Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve October 27th, 2018

The public bus ride from downtown Suncheon to the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve costs just ₩2,640 ($2.50) each way. The commute is slightly shorter than to Jogyesan Provincial Park. However, I'm beginning to learn that with how long the commute on the bus is, if you're in a group of two to four people. It is much more worth your time to take a taxi. A taxi ride from Suncheon to the SBWR will cost you just ₩11,700 ($10.50). Split a couple ways, and you're not spending much more than the bus and you're saving A LOT of time.

The taxi ride is just a measly 15-20 minutes. The bus ride is a 1:30 trek with a bus line switch.

Admission to the Wetlands Reserve is just ₩8,000 ($7.25). Whether you take a taxi, or you want the full adventure and take the bus, a trip to the SBWR isn't going to force you to reach very deep into your pocketbook.

It's the perfect day trip for the budget traveler. It's even more perfect for the traveler who wants to see the mind blowing beauty that is the Republic of Korea. Whether you believe you're a nature enthusiast or not, Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve is guaranteed to reignite your love of nature.

The Wetlands Reserve requires a lot of walking so make sure you're in the walking mindset and prepared with a good pair of (preferably) hiking boots. Comfortable sneakers will do too but there is a really neat mountain hike where you get the most incredible views of the wetlands and Suncheon Bay.

The view of the wetland from Yongsan Observatory atop Mt. Yongsan in the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve

When arriving at the main entrance, please purchase your entrance ticket at the ticket counter. After receiving your ticket, make sure to slide on over to the left of the ticket booth to a small house building to grab an English map and information guide to the SBWR.

Go inside the Wetlands Reserve and be sure to follow the crowds as they head to see the largest colony of reeds in Korea. Be sure to make a quick pit stop at the bathrooms before embarking to the boardwalks through the reeds. It's a decent bit of walking that will take approximately three hours.

Make sure to take your time and take in the magnificent views! I'd highly recommend even walking slowly around the edges of the boardwalks and allow yourself an opportunity to see the tiny crabs and mudskippers crawling around in the mud.

With its access by public transportation and or taxi, the inexpensive admission fee and the incredible beauty of Suncheon Bay Wetlands Reserve, makes it a must for all visitors to Suncheon.

The view of the wetland from Yongsan Observatory atop Mt. Yongsan in the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve

Suncheon National Garden May 4th, 2018

Springtime weather finally hit Suncheon so it was naturally time to check out its famous National Garden.

The 1.12 square kilometer garden houses 505 species of trees and 113 species of flowers.

Getting there is quite simple as it's located on the 100 and 101 bus routes (depending on which direction you're going). As is standard when riding the city busses in Suncheon, it only will cost you ₩1,350 to get there.

The price of admission is just ₩8,000. It is also combined with the Suncheon Bay Wetlands so a ticket to into one gets you entrance into the other, if I understand correctly. Because of this I'd highly recommend doing both in the same day.

After all, they are connected by a monorail!

Make sure you're prepared for lots of walking and and wearing your most comfortable shoes.

The Suncheon National Gardens isn't uniquely Korean. You can certainly go anywhere around the world to see such picturesque plant life. That being said, if you're in Suncheon in the spring, summer or fall, Suncheon National Gardens is worth a visit on a beautiful day. Just expect there to be sizable crowds.

Naganeupseong Folk Village May 6th, 2018

Right off the bat I want to be very clear that Naganeupseon Folk Village is one of the coolest things I have done so far in Korea.

The famous village is located about an hour outside Suncheon on the 63 city bus. Entrance into the village is just ₩3,000. The trip to the village will take up a good portion of your day so be prepared for a day trip with your most comfortable walking shoes.

Traditional Jeollanam-do cuisine is available near the Folk Village in traditional restaurants. The owners fo the restaurants didn't seem to be frequented by foreigners as they seemed to be amused when we arrived.

The Folk Village is a fortress from the Joseon-era (1392-1897). It still houses about 100 families to this day that work to entertain tourists and keep the fortress in good condition.

When visiting the Folk Village you can stroll along the dirt paths around the ancient mud huts taking in the informational displays. You even walk up the steps of the gates and walk along the wall. Doing so will give you the best views of the village.


Upcoming Adventures: (No particular order)

Sangwangsa Temple

Suncheon Open Film Set

Suncheon Japanese Castle

Jeonju Hanok Village

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