suncheon wetland korea

Suncheon Travel Guide: What To Do & How To Get There

Suncheon, nestled in South Jeolla Province, is a city merely a 2.5-hour drive from Busan. Distinguished as both an agricultural and industrial hub, Suncheon boasts stunning natural landscapes that are a must-see for any nature lover. Thanks to its two iconic destinations – Suncheonman Bay Wetland and the National Garden, the city is called “Ecological City” and “Garden City.” 

From mountains to gardens, temples to folk villages, there’s a lot to explore in Suncheon. In this article, we’ll bring you an ultimate Suncheon travel guide with all the info you need for a fantastic trip. Let’s dive into the wonders of Suncheon together!

How to get to Suncheon from Seoul

There are many ways to get to Suncheon from Seoul. You can take a bus or drive yourself, but both take a long time and a lot of energy, so we don’t recommend it. 

The best way to reach Suncheon from Seoul is absolutely by train. You can start your journey to Suncheon from Seoul Station, where you can find all you need for a comfortable stay before your departure. Seoul Station has stores and cafes where you can snack while waiting for your train. The journey takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The ticket price is about 15 – 46 USD based on the type of seat. You can book a ticket on the Korail website (here).

Tips: Suncheon station has lockers, so if you come earlier than your check-in time, you can use the lockers to keep your belongings and then go explore the attractions around.

What to do in Suncheon

Visit Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve 

Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve - Suncheon travel guide

If you enjoy beautiful scenery and cool wildlife, check out Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve. This is also the most popular attraction in Suncheon. It has wide-open tidelands and tall reeds, perfect for snapping awesome pictures for your Instagram.

Right nearby, you’ll find the Suncheon Bay Reed Field, the largest colony of reeds in Korea. Imagine strolling through fields where the reeds tower over you, swaying in the wind – like watching waves on the sea. It’s really beautiful and gives off the vibe of your favorite K-drama. This bay is also home to over 140 endangered bird species, so you can easily spot some rare black cranes and other birds. 

Suncheon Bay Reed Field
By official website

The best time to go is in the fall when the reeds turn a cool brown, and the weather is just right, cool and crisp. Another highlight is the sunset over Suncheonman Bay from the Yongsan Observatory. After strolling through the reed fields and across a tiny bridge, you’ll arrive at Yongsan Observatory on a small mountain. The hike is simple; you’ll get there in about 20 minutes.

Explore Suncheon Bay National Garden

Suncheon Bay National Garden - Suncheon travel guide

This Garden is a must-visit in Suncheon. It’s an incredibly gorgeous spot and one of the most popular gardens in Korea. Covering 1.12 million square meters, this garden was created to preserve the beauty of Suncheonman Bay. Inside, you’ll find a diverse landscape with over 790,000 trees of 505 species and an impressive array of 3.15 million flowers representing 113 species. Seeing everything in one day is tricky, so we’ll highlight some cool spots for you.

Some of the most popular spots in Suncheon Bay National Garden

The Dream Bridge - Suncheon travel guide
By official website

The Dream Bridge: This is an adorable bridge made with colorful tiles. The outer tiles are unique Hangul blocks, and the inner ones are where kids draw their dreams. You’ll see cool stuff like robots and dreams of becoming a journalist or a doctor. It’s super cute and inspiring!

The Lake Garden (the main area of the East Gate) is like a cool lake showing off Suncheon. Here, you’ll encounter spiral hills representing Bonghwa and Haeryeong and a bridge symbolizing the Dongchun River. The circular hills look like anthills, which are so unique. You can take pictures and climb up to get a good view. They may seem tall, but they’re not hard to climb.

Korean Medicine Experience Center: This classic hanok house features a charming café and old-school games. You can try tossing a ring around a branch or rolling a metal ring with a stick. And don’t miss the foot bath – it’s pretty hot at first, but once your feet get used to it, it’s super relaxing.

Dutch Garden - Suncheon travel guide
By official website

World Garden Zone: In this garden, you’ll discover 11 smaller themed gardens like the Dutch Garden, German Garden, Chinese Garden, and French Garden. Each of these gardens has its unique symbols representing the respective nations. The Dutch Garden is a top favorite, famous for its large windmill and blooming tulips in April. Another cool one is the Chinese Garden, themed after a Chinese story called “The Butterfly Lovers,” similar to Romeo and Juliet in China with characters Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai.

Travel to the past at Suncheon Open Set (순천 오픈세트장)

Suncheon open film set

If you love K-dramas and movies, you’ve got to check out the Suncheon Open Film Location. It was set up in 2006 for filming, featuring around 200 houses spread across three villages. Each village represents different eras from the 1950s to the 1970s. You can explore 1950s Suncheon, a 1960s Seoul village called Bongcheong-dong, and 1970s Seoul. 

You can wander around the film set, hunting for locations where scenes from your favorite shows were shot. Some famous films like East of Eden and King of Bakers Kim Tak-gu and films like A Werewolf Boy and Gangnam Blues have used this location. Plus, if you’re a Running Man fan, you’ll be excited to know that even this popular variety show was filmed here.

Another cool thing is you can rent vintage uniforms (5,000 won ($3.8) for 1 hour) and dress up like a South Korean student, sailor, or soldier from the 1980s. The set is massive, and there are many chances to take excellent pictures, so don’t forget to charge your camera!

Immerse in the culture at Nagan Eupseong Folk Village

Nagan Eupseong Folk Village - Suncheon travel guide

This fortress village has traditional houses that can take you back to the Joseon Dynasty 600 years ago. Dating back to the late Goryeo and early Joseon Dynasty, this walled town was strategically constructed to defend against frequent invasions by Japanese pirates. Today, it is an authentic folk village, maintaining its original form. 

The unique thing about the traditional houses here is their roofs. Unlike Hanok with tile-roofed, these houses are capped with straw roofs made from rice straw. These thatched roofs give off a magical vibe, making it an ideal setting for memorable photos. For an even greater view of the straw-roofed houses, make your way to the observatory point at the village’s end, near the South Gate.

During your visit, you can dive into the culture of the Joseon area with free activities run by locals. Experience a traditional wedding, witness a funeral ceremony, or try playing traditional instruments. It’s a hands-on journey into the past!

Hang out at Munhwauigeori ( 문화의거리, Cultural street )

Munhwauigeori - Suncheon travel guide
By Instagram of ukong_s

Situated in the city’s heart, this area is often called the Insa-dong of Suncheon due to its abundance of galleries and workshops lining the alley. In addition to artistic flair, you’ll explore various enjoyable activities, such as charming restaurants, cozy cafes, and distinctive antique stores. It’s the perfect spot to hang out, find unique stuff, and maybe grab something for your favorite person!

Visit Seonamsa Temple

Seonamsa Temple

Seonamsa is a beautiful temple chilling at the east end of Jogyesan Mountain. It was built in the 6th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by a lush forest filled with centuries-old trees, the vibe is serene and perfect for a leisure walk. 

When you go there, visit the Seungseongyo Bridge before the temple. It’s such a cool arched stone bridge sitting on natural bedrock. There are also three-story stone pagodas right in front of the main hall, the Daeungjeon Hall, which are eye-catching. 

Seonamsa is stunning at any time of year, but if you go in the spring or fall, you’ll be in for a treat. That’s when the flowers bloom, and the tree leaves change colors. It’s like a postcard comes to life!

Discover Songgwangsa Temple

Songgwangsa Temple - Suncheon travel guide

Songgwangsa Temple holds a special place in Korean Buddhism. Dating back to the 10th century, it’s one of Korea’s top three Buddhist temples. This place is rich in history, with 27 cultural assets and around 80 buildings. 

What makes it even cooler is that it produced 16 National Masters, the highest monk rank. Many visitors and Buddhist practitioners worldwide come here to chill, meditate, and hop on their temple stay programs. It’s not just a temple; it’s like the beating heart of Korean Buddhist vibes. Come and experience it yourself. 

Enjoy the city view at Jukdobong Park

jukdobong park - Suncheon travel guide
View from Jukdobong Peak (by Instagram of cra.zy_ocat)

Situated on Suncheon City’s southern edge, Jukdobong Park takes around ten minutes from the town center. The park is around 18 acres, and numerous hiking routes provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. 

The park’s highlight is probably the observation deck, perched atop a small mountain. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. Once reaching the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of Suncheon City and its surrounding wetlands and mountains. This is an ideal spot to snap photos for your Instagram feed. And when the sun sets, the place lights up with lanterns along the stairs, creating another lovely backdrop for photography buffs.

Witness the beautiful sunset over Waon beach

Waon beach - Suncheon travel guide
By Instagram of heeya_yoon

Sunsets are always beautiful to watch. It is the moment when the star of stars allows thousands of other stars to shine. If you enjoy sunsets, you should not miss Waon Beach in Suncheon. 

It’s not a beach where you go to lay out and sunbathe, but it’s a nice spot by the sea with the beauty of the wetlands and mountains in the distance. It is a tranquil landscape; you can take a stroll and enjoy the warmth of nature, or you can sip a coffee at a nearby cafe and enjoy the sunset. 

Hike up Bonghwasan Mt

Take time out of your schedule to hike here to see the city from all angles. Bonghwasan is the major mountain in Suncheon, with the entire city built around it, so on its summit, you can witness panoramic views of the city. The top is only 355 meters high, so the hike is easy. If you’re seeking something more challenging, try to hike around the mountain.

Unwind at Suncheon Wild Tea House

Suncheon Wild Tea House

This tea experience house is situated along the road to Seonamsa Temple in Jogyesan Mountain. Here, you can have hands-on experience on programs like darye (manners of tea drinking) experience, tea-making sessions, tea cookie tasting, and education on tea ceremonies. It’s an opportunity to appreciate tea’s cultural and sensory aspects in a tranquil setting. Such a healing experience! 

Where to eat in Suncheon

Geumbin Hoegwan

Geumbin Hoegwan
By Instagram of hawaiian_taning

This is a restaurant that specializes in tteokgalbi, which is a delectable Korean meal prepared from beef or pork ribs. The flesh is minced and pounded on the bone before being marinated in a sweet, salty, flavorful marinade and grilled or roasted on charcoal. It’s sweet, chewy, and juicy, and the meat is already sliced into small bits and softened, so it’s tender.

The meal will be served with white rice and 17 panchan (side dishes) such as kimchi, veggies, soy sauce soup, and so on.


By Instagram of go_gwangju

Visit Byeokodong if you’d like to sample a typical lunch prepared by the locals. Barley rice is the restaurant’s specialty. The main dishes of barley rice will be bulgogi, which is marinated grilled beef, and bossam, which is pork simmered in aromatics for tender, juicy, and tasty meat. Other side dishes are fried eggs, bean sprouts, bean soup, and kimchi. You can also mix the ingredients for bibimbap: Korean mixed rice with meat and vegetables. This place is always packed so it’s a good idea to come early. 

Palma Garden (팔마가든)

Palma Garden (팔마가든)
By Instagram of haengmuk

Suncheon is famous for its duck cuisine, and ‘Palma Garden’ stands out among the local duck spots. They’re known for their duck hot pot, a tasty stew with a soybean paste base, and lots of minali (water parsley). 

It’s set up on the foothills of Jukdobong, and everyone – locals and visitors – loves this spot for its awesome duck dishes. If you’re into ducks, this place is a must-try in Suncheon!

Sungwang Sikdang

Sungwang Sikdang
By Instagram of sungjulee777

If you enjoy seafood, particularly octopus, you should visit this restaurant. This is a two-story restaurant with a warm and inviting ambiance. The most well-known dish is live octopus bibimbap. The octopus is thinly sliced and served with rice, soy sauce, red chili sauce, and many side dishes. If you cannot eat live octopus, try other favorite meals such as clam soup, cod soup, and spicy stir-fried octopus. 

Nanulteo 나눌터

Nanulteo 나눌터 
By Instagram of gagyeong.94

Nestled near the Suncheon Bay National Garden, this restaurant has become a local sensation, drawing attention for its scenic location and delectable offerings.

While ‘Nanulteo’ might be renowned for its Dotori-Muk (acorn jelly), the experience goes beyond the usual. Their set menu offers more yummy dishes like Dotori Imjatang (acorn perilla seed stew), Dotori-Muk (marinated acorn jelly), Dotori-Muk Bossam (pork simmered in aromatics), Dotori Tangsu, and more. These recipes boast natural and refreshing features that will soothe your palette.

Where to stay in Suncheon

Because Suncheon’s key attractions are far apart, staying near the station for more convenient transport is a good idea. Here are a few hotels that you may check out.

Hotel Raum Suncheon

Hotel Raum Suncheon

This hotel is in a great position, just a 10-minute walk from Suncheon station. Suncheonman Bay National Garden is 3 kilometers distant, while Booyoung Country Club is 5 kilometers away. Rooms are completely furnished with amenities and some feature city views.

Contact information

Venezia Hotel 베네치아관광호텔

Venezia Hotel

Venezia Hotel is located in Suncheon, 2.1 km from Suncheon Station, and offers free WiFi and private parking. The facility is non-smoking and is located 1.6 kilometers from Suncheonman Bay National Garden. 

The rooms are large, cozy, and clean. All rooms provide air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, complimentary amenities, and a wardrobe. The scene outside after the fall harvest was very lovely. They also offer a morning buffet containing various Korean foods, bread, cereals, fruit, and so on, so you can have a hearty breakfast during your journey.

Contact information

Hotel Gite

 Hotel Gite

Hotel Gite is a two-star business & family hotel located 2.1 kilometers from Suncheon Station. All rooms at Suncheon Hotel Gite offer a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, a private bathroom with a bidet, and complimentary toiletries. Some rooms also have a terrace. After seeing Suncheon, you can unwind with a peaceful outdoor spa and pools surrounded by stunning surroundings or relax on your private terrace with a panoramic view. 

Contact information

Suncheon Guesthouse 24

24 Guesthouse

24 Guesthouse Suncheon is located in Yeonhyang neighborhood, 400 meters from Suncheon Station and 2.9 kilometers from Suncheonman Bay National Garden. This is a sustainable guest house that was built in 2016. It has a garden and a city view. All units offer air conditioning, soundproofing, and a private bathroom with a shower. Although they provide no breakfast, snacks, tea, coffee, or cooking options, they are available.

Contact information

In conclusion, although there are still many exciting sites to visit and fun things to do in Suncheon, we hope this Suncheon travel guide has given you some ideas for what to do on your next trip to Suncheon. Wish you have a pleasant trip.

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