Field Report: Suncheon Bay Wetland, Jeollanam-do, South Korea (24 January 2020)

Having spent our first morning in Jeollanam-do at the historic Naganeupseong walled village, it’s now time to spend a few moments savouring some of this coastal region’s famed natural beauty. Our stop: a scenic marshland not far from the sea, where winter’s chill has transformed a normally verdant field of reeds into a vast, shimmering carpet of pale gold.

Welcome to the Suncheon Bay Wetland.

Now then, let’s remind ourselves of our present whereabouts.

We’re in the city of Suncheon (순천), in the province of Jeollanam-do (전라남도) on the southern coast of Korea.

The day began with an early morning flight from Seoul, followed by several hours spent exploring the beautiful Joseon-era walled village of Naganeupseong. With a good chunk of daylight still remaining, I decided to visit one more local landmark before calling it a day.

From Naganeupseong, an hour’s journey on city buses – with one transfer in between – brought me within a short walk of the Suncheon Bay Wetland (순천만습지, Suncheonman Seupji).

Then again, I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I was brought within a short walk of the interpretive centre and leisure area bordering said wetland. The protected area of coastal marsh that forms the core of this ecological reserve is a little further away, separated from the built-up section by a river.

After paying for admission at one of the ticket booths, I passed through the main entrance and started walking towards the river.

It’s a long but pleasant stroll, with an exhibition hall and other facilities along the way. I ignored these for the moment, not because I lacked interest – in fact I’m hoping for a return visit so that I can poke around here more thoroughly – but because I was set on retreating to central Suncheon (and rest off the day’s fatigue) well before sunset.

In due course, I arrived at the Mujin Bridge – the threshold of the protected ecological reserve. (Note the special disinfection mats spread out at the foot of the access ramp.)

Pausing near the top of the descending ramp at the far end of the bridge, I savoured my first good look at the wetland’s iconic reed field.

It’s possible to walk clear across the main reed field and on towards the forested hill beyond, and then hike to the observation deck at its summit. For my part, with time and energy running short, I elected to remain in the reed field and enjoy this carefully tended patch of nature at a leisurely pace.

Side note: we haven’t seen Angry Usagi around here for a while.

Look who’s back. 🙂

On my way out, I paused one more time at the top of the bridge ramp and enjoyed a farewell glance at the reed field.

Back soon, I hope. 🙂

But for the moment, the foremost thought in my mind was of the warm room waiting for me at my Suncheon guesthouse.

I returned to the 순천만습지 bus stop – or, more precisely, the shed diagonally across from where I’d gotten off earlier. (Coming in, the disembarkation point was on the other side of the street, without a shelter; heading out, same stop name but on the near side with the waiting shed.)

The bus ride back to central Suncheon was only about half an hour long, but the wait for a bus at this shed seemed to stretch for an eternity.

In the end, I was soon comfortably relaxing in my bedroom…

…and tucking into something I’d picked up at a convenience store on the way back.

The flavour and texture were just “okay”, but full marks for presentation. In looks, at least, this is probably the cheesiest cheesecake that has ever cheesed.

Cheerio.

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