Having participated in a DMZ Eco-Tour not long ago, and with a newly acquired and growing interest in Korean birds, I couldn’t resist visiting Suncheon Bay for a day for a little bird watching.
Suncheon Bay, is located right in the middle of South Korea’s south coast, in the province of Jeollanam-do. The bay is quite easy to get to. One can travel to Suncheon by train or bus from every major Korean city. After arriving in Suncheon, there is a short city bus ride to the bay.
Suncheon Bay has partly been turned into an Eco-tourism park. So you will find a small education center targeting Korean speaking children with a 2,000 Won entrance fee, a boat tour of the bay for 4,000 Won, and a boardwalk which one can walk on through the reed beds while observing nature.
Suncheon Bay is a protected wetland because it is a site where endangered migratory birds pass through as well as being an ecologically diverse tidal flat. This location has been selected by the Ramsar Convention, an international wetlands protection organization, as an internationally important wetland.
The endangered migratory birds pass through Suncheon Bay in the winter months, so if you want to see them, you need to plan a trip from November through January. Suncheon hosts a festival called the Suncheon Bay Reeds Festival which will be held from October 17-24 in 2009.
On this trip, I walked along the boardwalk through the reed beds and then took the boat tour. In the reed beds you can see small birds perched atop the reeds or look down at the mud and see crabs and other creatures. On the boat tour, you are taken out to the middle of the bay and on the way you have a chance to see more birds and the beautiful scenery.
There is a small mountain with a trail that leads to an observation point. From there you can see out over a portion of the bay. It’s a short hike, but has a steep climb.
Sitting at my desk and looking back, I can recommend a trip to Suncheon Bay if you are interested in experiencing a unique natural environment or are interested in bird watching. This particular trip was my second in 2009 (both single-day trips) and I plan to return during the winter for two full days for the chance to see and photograph endangered birds.