Guide to travelling in Suncheon, South Korea

F1090002Canon A1, Kodak Ultramax 400

I did not set out to do a travel guide, being the sort of traveller who is inclined to rely on existing guides instead. However, we met with mostly dead ends while researching transport routes for our trip to Jeollanam-do, the south-western part of South Korea. Naturally, it seemed necessary to put a sort-of guide together.

To explore the region, we stayed in Suncheon city for 5 nights. If you are thinking of doing the same, here are some things you should know:

  • Buses form the main mode of public transport in Jeollanam-do.
  • Flat rate for local bus fares regardless of the distance travelled.
  • Take note of the “Local Bus Terminal” bus stop in Suncheon which is easily confused with the Suncheon Express Bus Terminal (순천종합버스터미널) , a pale green building about 5 to 10 mins’ walk away from the former (hidden from view).
  • Unlike in Seoul, the locals largely speak only Korean, so some knowledge of the language would help. My smattering of Korean can probably save my life, but Jessie, my travel companion, is much better at it, so we had it relatively easy.

Do note that this guide mainly details tried and tested transport routes, unless otherwise stated. We would not be able to help you with the directions/ timings via other routes or means of transport. Sorry!

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Canon A1, Fujicolor Superia 200

Within Suncheon

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Drama set (드라마 세트장 )

Take the local city bus to the Local Bus Terminal bus stop. Change to Bus 77, and alight at the Drama Set bus stop.

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Canon A1, Kodak Portra 160

Suncheonman (순천만))

We cabbed to Suncheonnman because we had left our earlier venue late, but from our online research, you can take bus 67 from the Local Bus Terminal bus stop (check the direction), and get off at the Suncheonman bus stop. It should cost 1,100 won and take you approximately 20min to reach the park.

Outside Suncheon

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Yeosu (여수)

From Suncheon train station, take the train to Yeosu Expo Station. We were on the Saemaul-ho (새마을호) class train, and it cost us 4,800W each for a 23 min ride. Alternatively, you can take the KTX or the S-train (enquire at the counter); however, they are more expensive and not much quicker in taking you to Yeosu. Our KTX ticket from Yeosu back to Suncheon shaved just 4min off, but set us back by 8,900W each.

Above: Go-so dong, Angel Mural (고소 천사벽화골목) – 1

Boesong (보성)

Buy a ticket to Boseong Bus Terminal at the Suncheon Express Bus Terminal. It cost us 6,300W and took about 1hr 40 mins to reach Boseong.  You have to buy another ticket in order to get to the Boseong Tea Plantation (보성녹차밭 대한다원) – 15 to 20min depending on traffic, 1,200W.

Damyang (담양)

If you are going to Damyang County, board the bus headed for Gwangju’s Gwangcheong Bus Terminal from the Suncheon Express Bus Terminal. The journey is about 1.5hours, and 6,900W for a ticket. From Gwangju, buy another bus ticket to Damyang Local Bus Terminal (40min, 2,300W) and hop onto Bus no. 311 (5-10min, 1,300W) to reach the Damyang Bamboo Garden (죽녹원).

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Canon A1, Fujicolor Superia 200

Busan (부산)

You can do a day trip to Busan from Suncheon too. Board the bus to Busan Seobu (부산서부시외버스터미널) Bus Terminal from Suncheon Express Bus Terminal. The journey of 2.5hours cost 12,400W. A tip: Buy your ticket one day earlier to secure a seat. From the bus terminal, you can take the metro (from SaSang 사상  Station, Line 2) to other parts of Busan easily.

Above: Gamcheon Culture Village (감천 문화 마을) – 1, 2

To get to Suncheon from Seoul, you can take the metro to Yongsan Station (용산역), Line 1. We timed the trip to be 82mins from Hongik Metro Station. Then, hop onto the KTX and you should reach Suncheon in 3 hours.

6 things to do in Singapore.

I have put together a small list of things to do in Singapore, a result of last year’s resolution to explore a bit more of the island. This list excludes tourist sites like the Universal Studios Singapore, Singapore Zoo, and Gardens by the Bay – places which you would already know of if you are planning to visit the city. Instead, this is a compilation of lesser-known places and activities that contribute to the local experience. Needless to say, they present opportunities for one to indulge in photography.

The list is not exhaustive, and I might even do another one down the road. For now, here are 6 things you might want to try out.

Visit Kampong Buangkok

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We still talk fondly about the kampong spirit, a kind of camaraderie that existed between neighbours back in the old days. Singapore’s last kampong gives you a peek into the lives of the general population more than 30 years ago.  Today, less than 30 households occupy the village which sits on about 12,300m2 of land off Yio Chu Kang Road.

Explore old playgrounds in the housing estates

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Children of the 70s and 80s used to play in outdoor sandpit playgrounds that take the shape of fruits and animals. The collective memory of these old mosaic playgrounds is detailed in Mosiac Memories as part of the Singapore Memory Project.

Cycle in Punggol Point Park

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Cycling at the Punggol Point Park was surprisingly enjoyable. The park is relatively new and clean, and it isn’t crowded like East Coast Park, so you get to cycle more of the way without having to skirt through people who fall into your path. A pretty good way to take a break from city life I’ll say.

Take a trip to Pulau Ubin

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People flock to this island, north-east of Singapore, to cycle, but it is not for the faint-hearted as the roads are steep and designated cycling paths are non-existent.

There is plenty of room on this island for the non-cyclist though. Discover plant and animal varieties as you trek the – sometimes mud-trodden – paths, and explore Chek Jawa, a natural wetlands made up of 6 interdependent ecosystems. If you love being surrounded by nature, you’ll enjoy this island.

Have a picnic at the Botanic Gardens

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After its revamp, the Botanic Gardens became one of my favourite places to spend an idyllic afternoon. And there is Island Creamery around the corner, serving what I would say is one of the better ice-creams on the island.

Visit a cafe in Tanjong Pagar

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How can a list about Singapore be complete without food? Tanjong Pagar is one of the best places to go to if you want to experience cafe culture in Singapore, apart form Tiong Bahru. Head down to Flor for the best mille-feuille, Drury Lane and Nylon Coffee Roasters for coffee, and The Plain for brunch and ambience.