Suncheonman Bay: Wetland not Wasteland
Most of land developers may assume the campaign of “Wetland Preservation” as “Waste Land Project”, as they always think about skyscraper condominium being sprung all over the places replacing clusters of reeds swaying over the shallow water of the wetlands.
Korea is one of the world ranking in preserving the wetland since many wetland areas have been designated as the eco-tourism national parks around the country, especially in the southern part of Korea, including Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve. They have been gradually growing as major tourist attractions for Korean and foreign tourists. They are always added as the regular attractions in every tour programs in their areas.
Here I will express my good impression of how Korea preserved the wetland area since I have the opportunity to take the trip to Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve recently. It is located in Suncheon, Jeonnam in South Korea, Suncheon Bay is a coastal wetland, composed of a 3.5 km long stream, with 5,490 acres wide tideland and a 570 acres wide field of reeds. Due to its natural coast, it is the habitat of migratory birds and plants and animals. It is the first Korean coastal wetland, Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve, registered on the list of the Ramsar Wetland on January 20, 2006.
Firstly, we began with Suncheonman Bay Eco-Museum where we could learn about the history of the forming of Suncheonman Bay Wetland and a range of animals, plants, and flora exhibits, and especially, to learn more about the regional ecology system.
Later, we took the boat trip to observe the beauty of the scenery, including animals, rare birds, and wide range of flora and fauna. Surprisingly, we were accompanied by a group of very young Korean students, assumingly Kindergarten. They were guided by their school teachers, I guessed. As soon as the boat was coming close to the huge bunch of reeds, we had to feel embarrassed when some of those kids turned to our group and said “Sshh” as the gesture for us to be quiet for not to disturb the animals or birds inside those bushes.
According to the guide, the wetland in Suncheonman Bay is the rendezvous and resting area for migratory birds in the long haul journey down South such as Eurasian curlews or from Siberia to Australia or to Thailand. They will use the huge area of wetland here as their “transit lounge” to take the rest and the natural shelter in order to revitalize their strength by eating rich food in the area for the second half of the journey to their destinations.
One of the cleverness of Korean people in preserving the natural resources or historical remains by using them as the shooting scenes of popular TV drama series or major feature films, and then, they will be soon turn into popular tourists attraction among the fans of those series or films. However, I don’t know whether any wetland area have been used as the location of any drama series or films yet.
The important of this trip was to have a chance to experience and indulge in the beauty of the nature of wetland in Korea, but more important was how Korean preserved and developed the wetland as tourist attractions. However, the most important was how the Korean government educating and giving the knowledge of how to preserve and conserve these areas as the sustainable to their people since they were very young.
Last but not least, to reach Suncheonman Bay, you can take the flight from Gimpo Airport to Yeosu Airport, and took local bus, it is located at 513-25, Suncheonman-gil, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do. The opening hour starts from 8.00 a.m. until sunset (varies by the season).
8,000 won(for adults), and 4.000-6,000(for teenager to children)
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