Not far from the Suncheon Bay Eco Park is the Suncheon Bay National Garden. In fact, you can buy your entry tickets for both attractions at either ticketing office! If you decide to go to the Garden first, you can actually ride a little monorail-type thing to the Eco Park, but we wanted to look around (hike through) the Eco Park before it got too hot, and as far as we could tell there wasn’t a monorail-type thing from the Park to the Garden, so we just drove. Which, again, isn’t too far, so it wasn’t a big deal.
The Suncheon Bay Garden was created, along with the Eco Park, as an initiative by the city of Suncheon to create a tourist industry based off of nature and landscaping. And they actually did a fantastic job with that, in my opinion! Opened in 2013, the garden features a large lake dotted with several winding man-made mounds, sculptures, an international garden area featuring various types of gardens found in the world, and of course, a corporate sponsorship area.
It was a very windy and cold day unfortunately, so I don’t think we enjoyed our trip as much as we would have, had the weather been more temperate. It was still a beautiful place to look around, and many of the corkscrewing hillocks looked like something straight out of a bizarre sci-fi movie.
Smaller gardens were clustered in areas surrounding the main lake feature. This one was one of my favorites, even if it was a corporate sponsored one. Called the Hana Seed Bank Garden, the plaque reads as thus:
“This garden was created by Hanabank, which supports healthy lifestyles. The seed bank/seed saving is the theme here. A seed bank seeks to gather seeds and restore the Earth as a way to stave off catastrophe. The garden includes recycled old containers, non-biodegradable items such as oil drums, waste wood materials and on the like. Although these items were once trash, this healthy garden shows the re-creation of waste into beauty.”
Not entirely sure they understand what non-biodegradable means, since wood IS biodegradable, but I did like that they were taking an initiative to protect endangered plants.
Another garden I enjoyed wandering through was the Jeju Rock Garden. Designed in traditional Jeju-Island style, this garden emphasizes natural beauty, in all its rough tenacity.
A lot of these rocks were actually hauled from Jeju Island, since they are famous for their holey lava rocks.
But what really caught my attention was this tree. This is a 600-year old (!!!) hackberry tree, brought here from Jeju Island. I don’t know the logistics of how they managed to bring this giant and impressive specimen all the way from Jeju Island, but it was moved here in 2013 to symbolize the friendship between the provinces of Gyeonsang-do and Jeolla-do.