On the third and final day of our Suncheon trip, we had half a morning to spare before we head back to Seoul. The first two days had been chaotic with finicky weather. Waiting for local buses, searching for top sights, and speed walking were the highlights of the trip so far. So, on the last day, I wanted to wake up late and watch TV before we caught the bus back. Basil had other plans.

Β He coaxed me to take a ‘relaxing’ walk by the river. It was a lazy Sunday morning and the walking paths were deserted. The sun was out and lit every shade of the riverside landscape. Thankfully, there was a gentle breeze and under the cover of trees — the heat wasn’t too bad.

Like most of our walks, we didn’t have a particular place to reach, and we kept walking along the paved path. We tried to make the most of the sights we saw and to appreciate them for what they were.

After reaching the end of the river, we crossed the street, and found a beautiful garden at the base of a small mountain of sorts. The sharp rays of the sun and little tree cover made it impossible to stay here for long. We followed a bridge that connected the garden to a sleepy residential area.

It’s rare to see traditional tiled rooftops in Korea. On the opposite side flowers grew in abundance and greenery engulfed modern houses.

A small elevation indicated a route upwards. It looked like a dirt trail and we weren’t sure if we were allowed to hike here. It’s rare to see unkempt trails like these and from our past experience (in Pyeongchang), we’ve learned that some of these trails can lead to private property and barking dogs. We had an hour before checkout, leaving us with a narrow window, to explore this route. The path was narrow and littered with dead leaves.

As we climbed higher, we were surrounded by towering bamboo culms. Unlike the manicured grove in Boseong, the culms grew wild, and it wasn’t easy to look beyond them. Insects and birds made this nondescript trail alive. And, that’s what made this trail all the more enjoyable. It was wild, natural, and there was no attempt to sanitise it for humans to pass through.

Once we saw the boardwalk, we realised this was some sort of local hiking trail. For some reason we didn’t know about it. Few early hikers has begun descending towards the base. After a flight of steps, we reached a beautiful pavilion.

A small board explained the history of the pavilion. Kang Nam Chong was built as a rest place for locals, to soak the sights of the developing city below. And after making it to the top of the two storied pavilion, we couldn’t have agreed more.

The views of the city, below, were spectacular, making us wonder: why doesn’t Korean Tourism promote vantage viewing points like these enough? There seems to be a greater emphasis on building cutesy figures to attract a particular set of travellers. Sights like these should have been more easy to find and any information would have been useful.

There’s a quaint coffee shop (not surprising considering the country’s addiction to coffee) at the base of the Kangnamchong Pavilion. The owner was preparing to open shop at 11 am. We stepped in for coffee, a lemonade Β (since I don’t drink coffee), and a slice of the view below.

The cookies and sweets were on the house.

On our way down, we chose to follow another trail. There were many interesting sights on the way, but we didn’t have the time to stop and had to quickly descend.

The stairs lead us through a thick patch of vegetation and into a desolate resting place or shrine of sorts. The trail forked into multiple routes and we chose the route that would get us quickly to the base.

The end of the trail leads to a Buddhist Temple. The pathway was decorated with lanterns marking the birth celebrations of Buddha. Like before, the chirping of birds was the only sound we heard.

We passed by some more coffee shops (even the most rural town will have a local coffee shop) and a beautiful church with a filled parking lot.

Once again, we walked along the river and reached the main street. On Sunday morning, the farmer’s market were selling the best of their produce. Locals were enamoured by the caged birds and I must say, they did look pretty. It was a great way to end our trip in this scenic city.

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

27 replies on “A Bird’s-eye View of Suncheon City

  1. What a great way to spend your last day at Suncheon. The walk by the river was nice but your unexpected discovery of the local hiking trail – that was fabulous since it hasn’t fallen victim to tourism. Loved your photos that allowed me to walk alongside you on your hike to discovering the local scene.

    1. Initially, I was so tired and crabby! lol. And once we started walking (like all our walks), I began to enjoy everything we saw. πŸ™‚ Especially, loved the small hike to the pavilion. Who would have thought about that?

  2. The best kind of walk! It starts with no intentions or expectations and ends with a nice surprise. Basil sounds like my husband; there is always more walking to be done!

    1. I’d have to (reluctantly) agree, “It starts with no intentions or expectations and ends with a nice surprise.” (I don’t want Basil reading this!) lol. Most of our walks are result of Basil’s desire to ‘get lost’ or ‘explore’ or ‘wander’. According to him, those are the best kind of walks. Your husband does sound a lot like Basil! πŸ™‚

  3. “Basil had other plans.” Hahahaha, story of your life. But you’re so right about how Korea only promotes these cutesy things, even I’d say “ruining,” certain sights by making them cutesy when they don’t need to be. When you guys have a chance, head to Bukhansan and do the hike up to Hyangnobong – it’s a few km, and totally deserted with incredible views. πŸ™‚

  4. The other day I was talking to Le, and was saying that I really want to go to South Korea after seeing all your posts. It’s definitively a country I want to visit, I think we will enjoy it a lot!

    I was just wondering if it’s best to rely on public transport or rent a car? For example in Taiwan we rent a car and it was awesome, but Le could read the Chinese sign.. here I’m a bit afraid that we would get lost. Do people speak a bit of Chinese over there by any chance?

    1. I’m so glad you have considered South Korea as a travel destination! πŸ™‚ In Jeju (so similar to Icelandic scenery because of its origin due to volcanic activity) tourism is very well developed. Renting a car (or cycling) here is preferred. You can do road trips across the mainland too using a rental car. Road signs are in English and I’m assuming you will get a GPS system in Korean and English. Since Basil hasn’t applied for a licence yet, we chose public transport. The subway system and KTX (intercity train) is fantastic and is multilingual (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and English). Travelling by intercity buses is a tricky affair and as you go away from Seoul, language starts to become a problem. In Jeju and in tourist places in Seoul, many Koreans have learned to speak Chinese because of the volume of Chinese tourists. You can also speak English in many tourist places. The best and most scenic places are often hidden from the main tourist trail. If you’re planning a trip, let me know. I’d love to help you! πŸ™‚

      1. Yes that’s what I was thinking.. if you want to do some hike in remote places or visit a lot of outdoors scenery.. public transport may not be the best idea! But I suppose that with our English and Chinese language skills we should be fine πŸ˜‰

        I’m not sure when we will do this as we are moving to next year to Shetland islands. I still don’t know how quickly we will settle down so it’s difficult to plan on the long term at the minute. But I will keep your suggestion in mind and I won’t hesitate to ask you for tips if we decide to go there next year!

      2. Settling down will take a while. Especially, after the stress of the ‘wedding’! I’m not sure how much longer we will stay in Seoul. Currently, it looks like a year and then depends on Basil’s job. If we’re still here, we should definitely meet! πŸ™‚

      3. We haven’t a clue! That’s the worst (or best) part of this whole thing. lol…By the looks of it, we might have to stay longer here. :)We’ll come to know next May-June.

  5. Wow, I agree with you, Cheryl, they should support this. I love the view from the top.
    BTW, I think I saw that church yesterday.
    I’d love to have the city view.
    -Writing this still in hostel room- πŸ˜€

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