David’s school has a working relationship the Korea Foreign Schools Foundation. This group is so very generous and offers cultural trips to teachers twice a year! We were so excited when we found out we made it on the list for the trip over Thanksgiving weekend. It was a quick trip; we left Friday morning and returned Saturday evening. The foundation organized everything – transportation, lodging, and food. It was nice to just be along for the ride!
We left Seoul on the KTX speed train. Some of our friends clocked the train at the top speed of 184 mph! Even though the snow didn’t stick in Seoul on Thanksgiving, we passed fields and mountains loaded with snow. Just 2.5 hours later, we arrived in Suncheon Bay (순천만).
After a delicious Korean BBQ lunch, we spent a short 30 minutes at the Suncheon Open Film Set, the largest film site in Korea. The place consisted of three villages representing the 1950s to the 1970s. I haven’t seen any Korean dramas or movies yet, so I didn’t recognize any of the sets.
Next, we took the tour bus to Suncheon Bay Ecological Park (순천만자연생태공원). This wetland preserve had the largest reedbed in Korea, mudflats, and plenty of wildlife, including the rare hooded crane. We took a ferry boat ride and hiked around the grounds.
We spotted a couple of otters! You can see the back of one in the middle of this photo:
The tour guide said reeds like this are used to make a special type of broom that lasts 30 years. Suncheon Bay is a government protected area, so I don’t know if these particular reeds are used or not:
The foundation put us up in an incredible hotel in Yeosu (여수) called The MVL (which stands for Most Valuable Life). The rooms had gorgeous views of the bay. We thought one feature was funny… the bathroom had a curtain that opened like a window to the room. The purpose was so you could watch the sun rise and set as you bathe.
We had dinner and breakfast at the hotel. The buffets were to die for. Soups, Korean food, sushi, seafood, pastries, fruit… We ate so. much. food. Here was the first (of probably three) of my breakfast plates:
After checking out of the hotel, we loaded our bags on the bus and then walked to the Yeosu Maritime Cable Cars (여수 해상케이블카). This attraction opened in December 2014. We rode in the special “crystal” cars that had glass bottoms. The views were beautiful as we traveled over the Dadohae Marine National Park and Dolsandaegyo Bridge.
After our cable car rides, we walked to Odongdo Island (오동도). We had less than an hour there. The weather was much warmer in Yeosu and the greenery was beautiful.
This is called a turtle ship, a Korean warship. The ship was loaded with spikes and cannons. Both cannons and flames were fired from the dragon’s mouth:
After another huge lunch, we headed to the train station to return to Seoul. We had a wonderful time with our 23 friends! Thank you, KFS Foundation!!!
• For more information on the Suncheon area, visit www.suncheon.go.kr.
• For more information on the Yeosu area, visit www.ystour.kr/en/main.jsp.