Monday, November 21, 2016

The Road Less Traveled: Suncheon City Tour Bus


For our second day in Jeolla province, we headed to Suncheon, dubbed as Korea's Ecological Capital or the "Green City". It was an early start for us because Suncheon is roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Gwangju and I read from a website that the organized city tour we were eyeing will leave at 9:50 am from the Suncheon Train Station (순천역), a 15 minute walk from the Suncheon bus terminal according to our hostel manager. We opted to try an organized tour so we could somehow be enlightened about the places we visit.

Bus trips from Gwangju to Suncheon run at 15 minute intervals. We booked the 8:25 am bus trip from Gwangju to Suncheon at the Inter-City or the green counter of the U-square bus terminal and arrived at the Suncheon Bus Terminal at about 9:42 am. Unsure if we would reach our destination on time, we quickly rode a taxi, asked the driver to go to "Suncheon yok" (train station) and we were at the train station at 9:48 am. We paid the base fare of ₩2800 or a little less than $3. Although time has been our ally, and there has been a "Suncheon City Tour Bus" still parked in front of the train station, turns out that the organized City Tour Bus that we intended to ride leaves every 9:30 am and the bus parked is that of the Downtown Circular Course.

Gwangju U-square Bus Terminal
According to the Visit Korea website, there are 3 courses one can take in touring Suncheon. The 2 are organized and the other is Do-It-Yourself. The organized ones are the: Seonamsa Temple Course (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; ₩15, 700 for adults) and Songgwangsa Temple Course (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; ₩16,500 for adults) departing at Suncheon train station at 9:30 am and ends at 5:30 pm at the station. Other blogs I encountered said that the fees include the bus ride, a tour guide who speak a minimal English and the entrance fees for the attractions which include: Seonamsa OR Songgwangsa Temple, Naganeupseong Folk Village, Suncheon Bay National Garden and Suncheon Bay Ecological Park. 

The different courses of the Suncheon City Tour.
Lastly, the DIY or the Downtown Circular Course (Tuesday to Sunday; ₩5000 for the unlimited bus rides as long as you keep the ticket), which we took. For those, who have tried the Gapyeong Tour Bus, the concept of the circular course is similar. The course loops around and covers: Suncheon Train Station > Suncheon Drama/Open Film Set > Suncheon Bay National Garden (West Gate) > Suncheon Bay Ecological Park > Suncheon Bay National Garden (East Gate) > Traditional Market > Culture Street or Suncheon's very own Insadong > Suncheon Bus Terminal > Suncheon train station. Take note that it does NOT include the two temples and the folk village. The time intervals differ and are posted in the bus. The bus driver will ask you to take a picture or better yet, ask the Suncheon Tourist Information Center located in front of the Suncheon train station for a copy.


Downtown Circular Course Timetable
Suncheon City Tour Bus

In my opinion, the City Tour Bus is the more convenient way to go around Suncheon at an affordable cost as it covers the renowned sceneries the city boasts of. You need not search or ask which bus to take nor transfer to different modes of transportation.