Visitors traverse the 1.2-kilometer boardwalk through the reed beds of Suncheon Bay, South Jeolla.
Suncheon Bay in the city of Suncheon, South Jeolla, has been described as one of the world's five best-protected coastal swamps.
Located on the south coast of the Korean Peninsula, it also is the setting of "A Journey to Mujin", by Kim Seung-ok, one of Korea's most beloved short stories.
The bay has 22.6 square kilometers (8.7 square miles) of mudflats and 5.4 square kilometers of reed beds.
It is a treasure trove of various species, so it was designated as a Ramsar Wetland in 2006 by the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands.
Visitors to Suncheon Bay will get the great gift of the sounds made by its reed forest, the widest in Korea.
The S-shaped waterway through Suncheon Bay as seen from Yongsan Observatory at sunset is simply spectacular.
Images of the reeds shining silver and gold in sunlight is another gift. Many tourists on a 1.2-kilometer trail through the reeds are couples in search of a romantic mood.
Another route that goes along a waterway through reeds is especially popular with students and those interested in the ecosystem. This path allows the best views of migratory birds in flight and various organisms living in the mudflats.
Suncheon Bay's extensive reed beds are a wintering site and habitat for rare birds, such as hooded cranes, which are designated as Korea's natural monument No. 228. Other species that can be seen are rare black-faced spoonbills and whooper swans.
It is said that birds in Suncheon Bay include 15 species that have been designated national monuments, six endangered species specified by the Ministry of Environment, 13 preserved species, 12 International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List species, 16 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species annex species and 15 Ramsar Convention species.
Creeping in the mudflats are sand crabs and Japanese ghost crabs. There are cockles and clam worms moving quietly and mudskippers bouncing along in the muck.
Rare birds seen in Suncheon Bay, South Jeolla, include hooded cranes, which are designated as Korea's natural monument No. 228.
Not only the fauna, but the flora of Suncheon Bay is important and unique.
Among the plants in the area are suaeda japonica makino, whose color changes seven times a year, and angelica utilis makino.
There is also a tourist route leading to Yongsan Observatory, where visitors have a panoramic view of the wide mudflats, reed fields and birds in flight.
The S-shaped waterway seen from the observatory is especially striking at sunset.
Koreans say Suncheon Bay is one of the best places in the country to see a sunset, especially during the season when the old year gives way to the new. In addition, it is possible to see a sunrise from the sea because of the area's geography.
By Park Sang-moon