2023 Suncheonman International Garden Expo

1 April 2023 – 31 October 2023

AIPH approved category B International Horticultural Expo for the 2023 Suncheonman International Garden Expo at the AIPH Spring Meeting 2020 in Miami, USA.

Suncheon is the largest city in the Jeollanam-do province of South Korea, with a population of nearly 280,000. In 2013 the region hosted Suncheon Bay Garden Expo. It was the first eco-friendly Korean Expo showcasing beautifully landscaped gardens from all over the World, lakes, hills and thousands of flowers and trees. It aimed to preserve Suncheon Bay by building a garden between the wetlands and the city. Since then, the National Garden has become an attractive destination for many tourists. Building on that success,  this Expo aims to connect the National Garden to the City Centre, bringing its citizens closer to nature, with the theme: We Live In The Garden.

Success in numbers

  • The total number of visitors reached 9,812,157.
  • In just 12 days after opening, the attendance surpassed 1 million, and on the 58th day, it exceeded 4 million, achieving 50% of the target number of visitors.
  • By October 7th, with 24 days left until the closing, the event had surpassed its goal of 8 million visitors.
  • There were 36 genre-themed planned events, including classic, hip-hop, fusion, popular songs, multimedia fireworks shows, and 19 themed performances. At the National Garden, there were over 560 regular performances, including juggling, magic shows, street performances, and busking.
  • The international aspect of the event was also prominent. There were 15 ‘National Day’ events, and the AIPH (International Association of Horticultural Producers) General Assembly attended by 15 countries was held at the exposition site. Including gardens worldwide, the garden exposition saw participation from 30 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
  • According to a visitor satisfaction survey, the overall rating was 4.47 out of 5, the intention to revisit scored 4.39, and the likelihood to recommend was 4.45. Satisfaction in all categories, such as attractions, courtesy, experiential activities, and food and beverage facilities, was very high, with scores over 4.
  • More than 510 local governments and organisations nationwide visited the exposition.


Visit website for 2023 Suncheonman International Garden Expo View the Final Report of 2013 Suncheon Bay Garden Expo Read Sustainability Strategy 2023 Suncheonman International Garden Expo Read Suncheonman Bay Wetland Conservation Project entry for WGCA22 Subscribe to Expos Newsletter AIPH 75th Congress at Suncheon 17-22 September 2023
The 2023 Suncheonman International Garden Expo Park site covers an area of 1,930,000 m² (193 hectares). It includes three locations: the Suncheon Bay Wetlands, Suncheon Bay National Garden and downtown Suncheon including the Pungdeok-dong and Ocheon-dong areas of the city.


Nature’s treasure trove

Suncheon Bay, situated between the Yeosu and Goheung peninsulas, covers 28km² (17 mi²), which includes 21.6 km² (8.3 mi²) of mudflats and 5.4 km² (2.1 mi²) of reed beds, making it a treasure trove of diverse species and a popular attraction for reed blossoms, red turkeys, and white migratory birds in autumn. Due to minimal pollution, the area has developed salty swampy land abundant in fresh marine products and numerous and varied invertebrate animals and sea plants. The extensive reedbeds serve as a wintering site and habitat for rare birds, including the hooded crane, seagull, white stork, black-faced spoonbill, and eastern great egret, highlighting the natural ecological value of Suncheon Bay.

Protecting the coastal wetland

Suncheonman Bay is now a top ecological tourist destination due to its thriving ecosystem. Recently, the Suncheonman Bay Conservation Movement highlighted their ecological work on an international stage when they entered the AIPH World Green City 2022 Awards.

Protecting endangered birds

Suncheon City has taken steps to protect the vulnerable Hooded Crane, a shorebird native to East Asia that is at risk of extinction. The city signed an agreement to preserve the crane’s habitat and other coastal wetlands, which were recently inscribed as a World Heritage Property by UNESCO. Local governments in the area have formed a network to preserve the crane’s habitat and prevent avian influenza. Plans include building a Hooded Crane belt on the southern coast and expanding the Hooded Cranes Hope Agricultural Complex. Suncheon City also plans to create a new complex in the nearby Inan Garden, covering an area of 109 hectares.


The Earth’s Garden

Did you know that the International Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 boosted Suncheon’s eco-friendliness by transforming the Expo site into South Korea’s very first National Garden? This amazing setup connects to Suncheon Bay and promotes sustainable urban development through innovative industries like landscape architecture and floriculture. The National Garden is only five kilometres (or three miles) away from Suncheon Bay and acts as a protective eco-belt that prevents uncontrolled urban growth while being perfectly equidistant from the city.

Suncheon Bay Garden Expo
  • Theme: The Earth’s Garden
  • Duration: 20 April 2013- 20 October 2013
  • Visitors: 4,403,890

Click to view Final Report.



For ten years, visitors have continued to enjoy the former Suncheon Bay Garden Expo 2013 site, now formerly known, since 2015, as the Suncheon National Garden.
This stunning park has been a beloved destination for visitors for more than a decade. Not only is it impeccably maintained, but it has also played a significant role in the growth of Suncheon City by drawing in tourists.
In 2023, the park is taking its nature conservation efforts to the next level by promoting the “We Live in the Garden” concept. The park aims to spread garden culture throughout the city by integrating the old and new Expo sites. To learn more, explore the ten ways they are achieving this ambitious goal at the 2023 Expo.

Eighty two hectares more land compared to 2013.


Connecting nature with...

Suncheon Bay Wetlands

the National Garden with...

Suncheon Bay National Garden

...the citizens of the city of Suncheon.

Suncheon Downtown

Ocheon Green Square connects the city's citizens to nature...


The Detention Pond is a natural defence against centennial flooding

Detention Pond

The green spaces here offer a place of rest and contemplation

Community space

It was the destination space for visitors on the Expo's first day.

Visitors on the opening day

Vehicles used to run on tarmac here but now the grass grows.


From Ocheon Roundabout to Nammun Roundabout, it is now safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

1.03km (half a mile)

The national garden, reservoir, and Dongcheon link into one.


The lives of citizens and the garden become closer.

City to Nature

The restored Dongcheon River runs from the north of the city and meets Suncheon Bay Gardens in the south


A 2.5km section will be operational for Expo Visitors from Lake Garden to Duncheon Terrace.

Connecting the City with the National Garden

Take a Garden Experience Boat and hear of the myth of the Haeryongsan Sea Dragon Spear

Lake Garden

And learn about the waterways important maritime past during the Goryeo Dynasty.

Dungcheon Terrace

Stay overnight on the Expo site: two days and one night programme


Including dinner and breakfast using the best local food.


The Garden Stay activities combine the history of the garden, and cultural experiences

Programme of activities

Only small groups at a time, focusing on the healing experiences and health benefits of nature.

Nature Benefits

The Suncheon Bay Wetland, is a World Natural Heritage site.


You can enjoy walking barefoot looking at mudflats and reed flowers.

Reed Fields & Sea Views

Walk along the Earthing Road (4.3.km)

Experience wellness

Experience healing and rest.

Connect with nature

Gardens of the future in the glasshouse and underground.


The Secret Garden spirals from the ground to underground mysterious gardens.

Secret Garden

The Glacier Garden shows plants growing in harsh climate, and the Sunshine Garden uses advanced solar lighting to grow trees.

Presenting future trends

The National Botanical Garden's plant exhibition space showcases the evolution of plants.

National Botanical Garden

A landscape garden built using the farmland around the city centre to the Suncheon Bay Wetland.


Development area of 3,550,000 m² or 355 hectares.

Landscaped fields

Planting of colourful plants and flowers.

Artful Planting

Visitors can enjoy colourful flowers that bloom throughout the four seasons.

Seasonal Beauty

A floating garden on Dongcheon Stream.


The floating gardens include: community garden, sustainable garden, healing garden, meta garden, and ecological garden.

Five gardens

It offers a beautiful sight that blends perfectly with the night-time scenery of Dongcheon and the city.

Night Scenery

It was the main stage for the opening ceremony on 31 March 2023

Opening ceremony

President Yoon Suk-yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee attended the pre-opening evening ceremony on Friday, 31 March.


See the flowers by day and the lights by night, the National Garden is open until 10pm.

Splendid Light

Enjoy the night view of Suncheon on the Dongcheon waterways.

On the water

National Garden, Dongcheon, Ocheon Green Plaza 'Night Scenery' creates a garden of splendid light

Night Tourism

“This Expo is a garden that naturally enters the city. We are showing the blueprint of the future where the carbon-neutral society is realised in response to climate change.”

The Governor of Jeollanam-do Province, Kim-Young-rok, at the Evening Opening Ceremony on 31 March 2023.



Exp9.8 million visitorso Visitor

9.8 million visitors in total

The 2023 Suncheon Bay International Garden Expo closed on the 31st of October. A total of 9.8 million people visited the Expo during its 214 days.

The attendance numbers remained consistently high throughout the Expo, right from the opening days, with 150,000 visitors and in the following two months, an impressive four million visitors came. One family (pictured) was especially lucky when they were named the five millionth visitor on June 28th. By the end of August, nearly six million people had visited. These numbers are a testament to the success of the Expo, as it had already surpassed over 50% of the expected eight million visitors for the six-month-long event.





The gardens and pavilions constructed and managed by international Expo participants are crucial to the AIPH-approved International Horticultural Expo in Suncheon. Let’s delve into the experiences of a few international participants.

American Garden

Did you know that in the 1700s, American gardens were designed to mirror Virginia’s naturalistic gardens? The idea was to highlight the beauty of nature and provide a serene sanctuary for families to enjoy each other’s company.

Chinese Garden

Experience the captivating story of Yangsanbaek and Chukyeongdae, the Chinese equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, as told through the mesmerising Chinese Garden. Marvel at the pavilion and pond landscape, which symbolizes the eternal love between two individuals. The garden’s butterfly pattern on the floor depicts the tale of sacrificing oneself for love and transforming into a butterfly.

Dutch Garden

The Netherlands, widely recognised as the City of Freedom, boasts breathtaking landscapes that are often dubbed Europe’s garden and flower garden. In Suncheon Bay National Garden, the Dutch Garden was thoughtfully designed to showcase the flourishing of Suncheon, the ecological capital, and to bring good fortune to its many visitors. With a plethora of tulips and other awe-inspiring flowers, the garden is a true spectacle of nature’s vibrant colours.

English Garden

The King Charles III Garden was thoughtfully crafted to feature natural elements that emulate the beauty of Poly Farm Garden, a renowned creation from the Victorian era. Also known as the Garden of King Charles III, this garden was named after the new British Monarch, who has a great passion for preserving the environment.

French Garden


German Garden

The German Garden was created to emulate the Carl Förster Sunken Garden, known for its picturesque view from a high to a low point.

Italian Garden: In Italy, gardens are created by taking advantage of the hilly slopes and topography that reveal the land's natural characteristics. The Italian Garden is a space that reproduces the gardens of Medici villas with beautiful gardens in Tuscany, Italy.

Japanese Garden: This garden shows Japan's appreciation for nature, there are two parks that make up this stunning tribute. The Saga Prefecture Garden is a lovely example of traditional Japanese gardens. As visitors enter through the Nagaya Gate, a traditional Japanese gate with rooms for servants on both sides, they are greeted by the awe-inspiring beauty of Sefuri Mountain and Ariake Pond. The Kochi prefectural gardens, on the other hand, use the Karesansui style, which uses stones and sand to depict landscapes instead of water. Every rock symbolises rugged mountains and coasts, while the pebbles represent the dark blue Pacific Ocean.

Mexican Garden: The combination of modern architecture and the ancient civilisation of the region creates an awe-inspiring environment that pays tribute to Mexico's rich history and natural beauty. The vibrant dahlias, palm trees, and other flora that embellish the garden are sure to leave you spellbound.

Spanish Garden: Indulge in the sheer beauty of the Alhambra aqueduct and the Parc Guell tile bench nestled in the Spanish Garden. This garden is a true testament to Antoni Gaudi's exceptional work in Barcelona. Take a leisurely stroll through the arched corridor and witness the scenery transform with each step. Whether you desire a moment of solitude, tranquillity, or a place to hold meetings and discussions, the Spanish Garden will cater to your every need.

Thai Garden: Known as Sala Thai, this idyllic spot offers the perfect escape, whether you're catching up with friends or seeking refuge from the scorching heat or heavy rain. The open-air design is breathtaking, and with the vivid, vibrant subtropical garden, featuring the Washington palm, Cocos palm, Tang palm, and Salatai surrounding you, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a Thai royal garden.