I am really into an intensive Master’s program that’s why I don’t always have the luxury to go to FAR places here in Korea. Far means somewhere outside Seoul (actually I even seldom go around Seoul). But when I have the very rare opportunity, I seize it!
In between the end of Fall semester and the start of the Winter sem last December, my friends and I were able to plan a trip outside Seoul! Yay! Actually, being a hardcore planner, I managed to prepare our DIY tour. Our destination—JEONJU!
According to my really helpful Korea Travel Guide (I suggest you grab this at any tourist information center as it is REALLY helpful), Jeonju is in southwestern area. It is in Jeollabuk-do which is 3 hours away from Seoul.
The first thing we did was to buy bus tickets. We opted to go there by bus since it is cheaper (11,000 won for one way) and also the time difference with KTX is not that big. You can buy the tickets at Nambu Bus Terminal, subway line 3.
I was the one assigned to booking our accommodation and making daily itinerary. Searching through the web was not difficult, because the city website was helpful and I actually found everything in there. You can check http://tour-eng.jeonju.go.kr for more details on what to visit and where to stay.
And there, we’re all set for an adventure!
Our day started really early, as we left our dorm around 6 a.m. We arrived at the Nambu Bus terminal around 7:00 and had to wait. When you’re travelling in Korea, you need to be keen on time. They are very strict on schedule and they left on time. Our bus departed at exactly 8:00 a.m.
We arrived at Jeonju around 11am, and went straight to the Hanok Village. We chose to ride the bus, which was a wrong move because we didn’t know where to get off. So we ended up walking, then finally rode the cab. Tip: Just take the cab from the bus terminal going to your accommodation.
The first thing we did was to EAT at the famous Bibimbap restaurant, Gajok Hwegwan 가족 회관. They claim to have the best bibimbap in Korea, and that is really true. You just need to shell out around 12,000 won for a sumptuous treat.
We headed to our accommodation after lunch. The main reason why we went to Jeonju was to experience the traditional Hanok (Korean house). I personally chose a room that has an “Ondol” or floor heating system. We ended up in Buyonghyeon, in which a room for 5 costs 150,000 won per night. There was a free breakfast served as well!
Our cozy room! It has Hanji (traditional Korean paper) wallpaper, and an LCD TV! We also have our own toilet and bath!
After resting for some time, the strolling around Hanok Village begun. Most of the places to visit are around the Hanok Village, so it is not hard and costly to check the tourist sites.
Here are some of the places you should not miss in Jeonju:
1. Jeondong Cathedral – It was established to uphold the precious will of the first Korean martyr, and is counted as the most beautiful Catholic church in Korea.
2. Pungnammun Gate – This is the most prominent cultural asset of Jeonju, which used to be one the the four gates of Jeonju city.
3. Jeonju Hyanggyo- This used to be a Confucian school that was believed to be built up in Goryo dynasty.
4. Deokjin Park – This is centered upon the Deokjin Lake, and has lotus flowers during spring. A fountain show is also set around that time.
5. Gyeonggijeon – It is a historic site in Jeonju, which was built to enshrine the royal portrait of Taejo Seonggae Lee, the king that found the Joseon dynasty.
6. Hanokmaeul- The Jeonju Hanok Village
Just being at the Hanokmaeul made our trip already worth it. The serenity of the place, the convergence of tradition and modernity and the richness of culture preserved made the visit to the province worth remembering.
Jeonju was a great escape from the noise and stress in the city.
Have I mentioned that everything was fun during the trip because I had great friends with me? A must in every travel is a jovial spirit to keep good vibes all the way!
P.S. If you are a coffee lover (like ME!:)) you will enjoy in the Hanokmaeul because there are so many coffee shops there! We were able to try two of them and the coffee served was really good! Plus, you’ll love the antiques and interiors of the shops.