Travel blogs about South Korea are always seemingly geared towards Seoul, or the surrounding areas. While there is a plethora of things to do in the capital, and you could easily spend 2 weeks exploring every corner. Jeonju is the 16th largest city in the country and a very popular tourist destination. Located only 3 hours outside of Seoul and 2.5 hours from Pyeongtaek City, it definitely makes the perfect day or weekend trip.
The two biggest reasons that I think Jeonju deserves a spot on any expats' Korea bucket list is the fact that ancient culture is still alive, and the food scene is exquisite. It isn’t nicknamed, “the perfect region” for no reason, I can say that for sure. Now, here are seven reasons to visit Jeonju.
Jeonju is very easy to get to by multiple modes of transportation.
From Seoul → car takes 2 hours and 11 minutes, KTX train via City Hall Station to Jeonju station is 2 hours, and bus via Seoul Central Bus Terminal direct to Jeonju station is 2 hours and 40 minutes. Expect to pay between 20,000-30,000 for this ticket round trip
From Pyeongtaek → car takes 1 hour and 38 minutes, KTX train Mugungwha to Jeonju station takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. There are no buses available for this route. Cost for this ticket is 13,000 won per ticket round trip
From Busan → cars takes 2 hours and 33 minutes, Busan Sasang bus terminal direct to Jeonju station takes about 3 hours and 33 minutes, KTX train from Busan station, to Osong station (1 hour transfer), then to Jeonju is 3 hours and 34 minutes. Cost for this will be around 30,000+ per ticket round trip
KTX train is your best bet transportation wise for any of these routes because it’s both faster and more affordable. You can use these fantastic sites as a reference for planning your transportation route for any trip.
I didn’t do an overnight trip when I went to Jeonju, because it’s not that far from where I live. However, there are a variety of places to stay inside of the hanok village. Many of the hotels are simply called guest houses. Below I will list some options:
The Hanok Jeonju: 4.5 stars, rate is 60,000 won per night, offers free wifi and breakfast
Geunsu’s Chogajip: Top rated guest house in the village with a garden, free wifi, breakfast, private bathroom, living room, and more, rate is between 50,000-60,000 won per night
Laon Hanok Gguljiam: Another highly rated guest house in the village, private bathroom, air conditioning, continental breakfast, and wifi, rate per night is 67,000 won
You can reference https://www.booking.com/placestostay/city/kr/chonju.html for all your accommodation needs in Jeonju.
1.Jeonju Hanok Village
3.Jaman Mural Village
Jeonju is an absolute paradise for foodies. There are street food stalls and a variety of restaurants on every corner. But, they are actually famous for having some of the best Bibimbap in Korea. This is a dish with beef, rice, egg, and a variety of vegetables. It’s so delicious and very filling. Since this specific place is so famous for it, there are a crap ton of restaurants selling the same product. Me being me, I wanted the best of the best. I did my search carefully which consisted of pacing around almost the whole village. After doing that for a good 30 minutes, I made my decision on Gogung. This is located in the beginning part of the village. The restaurant isn’t fancy or anything extravagant. It feels like a mom and pop shop, and has been serving the best bibimbap since 1986. I was seated immediately by the friendly staff and given the menu. There are a variety of styles of bibimbap to choose from, in addition to some side dishes to pair with it. They also offer sets/combo meals where you get two styles of bibimbap and a side dish for 28,000 ($23 USD). My friend and I ended up getting set B, which came with a spring onion and shrimp filled pancake. This place was absolutely phenomenal, I cannot recommend it enough
This cafe actually isn’t in the hanok village, it’s the opposite way. You can take a 30 minute taxi from Jeonju station to get here, it’ll cost you about 11,300 ($9 USD). I promise you that it’s definitely worth the trip before you visit the hanok. The cafe looks like an abandoned Catholic church that you’d find in a small town in Mexico. It’s decorated with flowers, and stuffed bears at the entrance. When you walk in, the design is very clean and classy with Mediteranean-style tile and a big, gold chandelier. This cafe offers the typical such as an americano, cappuccino, lattes, etc. I ordered the Dalgona latte and paired it with this delectable French toast muffin. My friend opted for the milk tea and a crumble muffin. The food and refreshments were delicious and together were only 12,000 ($7 USD). As with every Korean cafe, you don’t necessarily go for the desserts and coffee. You go mostly for the photo aesthetic. There is a cute flower wall and other decor to take pictures with. In the entrance, there is a closet with wedding dresses and shoes that you can play dress up, and take pictures in. As the gorgeous backdrop of the church and mountain landscape surrounds you.
Besides bingsu being one of the most popular desserts in Korea, Jeonju also has something else to offer. Be sure to stop by PNB Bakery, located in the village, for their famous chocolate whoopie pies. You can get them in a variety of flavors from double chocolate, chocolate and vanilla, green tea, and more. You can buy a box of them for 19,000 ($15 USD) or individually wrapped for 1,900 ($1.50 USD). This is for sure a must try street food.
I am a lover of tea houses and have been since I came to Korea. It’s such a unique experience to sit on a pillow, while sipping on a steaming cup of tea in a traditional hanok. There’s usually instrumental music that takes you back in time. Or during my visit, they had Ed Sheeran flowing through the speakers which was a little weird, but didn’t ruin the experience. This tea house was also very affordable, only 5,000 ($3 USD) per cup. The menu was in Korean, but the guy working there translated it for us. You have your choice of house tea (Chinese tea), herbal, matcha, fruity teas and soju. The tea will be served and they will show you how to pour it, because there’s a specific way to do so. I definitely recommend this place for the authentic experience, as well as the small terrace garden at the entrance. If you do choose to go during the summer, they have a lack of air conditioning. Just be aware of that.
This semi-hidden part of the village is right across from the viewpoint mentioned earlier. All you have to do is go up this giant staircase and across a pedestrian friendly overpass. I will warn you that the mural village is super hilly, it basically inclines all the way up. But the artwork will definitely be worth the leg day that you’re about to experience. There’s a mix of old art depicting ancient history. In addition to modern-art that references popular movies and TV shows from all over the world. Get your camera out for the insta-worthy murals.
This is very accessible outside of the village and provides a spectacular, panoramic view overlooking the village and the mountains that surround it. It’s a little bit of a hike to get to this point, thankfully there are stairs to climb. You can get some really gorgeous photos and it only takes 5 minute to walk up it.
A hanok is a village with very traditional Korean houses. I have only been to one hanok village before, which was in Seoul. However, the one in Jeonju completely blew me away. There was so much more to it, and it takes time to get through. It has a variety of shops, restaurants, street food, and hanbok rental shops. You can rent this traditional Korean clothing for 10,000-15,000 won ($8-$12 USD) for up to three hours. During my visit, I saw many girls and guys walking around the village in these extravagant garments and taking pictures. I would definitely be mindful of the seasons, because in the summer those things can drench you in sweat.
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