Spend a day walking back in time! Jeonju Hanok Village with its 700 traditional Korean houses is one of the best-preserved living traditional villages. Beside its beautiful hanoks, Jeonju is also famous for hanji paper and its delicious cuisine.
Jeonju is located in the Jeolla province around 200 kilometers south of Seoul. The Hanok Village on the southern part of the city of Jeonju is a well preserved area of more than 700 historical hanoks. Just take a walk in the streets and enjoy the serene atmosphere!
Among the highlights, don’t forget to visit the Gyeonggijeon Shrine built in 1410. This beautiful shrine and its garden have been used as a filming site for many historical dramas and movies. Another place not to be missed is Jeonju Hyanggyo, a Confucian school established in the early 17th century.
We really enjoyed our time walking among the hanok village’s narrow streets and alleyways, having a look at handicraft workshops and artisan shops and of course tasting Jeonju’s delicious local food.
As a Slow city, Jeonju Hanok Village promotes a high-quality environment and healthy eating based on locally grown and prepared food. You will surely be tempted by many traditional restaurants, beautiful coffee shops and teahouses.
We visited during a hot summer weekend and spent a wonderful half-day exploring the village. If the weather is too hot, we recommend taking a break and treating yourself with a Patbingsu (the best Korean summer dessert: shaved ice with red bean paste). On the main street, there is a stream with fresh water running on the side walk and also a fountain in the centre. The kids loved jumping in and splashing out!
Jeonju Express Bus Terminal → Jeonju Hanok Village
* Take Bus 5-1 from the bus stop located 150m away from the taxi stand on the opposite side of the street (towards Inter-city bus terminal direction).
(Bus runs every 15 minutes / Travel time: around 15 minutes).
Take Bus 79 from the bus stop in front of the terminal main gate.
(Runs every 25 minutes / Travel time: around 15 minutes).
Take a walk in a charming park full of sculptures, let the kids run around and enjoy a picnic on the grass. Gonjiam Ceramic Park and Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum are perfect on a sunny day less than one hour of drive from Seoul
Gwangju Gonjiam Ceramic Park
This peaceful green park was built in 2001 as one of the venues for the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale. It is a theme ceramic park located right at the Gonjiam Exit from Jungbu Expressway. It’s a vast area of greenery divided in different sections. Just explore by yourself the traditional wood-firing kiln, the Expo Sculpture Park, the traditional Korean Garden and the beautiful Spanish Sculpture Park. There is also a trail running all around the park for those who want to enjoy a nice panoramic view from the top of the hills.
At the time of our visit (june 2014), the eastern part of the park unfortunately seemed a little bit oldish and not really maintained. This is particularly the case of the Children Playground which is closed now.
The main sections of the park though are still very enjoyable and provide a beautiful place for a weekend family walk and picnic. Those areas were more recently refreshed for the last biennale in 2013.
Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum (경기도자박물관)
Located in the centre of the park, Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum lays on the former site where ceramics were produced for the Royal households of the Joseon Dynasty for 400 years. There are two main exhibitions – first one exhibits traditional ceramics from the Joseon Dynasty and the second contemporary exhibition shows the works by modern artists. The museum holds also special exhibitions focused on the culture and history of Korea’s traditional ceramics.
Jeju Island is arguably the jewel crown of South Korea. A beautiful volcanic island, just 1-hour flight away from Seoul, Jeju offers a unique variety of landscapes, pristine beaches, numerous local attractions as well as a specific blend of culture. A Mediterranean feel right in Korea!
Jeju Province is one of the nine provinces of South Korea, located in the Korean Strait – south of the peninsula. Jeju is a volcanic island, dominated by the South Korean highest mountain Halla-san (1,950 metres high). The island measures approximately 70 kilometres from East to West, and 40 kilometres from North to South.
Given its size and the variety of attractions, the island is best enjoyed for a long weekend and we recommend renting a car. This is a fantastic and easy-to-book getaway option for a few days of break. Just beware that during the main Korean holidays and summer season, air tickets and accommodations are quickly sold out or more expensive.
Western side sunset
Among places we visited and loved, we would particularly recommend:
Eoseungsaengak trail: an easy hike on Halla-san’s sister mountain, smaller yet already culminating at 1,169 meters high
Hallim Botanical Park and its neighbouring white-sand beaches
Enjoying Jungmun’s resorts area and its golden-sand beach
Marvelling at Seongsan Ilchulbong, the “Sunrise peak”, a mysterious volcanic formation surrounded by the sea.
Heukdoeji black pig BBQ
Jungmun beach view from Hyatt hotel
Of course, there is so much more to love in Jeju than the above list: yummy seafood harvested by the Jeju’s grandma-divers “haenyeo”; delicious Black Pig BBQ (“heuk-doe-ji”); the sweetest Hallabong oranges; beautiful beaches; meadows and volcanoes panorama; etc.
In fact, you will certainly need to visit several times to discover more. We hope that this short highlights list will provide a proper guidance for first time visitors. To be continued and expanded after our next trips to beautiful Jeju Island.