If you are looking for Korea’s traditional food and historic buildings, Jeonju City plays your tune. It is a city located in the middle of North Jeolla Province, the region well-known for its culture and tradition specifically Hanok, Hanji (Korean traditional paper) and Bibimbap. It is pretty far away from Seoul yet it only takes two to three hours from Seoul to Jeonju.
Chang Yeop Sung of Team Seouldiers gives us a visual tour of Jeonju City through this blog.
If you take the bus, the travel takes roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes. Jeonju City also offers traditional style accommodations at prices ranging from 50,000 won to 70,000 won.
What caught my eyes in the first place was this grayish bridge with a Korean traditional rooftop on it over a tranquil river. It is called “Namcheongyo” and I’ve never seen this kind of bridge before.
It was a pure surprise for me to see this structure because of its Western style even when it is located near a Hanok Village. I could barely see the tip of this Catholic Church from Hanok Village. I realized that this structure is known as Jeondong Catholic Church and it also partly contributes to the history of Joseon Dynasty when it was built in honor of roman Catholic martyrs in 1914.
It is similar to Namdaemun in Seoul but the design is a bit different. This is the only one left among the four gates in Jeonju and it’s called “Pungnammun.” Around it is a circular road with various number of shops.
Near Pungnammun is a shrine called “Gyeonggijeon.” It enshrines portraits of the Kings of Joseon Dynasty like King Taejo of Joseon and King Sejong the Great. It displays annals of Joseon Dynasty and the King’s portraits. The ticket only costs 1,000 won for adults – it’s around 40 pesos.
This time, I went to Hanok Village located beside Gyeonggijeon. I found a lot of traditionally-designed houses and shops selling Korean food and desserts. I found out that there is no clear boundary between the village and the exterior. I saw a store that looks like a house with a grass roof. It sells galbi on a wooden skewer. I tried one and the taste was fairly good. I noticed that there are a number of shops selling various fruit beers such as pomelo beer and lemon beer. They also have a shop selling grilled octopus on a skewer – a perfect snack to go along with beer !
When I visited the Hanok Village, it was a weekday and a sunny day in the afternoon, too, so I was not expecting this many people. It was a traditional village yet I found the village very modernized and beautiful with a lot of decorations and flowers. I ate Korean dumplings, mandu and a handmade choco pie. I recommend buying only few of those because it was relatively expensive.
Over the wall I found Korean totems – Jangseung and traditional jars.If you are tired of walking in the village, you can take a rest in Omokdae located on top of a hill beside Hanok Village. This place is where Yi-Seong Gye (who became King Taejo) celebrated his victory over Japanese invaders at the end of Goryeo Dynasty. I was able to feel the cold breeze of air on my face and rested like a baby. The view from the way down from Omokdae was wow-worthy.
Lastly, Jeonju’s famous Korean dish, Bibimbap, was ready. This is not an ordinary Bibimbap, it’s a yukhoe bibimbap on a bowl made of brass! It comes out with an ordinary bibimbap + yukhoe. Yukhoe is raw beef seasoned with various sauces.
It was tiring to visit this place and look around for sightseeing and eating but it was really worthy and memorable! The travel was enough for day trip but Hanok Village in Jeonju is also attractive at nighttime!