Jeonju South Korea – Jeonju is a charming city that I visited during my last trip to South Korea. It is located in the central west part of the country and is known for being a food lovers’ city much appreciated by locals. The dolsot bibimbap is Jeonju’s specialty dish and is also my favorite Korean dish! 🙂
But Jeonju is not just about food; it has many interesting places you can visit and this blog post is about some of them! Let’s start with some transport and accommodation tips first then tour the city together!
How To Get There
If you’re traveling to Jeonju from Seoul, you only have to take the Korean high-speed train (KTX) to get to your destination. The trip lasts a little less than 2 hours and the train ticket costs 34,600 won in economy class or about $29. You can check train schedules here.
If you plan on traveling by train quite frequently in South Korea, you can buy the Korail Pass online to save money on transportation costs.
I went to Jeonju from Andong and the most convenient means of transport was the bus. Once in Daejeon though, I had to switch buses to get to Jeonju. Here is my Andong – Daejeon bus ticket. As you can see, the ticket price is 12,500 won or about $10.5.
I then switched buses in Daejeon to go to the Jeonju bus station here. This trip costs 7,800 won or about $6.5. Here is my bus ticket for the Daejeon – Jeonju trip.
When it comes to accommodation, if you are looking for a friendly hostel, not too expensive and located near everything you can possibly want to visit, I recommend booking at Blue Boat Hostel Jeonju. I spent one night in a Blue Boat hostel in Gyeongju too and it went really well in both cities. 🙂 Great facilities, nice atmosphere, and reasonable prices! The manager is also very friendly; she can help you organize your Jeonju tour if you like!
If you are looking for a more traditional type of hotel, you can try Samlockhon Guesthouse. It is a traditional hanok-style Korean inn, located in the traditional Jeonju (Hanok Maeul) district which is mentioned below.
I’m sure you will appreciate the Korean architecture and the Korean way of living during your stay in Samlockhon. Sleeping in a hanok-style hostel is a special experience that I recommend you try at least once in South Korea. Make sure to book early though; Samlockhon Guesthouse sells out pretty quickly.
If you are after more traditional houses in Korea, feel free to read this article: Best hanok in Korea.
Finally, if you’re not much into hostels, you can also book a more conventional hotel like the Ramada by Wyndham Jeonju for example.
Jeonju’s Specialty Dish: The Bibimbap!
As I said earlier, Jeonju is a very popular city among foodies. There are excellent restaurants and the main specialty of the region is the dolsot bibimbap. I tried it for the first time in Tokyo, Japan with a French friend of mine and I loved it.
Bibimbap is actually a rice dish with a meat and vegetable stir-fry. The origin of the word “bibimbap” comes from the words “rice” and “mix” in Korean. I particularly liked the little spicy sauce that gives an absolutely incredible taste to the dish. It’s a little hot but you get used to it pretty quickly. 🙂
What’s even better than bibimbap is dolsot bibimbap which is nothing more than a bibimbap served in a hot stone bowl. The great thing about it is that it keeps the dish at a good temperature as you’re eating it. Some rice grains are also grilled on the stone bowl which adds crispiness to the bibimbap.
To enjoy a bibimbap dish in Jeonju, I recommend the famous restaurant Hanguk-jip. It is located here. Stay away from the usual lunch or dinner times and you will avoid crowds and long waiting lines. I usually have lunch a bit late so I went there at 3 PM and there was no around!
FYI, a dish costs about 11,000 won so about $9. I think there are also meatless options for vegetarians.
The PNB Bakery in Jeonju
Speaking of food, I would also like to tell you about the PNB Bakery, which is very popular in Jeonju and South Korea in general. I’d buy the cakes you see below for breakfast and I got hooked! : D Here is the bakery’s address.
What to visit in Jeonju
Tips aside, let’s go over the 10 places I liked most in Jeonju. The great thing about the city is that you can literally walk to all the places I’m going to be mentioning. Even if it is possible to visit these 10 places in one day, I recommend you stay 2 days in Jeonju to take your time and enjoy this very pleasant city.
- Gyeonggijeon Shrine
- Jeondong Cathedral
- The Pungnammun Gate
- The Nambu Market
- Wansan Park
- The Namcheon Bridge
- Jeonju Hyanggyo
- The village of Jaman and its murals
- The Hanok Maeul Village
Jeonju South Korea #1 – Gyeonggijeon Shrine
Entrance fee: 3000 won or $2.5
Opening hours: 9 AM to 7 PM
Gyeonggijeon Shrine is one a must-see attraction in Jeonju. It was built in 1410 back when the Joseon Dynasty ruled over Korea and can be considered a rare portrait of King Taejo who founded that dynasty. Joseon dominated Korea until 1910! The shrine is an enjoyable monument to visit with beautiful wooden buildings and a nice museum.
Jeonju South Korea #2 – Jeondong Cathedral
The beautiful Jeondong Cathedral is not far from Gyeonggijeon Shrine. This beautiful red brick building was built by the French priest François-Xavier Baudounet at the beginning of the 20th century. The cathedral’s location wasn’t randomly chosen: many Korean Christians were martyred there.
This story reminded me a bit of the Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs in Nagasaki, Japan.
Spot #3 – The Pungnammun Gate
The Pungnammun Gate is one of the gateways to Jeonju. The Pungnammun Gate is the southern gate of the city; it was built in 1768, during the Joseon rule. It is the only one of four gates to have remained intact even though it had been damaged during the Japanese invasion.
Jeonju South Korea #4 – Nambu Market
Nambu Market is the main market of Jeonju. If you go there in the morning, a pleasant and dynamic atmosphere will welcome you. You can buy clothes, furniture but also fish, fruits and vegetables there. Part of the market is covered, the rest of it is outdoors.
These Soju bottles kind of surprised me though, I thought they had pretty suggestive caps. 🙂
Jeonju South Korea #5 – Wansan Park
I was lucky to have been to South Korea during the spring which means it was that flowery time of the year and of course cherry blossom season. The best spot to enjoy those beautiful pink colors in Jeonju is undoubtedly Wansan Park. You’ll have to climb a steep slope to get there but it’s really worth it. You will dive into a mindblowing multicolored universe!
Spot #6 – Namcheon Bridge
The Namcheon Bridge is a lovely structure that spans the Jeonjucheon River. I recommend you cross the bridge then walk along this river to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Jeonju South Korea #7 – Jeonju Hyanggyo
“Hyanggyo” means “school” in Korean and Jeonju Hyanggyo was the main school in Jeonju. It was built on the Gyeonggijeon Shrine site I mentioned earlier, but following the Japanese invasion, the site was destroyed and the school was rebuilt in another part of the city.
The Jeonju Hyanggyo is actually a Confucian school and home to a beautiful portrait of the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Jeonju South Korea #8 – The village of Jaman and its murals
If you do travel to South Korea, you will come across many villages and districts that have been transformed into works of art! The Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan is one of them! This initiative is actually aimed at improving the attractiveness of some rather poor neighborhoods in South Korea. It worked really well in Busan but I didn’t see many tourists in Jaman. I’d say it’s all the more reason to go there and support the local people. 🙂
Spot #9 – Omokdae
Omokdae is a charming historic site located in the mountains facing the village of Jaman. It was the place Yi Seong-gye (future King Taejo and founder of the Joseon Dynasty at the time) chose to celebrate one of his victories against the Japanese army.
It is home to some pretty wooden structures and offers a breathtaking view of the traditional village of Jeonju I’m going to tell you about in a minute.
Jeonju South Korea #10 – Hanok Maeul Village
Last but not least on this list is probably one of the most popular attractions of Jeonju. It’s the Hanok Maeul village, which is Jeonju’s traditional district basically. You can rent traditional Korean clothes and walk around the neighborhood! Renting a hanbok (Korean traditional dress) costs around 10,000 won or about $8.
It also has restaurants, cafes and lots of other cool shopping stores. You can even have a chat with a fortune teller there if you’re interested! 🙂
Our visit to the city of Jeonju is over, friends. This is definitely a destination to add to your plans if you’re traveling to South Korea soon. 🙂
If you have any comment or question about this blog post, leave it in the comment section below.
Have a great trip to South Korea and see you around for new adventures in Asia. 😉