Jeonju is a really small city so it’s a nice, relaxing place to visit for a short weekend trip. Take your time enjoying all the sites in the culturally and historically rich ‘spiritual capital’ of Korea. There will be lots of eating on this trip so remember to get you tummies ready!
We started out early Saturday morning and caught the 6:00AM express bus from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal (서울고속버스터미날). Tickets were ₩12,000 per person which is average for the normal express bus. Jeonju is under the Honam line for express buses and should be connected to the Shinsegae mall. If you’re unsure, just ask the ticket counter or any workers! Jeonju takes about two hours to get to from Seoul.
Leaving the Jeonju Express Terminal, we rode the bus (Naver or Daum maps would be helpful in Jeonju where there is no subway) to our hostel, Jean’s Hostel. The hostel is a nice and clean place although bedding is lacking. It’s near the famous Jeonju Hanok Village and pretty much everything you need to see in Jeonju so I would recommend staying here or any other places near this location. If possible, booking a hanok stay would be even better (we booked too late so there were no more spots open).
Lunch at Gajok Huigwan (전주 가족회관)
One of the most famous foods from Jeonju is the Jeonju Bibimbap (there’s even a triangle kimbap with that flavor). This restaurant was recommended to us by our hostel and features only two menu options. One is the normal bibimbap for ₩12,000 and the other is the raw beef (yookhoe/육회) bibimbap for ₩15,000. The meal comes with delicious steamed egg and a huge variety of side dishes. The restaurant is located on the second floor but there should be a really large sign outside with its name.
Jeondong Cathedral (전동성당)
A large cathedral built in the 1900s with a Romanesque architecture, Jeondong Cathedral is worth a visit. It’s considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Korea.
Gyeonggijeon Palace (경기전)
If you’re a fan of sageuk dramas and have had your share of Joseon ones, you should know that the reigning family of the Joseon dynasty were the ‘Lee’ or ‘이’ family-specfically the Jeonju Lee’s. The Gyeonggijeon Palace is not exactly a palace but more of a family shrine. Every first Saturday of September (if I remember correctly…I don’t even remember the dates we went…I’m terrible), the family gathers to worship their ancestors here. The palace is closed then in the morning, but is open by noon. When we went, we happened upon them while entering a normally closed part of the shrine (with the tour guide of course, so it wasn’t technically our fault) and had an awkward stare down with them.
Free English tours are available at different times of the day (every one to two hours) and are highly recommended. Ours was at 2pm and without our fun and knowledgeable tour guides we wouldn’t have known that bamboos can act as a fire alarm or that our prince Bogummie filmed Love in the Moonlight here. Cue us squealing over a door and our tour guide saying that she’s too old for this.
Jaman Mural Village (자만벽화마을)
At the edge of the Hanok Village, there will be a bridge that connects the area to the Jaman Mural Village which offers a panoramic view of Jeonju.
Nambu Market (남부시장)
Nambu Market is one of the largest ‘traditional’ markets in Jeonju and every Saturday night, they have a little international food festival with a multitude of stands serving food from all over Asia. If it’s not a Saturday, the night market still offers a lot of options and there are also plenty of tasty restaurants there to choose from.
Day 2 is basically a relaxing day in the Jeonju Hanok Village, eating your way through all the restaurants and stores.
Here’s a short list of places and things to check out in the village.
Dawoorang (다우랑): Famous mandu place in Jeonju. I recommend going earlier in the day to avoid the line.
Hanbok Rental: Lots of options and prices around the area. The hanok village is the perfect place to take pictures!
PNB Confectionary (풍년제과): Get the Jeonju styled chocopie!
길거리아 바게트: A tasty baguette place in the hanok village.
교동다원: Hidden in an alley in the village, this traditional tea house is an escape from the busy streets full of tourists.
Learn about traditional Korean paper making techniques!
Omokdae & Imokdae
Similar to Gyeonggijeon Palace, Omokdae and Imokdae are memorials to the Lee family’s accomplishments.
Jeonju, like Seoul, features a lot of cute and unique cafes for you to relax at when you can no longer walk. When in season, you should definitely check out cafes that offer strawberry drinks and desserts! We spend out Saturday night after Nambu Market chilling at a quiet cafe.