Rich history and culture, check. Amazing traditional Korean food, check. Beautiful architecture, check. If this sounds like your definition of an ideal day trip out of Seoul, Jeonju is where you should be heading to next.
Located just three hours down South from Seoul, Jeonju is easily accessible via train or bus though I would recommend taking the express buses since they are not much slower but cost significantly less. These buses run really regularly as well so you need not stress about getting tickets beforehand.
The trick to covering all the major attractions in Jeonju within a day is to plan your route carefully, since all of them are clustered within walking distances from one another. I started at the Jeondong Catholic Cathedral before heading to Jeonju Hanok Village and ending at Jaman Mural Village.
Completed in 1914, this cathedral was built to honour the Roman Catholic martyrs who lost their lives at the exact same spot. It is famed as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country due to its unique combination of Byzantine and Romanesque architectural styles.
You will most likely see a lot of visitors (Koreans included) here so be prepared to unleash your inner kiasu-ness to fight it out for a picture at the most Insta-worthy spots.
Price: Admission is Free
Jeondong Cathedral (전동성당): 51, Taejo-ro, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do (전라북도 전주시 완산구 태조로 51) | Opening Hours: Refer here
The main attraction in Jeonju is definitely the Hanok Village and you can expect to see mass crowds of tourists all year round. While rapid modernisation has affected the rest of the city, this village retains its traditional charms with over 800 hanok houses here.
Walking along its picturesque streets, you will see lots of people fully dressed up in traditional Korean garments. To do the same, simply head into a costume rental shop (there are many located in the village) and choose one that takes your fancy.
This is something you should definitely try for a zhng-ed up experience that will make your trip to Jeonju even more memorable.
Price (Costume Rental): ₩5,000 – ₩10,000 (~S$6.20 – S$12.30)
Apart from its rich history and culture, Jeonju is also fondly known as the food capital of South Korea. Jeonju bibimbap is without a doubt a must-try but beyond that, the street food scene there is on a whole new level.
From the savoury steak-in-a-cup to sweet treats like strawberry red bean mochi and handmade ice cream, a leisurely stroll through the Hanok Village will satisfy all your cravings at once.
Something else that’s really popular among the young crowd is PNB’s handmade chocopies! Unlike those sold in departmental stores, these handmade ones are less dry, extra fluffy and come in a white chocolate version as well.
Instead of marshmallow, PNB fills each chocopie with strawberry jam and white cream, which was really to my liking. After all, with such a divine combination of strawberries and chocolate, what’s not to like?
Price: ₩1,600 per piece (~S$2)
PNB Bakery (풍년제과): 61-1 Eunhaeng-ro, Gyo-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do (전주시 완산구 은행로 61-1) | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 10pm
Before heading off, make sure to take a walk out to the periphery of the village for a view that will not disappoint. This is also a nice spot to catch a breather if the sheer number of people in the village is becoming a little too overwhelming.
Jeonju Hanok Village (전주한옥마을): 29, Eojin-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do (전라북도 전주시 완산구 어진길 29 일대) | Website
Located in the ridge between Omokdae and Imokdae along the foot of Seungamsan Mountain’s Jungbawi Rock, the walk up to Jaman Mural Village was fairly steep but after all that we ate at the Hanok Village, this climb was a necessary evil.
If you do need a break after that intense leg day, you are in good hands as there are quite a number of whimsical cafes around including one that allows you to have a play date with E.T. himself.
Being a fan of Studio Ghibli, imagine my excitement when I found murals of some of the animated films here! In addition to Totoro (my all-time favourite) and Spirited Away, you can find murals from other famous animations such as Kung Fu Panda and Doraemon too.
Jaman Mural Village (자만벽화마을): 1-10, Jamandong 1-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do | Opening Hours: All day
Planning a trip out of Seoul can be quite a hassle especially if time is not on your side, but this is no excuse to not get out there and explore what else South Korea has to offer beyond its major cities. An ideal destination for a day trip, Jeonju will surprise you with its quaint charms and laid-back city life.
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