Search This Blog

Saturday, December 6, 2014

[Jeonju, South Korea Tour Itinerary] Hanok Village (Jeonju Hanok Maul/Traditional Korean Village/전주 한옥마을)


Traveling to Jeonju is great! I like to escape Seoul life from time to time, get away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Seoul.

Jeonju is arguably the food capital of South Korea and has a lot to offer in terms of traditional Korean culture activities and sights. It is famous for its Hanok Village (Traditional Korean Village), which is full of traditional Korean architecture and you can learn about traditional arts and crafts, daily life, and music.

Jeonju is about 3 hours from Seoul via bus (from Express Bus Terminal).
Tickets vary in price based on which comfort level of bus you take, it's typically much less than 20,000KRW, but the prices do vary based on time and other conditions.

Tutorial: How to use free WiFi on Seoul subways
Korean Shopping Tips
Other Korea Travel Itineraries


To get to the bus terminal, follow the signs from the subway station. You should follow signs to Central Terminal. When you come up the escalator, you should be in a very brightly lit area. On one side you will have the department store and on the other side will be the bus gates and a Café Pascucci.

Look around for the ticketing window for Jeonju. When I was there, it was on the left-hand side.
Get in line and tell the agent how many tickets you will need. She will give you the options of buses available...for example, deluxe express or regular express. You just need to choose if you would rather leave earlier or later or if you would rather go for the cheapest price.

After you finish, you can go around and get some snacks or something for the road. I typically stop at Paris Baguette for some coffee and maybe some bread.

On the bus:
After you get on the bus, the driver will check your ticket, etc. There will be one stop at a rest area between Seoul and Jeonju. Make sure you make mental note about where your bus is parked. There are often many buses going in the same route and for some reason, they always park right next to each other!
If you've never been to a Korean rest area, you're in for a treat! They are quite expansive and a lot different from American rest areas, even ones with restaurant options.

There will be sit-down cafes, convenience stores, and Korean cafeteria-style eats. But, my favorite are the food windows on the outside of the center that serve hot foods that you can typically only get at the rest areas.

I always get the little bread/cake balls filled with red bean paste in the shape of walnuts. It's like a rite of passage for going on a road trip. Another favorite of mine are the potatoes. You get a cup of roasted potatoes for about $3.

In Jeonju:
From the bus terminal, you have two options to get to the village. You can either take a bus or a taxi.
I usually take a taxi because it's faster. Since Jeonju is such a small town, the price difference is negligible, especially if you are splitting the fare.

Tell the taxi driver: hanok maul ga juseyo
Or else, you can get a hanok map from the visitor center and show him or else ask for free translation.

Sample itinerary:
Depart at 8AM; Arrive at Jeonju Hanok Village at 11AM

Lunch options: THERE ARE SO MANY!
Jeonju bibimbap - Jeonju is famous for bibimbop. I have eaten it at multiple places and it's good, but I tend to eat other food when I go to Jeonju since you can easily find Jeonju bibimbop in Seoul.

Jeonju kongnamul gookbap - My friend's hometown is Jeonju and she highly recommends eating kongnamul gookbap, rather than bibimbap. This is kind of hard to explain. It is a hot soup (gook/guk) of bean sprouts (kongnamul) and rice (bap), topped with green onions and some red pepper flakes. It may not seem like it is very flavorful when you just hear the name, but it is so good and it is great, especially on a cold or rainy day.

I highly recommend going to get ddeokgalbi, marinated ground pork (Jeonju style), formed into a patty and served with a large array of side dishes.

Gyodong Ddeokgalbi (Lunch set menu 11AM-3PM – Ddeokgalbi + Doenjang-guk + Rice + Naengmyun 13,000W) (http://eatstretchexplore.blogspot.com/2014/06/jeonju-gyodong-dduk-galbi.html)

Jeonju Makkeolli - Jeonju is famous for makeolli, Korean fermented rice wine, and dongdongju. If you ever want to try some traditional alcohol, Jeonju is the place to do it.

Hanok Touring; can also see all of hanok village from the Omokdae
There are a ton of cute shops that sell traditional crafts and handiworks. They will all be seen on your tourist map.
You can also visit the tourist center right after the taxi driver drops you off. The center workers are very friendly and will recommend some great spots for you to see.

You can go to the hanji, Korean paper, museum, and learn how hanji was made, what it is used for, and, if you are artistically-inclined, make some art with your own hanji. If you are like me, and are not very good at art, you can also buy papercrafts in the shop.

There is a fan museum, where you can learn about Korean fans and take a look at a bunch of historical fans.

Korean traditional alcohol museum - You can learn about how soju, makeolli, and other Korean alcohol is made and see various serving vessels, etc.

Café Tomorrow:

View from Café Tomorrow.
Serves typical café fare (coffee, smoothies, waffles, tea). There is seating indoors and also an outdoor balcony seating area with this great view of the hanok.












Mojung kkwabaegi (kkwabaegi means a twisted breadstick; these are handmade and fresh)

These are so YUMMY!










On the way to Gaeksagil you can try the original chocopie - the chocolate cookies filled with marshmallow crème.
I don't think I have a picture. The last time I was there, the line was SO long!!

Dinner time: Yetchon Makkeolli
Jeonju is really well known for makkeolli (Korean rice wine).
Yetchon is great, but to get here you will need to take a taxi.
Get into the taxi and tell the driver "yet chon makkeolli ga juseyo."
Or else call the restaurant's phone number and have the taxi driver get directions: 010-6747-5477


After dinner, take a taxi back to the express bus terminal.

Shopping list: Make sure you bring back some souvenirs.

I always make sure to bring back moju (모주). This is a really traditional Korean alcohol. It's not very strong and has a very unique flavor, it is a mix of jujube, cinnamon, and ginger. Since it has such a low alcohol content, people drink it for its medicinal properties.

Moju is only available for purchase in Jeonju, but it's available all over the hanok village, most easily on the side of the main street or at the alcohol shop outside the alcohol museum.

I also always bring back some of the twisted bread or else the original chocopie for my friends.

Papercrafts (you can decorate your own)

Korean lacquer boxes or pottery

Tutorial: How to use free WiFi on Seoul subways
Korean Shopping Tips
Other Korea Travel Itineraries

Recommended travel books:

If you are traveling to Korea, while English is often available on signs and at tourist destinations, it may be wise to know a few phrases since oftentimes the staff at restaurants and other tourist destinations, bus stations, do not know English well. I have looked over multiple Korean phrasebooks and I recommend the Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook & Dictionary for its small size (makes it great to carry around) and its ease of use.


If you are planning on staying only in Seoul, I would recommend getting a travel book that is solely about Seoul. Top 10 Seoul (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide) is great! It has color photos, great maps, and is also very compact, making it a great travel companion.
It gives you a feel of all the different neighborhoods and districts of Seoul and a brief overview of what each district is known and how the  city is laid out to help you plan the most efficient and fun trip!


I definitely recommend, if you get the chance, to get out of Seoul and really explore Korea. Each province and city has its own feel and personality. Plus, the country is about the size of Indiana and transportation options abound, so traveling around is definitely do-able.


Choosing the best country guide was a little more difficult for me. I am typically a Lonely Planet fan, but I found their guide to not be quite as current as this Frommer's guide.

Having an up-to-date guide is very important in Korea since things can literally change overnight!  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...