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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jeonju Free Foreigner Shuttle Bus: Update #2

So, finally went on the free foreigner shuttle bus.
This is my experience, but it may differ depending on the day. Well, it will definitely differ depending on the day you travel. Some of what happened was definitely...UNIQUE, or I should hope it is unique.


My friend and I met in front of the duty-free store as directed at about 7:45AM.
I was a little early. I arrived around 7:40ish. This is a very popular meeting spot for tours.
The foreigner shuttle will definitely be hard to miss. It's very garishly decorated with some crazy bus wrap and definitely says foreigner shuttle on it.
It did not arrive until 7:55.

We departed a bit late. It is listed as an 8:00AM departure, but we definitely left about 8:05AM.

The traffic on the expressway was crazy. Very strange considering it wasn't an especially nice weekend weather-wise, nor was it a holiday weekend.

The bus driver got super annoyed and went off-road. By that, I mean, we somehow ended up going way the heck around in the Korean countryside, taking back roads, etc.

This was not cool and was definitely something that should never have happened. The bus driver started swearing and was very road rage-y because of traffic.

Had it been an express bus, there would be no way he would take us off course.

There are few things that frighten me, but being kidnapped in a foreigner tour bus is apparently one of those things. I definitely thought we were being taken.

The usually 3.5 hour ride, turned into about 5.5~6 hours.

Some old lady had to go to the bathroom about 1 hour into our trip and they stopped the bus at a stop that was far too early in the journey. So, we definitely did not stop halfway to our destination...

We didn't arrive until about 1:30PM~2PM. 

This did not leave much time for the Hanok Village touring, etc.

The bus now drops you off quite far from the Hanok Village. Previously, you were dropped off at the hotel in the village, but now there is a museum parking log you are dropped off in...about a 10 minute walk from the village.

I would NOT recommend taking this bus. Even though it saves you some money, the risks were not worth the less than 40k saved.

Plus, the departure time does not allow you to take advantage of all the food to be had in Jeonju.

The short time was actually okay for touring. The Hanok Village became heavily commercialized and now it is not a relaxing day trip. Instead, it's overrun by foreign and domestic tourists and there are far too many chain stores in the village now.


Check out things to do in Jeonju!

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.
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!  

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