Jeonju (전주)

Korea, is a country, which depends quite a bit on its tourism industry. Which is why, they are constantly developing its other cities to tourism-based cities as well. It is precisely because of that, that they want more foreigners to visit more than just Seoul. So many benefits are offered for foreigners in Korea.
One of the better benefits, is the free shuttle bus, offered by VisitKorea.
Via the bus,foreigners get to visit two cities, Jeonju or Busan for free.
For people wanting to travel out of Seoul to other main cities,this is something you definitely should not miss out. Not only would you get on a deluxe bus,it is also for free!
Just log on to the website and apply for either the Jeonju bus-line or Busan one (I used both by the way!no choice,poor exchange student trying to save as much as i can :P!)
So,speaking of that,last April,I traveled to Jeonju over the weekends for free (:
Jeonju,is a city located in Jeolla province in Korea.
To put it simply, Korea can be divided into two halves,Gyeongsangbuk and Jeollabuk-do
And according to my teacher, Jeollabuk-do is where all the good and more flavorful food are because of past historical and geographical reasons.
Which comes as no surprise, when you google Jeonju, all that comes up is its Bibimbap!
Anyway,we didn’t head there specifically for its food.Rather,we were expecting to see cherry blossoms as Jeonju was much warmer than Seoul at that time.In addition to that, Jeonju is also famous for its Hanok village, a collection of the olden-style houses of Korea.
So with much expectations,we headed off to Jeonju at 8am, from Seoul. The journey takes approximately 3 hours with one rest-stop.
According to the Official Korean Tourism website,there are a lot to do in Jeonju.We only had a day-trip time though,so had to choose only those that mattered most :/
The bus dropped us off,right in the Hanok village,and we immediately scattered off to explore it.
Rather than residential,the Hanok Village seems purely for tourists as there are many shops and carts set up along the streets specially selling Jeonju handicrafts and foods.
The village may look small,but the roads are actually really long and lead off to many other places.
Outskirts of Hanok Village
Jeonju Hanok Village
So i strongly recommend taking a picture of a landmark where you alighted from the free bus. Because if you are in Jeonju for a day-trip,you would have to take the bus again from the same place.
Also,get your hands on a map of the Hanok village asap. We spent hours walking in circles because we could not find the way.You won’t want to waste time like that.
Cherry blossom

True enough,we got to witness the cherry blossoms of Jeonju while strolling down the Hanok village. Jeonju has more than just food and traditional houses to offer to tourists. Its nature sights are also worth spending a bit of your time to walk around and experience it.

Bamboo forest
crd: Facebook
If you want to explore more of Jeonju, it is actually possible to book a room in one of the houses in the Hanok village. there are many guest-houses available!!
Like I have mentioned earlier, bibimbap is THE food of Jeonju. They are famous for being the place where bibimbap is born.Hence,there is a definite need to at least try a bit of Jeonju’s bibimbap here.
Beware though,unlike the other bibimbap in Seoul,the price doesn’t come cheap.For the authentic bibimbap,it is 12,000 won.
We choose the bibimbap place that was highly recommended as the most authentic taste in Jeonju (가죽회관). They even patent the name ‘Jeonju Bibimbap” because of its very authentic taste!!
The side dishes offered

crd:Bernetta’s Facebook

Jeonju Bibimbap
I can only say,the taste is special,different from the usual bibimbap and the side dishes are especially~special.
you just have to try it for yourself (:
Another specialty of Jeonju,is its handicraft, specifically, Hanji paper.
If you were to come at the right time, you would actually get the opportunity to hand-make hanji paper for yourself!But unfortunately,we weren’t able to that.
That being said,looking at the making process and the end product itself, was enough to compensate for the experience we missed out.
The small house we went to, was full with Hanji paper and all of them seemed ‘fresh from the oven’.
I would buy them though if i was into handicraft (Candy bought like quite a few pieces), because they are all so pretty.

Hanji Paper
We were about to head back for the bus,when we saw there happens to be a lantern making session going on at the ‘community centre’ of Jeonju.
So very luckily,we got to hand-make, traditional wish lanterns that were to be use for a festival in Jeonju during end April.
At least we managed to hand-make something in the town of handicrafts!
Lantern making
While not a major shopping area like Seoul, Jeonju is a small city worth visiting if you are truly interested in understanding Korea,more than just its surface.
What’s more to not head there for a day trip if you know that all your transportation fees are covered!!
I wouldn’t say it is exactly a “must-visit’ place in Korea, but if you have spare time on hand for just a day-trip, why not make it worthwhile by exploring more than simply Seoul?
It comes along with authentic Bibimbap as well (:
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