Most of Korea is accessible for day trips from Seoul if you get up early, are going to a place that has a KTX station, and are prepared for a long day. We had an amazing day trip to Jeonju, but definitely plan to stay at least a couple of days next time we visit.
Once we reached town we stopped for an early lunch at a famous Bibimbap restaurant and then headed towards the Jeonju Hanok Heritage Village.
On the way we passed the beautiful Pungnammun Gate which is in the middle of a traffic circle. It is well worth a short break to take a few photos as it is the only surviving Jeonju city gate. Like many of the older buildings in Korea it has undergone restoration. It is treasure no 308 if you’re recording how many treasures you’ve seen.
It was easy to spot where to go to next as the number of tourists dramatically increased as we neared the edges of the main tourist area. Jeondong Catholic Cathedral caught our eye and we headed towards it. Built around one hundred years ago in the Romanesque style, with a bit of Byzantine mixed in, it commemorates the deaths of several Korean martyrs in the waning days of the Joseon Dynasty. It is a beautiful building both inside and out, but make sure to only go inside when you’re allowed to do so as it is still a working church.
It is now a popular photo site for all the tourists who have rented hanbok for the day. At times I felt that by wearing regular clothes I was actually the odd one out as there were so many people wearing Korean traditional dress. (The costumes for rent and the hairstyles here looked better than some of the ones I’d seen in Seoul.)
We passed by Gyeonggijeon Shrine after checking what times the various English speaking tours began. With just enough time we headed up the hill towards Omokdae and Imokdae. Passing beautiful flower beds, multiple food places, and costume and bike rental places on the way we left some of the crowds behind us.
Omokdae and Imokdae are a short trek, either following the road and then a side path, or by a steep set of wooden stairs. Both ways are steep, but worth it, particularly for the views over the Hanok village.
Omokdae is the larger pavilion.
And then there is a smaller pavilion which many people identify as Imokdae. There is, however, another small pavilion just across the street towards Jaman village that other people also say is Imokdae? So go see all three and cover your bases. All of them are basically commemorative buildings, in particular Omokdae for the victory of the then Yi Seong Gye, later to become King Taejo first king of Joseon Dynasty over some Japanese invaders.
Back down to the Hanok village to grab a drink before heading to our guided tour of Gyeonggijeon Shrine.
This amazing private house was across from the cafe and we were amazed watching a gardener hard at work pruning the trees into those lovely shapes.
We strolled down a few quiet side streets before getting to the busy main street. Lots of little shops and boutiques tucked into Hanok buildings made for an interesting walk and we arrived back at Gyeonggijeon Shrine just in time for our tour which I’ll cover in part 2.
Have a great day everyone.
Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation. All photo credits to Elizabeth and Debora Marzec.