Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Day Trip to Jeonju Hanok Village Where Old Meets New

Just when you thought that Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island are the only popular cities you can visit in Korea, wait till you read what I'm about to share. You might want to try squeezing in some time to visit Jeonju (전주), a place where old meets new in perfect harmony...naks!

Jeonju is a small city in the mid-western part of Korea. Before, it was considered as the spiritual capital during the Joseon Dynasty but now, based on what I know about the city, they are known for 3 aspects:

1. Hanok Village- A traditional Korean house
2. Jeonju Bibimbap (a mixed rice with chili paste) and
3. Hanjeongsik (한정식)- a traditional complete Korean meal aka side dish overload as in exagge haha :)
Going to Jeonju is easy but it requires long travel via bus so I suggest you book one whole day when you visit this place.
First, go to Nopo bus station to get your ticket. This direction is from Busan to Jeonju because we had an overnight stay in Busan the day before and Busan is closer to Jeonju compared to the proximity in Seoul.

From Busan to Jeonju it's about 2-3 hours ride but if your starting point is in Seoul, it will take you about 4-5 hours one way. That's why it is ideal to leave early in the morning and you have an option to just eat there and stroll for one whole day or opt for an overnight stay which is recommended by locals.
TIP: To those who want to stay overnight in Jeonju and wants a real "Korean culture immersion" then I suggest you stay in Public Saunas or "Jimjilbang". It's their version of a spa and wellness center but open for 24 hours. You can stay there to eat, sleep, and relax for about KWN 5,000 or PHP 200-250. But once you're inside you can't go out like in hotels so you just have to go there when it's time for sleeping. 

Also google the basic facilities of a Jimjilbang first so you know what to expect and if you're okay to stay for the night. Jimjilbangs don't have a bed, comfy pillows and blankets because it's a spa. They just have a clean floor with sleeping nooks or caves and usually wooden blocks as pillows haha but "keri na rin if tipid mode" ;)
Ticket for one way from Busan to Jeonju is KWN 23,700 or PHP 950. The bus seats are comfortable. Their "regular bus" is already the "upgraded" type when compared to the Philippine provincial buses. Not really lazy boy kind of chairs but comfy enough to move your legs and recline it. They don't overload passengers too so it's really a 1:1 seat. Make sure to be at the gates ON TIME because buses in Korea leave on the dot.
Once you arrive in Jeonju, you will see the bus terminal in the photo above. Upon alighting, look for a stairs going up and you'll see an information station. You may ask what bus number to take going to the Hanok Village but buses leave every 30 minutes so you'll save time if you ride the Taxi and Taxi fair is not expensive in Jeonju. We took the taxi as it took us only 20 minutes going to the village and it costs us KRW 5,000 or around Php 200.

You'll know you're in the area if you see this very big cathedral to your left. It's called the Jeongdong Cathedral (정동성당) and it is over a hundred years old. Too bad we didn't go inside and made a wish because in the Philippines, the elders say that if you visit a church for the first time, you can make a wish and it will come true :)

I also found out that this cathedral is the location shot for a movie called "Promise". So for the Koreanoblea addicts, better check this out. I have visited some K-Drama spots during my first visit in Korea and it was nice.
Festive spring flowers of Jeonju Hanok Village
You can do a lot in Jeonju like sightseeing, museum and temple hoping, shopping, Hanok viewing, and eating!

The ambiance in this particular tourist spot is so cozy and refreshing. It feels like you've been transported to the ancient times because of the architectures but at the same time it feels very very modern too! It's perfect for an afternoon stroll with the family and loved ones.
Most of the restaurants in the village looks like a traditional Korean house. There's an area where you can book a room and stay there for the night. Usually rooms in the Hanok village has a built in Ondol system or heated floor rooms. Ondol is used during winter and it's really relaxing for the back and not to mention cheaper compared to bed rooms in Korea. We tried an Ondol in Gyerim Hotel, Myeongdong

There are many Hanok villages spread all throughout Korea. I remember we visited one village in Bukchon just to see the famous Sangojjae house of Lee Min Ho!!! woot woot! check out my post last 2012 here
Then we got very hungry so the next activity was to eat. We were advised by my Korean boyfriend's family to visit Jeonju to experience eating Hanjeongsik. Hanjeongsik  is a traditional complete Korean meal aka Banchan overload! Banchan on the other hand is the Korean term for "Side dish" and if most people are happy with Korean cuisine because of their unlimited side dishes then wait till you try Hanjeongsik because it's around 50 dishes. See photo below for reference. I know, prices vary depending on the number of dishes you want but it's usually packaged.
Photo grabbed from google images

However, we didn't get to try Hanjeongsik because we can't find a restaurant nearby. We didn't google the restaurant that offers Hanjeongsik so we just tried Jeonju's famous Bibimbap for KWN 11,000 or PHP 450.

It tasted the same but only difference for me is that it has more "sahog" or ingredients in it :).
Next, we aimed for dessert. Jeonju Hanok Village offers a lot of quaint and unique dessert and coffee places just like the ones in Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan. If you're a fan of coffee shop ambiance then you'll find it hard to choose the best shop haha!
Selfie inside the bathroom :)
This yogurt dessert and shake costs KWN 12,500 or Php 500. Cost is reasonable because taste was fantastic! It sweetly wrapped up our Jeonju day trip :) 


  1. Hi Tinco,
    Me and my sister will be visiting Busan this June and we are hoping to do a one day trip to Jeonju too. Can we only get the bus tickets from the station? Are we able to get them online first? Just worried that the tickets will be sold out when we get there. Any websites that we can refer to for the bus schedule? Your help is much appreciated.
    Thank you!!


    1. Hi Jasmine, I haven't tried booking online for Busan bus... but I believe there are a lot of trips in a day naman :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Can we carry our lugguage on board the citybus from Busan to Jeongju?

  3. Hi there.
    love your post on Hanok Village.
    thank you for sharing :D


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