Jeonju Travel Guide

If you’re headed to Korea, give yourself a couple days in this city. Sample all of Korea’s foodie delights in it’s largest traditional hanok village. Hanoks are the old form of Korean housing, and there are many reasonable options for accommodation in hanoks in Jeonju. A slow city, this Jeonju travel guide will let you in on lesser known spots to spend your time!

Index

  • Costs
  • Top 5 Things to See
  • Weekend Itinerary
  • Where to Stay
  • What to Eat
  • How to Get There
  • Conclusion

Costs (Prices in Korean Won)

Bus Ticket (Busan): 24,400

Train Ticket (Seoul): 33,000

Local Bus: 1,350per ride

Coffee: 6,000

Meal: 7,500 and up

Hostel: 14,000

Hanok Single: 35,000

Entrance Fees: 3,000

Top 5 Things to See in Jeonju

1. Hanok Village

Not only do I recommend visiting this place, I recommend staying in the heart of it. If you are not on a tight budget I highly recommend springing to stay in a hanok. The traditional houses, sleeping on the floor, the incredible gardens – it’s all absolutely worth the price. Check out my housing recommendations later on in this Jeonju travel guide 🙂

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One of the beautiful walking streets in the hanok village

2. Chimyeongjasan Holy Ground

This is not a place I see recommended a lot. It’s a surprisingly intense hike straight up, but the views (especially in spring) are incredible. It’s the burial site of 13 Catholic martyrs. Jeonju has a surprisingly strong Catholic community, with at least two impressive (and very European looking) churches. As you climb the crosses and graves emerge from the mountainside. It’s incredibly wonderful. On your way make sure to stop at the Hanbyeokdan Pavilion for a beautiful look out over the river (or a picnic if you have the time!)

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One of the burial sites as you head up the mountain

3. Traditional Museums

I‘m grouping these all together because they’re all free to enter, small, and clustered around the hanok village. You’ll probably run into several without even trying. The Traditional Wine Museum and the Handicraft museums were the most interesting for me. Be careful of your wallet at both! I wound up with two beautiful teacups I had not intended to buy! But there are many more, just keep an eye out for signs with explanations of the museums.

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The beginning to the wine making process, told through amusing statues

4. Gyeonggijeon Shrine (3,000w Entry)

The only paid activity I recommend in Jeonju. There are many moments where I think “Man, Korea is just defined by the word ‘extra.'” This is one of those places that exemplifies that for me. Built around the housing spot for a portrait of a Joseon-era King Taejo, almost all the buildings are dedicated to the rituals for honoring ancestors, or living places for those that maintain the shrine. But it’s not small, like the word “shrine’ normally means for me, it’s large and spread out.

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The portrait that started it all

5. Jogyeongdan Royal Tomb

This is pretty far away from everything else. But I thought it was worth a look even when it wasn’t open when I went. The tomb is set back against the hill, and you can climb all the way around it on a hike to get a different angle. It’s a fairly easy hike 🙂

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A view of the tomb buildings from above, with Jeonju city in the background

Weekend Itinerary Jeonju Travel Guide

Day 1: 10AM – Arrive

Drop your bags are your hanok because it’s not check-in time yet! If you are wanting to fit all five of my top sites in, you’ll want to head to Chimyeongjasan Holy Ground now, before it gets too hot. If you don’t care about this, head out to explore the hanok village. Lose yourself in the various alleyways, stumble upon the Confucian Village with it’s 400 year old ginko, and check out some of the traditional museums that you happen across. Head up for a quick view above from Omokdae. Snack on the various excellent streetfoods for your lunch! Get a taste of Korean variety 🙂

1PM – Tea Time And Shrines

Gyodongdawon is the best place to get your tea in a historical place. It’s the first business to have ever opened up in the hanok village. Spend an hour relaxing and shocking yourself with how powerful HwangCha (Yellow Tea) is. After, head out to the Shrine which is only a short walk away. Find yourself amused as you continually catch glimpses of the Catholic church out of the corner of your eye!

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The Catholic Church just outside the shrine makes for some funny mind-tricks “Where am I, again?”

4PM – Slow City Hanok Relaxing

As a solo traveler, I couldn’t find anywhere I was sure of being open to solo-travelers for dinner. If you’re with another person, by all means enjoy Jeonju’s foodie claim to fame. But I honestly don’t feel too bad about missing a fancy dinner. I got myself some of the local spiced alcohol (only around 2%) Moju, some delicious Choco pies, and other snacks I picked up on my way back to my hanok. Jeonju is a slow city. It is meant to be experienced simply by existing in it. I sat in my hanok with my doors open to the garden. Freshly made Yuja tea was provided by the hanok owner. It was perfect. Take an evening walk around the village to see some lanterns light up 🙂

Day 2: 10AM – Breakfast

One of the only meals that qualifies as a real “breakfast” in Korea imo, head to Jinmi Jip. Don’t forget to add some sugar 🙂

11:30AM – Jogyeongdan Royal Tomb

Be aware that this is a pretty long trip, depending on when you’re leaving it’d be best to not plan on coming back to the hanok village. Take bus 165, 1000, or 5-2 for around 45 minutes. The hike around the hill will take you 30-45 minutes depending on your fitness and you’ll want to explore the tomb if it’s open.

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It wasn’t open when I was there but the view through the crack in the door was still excellent!

2PM – Head Home

Depending on where you’re basing yourself in Korea, this can be quite the long trip home and you probably will need to leave around this time. Take bus 1000, 542, 508, 536, or 337 to the train station (it will take around an hour). Take 165 for the bus terminal (also an hour).

Where to Stay

Budget: One Percent Hostel/Way Guesthouse

Both of these are good options that offer breakfast. One Percent is quite a bit cheaper at 14,000 a night for an 8 bed dorm, but it’s further away from the main hanok area. It’s only ten minutes, but Way Guesthouse is actually in the hanok village. Way Guesthouse is 20,000 a night for a 4 dorm bed. Both get excellent reviews. Although I did not stay in either, I encountered both on my walkabouts of the city and both looked very nice.

Mid-range: Geunsu’s Chogajip 

This is absolutely the place I recommend you stay. It’s probably the cheapest hanok I’ve ever encountered and it was incredible. It’s

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Beautiful, classic hanok housing

High-end: Hagindang

This place will be more complicated to book but it’s worth it. You can book rooms for as low as 77,000 for a weeknight. If I ever go back to Jeonju I will pay extra to stay here!

What to Eat

 

Gyodongdawan

Open: 11~21:00

An absolutely lovely tea house. As something of a tea snob I was skeptical when my server provided me with a large thermos. There was no way this tiny amount of leaves would be strong enough to last through an entire thermos! And yet, to my amazement, I found myself requesting a second thermos. For 5,000w I spent an hour drinking from the same tea leaves, making steeping after steeping.

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Fantastic never-ending tea!

Jinmi Jip

Open: 10~20:00

A traditional meal with buckwheat noodles that is credited with saving the lives of many lactose intolerant malnourished babies in the 70s. It goes back at least 200 years. I don’t care for soy milk at all, but this made-from-scratch approach is deliciously creamy and smooth.

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Super delicious buckwheat noodles in soy milk!

Dahwawon

Open: 10~19:00

Another tea house. If you only have time for one tea house, Gyodongdawan is the one. But Dahwawon is worth a visit too! It’s very homey, filled with plants, excellent views, and very good tea.

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Beautiful setting with great tea!

Jeonju Choco Pies

I am not a huge fan of Korea’s choco pies. I normally find them overly dry. But the Jeonju ones make them more crumbly, with walnuts. The original flavor is the best in my opinion but the novelty flavors of mango, blueberry, and more, are also good. They have shops everywhere so check them out!

 

 How to Get to Jeonju

By bus: If you’re coming from Seoul you can take a bus for only 13,800won that will take around 3 hours.  Check out my guide to taking a Korean Intercity Bus!

By train: You can also take a quicker 2 hour train for 33,000won. From Busan your best option is the just-over 3 hour bus for 24,400w.

 

Conclusion

I loved my time in Jeonju! Hopefully I will get the chance to return before I leave Korea when more things are open. I hope my Jeonju travel guide has helped you get some ideas for your trip!

Check out my other posts: 

Gyeongju: Korea’s Pyramids!

How Much it Costs to Live in Korea

A Week in NYC

 

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