Finally decided to venture out in Korea beyond our comfort zone cities of Seoul and Busan. This time we decided on Jeonju, a city known for its food and hanok village. Jeonju is a foodie city, it is where the Korean dish bibimbap (rice with veggies and sometimes meat that you stir up before eating) originates and the city known for bibimbap expanded on its food offerings….don’t worry we tried ALL the food, and those posts are coming up soon! The main tourist attraction in Jeonju is the hanok village, which is a group of traditional style Korean houses. You can opt to stay in one of the hanok houses (like we did) and be close to all the action in the hanok village or stay in the main portion of town near the bus stops (cab rides from the bus stop are to the hanok village will set you back about ₩5,000/$5. The hanok house we stayed at was 그림 (Grimm) and was a small little house on the edge of the hanok village. The setup of the hanok houses is that there is a room with sleeping mats (you sleep on the ground), some you share a bathroom with other guests and some you can have your own bathroom.
The hanok village was really cute…it really reminded me of Disneyland in that there was just street after street filled with tourists shopping at small shops selling food and souvenirs and everything was so clean!
We visited the Jeonju hanok village on a Saturday and Sunday and unfortunately our visit was in the middle of a rainstorm. It rained on and off on both days we were exploring, but nothing some ponchos and umbrellas couldn’t handle. Despite the rain, the village was still filled with visitors loading up on food, souvenirs and pictures.
There is an area you can climb some stairs up a hill to get a great vantage point of all the hanok roofs. You have to go up almost 100 stairs (Josh counted) but it is totally worth it for the view and the added bonus of burning off some of the food you overindulged in.
In the hanok village most of the shops are restaurants, cafes and small souvenir shops. Scattered throughout are some hanok houses you can stay in and also some private residences. The popularity of the Jeonju hanok village is pretty recent, so I wonder how long term residents of the village feel about the sudden influx of tourists. Something interesting I also noticed was that there weren’t very many foreign tourists visiting the hanok village, I’m not sure if it was due to the weather on this particular weekend or because the Jeonju hanok village hasn’t become popular in the foreign community and visitors but judging on how Josh was getting more stares than usual (for Korea standards) I would say there aren’t too many foreign visitors to the hanok village.
Overall I would say a visit to Jeonju would be a great way to spend any weekend, fun to walk around and see all the sights and taste all the foods!