What to do in Jeonju, South Korea? (전주시) A Historical City

This is the view of the church from the Gyeonggijeon Shrine

This is the view of the church from the Gyeonggijeon Shrine

Jeonju is located near the middle of South Korea there is so much to see and do here! We were only here for a short time but it is a place I would love to go back to. Jeonju was once the capital of the Baekje Kingdom, which was founded by Gyeon Hwon. They city was regarded as the spiritual capital of the Joseon Dynasty because the Yi royal family originated from there. The Joseon Dynasty was founded by Tae-jo Lee
Below are some photos that my friends and I took  as we explored some of the streets near where we stayed.

You can sing Karaoke on the train! That's a novelty we don't have in Australia, so we made the most of it, much to the dismay of the people outside our """sound proof'"""" song booth.

You can sing Karaoke on the train! That’s a novelty we don’t have in Australia, so we made the most of it, much to the dismay of the people outside our “””sound proof'”””” song booth.

You can also use computers, play arcade games and get food from the cafe on the train as well!

You can also use computers, play arcade games and get food from the cafe on the train as well!

Where we stayed. With a small kitchen bathroom and 2-3 per room these blankets on the floor sleeping quarters were cheap, clean, affordable and came with breakfast cooked by the host every morning. Lovely place to stay for a few nights.

Where we stayed. With a small kitchen bathroom and 2-3 per room these blankets on the floor sleeping quarters were cheap, clean, affordable and came with breakfast cooked by the host every morning. Lovely place to stay for a few nights.

Gyeonggijeon Shrine

Gyeonggijeon Shrine was erected in 1410 and holds the portrait of King Tae-jo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. The King and his wife’s mortuary tablets are enshrined here at Jogyeong Shrine. The structure was partially destroyed during the invasion of foreign forces from 1592-1598. The existing structure was remodeled in 1614. Inside Gyeonggijeon, the portraits of King Tae-jo and other successive kings such as Sun-jong, Cheol-jong, Yeong-jo and many others can be found on display. The carriage used to move the mortuary tablets as well as carriages used to transport dignitaries and individual chair-like carriages are also on display.

Group photo out the front of the Gyeonggijeon Shrine

Group photo out the front of the Gyeonggijeon Shrine

Walking the grounds of the Shrine

Walking the grounds of the Shrine

Watch your head climbing up into here! You will find information and figurines dedicated to the importance and history of the area.

Watch your head climbing up into here! You will find information and figurines dedicated to the importance and history of the area.

Relaxing from walk around the Shrine it is quite a big place.

Relaxing from walk around the Shrine it is quite a big place.

Underground the museum holds many portraits of past Kings of Korea.

Underground the museum holds many portraits of past Kings of Korea.

This is a photo of the Korean Royal Family

This is a photo of the Korean Royal Family

Every where you walk from one building to the next is truly photo worthy!

Every where you walk from one building to the next is truly photo worthy!

Me pretending to be royalty! I am a happy royal, you would enjoy my rule :P

Me pretending to be royalty! I am a happy royal, you would enjoy my rule 😛

Some more pictures of the history documented in this place. These are copies of the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty

Some more pictures of the history documented in this place. These are copies of the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty

Looking through one building to another.

Looking through one building to another.

Jeondong Catholic Church

Jeondong Catholic Church in Jeonju was built in honor of Roman Catholic martyrs of the Joseon Dynasty on the very same spot the martyrs lost their lives.

This is the view of the church from the Gyeonggijeon Shrine

This is the view of the church from the Gyeonggijeon Shrine

This is from inside the church, there was beautiful stain glass windows as well

This is from inside the church, there was beautiful stain glass windows as well

A closer view of the church, there was still elders coming to the statue of Mary and praying to her, this although is a tourist attraction is still a place of faith.

A closer view of the church, there was still elders coming to the statue of Mary and praying to her, this although is a tourist attraction is still a place of faith.

Pungnammun Gate

Is the only surviving city gate of Jeonju’s original four, was first built in the late 14th century as part of the original city wall. Damaged in the Japanese invasions of 1592-1598, it was rebuilt in 1768 and restored in 1978.

Pungnammun Gate

Pungnammun Gate

Food

Jeonju is also famous for its food especially Bibimbap! We got lost trying to find this famous restaurant that is known for doing only bibimbap, however thankfully a guy saw us very lost tourist and was very kind to lead us to our food! haha. Bibim means mixing and bap means rice. Served in the traditional brassware,it consists of rice with seasonal stir fried vegetables (carrot, bean sprout, radish, Chinese bellflowers, dropwort, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini), seaweed (gim), and hot pepper paste (gochujang). It is also available in a hot stone bowl (dol sot), which slowly cooks the egg as you stir the ingredients together. Sometimes you can order it with beef as well.

Walking down one of the main streets in the historical area in Jeonju we saw this restaurant and on a whim went and ate, and I tell you what, we loved it! Highly recommend "Taste a Walk".

Walking down one of the main streets in the historical area in Jeonju we saw this restaurant and on a whim went and ate, and I tell you what, we loved it! Highly recommend “Taste a Walk”.

Delicious food from Taste a Walk in Jeonju

Delicious food from Taste a Walk in Jeonju

My yummy meal of chicken and salad

My yummy meal of chicken and salad

And of course, I was talking about Bibimbap

The scrumptious Bibimbap

The scrumptious Bibimbap

Waiting for a food to be served with my traveling friends!

Waiting for a food to be served with my traveling friends!

Walking the streets near where we stayed

Walking along the main road

Walking along the main road

It did rain while we were there so we took refuge where we could

It did rain while we were there so we took refuge where we could

This place is a fan museum as well as a shop. They have fans in here that were once owned by the royal family.

This place is a fan museum as well as a shop. They have fans in here that were once owned by the royal family.

Many of the buildings along these few streets were very beautiful

Many of the buildings along these few streets were very beautiful

There are many different museums and shops in this area, this one was dedicated to teddy bears.

There are many different museums and shops in this area, this one was dedicated to teddy bears.

Can't go past some shopping!

Can’t go past some shopping!

Very good street performance outside the Shrine

Very good street performance outside the Shrine

Nicely explained from the Visit Korea website:

Other cultural gems include, Jeonju Confucian School, Jeonju Traditional Life Experience Park, Jeonju Traditional Craftworks Exhibition Hall, Jeonju Treasures Center, Gangam Calligraphy Museum, Jeonju Traditional Culture Center. In addition, the Jeonju Traditional Culture Center gives visitors the unique experience of life in a traditional Korean house, known as ‘Hanok’ in Korean.  Aside from, there are many other great places to visit, such as the Pan Asia Paper Museum, Jeonju World Cup Stadium, and Deokjin Park. Deokjin Park delights visitors in July and August with Lotus flower plants reaching heights of several feet high.

The spirit of Jeonju can be found in its lively festivals. Some of these festivals include the Jeonju International Film Festival, Jeonju Daesaseupnori, Jeonju Sori Music Festival, World Calligraphy Biennale of Chonbuk, Jeon Pungnam Festival and Jeonju Paper Culture Festival which highlights some of Jeonju’s most celebrated items including traditionally made Korean paper, fans and igang wine.

A few photo credits go to my friend at http://www.flickr.com/photos/charliegakit/

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10 thoughts on “What to do in Jeonju, South Korea? (전주시) A Historical City

  1. I’ve been reading through your blog and it’s been really helpful! I’ll be in Korea Jan 4-15 and kinda had no idea what to do outside of Seoul but I am now considering going here and Busan as well. Would 2 nights here and 2 nights in Busan be enough and then the rest in Seoul? And the accommodation for Jeonju, where did you find it?? I can’t seem to find it anywhere..

    • Hi there! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. It really means a lot to hear positive feedback and to know it has benefited someone 🙂 We only had a few nights in Busan, for us that was enough, we had seen plenty of museums, tall buildings etc, around the rest of the country. The language is slightly different in Busan then in Seoul so keep that in mind. It will take a good part of your day to travel there and back. It was about 5-6 hours on the train. If you can, see if you can get a really early or late train ticket so that you can have time during the day to see everything. The street stalls are quite cheap at night as well. I spent 5 weeks in Korea and it still didn’t feel like enough. It really depends on what you like to do, and what your interests are to be able to maximise your short stay. If you like the historical side of Korea, Jeonju is a great city, but there are also many other cities around korea known for their history. If you like big cities blended with the modern and old, then Seoul and Busan are great. Because of your time frame, I would suggest limiting the amount of time ‘wasted’ in travel and try to maximise your experience in the one area. The closest link I could find about the accommodation in Jeonju is this one “http://www.youngsamsung.com/travel.do?cmd=view&seq=61346” the name is “흰구름뭉게구름” Guest house (White Clouds or Fluffy Clouds Guest house). All the best! 😀

    • Thank you so much! Highly suggest going there, such a beautiful place. I just read your post on your recent trip overseas but I couldn’t find a comment box? Wanted to ask what happened with your luggage!

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