As there’s no train from Busan to Jeonju, express bus is our only choice. We took the subway from Busan station to Nopo station, 40mins journey through 21 stations. Followed the signage to Busan Central Bus Terminal and bought our tickets on the spot. There is an hourly bus heading to Jeonju so you need to time your arrival right. After buying your ticket at the counter head to your left and use the elevator down to 1st floor, exit on your left. There will be rows of buses and each is properly labeled by their destination.
The journey takes about 3hours and there is a restroom break in between for 15mins. After arriving at Jeonju Bus Terminal, we followed the crowd out to a street corner to hail a taxi. Make sure you have your accommodation address in Korean ready as well as the host’s contact number. We had trouble with ours as the taxi couldn’t find the address on his GPS.
1. Hankookjib Bibimbap
After storing our luggage at our AirBnB host we proceed to Hankookjib restaurant for lunch. Jeonju’s version of bibimbap was listed by CNN Travel back in 2011 at number 40th of World’s 50 Most Delicious Food according to Wikipedia page. Lucky for us Hankookjib is 5mins walk from our accommodation and is one of the popular restaurants in Jeonju that serves bibimbap.
There was already a waiting list when we arrived at 11am, so we promptly wrote down our name and the number of people on the list, conveniently stuck on the glass door. The list goes by pretty fast so don’t lose track of time if you are strolling in their small garden. We ordered Yukhoe-bibimbap (beef tartare bibimbap), Dolsot-bibimbap (hot stone bibimbap) and Sagol Gomtang (thick beef bone soup). It was a satisfying meal and deserves our thumbs up.
2. Jeonju Hanok Village
This is one of my favorite places (Hongdae in Seoul, being the other) throughout my South Korea trip. It might look touristy at first but the scene where people partake in wearing traditional Korean hanbok clothing, both Koreans and tourists alike, in a close vicinity just add to that romantic atmosphere. We mainly spend our days in Jeonju exploring and trying out the food found in this Hanok village.
We rented an electric scooter for 2hrs and covered the whole village in no time, stopping every once a while to grab a bite. Don’t forget to try PNB Bakery’s Choco pies, I could eat a dozen of them every day!
3. Grandma’s Best @ Jeonju Hanok Village
Even if it’s chilly we could never pass on trying the varieties of Korean’s shaved ice dessert. We ordered the sesame red bean bingsu and oriental herbal tea. The tea was bitter and sweet, too sweet for my liking and the bingsu was on the plain side. This place does have good reviews so I believe it is up to individual taste.
4. Veteran @ Jeonju Hanok Village
Veteran is known for their hand cut buckwheat noodles but their mandu (dumplings) is just as good. We had their signature Kalguksu (chewy noodles in creamy broth), Jjolmyeon (cold noodles in spicy sauce), two helpings of mandu, and a Japanese icy cold noodle soup dish which name has slipped my mind. I highly recommend giving their Kalguksu and mandu a try.
5. Jeonju Nambu Market – Day Time
Was there around 11.30am, was expecting this place to be bustling with activity but it was almost deserted with most shops still closed. I think we came at the wrong time (holiday?) because a video posted on Youtube by Cory & Mary shows more life at the market – Jeonju’s Nambu Market
6. Jo Jeom Rye @ Jeonju Nambu Market
This seems to be one of the few eateries that were open and after seeing it was moderately packed with customers we decided to give them a try. Lucky for us this restaurant is famous for their Pisundae, which is blood sausage. We ordered the soup version as well as an extra plate of intestines. They were very good, the soup was flavorful, would definitely recommend if you are into offal soup.
7. Jeonju Nambu Market – Night Time
Holy crap, this place was packed! We were bumping shoulder to shoulder! Where did all these people come from and where were they during the morning/afternoon time?! Stalls after stalls of street food under Nambu Market roof, make sure you don’t miss this spot. Only available during summer and winter (?), on Friday and Saturday.
8. Gyeonggijeon Shrine
Initially I thought this was a Palace but it turned out to be a shrine for King Tae-jo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Now it hosts the King’s portrait as well as other successive Kings. The overall area is small, probably 100mx100m (?), you only need an hour to cover everything. It seems to be very popular among the young Koreans dressed in hanboks to take pictures and selfies here, maybe the location was used in a Korean Drama?
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Jeonju, given the chance I would definitely come back again and explore the place further. Have a look below for POIs which I’ve visited and shamefully missed.
If this is your first visit to South Korea, please check my blog post on what to prepare – An adventure to South Korea April 2017