At the end of May, the annual Jeonju Cultural Heritage Night Tour (전주 문화재야행) was happening and I wanted to check it out. So, I asked some friends if they were willing to go, which they were (yay!), and it was set.
Taking the Express Bus from Nopo Bus Terminal in Busan to Jeonju Express Bus Terminal was about 3 hours. Not bad at all and the buses are so comfortable! (It’s around 50,000 won for roundtrip so about $43)
The place we stayed at was called Yeonwoodang Guesthouse. I used Booking.com to find it. I like using that website because you usually don’t have to pay in advance and you just pay when you get there which is convenient when you’re traveling with a group. The place was beautiful and right in Jeonju Hanok Village. It was kind of tucked away in a little back area so it was nice and quiet. It was great to know that we could escape the crowd and cluster of people when we had to return back to our home for the night. The owner was so nice and later on, her and one other woman staying there with family started taking pictures of us.
After checking into Yeonwoodang, we all took a rest for about 20 minutes. Something about being on a bus really takes the energy out of you. It was super crowded in the village, I assume because of the Night Tour happening that weekend. There were also a lot of people walking around the village in beautiful hanbok. Couples, friends, almost everywhere you turned someone was dressed up.
We were all hungry so we found the closest place to us that sold bibimbap. Jeonju is known for it’s bibimbap so of course, it’s necessary to try it. The place we went to (족떡이네 교동직영점) sold a different kind of bibimbap than I’m used to using a patty for their meat called 떡갈비. For me, it was just an okay meal. Nothing to write home about. Next time, I’d like to go somewhere else.
After eating, we walked around the village a bit. People were setting up for the night so we found ourselves walking to the river close to the village. Less people were around this area so we just strolled along enjoying the bit of quiet.
The Cultural Tour started at about 6pm and the sun was starting to set so we made our way back into the village. There were various performances going on. We passed a sort of clown(?) act in one area and then 3 women in another who were playing the gayageum, a traditional Korean string instrument. There was a big performance next to the Gyeonggi Shrine (경기전) with a woman singing pansori and then an amazing performance by a band whose name I wish I remembered. Throughout the village there were tea ceremonies happening, plays being performed in the street and even arm wrestling competitions that you could join in yourself if you felt confident enough.
The next day was our last so before we returned to Busan, we went over to the Jeonju Confucian School (전주향교). This was probably my favorite place as it was a bit away from the Hanok Village so there weren’t any people there. Besides us, I think there were only about 4-6 other people at the Confucian School. It was peaceful and exactly what was needed before returning home.
Also, as we were waiting for the city bus to get back to Jeonju Bus Terminal we noticed the Jamon Mural Village (자만벽화마을) was right behind us. All of us were too tired and hot to try and walk up the hill to see what else was there but next time I definitely want to try and see the rest. At least I got a glimpse of some of the Studio Ghibli inspired art!
Overall, Jeonju was a good time. We only stayed there for 24 hours, but actually it was enough to be satisfied (and we only stayed in the Village). If your trip matches up with the Cultural Heritage Tour, I definitely recommend checking it out. If not, the Hanok Village still has enough to see and enjoy.