Travel Guide

Day Trips From Seoul: 24 Hours in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do

Jonathan
November 20, 2023

Jeonju, often referred to as the "Slow City," beckons with its timeless charm, rich history, and arguably the best food in Korea. This South Korean gem offers a perfect day trip from Seoul, allowing you to immerse yourself in its traditional Hanok village, savor mouthwatering hard-to-find foods, and explore cultural treasures. Start your adventure early, departing from Seoul to Jeonju Station, and embark on a journey that captures the essence of South Korea's cultural tapestry.


Getting to Jeonju


Jeonju is easy to reach by both KTX, the slow train (Mugunghwa), and by bus. Buses are the cheapest option and allow you to reach the heart of Jeonju in about 2 and a half hours. Slow trains arrive at Jeonju Station in about 3 and a half hours, but they travel through the scenic countryside, where travelers can enjoy lush views of Korea's farmlands. The KTX is the fastest option and arguably the best choice for a day trip, as it only takes a little over an hour and a half to reach Jeonju Station.

The first train leaves at 6:25 AM, but we recommend taking the 8:30 AM or 9:10 AM train from Yongsan Station. For this trip, you'll arrive at 10:20 AM or 11:00 AM, respectively.


24 Hours in Jeonju


Beyond Bibimbap (10:30 AM - 11:30 AM)

While most guides will have you start your day with bibimbap, for this trip, we want to recommend a local gem that's equally delicious and harder to find in Korea. Start your trip by checking out one of two  two renowned local kongguksu (콩국수) restaurants in Jeonju's old town, Geumam-dong.

Solmoe-mauel is a beloved establishment famous for its signature black sesame cold noodles, complemented by a delightful array of side dishes such as boribap—a wholesome blend of barley-rice and fresh vegetables. For those seeking variety, they also serve hearty dumplings and noodles.

black sesame kongguksu
Image Source: JJW

📍 Solmoe-maeul: Google / Naver


For those looking for the best of the best traditional kongguksu, look no further than Taepyeongjib (태평집). This unassuming restaurant is nestled away in a quiet neighborhood close to Jeonbuk National University. From the outside, it would be hard to tell that it's a restaurant, but if you go there on any weekday at lunchtime, you'll find yourself waiting to get into a packed restaurant full of loyal customers.


kongguksu
Image Source: Siksinhot

📍 Taepyeongjib: Google / Naver


Start your day off right by checking out one of these two local hidden gems in Jeonju by securing bragging rights to an authentic Jeonju culinary adventure.


Coffee With a View (11:30 AM - 12:30 PM)

jeonju cafe
Image Source: @Aleum_07


Nearby both restaurants, you'll find another local gem, Haedalbyeol Cafe (해달별). Nestled in a tranquil residential enclave within Jeonju's historic old town, this cafe seems to have stood still in time. Boasting three stories, it offers a captivating vantage point that sets it apart from the Hanok village, providing a unique perspective overlooking the charming city of Jeonju.

📍 Haedalbyeol: Google / Naver


Go Where the Locals Go (12:30 PM - 1:30 PM)

Before venturing to the Hanok village, immerse yourself in the local way of life. Take a leisurely stroll or a short taxi ride to Moraenae Market (모래내시장), a bustling hub where you'll discover a multitude of quaint restaurants and locally sourced produce from the hardworking farmers in the area. Whether you opt for a quick bite to eat or simply wish to peruse the market, you'll soak in the authentic, time-honored Korean charm before continuing on to the Hanok village.

📍 Moraenae Market: Google / Naver


The Main Attraction, the Hanok Village (1:30 PM - 5:30 PM)

hanok village
Image Source: The Jakarta Post

Jeonju's Hanok Village is a captivating enclave that invites you to step back in time and experience traditional Korean culture. Wander through its winding cobblestone streets, flanked by well-preserved hanok, the iconic Korean wooden houses known for their unique architectural charm. Take your time to explore Gyeonggijeon Shrine, a historical treasure that houses a striking portrait of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon dynasty.

While meandering through the village, you'll encounter an array of artisan shops, galleries, and charming cafes that beckon with their rustic elegance. Stop by Jeondong Cathedral, a stunning example of Western architecture amidst the traditional surroundings. Sample local street food and don't miss the opportunity to try some makgeolli or moju, a traditional Korean rice wine, at one of the atmospheric makgeolli houses.

📍 Jeonju Hanok Village: Google / Naver


Nearby the Hanok Village is the Jaman Art Mural Village. The Jaman Art Mural Village offers a vibrant contrast to the historical ambiance of Jeonju's Hanok Village. This modern artistic enclave bursts with colorful murals, transforming the streets into an open-air gallery. As you explore, you'll be greeted by an array of vibrant artworks, from whimsical illustrations to thought-provoking murals that breathe life into the neighborhood.

The village's creative energy extends to its quaint cafes, boutiques, and charming shops, making it a delightful place to discover unique souvenirs and artistic treasures. Capture Instagram-worthy moments around every corner, and embrace the dynamic fusion of contemporary art and urban culture that defines Jaman Art Mural Village. Whether you're an art enthusiast or simply seeking a lively and imaginative atmosphere, this village promises an unforgettable experience in Jeonju.

📍 Jaman Art Mural Village: Google / Naver


Evening (5:30 PM - 7:30 PM)

Right across from the Hanok Village lies Nambu Market (남부시장), a bustling hub brimming with restaurants, visitor-friendly shops, inviting cafes, and local food stalls. Nambu Market plays a pivotal role in supporting young entrepreneurs by offering low rents and subsidies, ensuring a constant influx of fresh ambition and exciting new food stalls and boutiques.

Here, you can also find another Jeonju delicacy--aside from bibimbap. This area is home to Jojeomrye Nambu Blood Sausage (조점례남문피순대), another local favorite. Masked celebrities even stop by on their vacations to Jeonju, being sure not to miss out on this local secret.

📍 Nambu Market: Google / Naver


An Evening Stroll Through Gaeklidangil (7:30 PM - 10:00 PM)

gaeksa
Image Source: Twinkia

gaeksa
Image Source: Jeonju Ilbo

As the sun sets, take a leisurely stroll down to the Gaeksa area, affectionately known by locals as "Gaek-li-dan-gil." Here, you'll discover a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to a wide range of tastes. Gaek-li-dan-gil is replete with laid-back restaurants, open-seating drinking pubs, traditional makgeolli bars, energetic clubs, and even upscale cocktail bars.

This trendy district is the epitome of Jeonju's hip scene, perpetually attracting night owls seeking a good time. Before you step into one of these lively establishments, indulge in some retail therapy at the numerous local boutiques and chain stores that dot the area. Whether you're in the mood for a night of entertainment, shopping, or simply soaking up the lively atmosphere, Gaek-li-dan-gil promises a memorable evening in Jeonju.

📍 Gaeklidangil: Google / Naver


Take a Trip Back in Time at a 1980's-Style Gamaek-jib

gamaekjib

gamaekjib
Image Source: YNA


For those looking for a gritty, but truly authentic atmosphere, check out of Jeonju's many Gamaekjibs (가맥집).

Gamaek, short for shop beer, is a distinct drinking culture in North Jeolla Province that was born and grew in Jeonju in the 1980s. Gamaekjip, a supermarket by day and a beer bar by night, is a popular attraction in Jeonju. It's popular with both young and old people because you can get cheap beer and snacks at a nearby supermarket. Only found in Jeolla-do, these past relics are still popular among locals.

Jeonilgapo: Google / Naver


Getting Back to Seoul

The last train to Seoul from Jeonju Station leaves at 11:10 PM, giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the city. From Jeonju Express Bus Terminal, buses run until midnight, for those who want to squeeze every last bit out of the city.

For night owls seeking a more vibrant and energetic nightlife experience, make your way to Shinshigaji (신시가지), Jeonju's New Town. Here, the party doesn't stop, as clubs, bars, and restaurants keep the revelry alive throughout the night, ensuring a memorable and lively night out in Jeonju.

📍 Shinshigaji: Google / Naver