When I first arrived in Jeonju almost a year ago, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I didn’t know where to shop, where to eat or where to drink. And it’s not the sort of thing you can look up on Wikipedia.
It took me several months to identify the distinct areas I now know so well, and today I’m spreading the word. Life for Jeonju newbies will suddenly get much easier!
I’ve located 5 key areas in the city, all of which are worth visiting for different reasons, and popped them in this handy guide of Jeonju. For each, I have pinned somewhere roughly in the centre (you’re welcome). Read on to find out more.
1) Shinshigagi (신시가지)
Shinshigagi: the Times Square of Jeonju. This area (literally translated as ‘New Town’) is the most modern, cool, and expensive part of the city. And at night, it comes alive.
There are countless restaurants and bars, and this is the area to head to if you’re looking to hit the clubs. After about 10pm, the streets are filled with party-goers and the vibe is electric.
I’ve pinned the Starbucks that is pretty much in the heart of Shinshigagi. Head there and you’ll know what’s hot.
2) Gaeska (객사)
Gaeksa is the old downtown. Nowadays it’s a shopping hotspot.
Here you’ll find any type of shop you can think of, including some foreign labels like Zara and H&M. There’s also cinemas, bowling alleys, and games rooms.
There are some restaurants (and tonnes of cafes) but this area is primarily for shopping and entertainment. It’s the best place in Jeonju to spend the day hitting the shops.
3) New Gaeksa
I don’t know the actual name for this place because it’s very, very new. In fact, many of the Instragram-worthy restaurants and cafes there have only opened up since I’ve been in Jeonju.
Situated just next to Gaeksa, this is the place to come for a tasty meal after a long day of shopping. The variety of cuisines is impressive: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, good ol’ American. You name it, it’s here.
This has got to be one of the coolest places in Jeonju.
4) Hanok Village (한옥마을)
I couldn’t put together a guide of Jeonju without mentioning its most famous tourist hotspot.
Of all the locations on this list, the Hanok Village is the easiest to find. It is Jeonju’s pride and joy, and everyone knows about it.
Walking into the Village is like taking a step back in time. It is made up of over 100 traditional Korean hanok houses, most of which have been converted to modern businesses.
Here, you’ll find an impressive shrine, a Catholic cathedral, plenty of traditional Korean restaurants, countless street food vendors, and about 345,602 people taking photos in their hanboks (traditional Korean clothing.)
The Hanok Village has to be the first stop on any tour of Jeonju.
5) Chonbuk University (전북대학교)
The area surrounding Chonbuk National University is one I don’t know very well, as it’s further away from where I live. However, what I do know is that it’s a bustling and popular part of the city.
Due to the large student population, there’s an abundance of restaurants and bars serving up cheap food and drinks. There are also plenty of entertainment options, including the Jeonju professional basketball team’s stadium, bowling alleys, DVD rooms and games rooms. What more could you want?
It’s definitely worth venturing up to Chonbuk if you’re looking for a fun way to spend a day (or night).
And there you have it: a little guide to the 5 key areas in Jeonju. Now get out there and get exploring.
For more articles about life in Jeonju and elsewhere in Korea, click here.