|Recommended travel in Jeollabuk-do Province|
SPOTLIGHT: Jeonbuk - 2012 Visit Jeonbuk Year Recommended travel in Jeollabuk-do Province
Located in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula, Jeollabuk-do Province is a wealth of traditional culture, well-preserved natural treasures, and delectable local cuisine.
The province is home to 14 cities and counties, including: Jeonju, home of the famous Jeonju bibimbap and Hanok Village; Sunchang, well-known for its traditional gochujang red chili paste; Gochang, home of Korea's largest dolmen site, designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site; and Jinan, where you'll find Mount Maisan, home to Tapsa Temple (a 3-star traveled destination according to Michelin Green Guide Korea).
Located in the center of Jeollabuk-do Province, Jeonju is a city that boasts a rich tapestry of traditional Korean culture. You'll find everything from hanok homes to hansik cuisine, hanji paper, and more. The Jeonju Hanok Village in particular, is an ideal place to rediscover the authentic spirit of old-world Korea. The village, comprised of about 544 hanok homes, has been designated a 'Slow City' (2011) and has even been named a 3-star travel destination by the Michelin Green Guide Korea. Jeonju is also renowned for its representative bibimbap (hot rice served in a bowl topped with seasoned vegetables) and mouth-watering hanjeongsik (Korean table d'hote featuring rice, soup, and dozens of side dishes).
☞ Recommended attractions : Gyeonggijeon Shrine, Jeondong Catholic Church, Jeonju Hanok Living Experience Center, Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum, Jeonju Crafts Exhibition Hall, Jeonju Hanji Museum, Chimyeongjasan Martyrs Ground, Deokjin Park, Gangam Calligraphy Museum, Hanbyeokdang Pavilion, Jeonju National Museum, Omokdae & Imokdae, Pungnammun Gate, Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju Film Studio Complex, Donggosa Temple, Dongnakwon
Gunsan is a small port city with a fascinating history. Once largely inhabited by the Japanese (Japanese Occupation, 1910-1945), the city offers an interesting blend of Korean and Japanese history evidenced by its Japanese-style houses and temples. In more recent years, the city has become well-known as the home of the Saemangeum Project, the world's largest seawall, which measures an impressive 33.9 kilometers in length. While at the Saemangeum Seawall, don't forget to check out the view of the west coast from Sinsido Island, which serves as the halfway point of the wall, which connects Gunsan and Buan. Also not to be missed is the Geumgang River Estuary, which is the nation's third largest site for migratory birds. In addition to the natural beauty of the estuary itself, the area also offers an observatory, a bird park, and a plant ecology center.
☞ Recommended attractions : Saemangeum, Geumgang Migratory Bird Observatory, Geumgang Estuary Bird Sanctuary, Eunpa Lake Park, Seonyudo Island, Sinsido Island, Dongguksa Temple, Jinpo Maritime Theme Park, Wolmyeong Park
Iksan is a must-visit destination for those interested in Korean history as the whole area is littered with national treasures dating back to the Baekje Era (18 BC-660 AD). One of the main area's to visit is Mireuksaji, the site of Mireuksa Temple. Mireuksa Temple was the largest royal temple during the reign of King Muwang (600-641, 30th king of Baekje) and was built in hopes of channeling the power of Buddha to protection the kingdom from foreign invasion. Also found in Iksan are the Wanggungni Historic Site, which support the academic theory of King Muwang's relocation of the capital, and the Wanggungni Five-story Stone Pagoda (National Treasure No. 289). You'll also find various relics that stand as a testament to the courtship of Seonhwa of Silla (third daughter of the 26th king of Silla—57 BC-935 AD) by Seodong of Baekje (name of King Muwang before his coronation) prior to their marriage.
☞ Recommended attractions :
Mireuksaji, Mireuksaji Relics Exhibition Museum, Wanggungni Historic Site, Wanggungni Five-story Stone Pagoda, Iksan Jewelry Museum, Seodong
Park, Iksan Godori Standing Stone, Nabawi Catholic Church, Iksan Ssangneung, Iksan Ipjeomni Tombs, Sungnimsa Temple
Mount Naejangsan (763 meters high) in Jeongeup is a top travel destination come autumn, as crowds of tourists flock to the slopes to marvel at the mountain's brilliant fall leaves. True to its name ('Naejangsan' meaning 'mountain of many hidden jewels'), the mountain offers plenty of breathtaking views of the mountain crevices and surrounding peaks. Among the treasures of the mountain you'll find Naejangsa Temple (est. in the 7th century), an ideal place to soak in the beauty of Mount Naejangsan during any of the four seasons.
☞ Recommended attractions :
Naejangsan National Park, Naejangsa Temple, Seoraebong Peak, Geumseon Valley, Uhwajeong Pavilion, Jeongeupsa Park, Donghak Peasants Revolution Memorial Hall
Namwon is well-known for pansori (traditional Korean folk music) and as the setting of "Chunhyangjeon," one of Korea's most cherished love stories. Among the story's most memorable moments is the scene in which the story's protagonists Chunhyang and Lee Mongnyong meet at Gwanghalluwon, a real-life garden in Namwon that was built in the 15th century. The garden was created as a miniature utopia to be inhabited by the gods and offers insight into the social and cultural ideals of the period. Also found in Namwon are the Chunhyang Theme Park, which depicts the life of Chunhyang, and the Namwon National Gugak Center where visitors can experience Korea's traditional music. Not only known for its manmade treasures, Namwon is also a favorite destination for nature lovers. The city is intersected by the Jirisan Mountain Range and is frequently visited by those hiking along the Jirisan National Park trail.
☞ Recommended attractions :
Chunhyang Theme Park, Gwanghalluwon Garden, Namwon National Gugak Center, Jirisan National Park (Namwon) , Baemsagol Valley, Silsangsa Temple, Honbul Literary House
Gimje is one of the few places in Korea where the skyline remains unbroken by mountaintops. Largely characterized by plains and fields, the land and its people boast a proud and longstanding history of agriculture. It is here that the first large-scale reservoirs were created for the purposes of growing rice. You'll still be able to find the remains of Byeokgolje, the nation's first and largest reservoir (built in the 4th century). Couple your tour of the reservoir remains with a visit to the Byeokgolje Museum of Agricutural Culture and the Gimje Horizon Festival, held every fall, and you'll get a true sense of the importance of the area's agricultural heritage.
☞ Recommended attractions: Byeokgolje Reservoir, Byeokgolje Museum of Agricutural Culture, Moaksan Provincial Park (Gimje), Geumsansa Temple (Gimje), Gwisinsa Temple, Manghaesa Temple, Munsusa Temple (Gimje), Seongmoam Hermitage
Half of the world's dolmens are located in Korea; of these, the largest cluster of dolmens is found in Gochang. The Gochang Dolmen Cluster has been registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage and contains several different types of dolmens. To explore the site, follow one of the six dolmen exploration courses; for a closer look at the biggest dolmen in Korea take Course 3. Don't forget to stop in at the Gochang Dolmen Museum, designated a 3-star Korea travel destination by the Michelin Green Guide Korea.
☞ Recommended attractions: Gochang Dolmen Site [UNESCO World Heritage], Gochang Dolmen Museum, Seonunsa Temple, Seonunsan Provincial Park, Seonunsan Dosol Valley, Gochangeupseong Fortress, Gochang Pansori Museum, Midang Literary House
Mount Maisan in Jinan boasts both natural and man-made wonders and never fails to draws streams of tourists to its slopes. The mountain itself is a sight to behold with two rocky peaks shaped like the ears of a horse. It's difficult to say which is more inspiring: the craggy mountain rocks (hard to find in Korea) or the manmade masterpiece of the 80 or so cone-shaped pagodas at Tapsa Temple on the mountainside. The stone pagodas were built by Lee Gap-yong, who built the pagodas by himself over the course of several decades starting in the late 1800s. The pagodas have survived the harshest winds and rains for more than a hundred years and offer a unique sight not found anywhere else in the world. In recognition of the pagodas' history and preservation, Tapsa Temple has received the coveted 3-star designation from the Michelin Green Guide Korea.
☞ Recommended attractions: Maisan
Provincial Park, Maisan
Tapsa Temple, Maisan
Hwaeomgul Cave, Eunsusa
Red Ginseng Spa, Uniram
Sunchang is such a main production center of red chili paste (called "gochujang") in Korea that the name "Sunchang" is practically synonymous with the spicy paste itself. In this small town, fermented condiments—gochujang, doenjang (soy bean paste), and ganjang (soy sauce)—are made using traditional methods in an environment boasting fresh water and clean air. It is perhaps thanks to these time-honored methods and pristine natural environment that the town has been dubbed a "village of longevity" (New York Times, 2003). In Korea, fermented foods such as gochujang have long-since been associated with longevity as they are rich in vegetable protein and promote healthy blood circulation. The Traditional Gochujang Village, which is inhabited by gochujang masters, offers various programs related to making gochujang and gochujang-based foods.
☞ Recommended attractions: Sunchang
Gochujang Village, Sunchang
Jangnyu (Fermented Sauce) Experience Center, Sunchang
Jangnyu (Fermented Sauce) Museum, Gangcheonsan
County Park, Hoemunsan
Located on a chunk of land that juts out into the East China Sea, Buan is home to the Byeonsanbando National Park, which encompasses the beautiful Mount Byeonsan (508 meters) that trails out to the sea. Hidden within the mountain folds are thick groves of trees, Jikso Falls, and manmade monuments such as Naesosa Temple. At the foot of the mountain you'll find the famous beach of Chaeseokgang. Formed by natural erosion, the beach is edged by horizontal rock slabs towering towards the sky in a series of impressive cliffs. The beach is a favorite photo spot and is often frequented by tourists.
☞ Recommended attractions: Byeonsanbando National Park, Jikso Falls, Byeonsan Beach, Gosapo Beach, Naesosa Temple, Chaeseokgang Cliffs, Wido Island, Buan Movie Theme Park, Monkey School, Sculpture Park of Keumkuwon
Muju is famous for the resort and ski slopes of Deogyusan National Park and the yearly firefly festival. Mount Deogyusan, for which the park is named, stands at an impressive height of 1,614 meters high and provides a haven for hikers. The mountain offers eye-catching sights of thick forests teeming with rare plants and animals. Gucheondong Valley off the mountain is said to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Korea and runs clear with fresh mountain streams dotted with waterfalls and ponds. Mid-way up the mountain is Baengnyeonsa Temple, which is one of the region's best places to see the fall leaves. Of course, Mount Deogyusan is well-worth a visit anytime during the year, but comes into full glory in winter when the snow covers the mountain's rocky slopes.
Imsil has become the major cheese production center in Korea ever since the 1960s when a Belgian priest began making cheese at the village. With the national distribution of the cheese, the Imsil Cheese Village gained recognized and has grown into a charming yet well-developed town offering a cheese school, cheese-making classes, cheese theme parks, and a variety of other programs organized by the townspeople. Other nearby tourist sites include: Gudam Village, a village rife with natural splendor; Saseondae, where it is said that fairies came down from heaven to enjoy the beautiful scenery; and the Okjeongho Lake, which draws photographers from around the nation whom come to take pictures of the fog settling over the lake on spring and fall mornings.
☞ Recommended attractions :
Imsil Cheese Village, Imsil Cheese Theme Park, Gudam Village, Saseondae Tourist Resort & Sculpture Park, Okjeongho Lake, Seongsusan Recreational Forest
Wanju is a pristine area chock-full of mountains, valleys, natural forests, and traditional temples. Mount Daedunsan (878 meters high), one of Wanju's major tourist destinations, is bustling with hikers all year round who come to pick their way over the mountain's sculpture-like peaks. Located nearby is the Daea Arboretum (complete with walking trail and observatory), which gives visitors a closer look at rare plants, thick groves of trees, and mineral springs.
Jangsu is the birthplace of Nongae, a woman well-known in Korean history. Nongae tragically lost her husband during the Imjin Waeran War (1592-1598, a war of Japanese invasion). Plotting to seek revenge, she disguised herself as a female party entertainer and lured the Japanese general to a cliff, flinging her arms around him and casting them both into the river to die. In her honor, the Nongae Shrine and a memorial hall were built in Jangsu. Nongae's birth home and village are open to the public as well.