Jeonju: Birth Place of Korean Bibimbap
Jeonju was our second destination in South Korea. This is where we immersed ourselves in the traditional Korean way of life by sleeping in a customary Hanok. Although we only stayed for one night, it was an experience worth writing about.
What to Expect in Jeonju
Once you arrive at Jeonju by train, you’ll notice a change in scenery. The technological metropolis of Seoul is no more and the winds of southeast Asia blow through the plains. You can venture towards the city side of Jeonju or experience the slow-paced Hanok way of life. We chose the latter and would recommend you do the same.
Here in Jeonju, there aren’t many bars or entertainment-centric activities. Instead, you’ll find historic buildings, renown restaurants serving bibimbap and small vendors. This is where you’ll want to eat, relax and adventure through history.
Staying in Jeonju
Similar to our stay in Seoul, we decided to book an AirBnB in Jeonju. This was a great idea since we were able to stay in a traditional Hanok with Hyunjeen, our extremely hospitable host. It came out to $125 a night and she even cooked us breakfast! It was awesome and I’d definitely recommend staying with her.
The Hanok we stayed in was quintessential to the area. The Hanok had an open air concept with a garden and small sleeping quarters. We were given a matt to sleep on and some thin comforters. That’s all we needed.
Something to note about Korea that was especially evident here. Bathrooms are configured to have the toilet and shower in the same place. It was weird getting used to showering in the same spot where you use the bathroom but I can see why they do it.
You won’t have to worry about getting around. The area is so small, you’ll be able to reach everywhere without a problem.
Food in Jeonju
When we arrived at our AirBnB, our host Hyunjeen asked if we were hungry. As soon as we said yes, she began to walk us to her recommended spot for bibimbap. She literally sat us down, spoke to the owners of the restaurant and ordered our food. She knew exactly what would hit the spot.
While in Jeonju, we also visited small street vendors with tasty treats. We had this interesting beer ice-cream drink that was oddly satisfying. We also ate dinner at a family owned restaurant with some of the best Banchan I’ve ever had.
Nightlife in Jeonju
Jeonju isn’t known for its nightlife. It is a very quiet town that enjoys the simpler things in life. However, our night here was one where we bonded with other South Koreans.
There was another group of people around our age at the restaurant. I don’t remember exactly how, but we began exchanging conversation. We even challenged each other to Soju shots! I believe our curiosity about one another brought about our discussion.
The group of people we met were locals of the area. They asked about America, we asked Korea, we laughed and drank probably more soju than we should’ve. Between the six of us, we cleaned out the entire restaurant’s supply of Soju! No joke, there was no more Soju for anyone to have! And still, the bill for everyone was under $80 (including dinner)!
Final Thoughts on Jeonju
Jeonju is a beautiful place with a serene landscape and comforting quality about it. Jeonju is situated between Seoul and Busan, making it the perfect midway point to relax for an evening. The food is superb, architecture historic and people kind.