Jeonju City

 

All of the information here was provided to us by teachers who live here.

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Jeonju is a foodie’s dream.  It is a UNESCO city specifically for gastronomy (more on that later).  It is also a place with markets on every corner and friendly people.  While it may seem small at first glance it has everything a person could need.  It is a major tourist center famous for its food, historic buildings, sports, and festivals.

The city is carved out of the mountains so it is easy to find places for hiking, walking or mountain climbing.

 

Location

Southwest Korea, North Jeolla Province

 

How Our Teachers Rate the City

9 out 10!

 

Grocers in Jeonju

Each neighborhood tends to have its own little grocery or mart that will see to your daily needs.

Jeonju also has three major big box stores that closely resemble department stores like Wal-mart or Target.  These are Lotte Mart, Home Plus, and E-mart.  There is also a Costco is the Songcheon-dong area.  Be warned, though, they don’t take cards and it doesn’t say “CostCo” on the front.

 

Shopping

The major place for shopping is Gaeksa.  It's basically an outdoor mall.  Bukdae, the university district, also has a bunch of shops.

In addition, the Seoshin-dong/Junghwasan-dong border area (“dong” just means a city district) has everything one could need.  Our teachers tell us they can find:

Banks
Post Office
Restaurants
Bars
Dance clubs
Markets of varying size
Pet shops
Flower shops
Art shops
Yoga
Doctors of various specialties

 

Restaurants

Eat the bibimbap!  You can find it anywhere in Korea but Jeonju’s is famous.

The Jeonju Diner in Samcheon-dong is a favorite though it can be pricey.  The Frypan and Mom’s Touch are two “chicken and beer” establishments popular with foreigners and Koreans.  Some familiar sites for most foreigners will be Baskin Robbins, KFC, Outback Steakhouse, McDonald's, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts. 

Besides these and numerous Korean restaurants to explore, one can also fine Mexican, Brazilian, Italian, and Chinese food in Jeonju.  There are also several popular vegetarian restaurants serving Jeonju style food and pine wine.

 

The Pub Scene

Just a few places that foreigners like to go:

Whoops Bar
DeepIn and DeepInto
Art and Travel/Sumara
Funky Town
Radio Star

 

Cultural Gems Only the Locals Knows

In May 2012, UNESCO selected Jeonju to be part of its Creative Cities Network.  How?  For gastronomy!

This particular accolade recognizes the city’s home cooking traditions—handed down by generation for thousands of years—its food research, its established system of nurturing talented chefs, and its distinctive local food festivals.
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On top of all this, Jeonju is particularly well known for its strawberries.  At least one TESLK member, who will remain nameless, spent inordinate amounts of money when these were in season.

Also a rather pretty Catholic church. 

Public Transportation Overview

Jeonju has both taxis and cheap inner-city buses that have routes all over the city.  Intra-city buses are also available.  An express bus to Seoul is about W17,000 and takes about 4 hours.

 

Cost of Living and Saving Money

The cost of living is cheaper than in the USA and other English-speaking countries.  Most things just cost less. 

The same holds true for Jeonju.  While you could pay W30,000 for two people to eat samgyapsal, you can get an equally tasty version for just W9,000.

A lot of money also saved because of the necessities from home that aren’t necessary in Korea.  There are no car payments or insurance.  Americans will drop their mouths then they see how cheap the health care is.  Your rent is paid for.

Most people have no trouble paying off debt and student loans.

 

Jeonju Tourist Information Center

The city’s Facebook page is a surprisingly knowledgeable place to start.

 

Tourism

There are extensive royal museums, temples, a castle fortress on a hillside, and a well-known paper museum, as well as an annual paper fashion show highlighting both the latest style and traditional Korean clothing made of paper.

There are also the National Jeonju Museum and the Jeonju Hanok Village.  This is a traditional-style village in the heart of Jeonju, and here you can find traditional tea shops, souvenirs, and restaurants.

 

Festivals

Jeonju International Film Festival - Draws about 50,000 visitors annually

Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival – A festival about traditional Korean paper.  You can make socks out of this stuff!

 

Local Universities

Chonbuk National University

 

Korean Lessons

Many foreigners do a language exchange with a Korean.  You help their English and they help your Korean.

Another option is a fine lady named Bonnie.  She is a Korean teacher who married a Westerner and is, by reports, perfectly fluent.  She offers lessons for about W450,000 per semester.

To find her go to the JK page and look up “Bonnie Korean lessons.”

 

Hiking

Moak-san is the nearest mountain, and because hiking is the Korean national pastime this is a great way to get out, get some exercise, and practice your Korean on some local hikers.

 

Recreation

Among many other options, the foreigner community has a book club, a beer brewing club, and Neighborly Neighbourly regularly plans volunteer outings.

 

Facebook Groups

Jeonju Knowledge

Neighborly Neighbourly Jeonju

The Jeonju Hub Facebook page

 

Current Teachers’ emails

We have a solid group of teachers in Jeonju.

 

Link to Jeonju’s Official Website

http://www.jeonju.go.kr/open_content/en/main_page.jsp

 

Useful Websites

Jeonju Travel Highlights

The Jeonju Hub

Jeonju City Cultural Tour

 

Teacher Testimonial About Jeonju

The city itself is nice - it reminds me of Toronto in that it is clean (mostly), people are very friendly, and there are markets on every corner.  Strictly speaking of the Seoshin-dong/Junghwasan-dong border, you can find everything that you will need: banks, restaurants, markets of varying size, veterinarian/pet specialty shops, lots of flower shops, restaurants, bars, dance clubs, art shops, gyms, yoga, a post office, many different kind of doctors offices…the list goes on.  All of these shops are within a 10 minute walk from my apartment and my school and all are in Seoshin-dong/Junghwasan-dong.  There is nothing that I really NEED to leave my dong to get to except for a movie theatre, and there is one within a 20 min walk (about 3,000 cab ride). 

The city is basically carved out of the mountains, so it's easy to take a bus for 2,500 to Buan and go hiking or walking or mountain climbing.  Also on the outskirts of the city is a nice museum that is showing a Picasso exhibit right now.

Safety-wise, I feel very safe (granted, I came from Detroit).  I have never been scared to walk home at night, partially because the area is very well lit and there are always people walking around.  For an idea of how safe this place is, consider this: I've been stopped by the police for jaywalking.  And on weekend nights, police walk around a car wash in my neighborhood because (as far as I can see) sometimes people cut through there in their cars and it is not super well lit.  I have never been harassed by men in nightclubs or felt unsafe at all.

Here’s a blog post from one of our teachers who visited Jeonju recently - http://lastingtransitions.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/jeonju-unscripted/

 

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