Last Sunday we went to the Jeonju Hanok Village, 전주한옥마을, which is also nicknamed the “Slow City”.
At the village there are about 800 traditional houses, which are called “hanoks” are are one story homes built from wood and ceramic tiles. Many hanoks in Korea have disappeared as the city has modernized, but Jeonju’s village has remained which is why many tourists from all over go to visit. Actually, because of this, Jeonju Hanok Village has become incredibly tourist focused and has many restaurants and toursity type things, like segway riding, which is semi-unfortunate because it does not fit with the tradition.
I have been to Hanok Villages that are bigger in Seoul, but still it was cool to revisit Korea’s past a little. But a note to a future Korea visitor is that going to one village suffices, they’re all relatively similar.
On our way to the village we stopped by this catholic church called 전주전동성당. Usually the catholic churches I have visited are much older (especially if they are in Europe), but this one was completed in 1914 under the Japanese colonization period. It would be interesting to research more into this church because it does not match any other architecture that I have seen thus far in Korea.
We then went to the Hanok Village and had free time to just wander around. Peter, Paula, Tim and I all wandered around together and got to experience the “ground of more than 1000s years history”. This village was founded even before the Joseon Dynasty in around year 900. It is cool to see such history because in the U.S., a good portion of the history we learn is from the 1490s onwards when Columbus hit land.
Then after spending time in the village, Peter and I decided to keep exploring the area outside the village and Paula and Tim decided to relax and go to a coffee shop. Peter and I started off by exploring some of the little alleyways and found many cool guesthouses modeled off of the hanok design.
Then we decided to go explore up the hill that was a little beyond the village — get away from all the tourists. Also both of us have been itching to hike (Peter is from Utah with all the national parks) so we headed towards the mountains.
On the way we climbed up these stairs that led us to this amazing view over the hanok village. It was like what you see in Google and tourist books, but we got to see it with our own eyes. Amazing.
Then we passed through this cute little village that had a lot of wall art and houses that were built on the side of the mountain using cement. There was also this interesting looking coffee shop, but it was closed and we were not able to see the inside.
We passed through this little cement village and on the left there was suddenly stairs leading into the woods, which we took and found a trail. We ended up just chit chatting and following the trail until we decided it was a good time to turn back.
About 20ish minutes in we got this even higher, and more gorgeous view of the slow city below. The mound in the photo is actually a 묘, of a gravesite. Then below that are some farming plots. When we came to this clearing there was a massive bee hovering around the gravesite. It was bright yellow, and almost red, and was about the size of my thumb. I have never seen something like that before, but could tell it was dangerous. We kept our distance, but did not realize that the bee was the Asian Giant Hornet (the queen bees get as long was the width of your palm) until we asked Peter’s language partner. Apparently this bee can kill you in 20 minutes if you are not rushed to the hospital right away, because it shuts down your organs…. Peter and I spent a good chunk of time gawking at what we saw after we found out what it was.
On the way back we passed by this giant swing, which is not as fun as it looks. It is pretty heavy so you cannot really get the momentum necessary to get high.
After we got back from our hike we had heoddeok and met up with the other CLS participants. Some had stayed in coffee shops to avoid the heat, some had dressed in the traditional hanbok, and others rented segways. I forgot to mention that we also got Jeonju’s famous chocolate pies, which I brought back to my family as a little gift.
Following this, all CLS participants went together to a cooking class where we learned how to make the traditional 전주 비빔밥, bibimbap. It was delicious!
Here is the end to the Jeonju and Gunsan blog series. If you have not read the other blogs from that weekend you can find them here: