While most travelers coming to South Korea stick to the major cities of Seoul there is so much more to see when you venture outside the city borders. In fact, Korea’s capital only makes up around 0.6% of the country’s territory. Particularly North Jeolla Province is one of the most interesting to visit as it offers beautiful landscape, a picturesque coast, rich history, and delicious food. Here are the best places to see In Jeollabuk-do, Korea.
Naesosa Temple is located in Buan and was built by in 633 AD during the Baekje Dynasty. The main hall, called Daeungbojeon, was built during the Joseon Dynasty. The temple features a 600m long Fir tree road leading to the main hall. In spring, the area around the temple is covered in whites and pinks of blossoming cherry trees. What’s unique about Naesosa Temple is that the main hall has not been re-painted making it one of the only temples in Korea that are not colorful.
Literally translated, Naesosa contains the meaning “Anyone who enters here can get a fresh start on all their problems.” That’s why it is the perfect location for a Templestay program. Live like a Buddhist nun at the temple and experience a piece of Korean culture. Aside from the meditation programs, Naesosa offers something a little different. The Templestay trekking program combines hiking and practice to bring your body and mind in harmony with nature.
One of my favorite places in Jeollabuk-do Province are the stunningly beautiful Chaeseokgang Cliffs. These cliffs are located in Buan on the coast of the Yellow Sea. What I love most about them is the intriguing story that is behind them, according to the Korean Tourism Organization:
“The origin of the name comes from China, from the story of Lee Tae-Baek, while drinking wine on a ship, he saw the moon reflected in the river and jumped into the water to grab it. The name Chaeseokgang was adapted as it resembles the Chinese equivalent of this location.”
The cliffs were formed over thousands of years when the Yellow Sea has carved the rock transforming them into stunning shapes.
Leading up the way to Mt. Maisan, you will come across one of the most intriguing Korean temples in the country. Tabsa Temple is not only an incredibly beautiful structure but also comes with a mystical story. The temple was founded by Lee Gap Yong who spent his life meditating and trying to reach enlightenment. He started building 108 stone pagodas using falling debris from the surrounding area. Today, it’s one of the best places to see in Jeollabuk-do and visitors from all around the country come to Maisan to make a wish by placing a coin on one of the larger rocks.
Jeonju Hanok Village
The city of Jeonju is the most unique places to visit in Jeollabukdo and a hub for local tourists and foreign travelers alike. What draws most people to Jeonju is the beautiful old town center with a collection of over 800 traditional Korean hanok houses, some of which are guesthouses, others coffee shops, restaurants or art galleries, and museums. Not only does Jeonju offer exceptional architectural masterpieces but also state-of-the-art cuisine. It’s, therefore, no wonder that the city was named UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2012. In a previous post, I set up a list of must-eats in the city.
How to Get to Jeollabuk-do
Due to the extensive public transport system in South Korea, it’s fairly easy to get to Jeollabuk-do from virtually anywhere in the country. The easiest way is to take a KTX or express bus to Jeonju, the capital of the province. From there, you can easily catch buses to connect you throughout Jeonllabuk-do.
Where to Stay
When in Jeonju, be sure to stay at a traditional hanok guesthouse. I can highly recommend Hakindang Hanok Guesthouse in the heart of the old town district. The hotel has been family-owned for centuries and features a collection of traditional rooms where guests sleep on the heated floors – Korean style! The owner is a welcoming man who also provides tea ceremonies and shows guests around the premises.
Sunset at Mohang Beach
The perfect end to an exciting day of sightseeing in Jeollabuk-do Province should end right here: Mohang Beach. Located near Buan, this place is a hotspot for sunset chasers trying to snap the perfect shot just before the night begins. During the day, it’s also a great location to relax and watch the waves come and go. What a wonderful journey is has been.
Jeollabuk-do is truly beautiful.
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