The southwest province of South Korea, Jeollanamdo, often is forgotten about when it comes to tourism. Many people stick to Seoul or Busan and the iconic national parks when touring the country. Beyond these typical tourist destinations, there are areas of the country that are rich in culture and tradition that you simply should not miss out on.
If you are looking for a bit of history and nature, look no further than Damyang. This little city outside of Gwangju is a perfect place to go to get away for the weekend and relax. The most famous attraction in Damyang is the Bamboo Forest. The walking paths throughout the park wind through the bamboo and keep you in the shade.
Also, the Soswaewon Garden is a historic and peaceful place to check out while you are in Damyang. It dates back to the Joseon Dynasty and is situated in a bamboo grove. This place is quiet and simply beautiful.
Be sure to check out the sequoia lined road in fall to catch the incredible changing colors or watch the sunset at the Gwangju Reservoir.
Another major city in Jeollanamdo is Mokpo. However, the sprawling city has more to offer than initially meets the eye. Mokpo has some excellent walking paths that follow the water. Be sure to check out the path that leads to the famous Gatbawi Rocks.
If you ask Koreans what you should do in Mokpo, they will tell you about Yudalsan Mountain in Yuldal Park. In springtime, the park is covered in camellia flowers and you can hear the song Mokpo Tears (목포의 눈물) play over the speakers on the mountainside. The song is a kind of remembrance of the hard times during the Japanese Occupation.
Other things to check out in the area include the downtown nightlife of bars and restaurants or spend a Saturday at the Formula 1 racing track just outside of town for a bit of excitement!
Boseong is a major tourist destination in Jeollanamdo despite being very rural. Boseong is most famous for its green tea fields that are incredibly picturesque. The plantation is set behind a small grove of cedar trees and bamboo lined with coffee shops and restaurants where you can try green tea ice cream or green tea naengmyeon (ice noodle soup).
Boseong is also famous for pottery and finding a traditional pottery experience is definitely worth it! The Cheonggwang Doyewon pottery experience gives you a chance to make different kinds of pottery for around 10,000 won. Also check out our friend, Pete who does pottery and may be willing to let you play around in the studio if you ask nicely!
Other fun things to check out in the area include the Yulpo Beach and the Yulpo Spa on those hot summer days!
Suncheon may be one of the largest cities in Jeollanamdo, but they are renowned for their eco conservation and in turn have many natural attractions that you could spend days touring. The most famous of them all is the Eco Bay which is made of mud flats and reeds. The iconic view of the bay is breathtaking as the reeds form circular shapes throughout the flats.
The bay is also easily accessible via sky car from the Garden Expo. Featuring gardens from 23 nations around the world and 83 different garden displays, this place is enormous and should be given a whole day to explore fully.
Other areas worth checking out are the Naganeupseong Folk Village, Seonamsa Temple, and Songgwangsa Temple. Or you could easily just spend your time enjoying the city life and the variety of shopping and restaurants!
We may be a bit biased, but we are putting Yeosu at the top of this list for multiple reasons. Our little coastal city has so much to offer that it is hard to believe that we live here sometimes. Here’s why.
Scenically, it doesn’t get much better. Amazing bay views of the city, coastal drives down Dolsan Island, many different sandy beaches to explore as well as the opportunity to do a bit of island hopping around the bay.
There’s plenty to do as well. The Expo came to Yeosu in 2012 and the site remains a popular tourist attraction. You could spend the entire day here easily checking out the aquarium, Odongdo Island, the Sky Café, the Big O Water Show, as well as the cable cars that span the nearby Jasan Park across the bay to Dolsan Island Park.
We are currently putting together a city guide that will be helpful to English speaking tourists in the future, so for more information click here.