Visiting Jeolla Province: Gwangju & Damyang

Our third WOW Korea trip this time was to Jeolla Province on the South-West region of South Korea. Our first destination was Gwangju City, around 3-4 hours away by bus from Seoul. Here’s the list of places that we went to in our day there:

Penguin Village (펭귄마을)

This cultural village is one of the most unique villages I’ve seen so far. It’s like an outdoor art museum that uses old unused items. It’s definitely a good place to take hipster photos.

Fun fact: The village is called Penguin Village because the eldest in the village (maybe he isn’t even alive now) walks like a penguin. There is no actual penguins there so don’t be disappointed if you do not see any.

If you have the time, you can also explore the rest of the Yangrim-dong Culture Village right outside the Penguin Village. It’s all located in Yangrim Neighbourhood! The nearest subway station to the village is South Gwangju Station (Nam Gwangju Station). If you need a map reference, here’s the location of the Yangrim Neighbourhood area.

Soswaewon Garden (담양 소쇄원)

 This garden is a famous Joseon dynasty garden that is located in Damyang but it is near the border of Gwangju.
Before you actually see the traditional buildings, you’ll pass a bamboo grove that made me feel like I was back in Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan. But this one’s way better because there isn’t as many people in the background ruining your photos 😀 I would say that this place is a really nice place to go to if you want to get away from the city crowd and spend some quiet time.
The admission into the park costs 2000 KRW, 1000 KRW and 700 KRW for adults, youths and children respectively. To get here, take Bus 2-1 or 2-4 to Soswaewon (소쇄원) bus stop (38 stops, for about 1hr 6min) from Gwangju Bus Terminal.

Pyeongchon Pottery Workshop

Just near to Soswaewon Garden, there’s a craft house specialising in pottery. We went there to learn about how ceramics were made and we got a chance to make one ourselves. We did not have enough time to actually try out making a piece on the pottery wheel. Instead, we made a flat plate on a flat surface with just our hands and simple brushes. Here’s a short clip on what we did.

1913 Songjeong Station Market

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Our last stop in Gwangju was 1913 Songjeong market. This market has been around since 1913 but recently got a makeover and was reopened earlier this year in April. It’s now a very hipster and trendy hangout place for the youngsters in Gwangju and I would really recommend going here if you are in town.

There are many food options in the market and I think it is better to come at night to see all the beautiful lights while enjoying the warm food. Some of the things my group and I ate were the Samgyeopsal cabbage burito (it wasn’t as fantastic as how it looked), some german Jokbal (Pig feet, super delicious), grilled shrimp on a stick, strawberry mochi and choco pie. We sure had a very fun and stomach-filling night 😀

I really enjoyed our time in Gwangju and it was sad that we only had one day to be there but I was also excited for the next destination in our itinerary: Boseong, Korea’s green tea heaven! Post coming up next!

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