I decided to begin my adventures in South Korea by travelling from Seoul to Jeonju as soon as I landed at Incheon International Airport. The flight from Doha touched down at about 5 pm local time, and in less than 5 minutes, I was past immigration and off to pick up my checked-in bag.
This immigration experience, which is often the worst part of visiting a new country for me as a Nigerian passport holder, was seamless and efficient – my first introduction to Korea’s efficiency as a nation.
I picked up my bags and went through the baggage area towards the exit gates. My checklist of things to do upon arrival included picking up the SIM card I had reserved online via the Klook website, getting some money from the ATM and booking a bus ticket from Seoul to Jeonju.
Before arriving in Seoul, I had researched enough and knew precisely where to go to check off these items. It also helped that Incheon International Airport has clear signs and is well organized. Within a few minutes, I crossed each item off my list and was seated on the 4-hour bus to Jeonju.
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How to Travel from Incheon Aiport, Seoul to Jeonju
There are a few ways to travel from Incheon Airport, Seoul, to Jeonju. One option is via a direct bus service that runs from the airport to the Jeonju bus station. Another is to travel via the KTX train, transiting through Seoul, Gwangmyeong or Yongsan Stations. And lastly, you can choose to drive down if you rent a car.
Because I wanted the option with little or no transfers at all, I chose to take the bus. This option worked well for me as I hadn’t quite figured out South Korea’s transportation network yet and didn’t want to worry about missing any connections.
What to Expect: Travelling from Incheon Airport, Seoul to Jeonju by Bus
The bus trip was very comfortable; the seats were wide, spacious and reclined for extra comfort. We had a brief bathroom break during the journey, and about four hours later, we arrived at the Jeonju Bus Terminal.
While travelling via the KTX is ultimately faster than the bus, I can highly recommend travelling by bus if, like me, you’re visiting Korea for the first time, arriving relatively late in the evening and looking for the most direct way to get to Jeonju.
After exiting the bus station, I tried to hail a cab using the Kakao Taxi app. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful in getting one. I looked up the address of my hostel on Naver (a navigation app) and saw it was a 40mins walk from the station.
Under normal circumstances, I would have been intimidated by this. Shortly after arriving in a new country, taking a reasonably long walk alone at 10 pm would have been an absolute NO for me. However, seeing people – couples and young children out on the streets put me at ease and 40 mins later, thanks to Naver’s excellent navigation, I arrived at the 24 Guesthouse, Jeonju.
24 Hours in Jeonju: What I Did
After a good night’s sleep, I set off early the following day to explore parts of the city. Rather than follow my well-laid-out travel itinerary, I let my day evolve organically. Perhaps this was due to a long day of travel or because I arrived in a rainy Jeonju. Either way, it worked out perfectly for me.
Places to Visit in Jeonju: Pungnammun Gate
My starting point was the Pungnammun Gate, the last remaining city gate of four built during the Joseon Dynasty. This Korean treasure had undergone a few restoration projects – and was partly under construction when I visited. Still, it was cool to admire and read a little about its history.
Moving on from the Pungnammun Gate, I took a short walk to the Jeonju Hanok Village, a cluster of over 700 traditional Korean hanok houses in the city.
Places to Visit in Jeonju: Jeonju Hanok Village
I spent the morning wandering around a near-empty village but later returned in the evening to discover a bustling atmosphere filled with hanbok-clad guests, street food vendors, caricature artists, and so much more! I even stumbled upon a beautiful traditional dance and musical display organized by the city’s tourism board.
Later, I visited the Omokdae Historic Site, situated on top of a small hill, just a short distance from the Hanok Village.
Places to Visit in Jeonju: Omokdae (and Imokdae) Historic Site
The stroll along the wooden platform, sheltered by trees, was pleasant, and the bird’s eye view of the Hanok Village was even more so!
My next stop was the Gyeonggijeon Shrine. I arrived for opening time, got my tickets at the gate and proceeded to tour the grounds of this historic site.
Places to Visit in Jeonju: Gyeonggijeon Shrine
I was enamoured by this site’s architecture and other Palaces and Temples I visited throughout my stay. It never got tiring or boring for me! I was also happy to learn of the different Kdramas shot in this location, including one featuring my darling Park Bo-gum! 🙂
Between strolls around the city, I stopped for quick snacks at the PNB bakery and convenience stores and had a delicious lunch of beansprout soup and its accompanying side dishes. Everything was delicious, and I was happy to discover that Korean food aligned well with my palate!
After more loitering about the Hanok Village, my time in Jeonju ended. I retreated to the guesthouse, feeling satisfied and excited to keep exploring the country. Every interaction I had was excellent, kind and courteous. It remained that way throughout my stay.
After Jeonju, I travelled to Namwon, stopping to see Korea’s oldest and largest tea garden in Boseong. It was an epic journey, but I loved every moment of it!
Do you have any questions about travelling from Seoul to Jeonju or visiting South Korea? Leave them in the comment section below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you!