Day 3, we took the earliest bus to Jeonju. We bought our breakfast on the way from 7Eleven. Jeonju is like a 2 hours and a half journey from Nambu Express Bus Terminal. The journey was smooth and we got to stop at one of the rest areas to pee and to get some hot food. There I tried this amazing hot honey pancake called Hotteok (호떡). It is like a sweet tasting pancake and it was filled with honey inside and fried on the pan. One hotteok costs about 1000won and it is cheap I would say for such a snack food. We reached Jeonju just in time for lunch and to check in into our hotel, Happy Memory Guesthouse. We will only staying here for a night so we just brought like a pair of cloth to change for the next day. Hard core right our travelling??
Our Korean friend Sehun brought us to Jeonju town for lunch and then we had to meet his pastor for dinner. We also went to visit on of the traditional Korean churches named Big Tree Church. The churches in Seoul had their own architecture and fine details that define one church element. The town was huge and full of things to see and do and eat. There were trees cover with beautiful fabrics and I thought it was to keep the tree warm as it was winter. Sehun told me that fabric is to attract insects during winter. The reason why tree barks were partly wrapped up is to protect them from insects that are looking for a warm place to snuggle for the winter and lay their eggs. There are similar straw mats used on pine trees in Japan called komomaki .The straw mats are taken off the trees in spring and burnt. So when the straw mats come off, that means its spring!
Dinner we ate dakgalbi bokkeumbap. It is one of the traditional must try dishes in Korea. When they served us, it was like a big round pan with stir fried spicy chicken chunks with mozzarella cheese in the middle. Sehun taught me the way of how they eat this dish. You first need to take your chopstick and gather around like a ball of cheese while it’s still cooking. With that ball of cheese, you take it and scoop it up with a piece of meat and then wrap it together with any salad and its side dishes. You can eat the meat only or make a wrap with Korean lettuce and sauce (If you want, you can put garlic in it also). Make sure to leave room for fried rice (볶음밥, Bokkeumbap). Once you are done making cheese balls and eating almost half of the dish, then you can call the waitress to bring the rice and make some fried rice together with the cheese and meat. When the girl starts frying the rice, it is like those kimchi fried rice that we know of. After dinner, pastor then took us for a cup of coffee then we headed home walking. It was a fun night out and very cold one indeed. We went towards downtown for some shopping, Baskin Robin for some ice cream and went to sing karaoke after that. Sehun’s friends also joined in along. I was a bit shy because it was like meeting new people and I don’t do socializing fast with new people. Especially singing karaoke, I feel comfortable singing with the people I am already used to and I just meet them like few hours only. It was a bit awkward and I kinda refused to sing .hahaha..Introverts problem. But it was fun seeing them singing and hitting those really high notes. Korean people can really sing!
The next day we slept in a little late as we were meeting up with another friend Kyeong Hee. We met up with her for breakfast and then headed to the market they had. She brought us to see Jeonju market and their town. It was very interesting and an eye opener. I am a person that is very interested in knowing other people’s culture and places. As you can see in my pics, we went some art places and those markets that sell so many unique foods. Located 10 minutes away from the Hanok Village, the Nambu Market is another place worth explore. Traces and bits of history can be found at the market. Ginseng, Herbal Medicine, fresh veggies and even bedding are available here at the indoor market. Soondae (Blood Sausage Soup) is the delicacy here — but too bad I just don’t know the art of appreciating pig blood sausage yet so I decided to give it a miss.
Around noon, we met up with some other friends and went for lunch at one of the restaurants in Jeonju town. We ate Budae jjigae (I think). It literally translates to army stew. During the U.S. occupation of Korea during the Korean War, locals were introduced to such American delicacies as Spam and hot dogs, and ended up making this bizarre and utterly tasty mishmash of Korean and American foods, starring random meats backed up by kimchi, ramen noodles, tofu, and more. It gets its spice from the kimchi, plus both gochugaru and gochujang. (The thinking goes: the spicier the better, because then you get to drink more beer.)
Then we decided to hit for some Korean dessert. The Koreans brought us to Korean Dessert Café to try the original bingsu. I tried mango and almond. The ice milk they used to craft the ice cream is mainly shaved ice, milk, syrups, fruits, and a bunch of other ingredients it is called Bingsu. We also explored the street food such as octopus skewers, grilled cheese skewers and the colorful cotton candy. I would think I was insane by eating all those yummy food and my stomach could even take in as long as I am walking. HAHHAHA
Once our tummy is filled with all the amazing food and dessert, we headed to go and rent our traditional Hanboks. Hanboks are simply an example of traditional Korean dress. We searched high and low for cheap rentals as we were just going to rent it for an hour or so. Our itinerary was very tight and we were trying our very best to get a taste of Jeonju as fast as possible. Time wasn’t our best friend though. One of my friend spotted and asked for us whether we could at least rent the Hanboks for about KW10000 (it’s about RM38) . Thank God we found an aunty and uncle that were willing to rent at that price. Many shops were renting the hanboks and it as if they were having competitions and tourist like me will feel the pinch as our MYR isn’t helping to the extent we would just rent out to whatever price they say. We had to bargain and keep looking out for those cheap one.
The aunty was very nice. She suggested a few colors that suits our skin colors and made sure the size was right. I was gaining lots of weight because I was eating rice most of the time and my face was getting rounder and rounder. Thank goodness we all fitted in. My worst nightmare was nothing fits in, I will be so sad and devastated. I came all these way, crossing thousands of miles and nothing fits in?? I will sit and roll on the floor. We all fitted into our hanboks and headed towards the Hanok Cultural Village. It was a good hike to burn all those calories we gained. We were like the models for the day. Our friends were the official photographers and we were posing for no reason. It was very fun and tiring at the same time. One thing I know for sure is that the Koreans are very good at arts and crafts. The village’s walls were painted uniquely and each painting had its own taste. Certain items such as gas cylinder were also part of the arts where they painted it as 2 love birds. My pics will tell you guys the story. I was so mesmerized with the scenery and the people there. The old people I had come across apparently appears to be more healthy and stronger than us younger ones. Funny isn’t it? We explored the whole Hanok Village and took thousands of pics. Keeping time on track, we had to return the hanboks as we were only given an hour. After returning, we headed to down town to shop and explore and get some light souvenirs. We went for Korean BBQ buffet at one of the famous restaurants in Jeonju. We tried their Samgyupsal. Samgyupsal is another popular Korean meat dish that is enjoyed at home or at Korean restaurants that specializes in meat dishes. It consists of thick pork strips, served in the same fashion as galbi but there is no marination involved. It is usually cooked on a grill with pa muchim, kimchi, mushrooms, garlic, and onions and are consumed altogether. We had to wait for almost half an hour to be seated imagine that!! The meat served was humongous. They keep refilling the meat as we just sat down to eat. Come on!!! Give us like 5mins to breathe can?? hahahhaa… the meat was super fresh and meaty!! They serve with soy bean soup and several of side dishes. I ate my heart out. I felt as if I am gonna die due to fullness. After dinner, we took a cab and rushed to our bus station. We said our goodbyes to Sehun and Kyeong Hee. It was sad but I know we will somehow go back to Korea soon because we aren’t done exploring Seoul to the fullest. We took our bus back to Chungmuro and slept in like a baby once we reached our guesthouse. We needed to rest as the next day we need to explore Nami Island and Petite France.
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Happy memories Hotel
25 Munhwagwangjang-ro, Nosong-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea
Jeonju Hanok Village
99 Girin-daero, Pungnam-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea
19-3 Pungnammun 1-gil, Jeonong 3(sam)-ga, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea