It’s composed of the regions which are all in the south of Korea, Jeollanam and Jeollabuk-do which also link onto Jeju Island.
You can contemplate its beautiful beaches in the south west of Korea. Put on your trainers and climb the rolling hills in the centre and the Sobaek high mountains to the east. You can visit some of the 2000 islands along the coast. A fun fact, almost 300 of them are uninhabited. This region is a bit special because it has its own government and a separate telephone area code.
The climate there is gentle and humid, which makes the land well suited to agriculture. The region therefore has a large number of rice fields. This captures the eye because these rice fields are populated with white herons. For the more spiritual or those who wish to discover the methods of “zen”, introduce yourself to zen Buddhism in the temple of Songgwang-Sa.
The traditional culture is particularly accessible in this region with its Buddhist temples and ancient villages. One of the most emblematic places is the historic quarter with the Hanoks (traditional houses) which have been converted to allow artisans to work in museums, ….. This province is also the “birthplace of pansori”, which are traditional songs which are accompanied tambourines.
It’s equally a mountainous region, but not like the majority of other provinces, because in the heart of winter, you will find strong sensations on the ski tracks the highest and most beautiful in Korea.
A little bit of history of the region.
South Korean is an democratic country since not long ago. In 1979, Choi Kyu-ha became president of the republic. At this time, the general of the South Korean army, Chun Doo-hwan, carried out a coup d’état against the president who stepped down in May 1980. In the days that followed, Chun Doo-hwan took the position of president, the 1st of September 1980 and remained thus for over 7 years. He decreed martial law throughout the country and dissolver the national assembly. Student and trade-union protests followed to to denounce the seizing of power by the military regime He sent the army with tanks to quieten the revolt. Facing unarmed militants, it was a massacre. This region soon after became, the land of welcome for political figures and religious exiles of the regime for being opposed to them.
The International Biennale: this takes place every two years, from September to November. The Museum of Art (Gwangju Art Museum) also offers concert halls and their exhibitions showcase the work of leading contemporary and other great artists.
The folk museum presents traditional Korean culture through video and more traditional displays.
As you have been able to see, Gwangju is the city that was the cradle of the Korean revolution against the military dictatorship. Koreans consider it to be important because it marked a turning point in the history of the country and shaped the Korea of today. You can see this through the memorials and the cemetery that was constructed for the burial of activists who died during the 1980 massacre.
The Uijae Museum in the heart of the Mudeung Mountain: this presents an insight into Korean architecture and interior design through its exhibits of paintings and of different materials in use then.
Gwangju Museum is a must to visit, and traces the history of this country since its creation. A voyage through time, from ancient times to today, traces the different stages of life in Korea.
The islands of Heuksan-do comprise a hundred islands which are mostly uninhabited. As for the wooded islands of Hong-do, there are 20 of them. You can get there by ferry to the port city of Mokpo.
The folk village of Nagan is surrounded by a fortified fortress which contains three districts. It is extremely well preserved and gives an overview of the history of these neighbourhoods.
You can party and enjoy fine food and wine in the restaurants, bars and nightclubs of Mokpo.
There is a fascinating maze of alleys in the Hanok Maeul district. It is composed of 800 traditional houses, in the region of Jeonju. You will live out a unique experience in a village where the ancient architecture is preserved. You can stay for a few days if you feel like it!
The romantic Gwanghallu-won garden is located in Namwon and traces Korea’s most famous love story with Chunhyang’s unwavering dedication to Lee Mong-Ryong.
Whether it is for hiking in the summer or enjoying the winter sports resorts of Muju, go to the Deogyusan National Park and its ski and surf trails. Enjoy thrills by day and relax at night in the hot springs that are open all year round.
Walk on the beach beside the Yellow Sea on Seonyu-do Island. Take the time to sit and watch the biggest concentration of migrating birds in Korea.
Seonunsan Provincial Park is dedicated to the discovery of nature throughout the seasons. It hides a temple you can visit and which hides a giant Buddha carved in the cliff.
Maisan Provincial Park will introduce you to more amazing places, such as a hundred well preserved stone towers built by a Buddhist monk. And you have only to raise your head to see the “horse’s ears” which are two mountains side by side 600 metres high. After all these excitements, well-deserved rest comes at just the right time in the Jinan Red Ginseng Spa in Korea, renowned for its use of red ginseng.
And one of the attractions to be sure to visit is the Suncheon Bay marshes.