Saturday, August 10, 2013

how to get to jeonju

I was in charge of navigating from Seoul to Jeonju City. There's actually a lot of information on the interweb about it. Maybe too much. After sifting through it all, I decided that we should take the bus at Seoul's Express Bus Terminal because it was the safest bet. Buses to Jeonju leave every ten minutes from 5:30AM onwards.

But first, I had to get us from our hotel to Express Bus Terminal via subway. From our starting point, Myeongdong Station, we had to switch lines at the next stop, Chungmoro. I'm embarrassed to say that we got on the wrong train there. What can I say? It was way too early in the morning for me to be 100% coherent and I'm not used to herding a group of people who all want to go in different directions.

Anyway, after 13 stops (instead of nine) we made it to the Express Bus Terminal subway station. I knew that we were supposed to exit at "Honam Line", but somehow it was not that easy to find. After running around like headless chickens for a minute or so, we asked a nice lady who pointed us in the right direction.

And then we were inside the actual bus terminal. It was the nicest bus station I'd ever been in.

Our bus was departing at 9:20AM from Platform 9 which was clearly marked.

The trip takes about two hours and 45 minutes, and our tickets cost 18,700 won (about US$17) per person.

After about an hour on the road, we made a short stopover at a service area.

I don't know about you, but giant squirrels bother me a little. Notice that the children and the nuts are about the same size.

I was so excited to see the food stalls!

One of us bought a bowl of potato balls. Too heavy for me.

Instead, I chose Delimanjoo (2,000 won or US$1.80 for a small bag) and a refreshing Chilsung Cider (1,000 won or less than US$1). Despite the name, it's not an alcoholic drink. It's just lemon-lime flavored soda, but way better than Sprite or 7-Up because it's not as sweet.

The ubiquitous Delimanjoo is a bite-sized pastry. They come in different shapes, have different fillings-- usually custard-- and they're very, very addicting. I got miniature ears of corn.

I could practically hear Homer Simpson saying, "Mmm, custard."

Someone bought a bag of Chalbori Hwangyong bread.

It was the best hopia I'd ever had.

About 90 minutes later, our bus dropped us off at Jeonju's Express Bus Terminal. From there, we took a cab to Jeonju Guest House in Hanok Village. It was a 10-minute drive and cost 4,500 won (US$4).

We stayed in Jeonju for one night only, so the next day we went back to the same terminal to catch the 2:20PM bus. Like before, there was a stopover but on the other side of the highway. I remember the name of that place, Jeong-an Service Area, because it had an amazing view of the mountains and fields.

There was a stall selling the largest figs in the universe. Each was as big as my fist.

After eating mostly traditional Korean cuisine in Jeonju, I figured it was time for me to try some fusion. Hello, bulgogi dog.

It was a perfectly enjoyable snack. Although the hotdog looked disturbingly pale, it was delicious. I suppose the tiny meatballs and the barbeque sauce were the bulgogi part of it, but they didn't really make an impact. Perhaps they should have put some kimchi in there.

Here's a very helpful video explaining how to get to Jeonju from Seoul:

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