“Many Korean opera singers come from Jeolla province. The people from there eat very well and grow strong with powerful voices, ’cos their flatlands make it great for agriculture,” our Korean tour guide tells us as we trundle along in a limousine bus to Korea’s southwestern Jeolla (say ‘cholla’) province, a farm-heavy region three hours’ drive away from the Incheon International Airport. 8Days.sg was invited by the Korea Tourism Organisation to go on a gourmet (read: eat, eat and eat) tour of Jeolla recently during the late autumn season when the farms’ produce are ready for harvest, and is the best time to experience Jeolla.
If you have already shopped and ate at Seoul’s sleek, hyper-trendy joints and will get violent if you listen to ‘Gangnam Style’ one more time, head to Jeolla instead. It’s pretty chill; the friendly farm folks here wear practical tracksuits, and sport glowy tans from spending time in the sun.
Rather than Innisfree or Etude House mega K-beauty stores, you're more likely to find orchards crammed with fruit-heavy trees, and homely restaurants offering unpretentious farm-to-table nosh. At first, we balked. What’s Korea without shopping for too much skincare or hipster cafes? But we were quickly won over by Jeolla’s simple charm.
The province is divided into two broad zones: north province (Jeollabuk-do) and south province (Jeollanam-do). Each zone offers its own attractions and signature dishes. If you, like us, are a Jeolla first-timer, check out our guide below on the 15 things you can do while you’re in each province.
North Jeolla Province: Gunsan City