I met a foreign traveler in Thailand and he asked me which place I can recommend to him if he would visit Korea. I said Jeju Island because among the places or attractions that I've been to, I think Jejudo is the most beautiful place in Korea. It is where the Korean newly-wed go for honeymoon.
But yesterday, I traveled to Gunsan City for the second time (My first time wasn't fun.). If I've just visited the City earlier, I absolutely recommended the place to a foreign traveler friend.
Here's how we enjoyed our two days and one night in Gunsan City. We started our trip late afternoon. (It's not necessary to start in the morning because the attractions are very close to each other so it doesn't need much time.) It was late afternoon when we arrived Gunsan but we decided not to have lunch to be ready for our food tripping.
Gunsan has lots of famous food and restaurants. One of these is the Jungdong hotteok. Hotteok is a variety of filled pancake and is popular street food in Korea but Jungdong hotteok (중동 호떡) is very famous that it opened a small restaurant and moved to a bigger one. Here are the workers making and serving hotteok in the restaurant.
Here's what the hotteok made special. It doesn't taste greasy and the bread is like chapatti (Indian bread) with lots of filling inside. It's a little more expensive than the hotteok that are bought in the street but it is worth it. Four (4) pieces for 3,000 won (less than $3).
Food tripping was included in our plan so even the hotteok was delicious, we decided not to have more than one. So after Jungdong hotteok, we went to Lee Seong Dang Bakery (이성당). Luckily, we were on time and didn't have to line up just to buy some bread. The bakery is too famous that you have to wait long before you could get inside.
There are different kinds of bread to choose from. Everything looks delish but danbatppang or red-bean bread is the most famous one. Dan= sweet, bat=red-bean, ppang= bread. Dan bat ppang means sweetened red-bean bread. The bread is soft and filled with much red-bean.
Another famous bread is the vegetable bread but I think it's more delicious than the red-bean bread. It is also full of vegetables inside. Their bread is really yummy and tastes unique.
After having bread, we went to Jangmi Chopped Noodle Restaurant (jangmi kalguksu or 장미칼국수). The noodles is really yummy. The soup tastes like real sea-foods broth.
What makes it more delicious? The kimchi! They serve very delicious kimchi with the kalguksu. Yum! Yum! And more yum!
Since we are already full, we decided to visit Gunsan Cheolgil or Gunsan Railway.
The walls of the houses beside the railway are painted with beautiful pictures and characters. I can't imagine how the people lived there when the railway was still working.
Not only the walls but also the railways are very interesting. This word reads Sarang meaning Love.
It reads "yoja maleul jal deudja" which means "Let's listen carefully to what a woman say".
"Bomnal" means Spring Day.
Now it's coffee break time. While taking a walk, we saw the price lists of coffee outside the Seon Soo Coffee shop (선수). When we went in, the interior is good to take a rest and chat with friends. Besides, the manager is very kind. She recommended us some famous food to try in Gunsan. Some food on our lists that were searched on the net were eliminated and some were added. She said some on our lists taste good but there are much better than them.
The Seon Soo Coffee Shop interior.
Take-out coffee is 1,000 won (around $1) cheaper.
And because of that, we decided to take-out our coffee and find a hotel or motel where we can stay for a night. We went to a motel for $70/night that is good for 4 people (we are with our couple friends) according to the manager but she didn't want to show us the room so we left. We went to another motel which is $60/night. The "Mulbitgoeul Motel" (물빚고을 모텔) manager showed the room and it is just what we are looking for. My hubby asked discount and the manager said $50 but he needed cash so we grabbed it.
The motel has a double bed and single bed and they gave us additional pillow, mattress, and blanket.
It also has a big TV. The one that we are looking for because of Asian game.
And a huge bathroom.
My hubby's friend likes drinking so we drank before we went to bed.
Hubby doesn't drink. Never! But I do! Just a little! And occasionally so I don't know anything about alcohol or beer! Hubby's friend asked what I wanted to drink and I said anykind is okay so he bought these. He said they taste juice and he's right.
I was surprised when I saw the real apricots inside. Wow! I've never seen alcohol like this before. Am I stupid? Maybe, when it comes to alcohol. hehe.. We had fun drinking, chatting and taking pictures of ourselves. We slept at around 5a.m.
We stayed up late and woke up late. We left the motel at noon. So for lunch (Should I say breakfast?), we went to Ssangyong Banjom to have Jjampong (Korean spicy seafood noodle soup).
The restaurant has a good view.
Jjampong in Ssangyong Banjom is a little bit expensive compare to other restaurant but it's the most delicious jjampong that I've tasted so far.
Ooopppsss... they served us jjampong without noodles. We thought the noodles is separated with the soup, we waited but there was no noodles coming so we asked. The waitress said that it was a mistake. The cook forgot to put noodles. There's no one to blame, that's normal when the chef is too busy in the kitchen. The restaurant was crowded when we went there.
The waitress took the soup and changed with this one. Ssangyong banjom's jjampong is another success meal!
Jjampong is always paired with Jjajangmyeon or black noodles so we ordered one. Hmmm...not a good idea to order jjajangmyeon. It's better to order more jjampong. Jjampong is the best!
The shells from jjampong.
Lunch is finished! We enjoyed the food since yesterday so it's time to see the famous attractions in Gunsan City. First, we went to Jinpo Haeyang Tema Gongwon or Jinpo Maritime Theme Park. I've posted about it here on my first visit to Gunsan. Check it out to see more pictures specially the museum.
Our next destination was the Choweon Sajin-gwan or Chowon Photo Studio.
It's what we want to see the most because of the movie Pal Woleu Christmas or Christmas in August, one of our favorite movies. My hubby said, he saw the movie five times and his friend said he also saw it several times.
Some pictures that were taken from the movie were hanging on the wall.
Across the photo studio is another interesting painted walls that is good for taking pictures.
Then we visited the Gunsan Sinheung-dong Ilbonsik Gaok or Japanese House in Sinheung-dong Gunsan.
The two-story wooden house in Japanese style was built by a Japanese who ran a draper's shop and small farm in Gunsan during the colonial period (1910-1945), and also served as a member of the autonomous district council for the Japanese residing in the area.
There were so many people specially students visiting the house.
The house on the first floor has ondol (floor heated from underneath).
There's a small tower in the garden which is a symbol of Japan.
Then we walked to Dongguksa or Dong-guk Temple that was founded by Japanese Buddhist monk called Woochida in 1913. It is the only remained one of temples built by colonial period.
This building was originally the main Buddhist hall of Geumgangsa. The temple belonged to Japan's Soto Zen sect, which was introduced to the country with an inflow of Japanese when Korea opened its ports to foreign countries.
Then we went to Wolmyeong Park.
Gunsan City has really a beautiful and clean park.
The Levee of the Old First Reservoir of Gunsan was constructed to provide water to Gunsan area. Construction began on June 18, 1912 and ended on January 4, 1915. The levee, the floodgate, and the water level measurement tower which were built in early modern period, have high values for local and architecture history.
The park has also forest with lots of benches where you can lie down comfortably.
It's really relaxing to lie down.
We were hungry after taking a walk in the park so it's time to try another menu. We went to galbijjim restaurant but it was closed. The restaurant is closed at 2:00-4:00 p.m. Then we went to another restaurant and it was also closed until 4:30 p.m. Finally, we came up with Ssambap (rice wrapped with lettuce) in Onggojip.
The restaurant is very unique. It used to be a school.
As soon as you enter, you'll see some picture frames of the famous TV programs who visited the restaurant.
At the hallway, these are displayed showing some Korean traditions.
The figurines are wearing hanbok (Korean traditional clothes) made with hanji (Korean paper).
The food also shows the normal Korean meal. Rice, soup, main dish, vegetables and lots of side dishes.
And the most interesting thing, the rice is in a student's lunchbox.
Onggojip is too far from downtown where most attractions and famous restaurants are gathered together but Onggojip is 11 km away. But we didn't regret finding the restaurant because of the nice restaurant and delicious meal that we had.
That's it! Now you can enjoy your trip to Gunsan City just the way we did! I have traveled to more than 10 countries around the world and I can say that my trip in Gunsan is one of the most memorable trip that I've ever had.