After a long and tough week of work for the both of us, we decided to take a trip by train to the “City of Love” to loosen up. My other half booked us train tickets to Namwon in Jeolla-do. I’ve visited numerous cities in Korea but I’ve never been to Jeolla Province. It was my first time so I was super excited to see what Namwon had to offer. It’s quite famous in Korea but some of you may wonder why it’s called the “City of Love”. Well, this is where some serious love was put to the test. It’s home to the story of Sung Chunhyang and Lee Myongryong. It’s late and I’m deathly tired from 7+ hours of riding the train with screaming babies, loud women and sticky sweat so if this post sounds awkward or awkwardly cheesy, please forgive me! Another thing, this post is picture heavy so please be patient with all the picture loading!
I will briefly write about the story of Chunhyang for those who may not be familiar with it. Sung Chunhyang was the daughter of a gisaeng (a female entertainer) and Lee Myongryong was the son of a government official. They met and fell in love at fist sight. I actually asked my Korean man if it’s a true story or just a folktale and he said both. So your guess is just as good as mine. Anyway, their love was put to the test when Myongryong left to Seoul after they were secretly married and she was approached by a corrupt magistrate (a show of hands if you’ve seen “Delightful Girl ChunHyang”). He imprisoned her when she refused his advances and then her hubby returned and rescued her and they lived happily ever after. That’s the story in a nutshell. I’m sure there’s more information online if you’re interested in reading about it. You can think of it as the Korean version of Romeo and Juliet.
We left around 9 in the morning and reached out destination at noon. Here are some pictures of us on the train.
So after reaching Namwon, we immediately caught a cab to a restaurant that my boyfriend had in mind after perusing a bunch of reviews online. We must have been in luck because we had a pretty funny taxi driver who was more like an aspiring actor. He even gave my boyfriend a quiz about the history of Chunhyang. The boyfriend ended up getting 90 points from him, I don’t know why he deducted 10 points lol. He put my boyfriend on the spot and asked him questions that he himself didn’t know the answer to. The ride was short but boy did he talk the entire way. He dropped us off right in front of the restaurant where we were both in awe of the structure and interior.
If you’re in Korea or are coming to Korea and you happen to be in this area, try out this restaurant. It’s called Chung Hak Dong. We had course A but there’s tons of other food that would satisfy your tummy. Nothing tasted greasy or unhealthy and the service was good. Two big thumbs up! After lunch, we headed to Gwanghalluwon Garden, where Chunhyang and Myongryong first met. We were immediately disappointed with this…
Couldn’t they have made them more similar in size? The garden itself was beautiful and it was actually quite large so it made for a good walk. The only problem was the weather was very punishing, it was so hot and while it wasn’t as hot as the time we had visited Seoul last summer, it was still hot enough to tire us out. We walked around, walked up to a few of the pavilions there, fed carp and took like several dozen pictures before heading to Chunhyang Theme Park.
If you’re interested in reading more about Gwanghalluwon Garden, follow this link Gwanghalluwon Garden.
While the garden was pretty nice, the theme park left more to be desired. I was looking forward to visiting the film set that I had heard about it but that part of the park was inaccessible. The park was pretty empty and most of their sights were under reconstruction. I don’t think we saw anything there that was memorable. It was just a giant empty space.
We were both surprised at how deserted their downtown was. It was Saturday afternoon but most of the shops were empty and there were hardly any cars endangering our lives or people shoving us (guess I’m so used to Suwon that this came as a surprise). Since we were pretty bored and out of places to visit with the theme park visit cut short, I asked my boyfriend to visit Innisfree with me. I was actually wearing their new BB cream so I wanted to pick up a full size tube. And of course while I was there, I was tempted by their products so I picked up their No Sebum primer. No-self control, whatsoever.
We walked up and down the street before we both thought it was too hot and there was nothing in particular we wanted to see. We even considered going to the noraebang to kill time but we only passed by a few in the area and they didn’t look that inviting. So we ended up seeking comfort and cool air at a coffee shop down the street. We spent like an hour there before we decided to head to the train station.
After boarding the train, I think I fell asleep for about half an hour before waking up. The boyfriend suggested that we check out the train cafe since we had reservations for dinner. So we walked all the way to the back of the train where I was pleasantly surprised! Keep in mind, it was my first time taking the train so the entire experience was pretty new to me.
And…that concludes our first train trip together. Honestly, I was quite disappointed in the theme park and while the rest of Namwon was okay, I don’t think I’ll recommend it to any of my friends. If there are any foreigners residing in Korea, I should mention that you can rent a bike for free at Namwon station and there’s probably tons more to check out since we were pretty limited to just one area. We tried to stay close to the station so there were some sights we couldn’t check out. This has been one long post and I’m pretty tired. Hope you enjoyed it!