Korea’s southwestern region encompasses Jeollabuk-do and Jeollanam-do provinces. The region is relatively flat, containing broad stretches of rice paddies, and its jagged coastline creates many small harbors. It is a fertile and warm region sheltered by high mountains on the east and north and calm seas and many islands on the west and south. Because of the influence of both continental and ocean climates, the region very varied weather.
Jeonju is famous for its traditional mixed vegetable rice dish, bibimbap, and for Hanji, traditional mulberry paper. The provincial bird is the magpie, which is related to a poignant legend. According to this legend, on the night of
the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, magpies build a bridge above the Milky Way by carrying twigs and pebbles in their beaks, allowing two lovers, Gyeonu and Jingnyeo, who are destined to meet only once a year to see each other again.
Namwon is the gateway to Jirisan National Park, as well as the famed home of Chunhyang, one of Korea’s legendary heroines. Chunhyangga, a narrative epic song (pansori) about the faithfulness of her love, is one of the most favored performances in Korea. Jirisan Mountain has the second highest mountain peak in South Korea. The sub-range is vast and stretches across three provinces, Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do and yeongsangnam-do.Deogyusan National Park commands superb views of the 30 kilometer-long ujugucheondong Valley. The valley encompasses Muju Ski Resort.
The Gwangju National Museum is home to a collection of Chinese ceramics recovered from a 700-year-old Chinese merchant ship that was wrecked in the seas off Sinan. Damyang, 22 km north of Gwangju, is the center of bamboo cultivation and craftsmanship. The Damyang Bamboo Museum is the world’s first museum devoted exclusively to bamboo.
Other tourist sites and museums such as Hwangtohyeon Victory Field, Gochang-eupseong Fortress, the dolmen sites in Gochang and Hwasun counties and the Gangam Calligraphy Museum add historic and literary character to the province.
On Jindo Island, which is some 350 kilometers south of Seoul, visitors can see the Korean version of the Moses Miracle. The sea between the coastal village of Hoedong-ri on Jindo and nearby Modo Islet actually parts for about an hour twice a year in March or April, and again in the middle of July, leaving a walkable path, 2.8 kilometers long and 40 meters wide. Jindo is also renowned for the indigenous Korean dog breed, Jindotgae, which is designated as Natural Monument No. 53.
In May, the annual green tea festival takes place in Boseong, where green tea, music, and azaleas are all together in harmony.
The Jindo Sea-Parting Festival takes place once a year, in March or April, when the sea parts and reveals a path to an island for about one hour, attracting some one million tourists from home and abroad.
Jeonju Bibimbap is warm rice served with minced raw beef, bean sprouts, spinach, crown daisies, bracken, roots of Chinese bellflower, watercress, a raw egg and shiitake mushrooms. The contents are mixed with gochujang (hot pepper and soybean paste). This popular dish represents the cuisine of Jeolla-do with magnificent taste and color.[/bsf-info-box]