Gwangju is the sixth largest city in South Korea. It is a designated metro under the direct control of the central government's home minister, and is also the capital of South Jeolla Province, until the provincial office moved to the southern village of Namak in 2005. The city derived its name from the words "Gwang" which means 'light', and "ju" which means 'province.'
The city has five administrative divisions that are sanctioned by the government. The divisions are Buk, Dong, Gwangsan, Nam, and Seo. Out of the five, Gwangsan is considered as the biggest, with respect to land area, while Seo is the smallest in size. The city's local spoken language meanwhile is the Jeolla dialect, and the population (2014, October) stands at 1,477,780.
Tourism-wise, the city is known for its exquisite and wonderful sceneries found along the outskirts of the city, which then gave birth to gasa, a form of classical Korean poetry. The city is also famous for its rich and rather diverse cuisine that are inspired by its locality and other Asian flavours, and is known as the birthplace of the modern democratic movement in Korea.
What to see & do
Within the destination, travellers may enjoy a variety of sights and activities. Travellers may visit Chungjano Street, known as the "secret of the youth," which is located in Dong-gu. Chungjano Street is named after the posthumous title of General Kim Deok-ryeong, and is the site of the 1980 Gwangju Democratization movement. Today, it is Gwangju's major fashion district, comparable with Myeongdong Street of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The street is lined with shopping arcades, clothing stores, restaurants, cafes, movie theatres, and various attractions – providing the best experience and thus living up to its reputation as the youth's ‘not-so-secret’ secret. Moreover, travellers may also check on the Gwangju national Museum, where cultural relics from Jeollanam-do are on display. The exhibits within the museum are grouped in seven categories, which are further divided to period and type. The Prehistoric Hall displays artefacts during the
Paleolithic Neolithic, and Bronze Ages, as well as early relics from the Iron Age. There is also a Buddhist Art Hall, a Shinan Ocean Floor Relic Hall, and a Goryeo Pottery Exhibit Hall. Further, travellers may also see the Mudeungsan Provincial Park; the Gwangju Biennale Hall; the May 18th National Cemetery, which commemorates the democratic movement in South Korea; and the Kimdaeujung Convention Centre. At the right time, travellers may also chance on the annual Kimchi festival, and many other events.
How to get around within Gwangju
Travelling around Gwangju is fairly easy due to the well-developed transport systems in the area. The main modes are buses and taxis. Taxis are incredibly cheap and will only set travellers back for a few won (won is the currency in South Korea), although buses are more frequent so some opt for these. There is also a subway system functioning with our main stops, which is relatively cheap and has a fixed fare to any location covered.
How to get there
The Gwangju Airport is the main airport serving Gwangju, and currently has flights to Seoul and Jeju. In the near future, the airport will be reduced to a Korean air force base, and will no longer be used for commercial flights. It is better to catch flights through the Muan International Airport which is an hour west of Gwangju, or South Korea's Incheon International Airport, the main airport serving the whole country.
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Airports near Gwangju
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