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Day Trips From Seoul: 24 Hours in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

gunsan seonyudo island

Image Source: Jeonbuk Eco-Tourism

Gunsan, with its colonial charm, scenic waterfront, and rich historical backdrop, stands as a testament to Korea's turbulent past and resilient spirit. Located on the west coast, Gunsan offers travelers a blend of culture, history, and gastronomy. It's a seamless blend of old and new, from Japanese colonial-era architecture to modern parks and eateries. Take a day away from the hustle of Seoul and experience the stories and flavors that Gunsan has to offer.

Getting to Gunsan

Traveling to Gunsan from Seoul is a comfortable journey, whether by bus or train. The express bus from Seoul Central City Bus Terminal will transport you to Gunsan in about 2 and a half hours. Alternatively, the slower trains (Saemaeul/Mugunghwa) operate between Yongsan Station and Gunsan, taking roughly 3 and a half hours.

The first train leaves from Yongsan station at 5:30 AM and the first bus leaves at 6:00 AM from Seoul Central City Bus Terminal. For this trip, we recommend taking the bus 8:00 AM bus. You'll arrive around 10:30 AM, depending on traffic.

24 Hours in Gunsan

The Double-Decker Bus to the Islands (10:30 AM - 11:45 AM)

double decker bus gunsan

Image Source: 여행스케치

Directly opposite the Intercity Bus Terminal is a bus stop. From here, hop onto bus #8 or #9 headed to Seonyudo Island. This scenic ride will take through the heart of Gunsan and straight towards Biyong-do, a development zone and harbor just in front of the the Saemangeum Seawall. Fun fact, this is the longest man-made seawall in the world. Take in the wonderful views as your cross from linked island to island until you reach Seonyudo Island. If you want to stop for lunch, fresh hoe (raw fish sashimi), make a pit stop at the Saemangeum Wholesale Fish Market (새만금도매어시장) in the Biyong-do area before venturing to Jangja-do Island.

You can stop at the Biyong-do area's Saemangeum Wholesale Fish Market (새만금도매어시장) for fresh seafood before you head to Jangja-do Island.

📍 Saemangeum Wholesale Fish Market: Google / Naver

Coffee or Snack by the Beach (11:45 AM - 2:00 PM)

seonyudo beach

Image Source: Jeolla Ilbo

At Seonyudo, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants studded around the iconic beach. Given favorable weather conditions, this calm inlet beach offers serene, crystalline waters. Stroll on the sands, savor a coffee, or simply bask in the panoramic views of the archipelago. Additionally, rentals are available for mopeds, bicycles, or 4-seater bicycle cars for groups and families. It's an ideal starting point to delve into the islands.

📍 Seonyudo Beach: Google / Naver

The Best View in the West (2:00 PM - 4:00 PM) Jangja-do Island is studded with even more food stalls and cafes. For those with an adventurous spirit, consider a brisk hike up to Daejang-bong (대장봉). Despite its elevation of only 140 meters, it promises panoramic views after a mere 20-minute ascent. For those wanting a more leisurely exploration, trails continue beyond the peak, offering scenic views and a comfortable nature walk along Gunsan's rugged westward coast.

daejangbong  gunsan

Image Source:

📍 Daejang-bong: Google / Naver

Fresh Baked Goods (4:00 PM to 6:00 PM)

vegetable bread gunsan

Image Source: SimSimStory

lee sung dang

Image Source: Naver Blog AboutTime

After departing Seonyudo, venture back into the city to sample the original Lee Sung Dang (이성당) bakery's famous vegetable croquettes and red bean donuts. This esteemed bakery serves fresh baked goods daily. Anticipate a brief queue; its reputation ensures a steady stream of patrons. In colder months, the danpatjuk (sweetened red bean porridge) is highly recommended. For hotter months, opt for patbingsu (Korean red bean shaved ice). Regardless of the season, ensure you procure some freshly baked treats as souvenirs. The wait is unquestionably worth it!

📍 Lee Sung Dang Bakery: Google / Naver

Gunsan Craft Beer (7:00 PM to 8:00 PM)

gunsan beer port

Image Source: Gunsan Ad Portal

Conclude your trip with a visit to Gunsan Beer Port, the city's premier local brewery. A mere 15-minute stroll from the bakery, here you can tour the brewery, sample fresh locally-brewed beers, and indulge in seaside snacks.

📍 Gunsan Beer Port: Google / Naver

Getting Back to Seoul

The last bus back to Seoul departs at 10:00 PM, bringing you back to Seoul around 11:30 PM. The last train leaves at 8:30, but takes longer, bringing you back to Seoul right around midnight.

For night owls seeking a more vibrant and energetic nightlife experience, make your way to Susong-dong (수송동), Gunsan's liveliest cafe and drinking area. Here, the party doesn't stop, as clubs, bars, and restaurants keep the revelry alive throughout the night, ensuring a memorable and lively night out in Gunsan.

📍 Susong-dong: Google / Naver

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