Question from a reader: Jeonju vs. Tongyeong?

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A reader writes us:

Hi Chris,

I’ve just seen your website and was wondering if you might be able to help me! I am going to be moving to South Korea to teach English very soon and am trying to make a decision about where it is best for me to go… as you seem to have traveled quite a bit I hoped you might be able to help me out a little. I have many many questions and if you could find the time to answer one or all of them I’d be very grateful!

A reader writes us:

Hi Chris,

I’ve just seen your website and was wondering if you might be able to help me! I am going to be moving to South Korea to teach English very soon and am trying to make a decision about where it is best for me to go… as you seem to have traveled quite a bit I hoped you might be able to help me out a little. I have many many questions and if you could find the time to answer one or all of them I’d be very grateful!

I currently have two job offers in South Korea – one for Jeonju and one for Tongyeong. As far as I can see both seem to be nice places and both jobs are extremely similar, making my decision very difficult indeed! My original aim was to find a position in Gangneung, but that doesn’t seem to have come to fruition and I want to head out to South Korea as soon as possible. My reasons for trying to go there are that is has the coast for the summer time and it has Yongpyong ski resort close by for the winter – I am a keen snowboarder and from what I can gather this is the best resort South Korea has to offer (although I am aware it has others). I am keen on other outdoor activities such as surfing, wakeboarding, mountain biking and hiking and I guess what I really want to know is whether I am going to be able to do these in the places I have been offered work?
I would really like to be close to the coast so am also wondering if there are nice beaches not too far from Jeonju as the city itself is inland a bit. Also, how easy is it to get to them – do you need a car?
How easy/cheap is it travel around South Korea? For instance, if I wanted to go and spend the weekend at Yongpyong in the winter from Tongyeong or Jeonju?

[K.S.]

Hi K.S.,

Both Jeonju and Tongyeong are pleasant areas. On each, briefly:

Jeonju (part 1, part 2) features enough touristy stuff to keep you hopping around town for awhile. There’s a good bus system there, and virtually every bus stops at the Jeonju Hanok Village – the biggest tourist draw in the area. You’re about 2 1/2 hours away from the coast / Daecheon Beach by train (there’s no direct train there, so you have to transfer and go out of the way somewhat – see http://www.korail.com/en/rv/pr21100/w_pr21110.jsp and plugin the city names for some of them). There’s a small group of foreigners around, but not a lot of Western restaurants. Seoul is about three hours away by bus or train. As for the snowboarding, Muju Resort is pretty well-known and not too far away (about 35 miles away as the crow flies). Being a fairly land-locked area some distance from the shore, the wakeboarding would be a special trip – take a bus to Buan or Gunsan to get to the coast. As for the hiking and mountain biking, Gubongsan (literally nine peak mountain) isn’t too far away.

Tongyeong (1st trip, 2nd trip) still felt a little exotic the last time I was there, but is becoming larger and more tourist-friendly. That means better opportunities, and you’re right on the coast. It’s a pretty easy (two hour) bus ride to Busan if you need ‘the big city’, but you can also take a ferry around southern Korea. is about as far from Seoul as you can get. As for snowboarding, the Eden Valley Resort is just north of Busan, but public transportation may be a bit difficult around the area. That car might be a good idea if you’re going to travel frequently, as there’s no train connection to the rest of the country (take a bus to Busan for the biggest beach, Haeundae). While not familiar with places to surf or wakeboard in the area, the coast is right there – there’s got to be someone else doing it. There’s a foreigners club based in nearby Geoje-do that does a lot of activities, and they may be able to point you in the right direction.

So which to choose? Assuming the jobs were identical, I’d pick Tongyeong – remembering that your job is what will keep you busy five days a week.

Readers, have you been to Jeonju or Tongyeong, or do you live there?

 

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Hi Chris,

I’ve just seen your website and was wondering if you might be able to help me! I am going to be moving to South Korea to teach English very soon and am trying to make a decision about where it is best for me to go… as you seem to have traveled quite a bit I hoped you might be able to help me out a little. I have many many questions and if you could find the time to answer one or all of them I’d be very grateful!

I currently have two job offers in South Korea – one for Jeonju and one for Tongyeong. As far as I can see both seem to be nice places and both jobs are extremely similar, making my decision very difficult indeed! My original aim was to find a position in Gangneung, but that doesn’t seem to have come to fruition and I want to head out to South Korea as soon as possible. My reasons for trying to go there are that is has the coast for the summer time and it has Yongpyong ski resort close by for the winter – I am a keen snowboarder and from what I can gather this is the best resort South Korea has to offer (although I am aware it has others). I am keen on other outdoor activities such as surfing, wakeboarding, mountain biking and hiking and I guess what I really want to know is whether I am going to be able to do these in the places I have been offered work?
I would really like to be close to the coast so am also wondering if there are nice beaches not too far from Jeonju as the city itself is inland a bit. Also, how easy is it to get to them – do you need a car?
How easy/cheap is it travel around South Korea? For instance, if I wanted to go and spend the weekend at Yongpyong in the winter from Tongyeong or Jeonju?




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