Gwangju Blog

News of the Week: November 6, 2014

Public Transportation Expanded and Work Hour Adjusted for Suneung Day

Public transportation, such as buses and subways, will be expanded for the College Scholastic Aptitude Test or College Entrance Exam Day set for November 13th, along with adjustments in work hours among public organizations.

Starting time for public organizations and governmental associations will be delayed by 1 hour to 10 o’clock in the morning and expanded public transportation will be in operation to help students and test takers.

The Ministry of Education, along with the city of Gwangju and the province of Jeollanamdo, also released a set of measures aimed at rescheduling of airline flights to reduce noise. In accordance, the operation of flights will be banned for 25 minutes during the English listening test scheduled from 1:10 p.m.

This year’s CSAT will be held from 8:40 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 13th at 1,216 nationwide test rooms with the total number of test takers amounting to around 640,000, down some 10,000 from last year.

In Gwangju, 21,000 test takers will take the exam, along with 19,000 in Jeollanamdo.


Mayor of Gwangju Reinforces Communication Through Various Programs

The city of Gwangju and its mayor Yoon Jang-hyeon have released a set of measures to reinforce communication with citizens.

The city will recruit participants for the ‘One Day Citizen Mayor’ program recently introduced and adopted by the mayor to seek citizens’ participation and communication with the municipalities.

Participants for the ‘One Day Citizen Mayor’ will be given opportunities to accompany the mayor to governmental meetings, official events and conferences throughout the day.

Anyone who is a Gwangju citizen can sign up for the program and applications can be found on the official webpage of the city at

First adopted by the capital city of Seoul in 2012, the ‘One Day Citizen Mayor’ program has gained positive reviews from participants and citizens for promoting effective communication with the mayor and municipalities in the city.


Gwangju Biennale to Offer Special Discount on Local University Students

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation will carry out a special discount event for local university students from Gwangju and Jeollanamdo until November 7th.

The Biennale will offer discount admission of 4,000 won to those visitors who present student identification cards from local universities in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo.

In addition, various artistic items on sale in the souvenir shop inside the Biennale, such as eco-bags, notebooks, and cups, will be discounted at 10 percent for those students with identification cards.

The 2014 Gwangju Biennale, themed ‘Burning Down the House’, and exhibiting some 413 artworks from 103 artists in 38 countries, will continue its run through this Sunday.


Jeollanamdo-recognized Child Care Center to be Created

Jeollanamdo will implement a ‘Jeollanamdo Certified Child Care Center’ to improve the child-care environment in the province starting next year.

Starting next year, in order to improve local childcare agencies for a more systematical operation and management, a total of 50 childcare centers will be designated and recognized as certified children’s centers annually for four years.

In Jeollanamdo, a total of 1,231 childcare centers and kindergartens are in operation and among them, nursery facilities owned and operated by private and household child care centers take up some 73 percent.

Out of the 73 percent of individually owned nursery facilities in Jeollanamdo, nearly 35 percent have not been inspected or received evaluation for certification. The need for a more systematic management and evaluation of the respective facilities has been on the rise over the years.

Where to Eat Wednesday: 무진주

Though I’ve been living in Gwangju for over four years now, it’s a little sad to think how I have yet to try some of the more popular restaurants in town. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s guilty of this, especially since Western tastes don’t always match up with that of the locals. Still, this is something I’ve been trying to get better about.


After years of passing it during my many walks through the downtown area, I finally decided to go and try 무진주 (Mujinjoo) when my best friend from back home visited. I had asked some Koreans for recommendations on where we should go for lunch, only to be met with shocked gasps when they found out that I had not tried this fairly well known restaurant. Since I’m not one to question the locals, we decided to wander on down to familiar streets to try this restaurant.

When we arrived, we were immediately impressed by just how pretty the place was. Everything from the logo to the interior had been carefully thought out, focusing on the charming aspects of old school Korea. I also quickly learned that this restaurant’s specialty was 보쌈 (bossam), which is basically steamed pork belly that’s served with rice and a number of sides. I’m actually ashamed to admit that my experience with this popular meal is quite limited, but that left me feeling all the more excited to try what people had described as one of the best spots for it.

Once we were inside, we were directed towards the back of the restaurant to what looked like floor seating. We first groaned at the idea of having to sit on the floor, only to realize that each table had a hollowed out area beneath it, making it so we could sit comfortably while still technically sitting on the ground. If more restaurants were like this, my legs and my feet would be so much happier.


As I thumbed through the menu, I was pleased to see that each option had a brief description in English. Due to this being a large meal meant for families to enjoy together, most of what I saw was on the pricey side. Luckily for us, there were a couple of smaller, much more affordable lunch options. The 모듬정식 (modeum jeongshik) set came with a bit of everything. By everything, I mean two different types of steamed pork, a bunch of sides, rice, and soup. Since my friend and I weren’t feeling terribly hungry, we opted for the 보쌈정식 (bossam jeonshik) set instead. The only difference (from what I could tell) was that ours came with only one type of bossam and no soup.

After we placed our order, the waitresses moved quickly, filling our table within moments with a yogurt-based cabbage salad, six different side dishes, a stone pot filled with seasoned rice, and a plate filled with steamed pork, cabbage, and two different types of kimchi. We were also given a kettle filled with hot water, which was meant to be used to loosen the burnt bits of rice on the bottom of the stone pot it was cooked in. As I forgot to take that step at the beginning of our meal, I ended up missing out.

Though the highlight of the meal was supposed to be the pork, I was immediately drawn to the brightly colored rice that had been cooked with different vegetables. Each bite had a subtle pumpkin taste that offered a subtle amount of sweetness without going overboard. I enjoyed eating it alone, as well as with the sides it came with.


The pork, which was surprisingly flavorful, ended up being tender and delicious. Though it was a bit rich, I certainly didn’t mind, especially after wrapping it with lightly steamed and seasoned cabbage and fresh kimchi. To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the kimchi itself, but that’s mostly because I like mine funky. The kimchi this dish came with was quite fresh and packed with flavor. Though there is a proper way to enjoy this meal by combining all the different tastes and textures together, my friend and I eventually grew lazy and ate each component separately. Either way, we were both quite full before we could finish.


Once a waitress noticed that we were finished, she brought each of us a cup of 수정과 (sujeonggwa), which is a traditional fruit punch made with dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger, and pine nuts. Some people love it, some can’t stand it. I drank all of mine while my friend struggled with the overly strong cinnamon flavor.

Overall, lunch at 무진주 ended up being both tasty and filling. I can definitely see why the locals love it, and I wish I could have brought my previous guests to this traditional, yet tourist friendly restaurant. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone looking to eat a quick, small meal, but it would definitely be ideal for those with decent sized parties looking to enjoy some proper Korean food. If you’re not in the mood for pork, the restaurant also serves individual servings of hot and cold noodles.

Address: 주소광주광역시 동구 불로동 1-4 (next to Megabox Theaters)
Phone: 062-224-8074
Hours: 11:30AM to 12:00AM (last order is at 10:50PM)
Average Price Range: 28,000 to 53,000 for dinner sets. 9,000 to 11,000 for lunch (open to 5:00PM)

Essentials with JD # 162 **CHEAP FLIGHTS TO JEJU**

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.23.03 PM

Need a short break and want to take a short trip to Jeju but don’t have time to spend 5 – 8 hours travelling there? THINGS JUST A WHOLE LOT EASIER AND CHEAPER.


As of September 2014 a low-cost airline linking Gwangju and Jeju Island was launched and the launching ceremony was overseen by Gwangju mayor Yoon Jang-hyun and the president of T-way Airline, Ham Cheol-ho.

T-way Airline and its low-cost flights using Boeing B737-800s will operate three times a day with tickets priced at around 61,000 won for regular one way fee but if you book early and in advance tickets hover around between 30 000 – 40 000 for all you early birds. (Apparently up to 40% cheaper than other major airlines also flying from Gwangju)

<Sample fares below>

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With the launch of this low-cost airline linking Gwangju and Jeju, the number of airplanes traveling to Jeju from Gwangju has been expanded to 11 from the previous 8 a day.

Flight time is about 40 minutes and Gwangju Airport is easily accessible via subway or by taking the airport bus which only costs 1 000won.

  • [Airport limousine bus]
  • No. 1000 (Gwangju Airport – Jangam – Seochang ipgu – Sangmu Shopping – KIA Motors Jungmun (middle door) – Gwangcheon Terminal – Provincial Government Office – Dong-gu Cheong (Dong-gu government office) – Chosun University – Sansu Ogeori – Hotel Mudeung Park)

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.11.50 PM




(Information adapted from news reports on where you can get daily information about Gwangju in English. Also stream live from GFN’s websites for the latest news updates on the hour during daytime)

Gakhwadong “Urbanization Culture Village”

Wall painting at the 시화문화마을 - Photo by Joe Wabe

Wall painting at the 시화문화마을 – Photo by Joe Wabe


Located in the northern part of Gwangju in the Munhwa-dong area, hidden from the usual popular attractions the 시화문화마을 (or Urbanization Cultural Village), stands as an example of traditional and contemporary urban art.

This art project was created with the idea of creating a model for other similar projects through a cooperative population. Residents, the municipal committee and artists within and outside the community, contributed to bring art into the village.

In 2007 the village received various awards for the project including a national award targeting all other “urbanization of culture villages”. The town is still a benchmark for all other villages of it’s sort and it offers tours throughout the country.

Sadly for the past couple of years it seems as if less and less attention has been given to the project, and therefore less care and maintenance has been done to the different pieces of art located all throughout the village.

For more info: Gwangju, Bukgu Gakhwadong시화문화마을: 062-510-1225

To view more photos of the village please visit:

2014 Gwangju Biennale to Come to an End on November 9th


The 2014 Gwangju Biennale in which it exhibits world-class artworks submitted by highly acclaimed domestic and international artists will come to an end on Sunday, November 9th.

Having been taking place since September 5th with the theme, ‘Burning Down the House’, the ongoing Biennale is one of the five most influential Biennales in the world.

Gwangju Biennale celebrated the 20th year anniversary since its initial establishment this year and takes place once in every two years.

Gwangju Biennale Foundation was firstly created to inherit so called ‘Gwangju Spirit’ that defines and identified Gwangju as a pro-democratic city since the 1980 May 18th Democratization Movement.

As with the previously held Gwangju Biennales, this year’s Biennale showcased artworks that engaged with historical and political context of Gwangju with unique and creative artworks.

A total of 413 artworks turned in by 111 artists from 38 different countries are currently on display and the exhibition will last until this Sunday, November 9th.

Various different artworks currently on display at Gwangju Biennale go beyond the conventional artistic boundaries through performance, movie, theatre art, music, installation, construction and media art aimed at expressing challenges against the established institutions and customs and traditions.

This is your last chance to take advantage of world-class artworks at home in Gwangju so make sure to check the exhibitions out before it ends on November 9th.