Gwangju Blog

News of the Week: July 31, 2014

Asia Culture Complex to Open Doors on September 4th Next Year

The much-anticipated National Asia Culture Complex in Gwangju will open its doors to the public on September 4th next year.

Parts of the complex will be opened when the 2015 Gwangju Summer Universiade kicks off on July and the rest of the cultural and artistic programs and facilities will open two months later.

The parts of the Cultural complex opening its doors early for the Universiade include the Cultural Information Agency, the Library Park and the Creative Center.

Cultural and artistic contents, as well as operation programs for the complex, will be finalized this August.

In addition, the World Music Festival featuring concerts from worldwide singers and bands including Mayra Andrade from Cuba, Nina Van Horn from France and Orango from Norway will be held from August 29th for two days on the rooftop of the Cultural Creation Center at the Asia Culture Complex.

Construction rate for the complex located in downtown Gwangju near the old Jeollanamdo provincial hall currently stands at 94 percent.


Geumnamro To be Transformed into Artistic Residency

Geumnamro Street will be transformed into an artistic residency area on August 8th from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the morning.

Featuring 100 artists from Korea and overseas, ‘From May 18th to the Sewol Ferry Sinking: Drawing Project’ will be carried out at the old Jeollanamdo provincial hall and Geumnam Park overnight and the complete paint work will be exhibited in a special project exhibition at the Gwangju Museum of Art.

Gwangju Biennale Foundation will conduct various performances promoting the historical sites related to the May 18th Democratization Movement in Gwangju and 8 different performances themed after the May 18th Democratic Uprising will be held on August 8th.

International performance art, ‘Look Together’ will also be hosted on August 8th for three days on Geumnamro Street and the May Road, focusing on state violence and communication as well as harmony and a number of domestic and international artists from Italy, Poland, Mexico and Estonia will participate.

During the event, a conventional intra-city bus 518, which makes stops at May 18th historical sites, will be turned into an artistic performance hall hosting various artistic programs and exhibitions.


Gwangju International Film Festival to Showcase 91 Films from 25 Countries

The films to be showcased at the Gwangju International Film Festival have been finalized as of yesterday. They include 91 international films submitted from 25 different countries.

A total of 41 feature-length films and 50 short films produced in 25 countries will be introduced throughout the film festival from August 28th to September 1st at the Gwangju Lotte Cinema Chungjang branch and the Gwangju Visual-Cultural Center.

Divided into 11 different categories, including humanity vision, family cinema, and new look on the Korean films, the upcoming Gwangju International Film Festival will show films featuring a variety of different topics.

The opening film is ‘Spring’, produced by filmmaker Jo Geun-hyun, who made himself known with his film, ’26 Years’ which deals with the May 18th Democratization Movement and is a fictionalized account of how the survivors from this large massacre and the bereaved families of the democratic activists plan for revenge on the person who’s responsible.

A documentary work on Korea’s 15th president, Kim Dae-jung and his political life, ‘Mr. Sunshine’, will also premiere at the festival for the first time.


Gwangju Marks the Highest Participation Rate for ‘Good Driver Mileage’

The first day of August will celebrate one year anniversary since the first adoption of ‘Good Driver Mileage’ system in which it allows drivers with no-accident records for more than 1 year to reduce penalty points imposed by the police for violation of traffic law or traffic accidents.

Among the entire drivers in possession of the driver’s license, the city of Gwangju marked the highest participation rate at 20 percent as some 173,000 drivers out of the entire 836,000 drivers in the city signed up for the mileage program.

Following Gwangju, the city of Incheon recorded the second highest participation rate at 17 percent with Seoul marking the lowest participation rate at 3 percent.

Among the mileage members in Gwangju, some 46,000 drivers broke the traffic law or involved in traffic accident invalidating their membership for the ‘Good Driver Mileage’.

The regional police agency has announced that since the Good Driver Mileage came into effect, the traffic accident reduced by 3 percent with traffic law violation slashed by 11 percent year-on-year.

Drivers can sign up for the mileage in regional police agency or website at



Starting on July 28th, citizens can now apply for international drivers licenses at all five autonomous districts in Gwangju at Gwangsan-gu, Buk-gu, Seo-gu, Nam-gu and Dong-gu district.

The city of Gwangju signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Road Traffic Authority and its Jeonam branch on July 24th, which will allow district offices to issue international drivers licenses along with passports.

Previously, citizens have been experiencing inconvenience as there have been separate administration systems for passports and international licenses, but they can now enjoy one-stop issuance of both these documents at district offices or city hall.

Before this, driver’s licenses were only issued at driving test sites and police stations, while issuance of passports was solely available at Gwangju City Hall.

An international drivers license issued by the Road Traffic Authority in Korea is a certificate that allows Korean or non-Korean drivers who were issued an international license in Korea to drive overseas for one year from the issuance date without having to get a drivers license in the different countries in which they are traveling.

In order to apply for an international drivers license, an application form and a passport-sized, colored photo (3cm x 4cm) of the applicant will be required, along with a fee of 8,500 won.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Good Sushi

As much as I love sushi, it has always been hit or miss for me in Gwangju. The amount of disappointment only seems to rise whenever I go to a sushi buffet, though this seems to be true all over the world. Though most places like these aren’t usually known to be anything special, there are times where a pleasant surprise can be found.


My beau and I somehow ended up at Good Sushi during a hunger induced journey through the downtown area. If I remember correctly, I think one of us just pointed in a general direction and agreed to eat there. Though it probably wasn’t the best way to start a dinner date, it was definitely a more interesting way to force myself to try a new restaurant.

I had apparently missed all the signs while climbing up the stairs that led to the restaurant itself, as I had no idea that this place was a buffet until after we got inside. I was still a little gun shy due to past disappointments, but my hunger left me too stubborn to go elsewhere.


Once we were seated, I walked around the buffet area for a bit, watching at least three chefs assemble rolls and sushi pieces as fast as they could while I checked out all of my options. Though the portions were small, it was impressive to see that they had items like eel (both freshwater and saltwater), salmon, and even beef. There was also an assortment of rolls ranging anywhere from ham, cheese, to sauteed kimchi. Outside of the wide range of sushi options was an assortment of choices for even the pickiest eaters. With dishes like boneless fried chicken, cold soba noodles, pasta, and even a decent salad and fruit bar, I couldn’t think of anyone who would be able to walk away from this restaurant with an empty stomach.

My first plate was a piece of almost all the sushi that was available. My desire to taste a bit of everything made for experiences that ranged anywhere from surprisingly good to somewhere in the realm of “would not eat again”. Since I’m not crazy about those pickled yellow radishes that appear to show up everywhere, most of the rolls were not for me (poking them out helped). The kimchi roll ended up being my favorite of the bunch. As for the pieces of just rice and protein, the beef ended up being nice while some of the seafood options didn’t make much of an impression. I usually judge most sushi restaurants based on how well they make their tamago (sweet rolled egg), and this place was just…alright.

First PlateSoba Noodles

My second round was made up of more savory options. Though not spectacular, most of what I had was still decent. The only thing I’d probably stay away from in the future is the dumplings. My final dish was made up of a piece of everything from the dessert section. I was pretty full at this point, but the promise of macaroons and cookies couldn’t keep me away. Though the macaroons did make me a bit sad, options like the green tea cookie and this other cookie that was crunchy and filled with seeds were a wonderful finish to a filling meal.

Second PlateDessert Plate

Overall, Good Sushi turned out to be better than I thought it would. Though buffet meals can often be lackluster, the food here was quite good, especially for the price.

Address: 광주 동구 황금동 115 2층 (near Tous les Jour and a Twosome Place)
Phone: 062-227-0722
Hours: 11:30AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 11,900 for lunch (11:30AM to 5:00PM), 15,900 for dinner (5:00PM to 10:00PM)

Essentials with JD # 150 **LAST MINUTE HOTELS**

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 12.06.35 AM

Summer vacation is here. After a couple of months of hard work it is time to relax and unwind here, there or anywhere. But sometimes planning your actual vacation can be even more stressful because you need to sort out flights, accommodation, money, schedules and the rest and you end up even more crazy than before trying to get it all together.


Well, for most once the flights are sorted, it’s time to find a place to sleep once you arrive in a different city. Searching numerous sites for the best hotel/ accommodations can be a daunting task. But I recently stumbled across which helps make everything easier.


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You can search your vacation city and see available rooms and they are all listed and compared with other sites to be able to get you the best price without having to search endless portals.


The site is pretty easy to use, just put in your date, details and search. It is also possible to get other discounts from the site and last minute deals are also great.  There are even listings for Gwangju incase you need to make a reservation for your family who might be visiting.


So if you haven’t already booked somewhere, or you think you might need to change some of your plans head over to www.trivago.comand give it a try.


Happy Summer, stay cool and dry.





Swig Meets Gwangju: Directory

After six great months of writing for the Gwangju Blog it is sad to say that I will be leaving Gwangju to go travel around South East Asia while working on my Master’s Capstone Project.  It has been a wonderful experience and privilege to share my life with all of the Blog readers over the past half a year. I will certainly miss writing my weekly column, but I am excited to go and explore more of Asia! Reminiscing and reflecting on my wonderful times here in Gwangju will certainly make it a bittersweet moment when I head off to the airport.


Boryeong Mud Festival- Review about the World’s Biggest Mud Festival

1st Birthday Party- My experience with Doljanchi

House Warming and July 4th- A wonderful experience with a Housewarming party and celebrating the 4th of July

Interview with a visiting Professor- Traveling to a country and teaching for 6 weeks provides a great outside persepectice

Top Places to Watch the World Cup- Or just all around great places to watch Sports or eat/drink

BMK, 박완규, 최성수 Concert- A magnificent experience and concert from BMK and a few other artists

Screen Golf- Screen golf is a great time to spend with new or beginner golfers

Housewarming- Going to an housewarming party outside of Gwangju was a beautiful experience

Interview- with local CNU English Professor

Team Building and Beer Call- A choose your own beer bar with a huge selection

5 Ways to Enjoy Soju- I guarantee you haven’t tried all of these ways yet

Student Life- My experience studying my MBA here in Korea

Club Ibiza- Interview with Travvy G about his experience DJing at Club Ibiza

Sports Directory- Want to get involved in some Sports? This is the perfect directory from soccer to juggling

Studying in Korea- My Malaysian Classmates Perspective

Cherry Blossoms and Picnics- Best places to picnic and enjoy the Cherry Blossoms

National Geographic- Review of the photography exhibit

Dog Cafe- Visiting the dog cafe in Gwangju

Spring Time- Motorcycle trip to Mudeungsan Mountain

Gwangju Freecycle- Great organization for donating used clothes and other items

Membership Training- MT or Membership training at a nearby resort

Expat Life- Life of Expats in Gwangju

Club Life- Reviews of some of the best clubs in Gwangju

Chonnam Back Gate- Eat and enjoy the Chonnam back gate for under 10,000 Won