When most people think of things to do in Gwangju, they tend to focus on a few key areas. Each neighborhood offers a unique reason to visit but very few offer something for every occasion. Downtown is convenient though the crowds tend to be a bit overwhelming, especially on the weekends. This week, I’d like to offer a short introduction to the Chonnam Back Gate.
Chonnam National University, located in Buk-gu, has one of the most diverse neighborhoods surrounding its back gate district. The campus itself offers public parks, walking trails, and a great book store with a surprising selection of English language fiction and non-fiction on offer. Also along the outskirts of the campus are selections of some decent cafes and restaurants. This area really shines when just outside the campus grounds.
The back gate area offers all the standards throughout the rest of Gwangju regarding cafes and eateries but with a little effort, it’s easy to see that this is more than just the norm. Some of my personal favorites include Pommes Frites, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and a small spot for some fantastic Taiwanese style bubble tea. Pommes Frites is, if you are familiar with French, exactly what the name implies: it’s a shop that sells French fries. That may sound boring, but it truly is something unique, especially after a long evening out or on a nice afternoon, relaxing with a couple of friends over some delicious fries and your favorite sauce. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, though a chain café, has a very unique atmosphere at their CNU back gate location. This particular locale has a brick enclosed patio with some nice greenery which offers an outdoor escape from the city that is virtually impossible to find anywhere else in the city.
This particular part of Gwangju has more than just cafes and restaurants, however. The night life around this area rivals anything downtown has to offer with a little less pretentiousness than many of the flashier clubs. Beyond the standard clubs though, there are also some great places to catch live music, this area having hosted multiple events including punk days and dj gatherings in the past. There are a number of places for live venues in the area. The best way to find what you’re looking for is to pop on down and take a look for yourself.
Next week I’ll be looking a little deeper into this great part of Gwangju with something a little more unique and exciting than your usual fare. Though I don’t get to this area as often as I’d like, I find every time I make it this way, I’m more drawn to it and immediately make a point to return. I hope you all enjoy a little time outside on the crooked trail.