Gwangju, or Kwangju, is the sixth largest city in South Korea. A designated metropolitan city, Gwangju is directly controlled by the central government's Home Minister. The city is located in the southwestern province of South Jeolla, which thrives in agriculture. The city is popular for its diverse cuisine (considered as the breadbasket of Korea) and stunning scenery, within and along the outskirts, which gave birth to gasa, a form of Korean classical poetry. The construction of a railway leading to Seoul also established modern industry in Gwangju. Industries like breweries, cotton textiles, and rice mills prospered here, and later on, the automobile industry, following the construction of a designated industrial zone. At present, the city’s youth and arts culture is growing. Gwangju claims to have the largest and most modern bus terminal, as well as the largest single pedestrian clubbing, dining, and drinking district in all of South Korea.
Compared to the fast-paced life in Seoul, Gwangju is somehow less hurried. It’s also a good starting point if you’re planning to tour the surrounding province. The city played a key role in Korea’s history, democracy, and human rights movement. Its flourishing arts culture and reputation for delicious cuisine also add to the reasons why Gwangju is worth visiting. The Tiananmen Square uprising in May 18th, 1980 is commemorated by two memorials, the 5.18 Park in central Sangmu, and the 5.18 Cemetery in the northeast of the city. Visit Art Street downtown, which brims with artists, galleries, decorated store windows, and art supply stores. Yangdong Market, the most famous market in the city, is especially a delightful sight in the evening. With its beautiful, colored lights, it’s quickly becoming a symbol of Gwangju - the City of Light and Culture. Mudeungsan Provincial Park, which overlooks the city, is a beautiful green mountain range perfect for a stroll. It’s also home to three major Buddhist temples and an art gallery. The retro-looking Gwangju Fok Museum displays different mediums to show off Jeollanam-do’s traditional culture and practices. Visit Gwangju National Museum, which exhibits artifact, calligraphy, and paintings that depict prehistoric Gwangju up to the modern day. Meanwhile, the massive Asian Culture Complex houses galleries, performance spaces, a library, and plazas.
How to get around within Gwangju
Navigating around the city is fairly easy. At present, there are three ways: by subway, bus, and taxi. Taxis are generally cheaper (by western standards) but buses are more frequent as just as comfortable. The subway is the most recent addition, which covers from southeast near downtown to the west southwest, with four main stops. Buses are categorized by color, and have different routes.
How to get there
The city is served by Gwangju Airport, which offers flights to Seoul Gimpo and Jeju Airport. Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, Korea Express Air, and T’way Airlines are the air carriers that serve the airport. From the airport, you can get on a bus, either on No. Songjeong 97 or No. Seonun 101. You can also take the Metro via Gwangju Subway Line No. 1. However, since the airport only has two destinations, most passengers choose Incheon International Airport or Gimhae Airport. Other ways of getting in is by taking the train (Korail and KTX trains), which runs from Seoul several times a day. A slower, but cheaper option is by taking the Mugunghwa train from Yeongdeungpo station. There are buses from major cities that arrive at and depart from the massive Gwangju Bus Terminal.
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Gwangju
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.