South Jeolla (전라 남, 全羅南) is the southwesternmost province of mainland South Korea.
Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) is a province in the southwest of South Korea. The province was formed in 1896 from the southern half of the former Jeolla province, remained a province of Korea until the country's division in 1945, then became part of South Korea. Gwangju was the capital of the province, until the provincial office moved to the southern village of Namak, Muan County in 2005.
The province is part of the Honam region, and is bounded on the west by the Yellow Sea, on the north by Jeollabuk-do Province, on the south by Jeju Strait, and on the east by Gyeongsangnam-do.
There are almost 2,000 islands along the coastline, about three quarters of which are uninhabited. The coastline is about 6,100 kilometres long. Some of the marine products, in particular oyster and seaweed cultivation, are leading in South Korea.
The province is only partially mountainous. The plains along the rivers Seomjin, Yeongsan and Tamjin create a large granary. There is abundant rainfall in the area, which helps agriculture. The province is also home to the warmest weather on the peninsula. This helps to produce large amounts of agricultural produce, mainly rice, wheat, barley, pulses and potatoes. Vegetables, cotton and fruits are also grown in the province.
A small amount of gold and coal is mined in the province, but industries have also been developed in the area
Although of Korean origin, South Jeolla people take strong pride in their dialect. Locals will be hostile for anyone speaking the standard Korean as spoken in Seoul. In some cases, restaurants, taxis, and hotels will refuse to serve, or suggest unreasonable price for speakers of standard Koreans. They may act friendly in some cases, but this will eventually lead to unexpected bills. This applies to foreigners as well, especially as anti-American sentiment is very strong in the region. Visitors will have a hard time finding a good accommodation and service unless they are fluent with South Jeolla dialect.
-The premier attraction (which is also the most visited tourist site in the whole province as of 2014) is the Suncheon Bay Area, which comprises two parts. There is a huge garden area which was developed for the 2013 Yeosu Expo - so big that a minimum of two hours is needed just to see everything. The garden area includes many small but accurate representations of gardens from around the world, including an Italian Garden, Turkish Garden, Thai Garden, Chinese Garden, English Garden and German Garden (among others). From the garden area, you can catch a bus, taxi (W11,000) or futuristic monorail pod (W5,000) to the other half of the bay area - an ecological park. It's around a 10 minute trip. The ecological park is a Ramsar wetland, and full of birds and crabs. You can wander boardwalks above the reeds, and climb a large hill to see a spectacular sunset over the bay. Google it. Despite little online information in English, the Suncheon Bay Area is a great place to spend an afternoon (this coming from a young Australian who has spent the last two weeks backpacking through South Korea). You can get there by public bus - from the bus stop around the corner from the Suncheon Bus Terminal it's a 15 minute ride to the garden area.
-Suncheon also contains two important temples, although from an aesthetic standpoint they don't really stand out from Korea's hundreds of other temples.
-Finally, Suncheon has a traditional folk village (called the Nagan Folk Village). It's a bit out of the way (reachable by infrequent public bus, which takes over half an hour to arrive from the bus stop around the corner from the Suncheon Bus Terminal), but it is worthwhile for those interested in what Korean life was like a couple of centuries ago. Many families live in the traditional houses to this day, making this unique among Korean folk villages. It has been on the UNESCO list of tentative World Heritege Sites since 2011. There are a couple of good hostels in Suncheon, which can easily be found with a google search.
Yeongyam hosted the Korean Grand Prix, but ceased due to the provincial government's incapability.
Be aware of scams in local restaurants, where foreigners are always targets. Popular scams involve bringing pricey foods you have not ordered to tables while you are out to toilet or for other businesses. The food is already been eaten one or two bites before being taken to your table. Restaurants will threaten you to pay, and calling police will not help in this situation, as the police and those owners are closely connected. It is best you bring your own food, which is the safest method. Going to convenient stores like 7-Eleven for chips will also be the next option to be at least safe. Finding a good restaurant is a challenge for foreigners, as South Jeolla people consider earning profits from scams on foreigners, which include non-South Jeolla born people, as a pride.
South Jeolla people also take a strong pride in their food, "Hong-uh," or "Fermented Red Fish." The food is not, however, fermented like kimchi or pickles, but is rather "rotten." They will offer you to eat a huge lump of the dish, which is served in almost every course meals. Any attempt to refuse, or frowning your face while swallowing it will be considered as an extremely rude and hostile attitude by South Jeolla people. Vegetarians are no exemption. If you are planning on a long-term visit, it is safe to "practice" eating "Hong-uh" in Seoul, where people will not mind you spitting the food out.
South Korea's central police have few control over the region. Thus, you are at your own risk while traveling. The pro-North Korean region has numerous cases of riots and crimes. Due to the uneasy relationship with the central government, any pro-capitalistic or pro-American remarks will drive you into danger. Just stick to the basic travelers' rule, and avoid talking to the locals as possible. Scams are very often in all aspects, so it is best to bring your own food, or even drinks during traveling. RECENT NEWS REPORTS SHOWED THERE ARE CASES OF SLAVERY IN THE ISLANDS, MAINLY FROM ABDUCTION. Although there are no reports of foreigners being target, it is best not to follow anyone, and ALWAYS stay alert.
North Jeolla, including the city of Jeonju, however, is relatively safe for travelers.