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Gwangju

Travel Guide Asia South Korea Gwangju

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Introduction

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Events and Festivals

  • Shinjeong - means New Year's Day, on the 1st day, January. Shin(신) is a Korean word that means 'new'. January 1st is named 'Shinjeong' because after Korea adopted the Gregorian calendar it became the new way to mark the New Year.
  • Seollal - Lunar New Year, also known as "Korean New Year", or "Gujeong." Families gather together, eat traditional foods-especially Ddugguk (떡국) and perform an ancestral service. The public holiday lasts for 3 days, which includes the eve and second day. Many shops and restaurants close for the 3 days, so this might not be an ideal time to visit.
  • Sameeljjeol - 1st March, in commemoration of the March 1st resistance movement against the invading Japanese Imperial Army in 1919.
  • Orininal - children's day on the 5th May
  • Buchonnim osinnal or sawolchopa-il - means Buddha's birthday, 8th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar.
  • Hyeonchung-il - means memorial day, 6th June. In commemoration of the people who gave their lives to the nation.
  • Gwangbokjjeol - Korea's independence day on the 15th of August. This day is actually the end of the second world war with the official Japanese surrender to the allied forces, which also meant Korea gaining her independence after many decades of Japanese colonialism.
  • Chuseok - often translated as "Korean Thanksgiving", this holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year (usually September-October). Koreans celebrate by eating traditional foods, notably a rice cake called songpyeon (송편) and playing folk games. The public holiday lasts for 3 days and much like Lunar New Year, everything shuts down which makes visiting rather boring.
  • Hangeulnal - 'Hangeul Proclamation Day' anniversary for the Korean alphabet system on October 9th.
  • Gaecheonjeol - 3rd October. In commemoration of the first formation of the nation of ancient Korea.
  • Christmas - a significant holiday in South Korea, although it is mostly celebrated by young couples spending a romantic day together. Since a significant proportion (approximately 30%) of the country is Christian, there are no shortages of celebration in the thousands of churches whilst everyone else takes a well deserved rest at home.
  • Kimchi Festival in October

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Weather

Gwangju has milder winters compared to the north of the country but colder than the coastline to the south. Average daytime temperatures are around or slightly above zero during the day and slightly below zero at night. Winters are relatively dry. Summers are tropical with hot and humid conditions. Temperatures average between 24 and 29 degrees from June to September with nights around or above 20 degrees. This is also the wet season. The best times obviously are spring and autumn with much less rain and agreeable temperatures.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max5.1 °C7 °C12.4 °C19.3 °C23.9 °C27.2 °C29.7 °C30.5 °C26.6 °C21.5 °C14.3 °C8 °C
Avg Min-3.3 °C-2.3 °C1.6 °C7.3 °C12.4 °C17.8 °C22.4 °C22.6 °C17.2 °C10.3 °C4.2 °C-1.2 °C
Rainfall38 mm43.9 mm64.5 mm95.3 mm97.3 mm190.3 mm281.9 mm276 mm137.7 mm55.3 mm55.4 mm32.4 mm
Rain Days10.79.799.39.211.41413.99.66.89.69.7

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Getting There

By Train

  • KTX to Seoul takes 2 hours 40 minutes and costs ₩33300.

By Bus

  • Express to Seoul takes 4 hours.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Namdo Hostel3rd Floor, 839-18 Naebang-dong Seo-guHOSTEL89

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Keep Connected

Internet

South Korea is the world's most wired country and Internet cafes, known as PC bang, are ubiquitous through the country. Most customers are there for gaming but you're free to sit and type e-mails as well, typical charges are about ₩1,000 to ₩2,000/hour. Like anything, it may be more expensive in more "luxurious" places. Also, snacks and drinks are available for purchase in most PC bangs.

There is also a lot of free wifi available throughout South Korea. Just check for an unencrypted signal, although using open wifi hotspots is a potential security risk anywhere in the world so be careful what you use it for. Many coffee shops offer free wifi with no registration required.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

International dialing prefixes in South Korea vary by operator, and there is no standard prefix. Check with your operator for the respective prefixes. For calls to South Korea, the country code is 82. Emergency numbers include 112 (Polie) and 119 (Ambulance and Fire).

The country has three service providers: KT, SK Telecom and LG Telecom. They offer prepaid mobile phone services (pre-paid service, PPS) in South Korea. Incoming calls are free. South Korea uses the CDMA standard exclusively and does not have a GSM network, so most 2G (GSM) mobile phones from elsewhere will not work. Even quad-band GSM phones are useless. However, if you have a 3G phone with a 3G SIM card, you can probably roam onto the UMTS/W-CDMA 2100 networks of KT or SK Telecom; check with your home operator before you leave to be sure. 4G LTE has recently been made available in Korea; again, check with your provider. Mobile phone coverage is generally excellent, with the exception of some remote mountainous areas.

If you want to buy a prepaid SIM card, you should be able to get a prepaid SIM card at one of the olleh expat locations. However, you must have been in Korea for at least 3 days, and you must bring your passport. The fee for a prepaid SIM card is ₩5,500, and you have to charge at least ₩10,000 at the spot. You must also have a compatible phone. All modern iPhones (3GS and later) should work.

Post

Korea Post is the national postal service and has fast, reliable and well-priced services. Postage for a postcard anywhere in the world is ₩370, while letters and packages start from ₩480. On their website you can find more about pricing details, as there are many different rates, depending on the zone (which country) you want to send it to, how much it weighs, wether it is air or ground service etc. Generally, post office hours are from Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm, though the larger central post offices tend to be open until 8:00pm and sometimes also on Saturday or even Sunday, usually only mornings. If you want to send package internationally, you might also check international companies like TNT, FedEx, UPS or DHL, as they have fast, reliable and competitively priced services as well.

Accommodation in Gwangju

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Gwangju searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Gwangju and areas nearby.

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This is version 16. Last edited at 11:45 on Dec 20, 16 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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