Gwangju, South Korea - Wontra Travels

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Welcome to Gwangju


Gwangju (Gwangju Metropolitan City)

Area: 501.24 km2

Population: 1,477,780 (2014)

The Gwangju Metropolitan City, also known as Kwangju, is the six largest city and birthplace of a modern democratic movement in Korea. It is divided into five districts - Buk, Dong, Gwangsan, Nam, and Seo; and under the direct control of the central government's Home Minister. Gwangju has a thriving youth and arts culture but is better known for the Gwangju Massacre (May 18, 1980), in which hundreds of students (over 200) were killed by army forces suppressing a pro-democracy demonstration. It is also famous for its rich and diverse cuisine, and the entire area is considered the breadbasket of Korea. Gwangju is a transportation junction of southwestern Korea. It connects with Seoul to the north and Pusan (Busan) to the east by air, rail, and road. The city also has the largest and most modern bus terminal and possibly the largest single pedestrian drinking, dining and clubbing district in the South Korea

Information & Facts


  • Visit the Boseong Tea Fields - The Boseong Tea Fields offer up a great day trip that not only lets you learn more about Korean culture – but also provides plenty of photographic opportunities.
  • Visit the May 18 Memorial Park and Cemetry - Built in memory of the infamous May 18 Massacre in Gwangju is widely considered to have been the birth of the nation’s democracy.
  • Embrace the serenity of Daewonsa - Dedicated to the Tibetan school of Buddhism and weaving traditional temple design in with the beautiful natural surrounds, Daewonsa is a picture of tranquility.
  • Go hiking in Meudeungsan Provincial Park - Riddled with hiking trails and also the site of several temples (Donghwasa, Jeongsimsa, and Wonhyosa) – Meudeungsan is Gwangju’s playground.

Getting Around

It is quite easy and inexpensive to move around Gwangju. Buses and Taxis are the two best options for getting around the happening but the recently completed subway is another cheaper option. Taxis are generally affordable too but buses are frequent and more or less comfortable.

  • By Bus: Gwangju has more than 80 city bus routes, and most run past the bus terminal with bus stops on all sides. City buses cost ₩1200 and are arranged in colours – Red, Yellow and Green. The Red buses are the express ones with minimal stops and cover large part of the city. The Yellow buses are the stadard ones while the Green buses connect smaller communitie, rural areas and areas outskirt the city.
  • By Taxi: By western standard, taxis (Regular and Deluxe) are inexpensive in Korea and please know that the drivers rarely speak English. Regular taxis are silver with blue or green lights on top. These taxis are the general taxis servicing the Gwangju area. The ‘black with yellow lights’ Deluxe taxis are used mainly for corporate service or airport pickup and drop-off.
  • By Subway: The subway system in Gwangju has one line which runs straight across the city (east to west) and ue to the relative small size; there aren’t quite as many amenities as those found in larger Korean cities. The subway runs every five minutes during peak hours (morning, noon and evening rush hours) and every eight minutes during the rest of the day.


Korean is the official language of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), with different official forms used in each nation-state. Approximately 80 million people worldwide speak Korean.


The currency of South Korea is the Korean Won (₩ KRW). The notes are in the denominations of KRW 1000, 5000, 10, 000 and 50, 000 while the coins in 10, 50, 100 and 500. Due to inflations, coins are rarely used by some locals and ATMs are widely available in subway stations, convenience stores and hotels.


South Korea is also one of the safest countries in Asia. Violent street crime is extremely rare and guns are virtually non-existent among the civilian population. Muggings, beatings, kidnappings and other crimes are a rarity in Seoul, especially among foreigners.


Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 09:00; Daylight savings (DST) does not applies.

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