Make your K-drama  dream come true: Wandering in a visa-free Korea

After watching period Korean dramas, you start daydreaming that you are part of the magical surroundings wearing the hanbok — a traditional Korean garment depicting the century-old culture and history of Korea.

Amazingly, you can now open your eyes and make your fantasy come true by wandering in the southern part of Korea — because it is visa-free!

The Korean government has allowed Philippine passport holders to visit Jeollanam-do Province via the Muan International Airport. This is the most recent Korean destination to open to tourists visa-free after Jeju Island and Gangwon Province.

NATIONAL Park, South Korea.

Mouthwatering local dishes, beaches, temples and festivals await those who will travel to the province. Filipinos who enter via Muan are allowed to explore Jeollanam-do for up to 15 days. Although you will not need to submit requirements for the visa, you must, of course, secure a passport with six months validity and round-trip tickets.

Start your travel by experiencing what it’s like to wear a hanbok in Hanok Village located in Jeonju City, Jeollanam-do. The village is one of the most loved tourist destinations in Korea, next to Seoul and Busan, as it maintains its traditional look and cultural values despite being industrialized. Arriving at the city, rentals for exquisitely made hanbok clothing and accessories are all over the Hanok village. It comes with a traditional hairdressing service. In addition, you can also rent retro-style outfits in the area. After your magical outfit transformation, you can roam around the village’s historical sites including Gyeonggijeon Shrine. The village offers tranquility in a most unique way.


Authentic ‘Bibimbap’

It would be a mistake if you will not include a meal with the authentic Jeonjo Bibimbap in your adventure. Jeonju is considered a city of traditional cuisines with its much more delicate Bibimbap taste.

The term Bibimbap means “mixing side dishes with rice.” This traditional Korean dish has become very popular among foreigners, most particularly Filipinos, for its nutritious and fresh vegetable ingredients — which are selected according to the ancient wisdom of Yin and Yang and five elements such as a tree, fire, earth, metal and water.

The five cardinal flavors and colors, made up of about 30 ingredients, in the Bibimbap dish, are aesthetically pleasing and savory.

Korean historic records state that Jeonju’s Bibimbap has been enjoyed by residents for about 200 years. It was mostly served during the banquet hosted by the governor and used to be the gourmet for nobilities. Bibimbap is usually served with tea.

WINE foot bath.


Yeosu City

The name Yeosu means “beautiful” for “Yeo” and waters for “Su.” This city is abundant with beautiful ocean views. You must experience the great tourist spots between land and water as Yeosu places are famous for driving, walking, trekking and swimming. You can cleanse your soul by appreciating the sunrise and nighttime panoramas in this city, just like the song titled “Yeosu Night Sea” wants you to feel.

Visit the city’s Hallyeohaesang National Park located in the Odongdo Island, which is known for colonies of camellias along with 70 species of wildflowers and more than 200 species of evergreen trees that flourish here that only flourish in the area. It also houses wonderful parks where you can peacefully unwind.

Visiting places in Jeollanam-do won’t be complete without a ride on the Yeosu Maritime Cable Car.

As you go along, don’t close your eyes to the beautiful Seonamsa temple east end of Jogyesan Mountain. Inside is the Buddhist Sanctuary on the hill of the western part of Mt. Jogyesan, which was declared a UNESCO Sebagai World Heritage Site. Seonamsa means ‘immortal rocks’ in English.

Seungseon-go Bridge welcomes you to the temple grounds at Seonamsa Temple. Entering the Iljumun Gate, the mysteries follow as you are required to keep quiet while walking through the Daeung-jeon Hall in the Buddhist temple. You’ll have to pass the twin Later Silla-era pagodas so you can glance at the Jiang-jeon Hall. There’s that bell close to the Buddhist house that makes your wish come true if you hit it with a coin from a meter away.

Minutes into the walk, you can spot the Seonamsa Wild Tea House, which serves traditional Korean wild green tea and offers. Here, you can experience the darye meaning the manners of tea drinking, tea making, tea cookie tasting and the tea ceremony.

Sit beside the window while enjoying the delicate flavors and scents of tea. Pine trees around also calm your mind and soul.

Perhaps your last stop in Yeusu is the Noctemare — the city’s famous Digital Media Art Pavilion. Showrooms are incredible, captivating and child-keeping. It will bring you back to becoming a kid who only wants to enjoy the world.

From the entrance is a ticket counter. And then, whoa! Start playing in your mind into the pink Sunset room with sand on the floor. The next room is the Starry Night with lots of light bulbs that change color. Mirrors located opposite each other make you feel as if there are more light bulbs. Walk through the most popular ‘Jelly’ hall and unleash the kid inside of you in a ball pool.

There are many more beautiful places you can visit within the North and South of Jeolla province, and you can discover them anytime on a visit-free trip travel to Muan.