This beautiful southwest province is one of Korea’s least developed and greenest. The heartland of Jeollanam-do (전라남도) has rolling hills, the towering Sobaek Mountains to the east and 6100km of coastline to the south and west, with over 2000 islands offshore – less than 300 of which are inhabited.
With a warmer and rainier climate than its provincial mainland neighbours, bountiful Jeollanam-do is all about agriculture – the province is famous for its food and green tea, celebrated in several festivals. For all of its rural atmosphere, Jeollanam-do has urban elements that are common to the rest of Korea; think high-speed train lines and expanding cities, chief of which is Gwangju, Korea’s sixth-largest metropolis with its own separate government and telephone code. Despite all this, the province retains a rebel edge, and is proud of its ceramic and artistic traditions, its exiled poets and prodemocracy martyrs. Jeollanam-do rewards the intrepid and really does have something for everyone.