This beautiful southwest province is one of Korea’s greenest and least developed. 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 more than 2000 islands offshore – less than 300 of which are inhabited. The province was largely isolated for centuries and it retains an off-the-beaten-track feel. It also has a rebel edge, and is proud of its ceramic and artistic traditions, its exiled poets and its pro-democracy martyrs.
With a comparatively balmy climate, Jeollanam-do is famous for its bountiful harvests, fresh seafood and green tea, celebrated in several festivals. For all its rural atmosphere, Jeollanam-do has urban elements too: Gwangju, the province's largest city, has a hip vibe and an active arts scene centred around a much-hyped cultural centre.