The queen of Korea’s southwest, Gwangju is Korea’s sixth largest city and a rising East Asian cultural center. The Gwangju Design Biennale (thru Nov 3) makes the perfect excuse to visit this colorful metropolis, famous for its museums, contemporary history, and great food. Under the theme “Anything, Something,” this year’s biennale will explore cultural habits, shared knowledge, and coded contexts that inform the many unspoken ways we communicate with one another.
EAT> Gwangju—and really, the entire region—has some of the best food in Korea. A good introduction to local cuisine can be had by ordering the jeongsik(Korean banquet cuisine) at Neolbeusil (T. 062-972-8201) in the Daechon-dong district—expect no less than 30 side dishes.
Visit the May 18th National Cemetery, dedicated to the martyrs killed during the Gwangju Democratic Movement of May 1980.
Hike up Mt. Mudeungsan, checking out the galleries, tea plantation, and reed fields along the way.
Gwangju has a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels like the Ramada Plaza Gwangju to more budget motels near the bus and train stations.
Take the KTX to Gwangju from Yongsan Station (travel time: 3 hours).