The last stop before reaching Jirisan Mountain, Namwon strikes the perfect balance between charm and tranquility. So, if you’re looking for a beautiful escape where time passes slowly and you’ll be away from the crowds, hop on the next bus and follow me!

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Namwon in a few words

Namwon street

Why was Namwon nicknamed the “City of Love”? Quite simply because a famous love story took place here: that of Lee Mong-ryong and Chunhyang (a courtesan who fell in love with a nobleman). Don’t worry, though, because even though their relationship was fraught with difficulties, they ended up together.

Today, the city boasts a Chunhyang theme park, named after this charming lady and much appreciated by couples for its romantic history. Messages of love in the city, festivals and the beauty of nature – that’s what awaits you in Namwon.

It’s also worth mentioning that the town is home to one of the finest musical arts I’ve ever had the good fortune to hear: pansori. Long story short, it’s a sort of musical tale performed by a “singer” accompanied by a drum: it’s pretty moving if you ask me… !

Main Sights

1. Manin Cemetery of Righteous Fighters (남원 만인의총)

Namwon Manin cemetery

Address: 55728 Manin-ro 3, Namwon-si
Cost: free

This magnificent cemetery was built to commemorate and honor those who lost their lives during the Japanese occupation in the Siege Namwon in 1597.

Given the beauty and tranquility of the place, you’d never imagine it was a cemetery where soldiers and residents gave their lives to protect their city and country.

2. Namwon Confucian School (남원향교)

Confucian school in Namwon

Address: 43, Hyanggyo-gil, Namwon-si
Cost: free

This is where local students received Confucius’ teachings during the Joseon era. If you’d like to know more about these principles and belief system, here‘s a very interesting work on the subject.

Learn more about this period, explore the hanok streets and try to imagine what life must have been like back then.

3. Manin Park (만인공원)

Sunset in Namwon

Address: 232-15 Hyanggyo-dong, Namwon-si
Cost: free

How I love small parks in Korea and this one is no exception. Full of fragrance and color thanks to its varied and pretty flowers, it’s also one of the best places in town to watch the sunset! Singles or couples, I’m sure you’ll feel the love in the air here!

4. Seungwol Bridge (승월교)

Seungwol bridge

Adress: 25 Soli-gil, Namwon_si
Cost: free

I told you Namwon was the city of love! As soon as you arrive on the bridge, you’ll see heart sculptures and messages of love/encouragement. No couple leaves padlocks on the bridge as a symbol of their love, and so much the better!

Small blue and red lanterns also line the front of the bridge, making it even more beautiful at night.

Illuminated bridge

5. Deogeumbong (덕음봉)

Deogeumbong peak in Namwon

Fancy spending some time in nature and getting a great view of the city? Deogeumbong Peak is for you! After a short hike/walk along a park and forest, you’ll come across a breathtaking viewpoint where you can take time to rest and enjoy the panorama!

Pro tip: bring your favorite drink and/or snack and enjoy the sunset from the pavilion!

6. Gwanghallu Pavilion (광한루원)

Lovers statue in Namwon

Address: 1447 Yucheon-ro, Namwon-si
Cost: 4,000 KRW ($3)

Place where the two famous lovers met and where you can see a beautiful statue of the couple just before the entrance. Charming, magical and symbolic are probably the right words to describe this splendid place.

Places to eat in Namwon

Namwon is not only an enchanting town, it’s also a place where your stomachs will be delighted by the variety of dishes on offer.

Hyeonsigdang (현식당)

Address: 8 Uichong-ro, Namwon-si

The best place to try one of the local specialties: loach (freshwater fish) in a hot bean paste soup (추어탕). Spicy, comforting and good, you’ll understand why this place is popular once you’ve tasted their famous dish!

Duresigdang (두레식당)

Address: 14, Seomun 1-gil, Namwon-si

For their delicious spicy stir-fry marinated pork and squid! Hmmm, I’m salivating already! Aren’t I?

Where to sleep

I found this little gem by pure chance, and as I was only in Namwon for a few days, it was actually the only accommodation I tried:

Mua Guesthouse

Friendly, adorable owners, cozy rooms, affordable price and cute neighborhood (the place is located in a quiet, secluded alley). The location is also ideal, as it’s close to all the main tourist sites, the bus station (10 minutes away) and the gastronomic scene. Now you know where to spend a few restful nights before tackling Mount Jirisan!

How to get to Namwon

Namwon city

From Seoul

  • By KTX (train): from Seoul station to Namwon, the journey takes about 2 hours and costs ~$30.
  • By bus: go to the Seoul Express bus terminal (khaki line) and take one of the buses to Namwon. It should take you just over 3 hours and cost ~$15-$20.

From Busan

  • By bus: this is the most convenient option and will take you no more than 2 hours for a total of $15 from Seobu Sasang bus terminal.

From Jeonju

  • By KTX (train): take the train from Jeonju station for 27mn and stop at Namwon for a total of ~$6.
  • By bus: go to the Intercity bus terminal and take one of the buses to Namwon: 1h journey at $5.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic excursion to the city of Romeo and Juliet, or simply want to escape Korea’s busiest cities, Namwon should be on your itinerary. Often overlooked in favor of more “trendy” places, the town is well worth a visit!

Looking for another quiet, beautiful place in Korea? Here’s my guide to the serene and authentic Gurye!

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