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Eco-friendly travel guide to Gwangju advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Gwangju, South Korea.

A view of downtown Gwangju from Gwangju City Hall

  • Air quality: 3.5 / 5
  • Exploring by foot: 3 / 5
  • Exploring by bicycle: 2.5 / 5
  • Public transportation: 3 / 5
  • Parks: 2 / 5
  • Outdoor activities: 3 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 2 / 5
  • Safety: 3.5 / 5
  • Accommodation: US$15 - $250
  • Budget per day: US$40 - $400

Responsible Travel

Gwangju is a very well-known city located in South Korea. The city of Gwangju is one of the largest metropolis city. Being a trendy and famous city, you will get the best cultural and traditional experience in this city. Make sure to explore the city and keep in mind all the responsibilities of an eco-friendly traveler. Choose green hotels, hostels, and guesthouses for your stay in the city to help the environment stay pollution-free.

Instead of booking a cab, try to use local transportation systems to reduce pollution like electric cars, buses, and others. It will help you a lot to save money and explore the city comfortably. You will find many branded shops, but make sure to buy products and clothes from local shops to help out the local people and save money.

Spend some time at the parks and green places of the city to get quality air, and get close to nature itself. You will find many gardens and parks in the city that keeps you away from all the crowds.

While South Korean cuisines from big restaurants are needed to be on the list, make sure to include the city's Street foods. No travel is complete without having food; it helps to get the best travel experience. It will help you to get one of the best experiences of a lifetime.

Air Quality and Pollution

The air quality of Gwangju city is moderate, and the average Air Quality Index of the city is around 47. It is best to take the help of different medicines and other precautions before traveling to the city. The air quality is acceptable for the locals and some travelers. However, some people might have a hard time breathing comfortably in the city. If you have respiratory disease, asthma, and other ones, this city might cause some complications. Make sure to carry a face mask with you to avoid interacting with polluted air. Although several measures are taken to resolve the situation, the air quality will take some time to get better. The city center and other urban packed areas of the city are recognized as the most polluted areas. If you wish to get fresh and clean air in Gwangju, prefer visiting the outskirts and the hilly regions. These areas have the least air pollution level, and air quality is also better than the city's crowded places.

Respect the Culture

The city is very well known for having a good population and raw cultural experience in South Korea. Make sure to enjoy the folk play, filial piety, seasonal customs, and other things that give a nice touch to the local people's culture and tradition. From foods to clothes, you will get a touch of South Korean culture and tradition to all the city items. Ensure visitors visit all the different places in the city, such as museums, temples, and other tourist attractions. You will find a lot of similarities in this city with the Japanese and Chinese culture. The majority of people belong to early Koran nomadic tribes. There are some of the places in the city that will give you a nice experience in the history of this city. The local culture of the city is one of the unique cultures around the world. Korean people are some of the friendliest and welcoming ones in the country. While visiting and exploring the city, you need to respect the culture and the people. Only by doing this can you enhance your South Korea experience.

Top 10 Places to Visit

Gwangju is one of the oldest cities in the world and possesses a history of several years. The town is quite popular amongst those who look for an adventure. The beautiful pristine waters, green forests, and historically significant places make it one of Asia's most visited cities.

  • Mudeungsan: Mudeungsan is a mountain in South Korea. This mountain is a part of the Mudeungsan National Park. The elevation of the mountain is 1,187 meters. Earlier, this mountain is known as “Moo Ak.”
  • Mudeungsan National Park: Mudeungsan National Park is a famous park in the city of Gwangju. It is located in Jisan-Dong, Gwangju, South Korea. This park was designated as a Provincial Park on May 22, 1972. This park was ranked as the 21st national park in South Korea.
  • Soswaewon Garden: Soswaewon Garden is the Damyang County in the city of South Korea. It is located in Nam-Myeon, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. This garden is known as a private garden from Joseon, where the real beauty of traditional Korea is preserved.
  • The Gwangju Ecological Lake Park: The Gwangju Ecological lake park is situated in Chunghyosaem-Gil, Seokgok-dong, Seo-gu, South Korea. The lake park is becoming a famous tourist place.
  • Asia Culture Center: Asia Culture Center is the international hub for performing exhibitions, festivals, and performances. It is located in Munhwajeondang-to, Gwangju, South Korea. It is one of the famous places in South Korea.
  • Jeungsimsa Buddhist Temple: Jeungsimsa Buddhist temple, the representative temple in the Gwangju region. It is situated on the western foot of the Mudeungasa mountain.
  • Selyangji: Selyangji is a famous tourist attraction in Hwasun County. It is located in Hwasun-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. The world-famous Gwangju Kimchi festival is celebrated at this place.
  • Songjeong Station Market: Songjeong Station Market is a famous tourist attraction in the city of Gwangju. It is situated in Songjeong-dong, Gwangju, South Korea. This market is connected with the opening of the station market.
  • Damyang Sikyeongjeong Pavilion: Damyang Sikyeongeong Pavilion is a historical place in the city of Gwangju. It is located in Nam-myeon, Damyang-gun, South Korea. This place is the most visited in the city of Gwangju.
  • Wonhyosa: Wonhyosa is the Buddhist temple in the city of Gwangju. It is located in Geumgok-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju, South Korea. The temple was constructed in the year 1980.
Mt Mudeungsan


Visiting these places will help you explore and learn about the history, culture, and significance of the area on a first-hand basis. If you want to explore the city, you also have to visit some of the other places. These places can be like some city parks, national parks, and museums. It is an oasis for every traveler as it offers both natural and urban places that will make your visit a memorable one. While exploring, you will be able to indulge in the world-famous South Korean cuisines that will only enhance your Gwangju experience. In this part of the article, you would get to know about them in full detail.

City Parks

The city is big, and it has a big collection of parks and other such places. It has big open spaces and greeneries where you can spend time with your children and other family members. The views are one thing you cannot take away from parks.

Here are some famous city parks in the city:

  • The Gwangju Ecological Lake Park
  • Adenium Park
  • Mudeungsan Provincial Park

National Parks

The country has always been famous for its beautiful and graceful natural resources, and so that this city has a wonderful collection of national parks and a zoo. We are listing down a few of them that may not exactly be located in and around the city but are not very far away from the city.

Here are some famous and attractive national parks in the city:

  • Mudeungsan National Park
  • Gwangjuho
  • Memorial Park
  • Jungle Park


Unfortunately, you would not find any major beaches in the city of Gwangju. But there is nothing to worry about because there is a district near the city where you will get most of them. So, in this case, some of the famous landmarks and museums can become a better alternative.


The city of Gwangju also has its share of memorable landmarks and monuments. You must try and visit as many as you possibly can. While the list is quite long, we are mentioning a few of them for our readers' benefit.

  • Gwangju Municipal Folklore Museum
  • Gyubong-Am
  • Damyang Sikyeongjeong Pavilion
  • Man- Yeonsa
Damyang Sikyeongjeong Pavilion


Visiting museums would be the icing on your holiday package, especially if you are in this city, as it shows that you have adequately explored the city.

Here are some of these museums given are as follows:

  • Gwangju Folk Museum
  • Gwangju Museum Of Arts
  • Gwangju National Museum
  • Uijae Museum Of Korean Art
Outside the Gwangju Folk Museum


While exploring the foods in the city, try the local food stalls and shops that offer some of the country's best delicacies. It will help the locals keep providing these amazing dishes to customers and save money. Make sure to try all of the different food items in the city that you will find in no other palace. The city offers some of the oldest and traditional dishes to tourists. You will find the raw cultural food in the city, from street foods to vegan local dishes.

Eating and experiencing the food of the palace is another very well-known and effective way to understand the culture and lifestyle. The city of Gwangju is no exception to that; you will get a wide range of foods to eat in the city, from traditional to the cuisine of different countries. You will feel shocked to hear that there is a vast diversity of food cuisines split into eight regional cuisines. You will find that the locals prefer to eat healthy and nutritious food with lots of vegetables and meat. You will find that vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes are popular, and you will not find much trouble conveying your food preferences.

Traditional Local Restaurants

The food journey in foreign places always starts from trying out the local dishes. There are specific dishes available in the city that you will not find in any other place. So, make sure to try the traditional dishes in the city to help you understand the culture. Here are some famous local restaurants which serve their authentic traditional foods are given below:

  • Myeongseonheon
  • Chaemiwom
  • Iisongjeong
  • Joseon-Og
  • The First Alleyway

Vegetarian and Vegan

If you are a vegetarian, you do not need to worry when you are in this city as there are many restaurants to attend to your needs. With these places, you will get to enjoy traditional meals properly with your regular choices. Sometimes the habits of different people are different. Thus, everyone does not have the same eating habit or love the same pattern when it concerns food choices.

Some of these vegan restaurants are:

  • Indy Restaurant
  • First Nepal Restaurant
  • Raj Indian Restaurant Gwangju Branch
  • The First Alleyway

Street Food

Street foods are one of the best things you need to try to get the best cultural touch. You will find street food stalls on every corner of the city. Some of the South Korean street foods you need to try in this city are Tteokbokki, Mandu, Sundae, Twigim, Beongdegi, and others. You will find some of the cheapest street foods in these markets. Some of the best places to try street food in Gwangju city are Common Ground, Gwangjang Market, Sindang-dong, Bamdokkaebi, and others. Make sure to try the local food shops' foods to support them and help them earn some money. It will help you get good food at a low price and help the local shops keep providing good food to tourists. No matter which lane you visit, you will find many local street foods that you need to try once in your lifetime.


From local drinks to international, you will find a lot of different drinks here. You can try some local beers from the shops, soft drinks, juices, and others. Drinks are an essential thing in travel as it helps to get refreshed between your travel to different places in the city. Make sure to try the local drinks in the city to get the best experience and help out the local people. There are some of the places in the city that will provide you a wide range of drinks. Many people are very much dependent on tourism and maintain their living based on it. Here are different sections given below that will give you an idea of drinks you can get in the city.


The tap water in the city is 100% safe to drink without any harm to your health. But most of the Korean people in the city do not drink it without boiling. No matter how clean the water is, the locals do not recommend it to drink. You can drink tap water without filtering, but the locals will give you some side-eye. Boiling or filtering is not necessary, but you can do it just like locals. One of the most common things tourists need to know before landing in the city is water quality. Knowing the quality of tap water will help you to know if you can drink it or not.

As an eco-friendly traveler, try to avoid drinking packaged water. Instead, boil and filter the tap water and drink it. If you are staying in a green hotel, you will get the best drinking water. In most parts of the city, you will be able to get bottled mineral water that you can buy.

Organic Cafés

Here are some of the most famous organic cafes' names that you need to try in Gwangju to get the best experience. Most of these places provide 100% genuine organic vegetables for the customers.

  • Cafe Bono
  • Kafe52
  • First Nepal Restaurant
  • The First Alleyway


While visiting the city, make sure to visit the nightlife of this city. There are plenty of bars, pubs, and nightclubs that you can visit to get local and traditional breweries.

  • Mudeungsan Brewing Co.
  • Milbat Brewery & Pub
  • Jaheejayang Brewery


If you are looking for outdoor activities, then you can find many in the city of Gwangju. From hiking to fishing, be ready to get the best experience of outdoor activities in this city. Options are also available that will take you far from the crowd and help you to relax. Yoga and retreats are one of the best options to get back your energy and relax between exploring the city.

Yoga and Retreats

You will get to see many yoga centers and training centers throughout the city. Knowing the names will also help you to save a lot of time. You can choose any of them to get your energy back at a reasonable price. Here are some of the places that you can visit.

  • World Mudeura Yoga Snpe
  • Ekuseu
  • Dan-Woldeu


The different accommodation options before entering the city are significant. It would be best to choose the accommodation options based on the number of days you stay in the city. Along with the accommodation options, the services also change very much. So, be very careful when choosing the accommodation option for your stay. From green hotels to renting apartments, all the options are available to you to choose to enjoy your stay.

Green Hotels

As an eco-friendly traveler, green hotels are the best option for you to stay in the city as long as you want without polluting it. You will get all the facilities that are available in normal hotels along with green benefits.

  • Bentley Hotel
  • Hotel Firenze
  • Acc Design Hotel
  • Hotel France

Hostels and Guest Houses

You might not be able to get many options and features of big hotels, but they are pocket friendly. You will be able to stay in the city for a long time without spending a lot of money. Here are some of the hostels and guest houses that you can choose to stay.

  • Byulbam Hostel
  • New Gwangju Guesthouse
  • Panda Guesthouse


If you are planning a long stay, then renting apartments is the best option for you. It will help you to save a lot of money and stay comfortably. Use online services to choose and book them before stepping into the city. All of them offer different features like an air conditioner, TV, refrigerator, and others. You need to choose one depending on your needs and choices. You will find a lot of apartments in the city with different price ranges.


If you are searching for Couchsurfing in the city of Gwangju, then you have to find a host using online websites and services. Once you get a host, you can contact them and fix your stay. Couchsurfing helps travelers explore the city like a local and get all the host person's help, like brushing up on language, knowing the best place to eat, and others. The easiest way to stay in a city and witness the everyday life of locals from up-close.


Compared to all the other accommodation options, this is one of the different ones that takes you very close to nature. You will be able to make your stay under the open sky surrounded by forest and lush green. You will be able to get many campsites in the area that offer different features and an online booking option.

  • Forest Campsites In Gwangju
  • Mudeungsan Provincial Park
  • Cheonhwangsa Camping Area
  • Jiri Auto Camping

How to Get There

Many different options are available that you can use to get to Gwangju. If you are traveling from foreign countries, then the best way to reach the city might be by air. But if you are traveling from another city in South Korea, then you will have many different options available that you can take. The best way to travel to the city depends on your location or starting point. All of the options come with different advantages and disadvantages that you need to know before choosing one.


Air is the most convenient way to travel to the city of Gwangju. If you want to travel by air, then you will need to book the flight far before the date of departure. It will help you confirm a seat for your trip, and the price will be a lot less in bookings. The estimated time to reach the city of Gwangju depends on your starting point. One of the best things about this transportation service is that it takes very little time to reach the destination than other modes of transport. But the fare of flight is also very high compared to trains or buses.

Gwangju Airport


If you love road trips and witness the natural beauty on the way, then you can choose this option. Having a Gwangju trip on a bus is the best idea to get there if you are traveling from a city in South Korea. The bus is widespread and well-used transportation that will help you to get to the city smoothly. You will reach your destination very fast at a very reasonable price. The buses are very frequent in this city, and you will find many bus terminals and hubs scattered throughout the city.

Gwangju buses


Another interesting way to travel to the city is by train. Although most people choose flights to reach the city from outer countries, many people like to travel on a train and look at all the beautiful scenery on the way. You will be able to get the best and memorable experience by traveling using a train. Some of the nearest railway stations GwangjuSongjeong, Gwangjuyeog, hyocheon, hwasun, others. These high-speed trains take less time to reach the destination and take less time than many other transportation modes.

Make sure to book the train ticket a lot before the date of the starting journey to confirm your seats and avoid being on the waiting list. However, if you are traveling from a city in South Korea, then you can use the KTX, which is known to be a very high-speed train.

Metro train, Gwangju


Many places in the city are perfect for hitchhiking. The concept is to take several lifts from local people to reach their destination. However, it is not that easy as it sounds; you will need to know the maps and roads to be successful. It might take a whole day to get a lift, or you might not be able to get a lift if you do not know where to try. Highways are the best way to do hitchhiking and get help from others.


You will be able to get a perfect time on the road trip. Although it will take a lot of time to reach the city using the roadway, you will watch all the different places on your way and feel the different cultures. Make sure to take some extra time on your hand as some routes might be filled with traffic. You can take a car or bike to reach Gwangju city by road to have a unique experience.

Moving Around

Various options are available for tourists to travel to the city and enjoy the culture, traditions, markets, and others. It would be best if you chose the best way to travel to the city before moving in. Some of them take less time while others help you know the city's details very well.


Walking is one of the best ways of exploring the city and getting to different places. Some places in the city are only accessible to pedestrians. You will be able to get into the markets and take shortcuts by walking. While it takes a lot of time to reach your destination compared to other modes of transportations, walking is the best way to get close to the locals and their lifestyle.


Cycling is a great exercise that helps to improve health conditions. Nothing is better than having exercise and roaming the city at once with the help of a bicycle. There are many places where there is a separate lane for the cycles, and you do not have to stand in the traffic.

Electronic Vehicles

If you want to move to your destinations faster than other modes of transport, then electronic vehicles are the best option. You can book a cab with a driver or rent a car and drive on your own with online services. As they are fully electronic, it makes the environment cleaner and reduces air pollution.

Public Bus

Buses are very frequent in this city, and you will be able to get one from almost all corners. Bus stations and bus terminals are scattered throughout the city. You will cover all the famous attractions of the city with just one bus as they are included in the stoppage. When it comes to comfort, you will travel very comfortably throughout the city, but just like cars, you have to wait for the traffic. When it comes to comfort, you will travel very comfortably throughout the city, but just like cars, you have to wait for the traffic.

Tram, Train and Subway

You will be able to get more than one railway station in the range of this city. Trains are quite frequent, and you do not have to wait much for one to arrive. Taking trains will help you get the best experience traveling the city very comfortably without any interruptions. There are many subways available in the town, but they are not well connected to famous points.

If you do not like to wait in traffic while exploring the city, then the best option for you to move around the city on trains. High-speed trains are prevalent in this city, helping you move from place to place very fast. You will be able to stop at all the famous points at a reasonable price, and there is no traffic or signals that will interrupt you.

Sustainable Shopping

As an eco-friendly traveler, it is your responsibility to use items like eco fashion, second-hand products, and others to save your money and help lower waste production. The city's local people are adopting sustainable shopping very well, and tourists will not face any difficulty finding these stores. Sustainable shopping is a great way to get some of the best products at a low price.

Food Markets

You will find many food markets in the city that contain many shops and are known to be one of the big ones in the country. Here are some of the food markets that you need to visit in the city.

  • Daein Market
  • Accn Foreign Food Mart
  • Asia Mart
  • Business Hansalim Stores

Flea Markets

Flea markets will help you very much to know about the life of local people. Buying items from these flea stores will help the local people very much to continue their work. Many people are dependent on tourism, and you can support them.

  • 1913 Songjeong Station Market
  • Juknokwon
  • Ramada Plaza By Wyndham Gwangju
  • Unjusa
  • Dongmyo Flea Market

Second Hand Stores

You will find most of the stores very crowded and filled with quality items. The city of Gwangju is no different, and second-hand markets have grown very well in the last few years. The local people have started to shop for these second-hand products and the tourists, which made these markets very crowded. Although most of the shops are scattered throughout the city, you will find most of them in the night or day markets.

  • Beautiful Store Gwangju Branch
  • Aladdin Used Book Store Gwangju Chugjangro Points
  • Used Household Appliances Furniture Office


As an eco-friendly tourist, you will get the best fashion collection that produces zero pollution and helps the environment stay clean. Most of these fashions are made with eco-friendly materials and herbal ingredients. However, you will need to know which are the best places to go for having a great shopping experience in this city. Here are some of the places that you can visit to get the best eco fashion collection.

Local people have started to adopt these fashions tested in getting many branded and non-branded eco-fashion stores in the area. Many shops have developed over the years to provide the best eco-fashion to customers.


When you are traveling to the city, you will see high tech orange color machines installed on the side of the roads. These machines are installed for the people to dump their food waste, which will be recycled instantly. Being one of the famous cities of South Korea, you will find more than 6000 automatic recycling bins installed around the whole city.

They used to recycle only 2% of food waste and were not focused that much on recycling. However, things have changed dramatically in the last few years, and the country has changed the gears to an extreme level. Now, they recycle more than 95% of the total food waste to keep the environment as clean as they can.


The waste management and recycling management was not that good in this city in the past. However, things have changed very much since they focused on it. The city has developed different things and started many initiatives to minimize waste production. The city has more than 6000 bins installed worldwide to maintain the waste and reduce the city's waste to make the environment better. Mostly the waste is divided into different things such as landfills, composting, recycling, and incineration. They have installed many different waste bins that people can use to dump the food wastes to recycle them.

Work and Study Abroad

You can find many international students in this city who are living and continuing their studies. Compared to other places, the study's cost is also lower, which helps the students learn at a reasonable price. You will be able to get the best study and jobs in the city if you know the places to look for it. When it comes to jobs, take online services to get a list of available jobs in the city. From part-time jobs to full-time ones, you will get all types of jobs available in the city. Also, students who want to earn some money while studying in the city will get many different opportunities.

Exchange Student

The exchange student is one of the trending concepts that earned a lot of popularity quickly. It helps the students from another country to get into a foreign university and continue their studies. However, the home institution will need to be nominated for an exchange student to get this opportunity. Also, you have to pay the tuition fee in the home university to enter it successfully. Many universities and colleges in the city have this facility available, and they are well connected or partners with other universities in different countries.

Au Pair

Au pair helps the students or foreigners to explore the city and help out local people. You will be shocked to know how many people in this city desperately need Au Pairs. This is a give-and-take process where you will be taking care of a child or older person for a limited time in exchange for shelter, food, and some money. Taking care of the baby or older adults might not be easy because of the family members' busy schedules. They lookout for the Au Pair service to get the best service and focus on work. Most people who visit the city for a long time take this service to stay and explore the city.


Volunteering will help you to contribute to society and the city by choosing this option. If you are traveling for a long time and want to get close to local people, volunteering is the best way. During volunteering, you will come close to the local people and know their lifestyle up close. The interaction with both locals and foreigners will increase a lot, helping you know them and brush up your language skills.

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