Jaman Mural Village is a 10 minute walk from Jeonju Hanok Village. We followed the tourist boards and walked along the main road. Alternatively, there’s a overhead bridge that connects Omokdae with Imokdae and Jaman Mural Village.
The village is built on a steep hill with winding turns. It’s hard to miss Imokdae’s colourful pavilion tucked in a green corner.
There aren’t any boards at this point and the route to follow is the one with painted walls. The murals might not impress at first glance, but they do get better as you walk deeper and climb higher.
Trinket Shops & Cafes
Cafes are a constant feature of this mural village. Each has its own theme and decor. Some shops also sell trinkets and souvenirs of popular dramas and cartoons. We found a small restaurant selling Jeonju’s delicacies. It was the only restaurant selling a meal in the village.
Figuring out the Maze
The narrow alleys of the village twist and turn around brightly coloured houses. It’s a maze that leads into interesting corners and murals. Getting lost (not that you really can) is highly recommended here.
Mural villages, like these, are hotspots for young couples — Korean or foreign. Surprisingly, there weren’t many couples on the day of our visit. The lanes were deserted and we’d rarely come across another traveller.
The old rooftops of most refurbished villages are coloured in bright paints. This village had more blue rooftops than other colours of the spectrum. The rooftop was in contrast to the overcast sky. It’s best to keep a low voice when you walk along these quiet lanes. Many houses are still occupied by locals who like to maintain their privacy and quiet.
The density of cafes keeps increasing as you climb higher. Some of them double as guest houses. Although, I can’t imagine climbing these narrow alleys with luggage. Most tourists (in this part of the world) have mastered the art of packing light and travelling with their rolling suitcase.
Staircases connect narrow alleys to the higher parts of the village. Some paths end in ruin and broken stairs. Once again, the painted murals act like markers to what’s ahead.
I’ve always liked street art and graffiti. But, in Korea, the illustrations can get too cute for me. During my early days here, I’d find it hard to appreciate or even enjoy the cuteness around me. Three years later, I’m a changed person. I find comfort in the escapism offered by these mural villages. Perhaps, it’s a way to look on the bright side of life.
We had reached the end of the mural village. This comic strip mural was quite impressive and was bang opposite the highest cafe in the village.
Cafe With the View
It was a hot afternoon and very few had made it here. We had to wait for a couple of minutes before a person came to the counter. I still had my cappuccino (from the earlier cafe) and had to put it aside. We ordered two litchi drinks with ice and enjoyed them with the warm afternoon breeze.
This point has a phenomenal view of the village and other tourist sights below. The cascading peaks of neighbouring mountains formed the backdrop to the old hanok village and the city.
We spotted some more cafes on our way down. This time, we took another route and saw a different set of murals.
The End of the Road
There probably were many other paths tucked in this quaint village. We had to head back to the bus terminal and catch a bus to Gwangju (our next destination). Jeonju was a wonderful surprise and we were excited to have kickstarted our Korean road trip with this fantastic city.