Welcome to Changwon, a vibrant city nestled in the southeastern region of South Korea. Known for its modern infrastructure, rich cultural heritage, and natural beauty, Changwon offers a unique blend of traditional charm and contemporary amenities. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking an immersive cultural experience, Changwon has something to offer for every traveler.
As the capital of Gyeongsangnam-do Province, Changwon boasts a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms, leaving behind a plethora of historical landmarks and cultural treasures. From ancient temples and palaces to well-preserved relics, Changwon offers a glimpse into the country’s storied past.
Nature lovers will be enthralled by Changwon’s breathtaking landscapes. The city is surrounded by picturesque mountains, tranquil rivers, and lush greenery, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. Embark on scenic hikes, visit serene parks and gardens, or simply take in the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Changwon is also a hub for arts and culture. The city hosts numerous festivals, art exhibitions, and performances throughout the year, showcasing the vibrant local talent and preserving traditional customs. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene, attend traditional performances, or participate in cultural workshops to gain a deeper appreciation for Changwon’s cultural heritage.
For those seeking modern amenities and entertainment, Changwon offers a range of shopping centers, bustling markets, and entertainment venues. Indulge in retail therapy at stylish malls or explore vibrant street markets to find unique souvenirs and sample delicious local street food.
With its efficient public transportation system and well-connected network of roads, getting around Changwon is a breeze. Whether you prefer using buses, taxis, or the city’s subway system, navigating the city and reaching its various attractions is convenient and hassle-free.
As you embark on your journey through Changwon, prepare to be captivated by its rich history, breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant cultural scene, and warm hospitality. Get ready to create lasting memories and discover the hidden gems of this charming city.
Changwon City Guide: A Brief History Of Changwon, South Korea
Unlike other cities in South Korea, Changwon hasn’t been around for that long. It is a planned city, as it came into being back in 1973. With mountains all around, planners dubbed it an alternative capital, should North Korea occupy or render Seoul unliveable.
While this means it lacks cultural attractions, there is still plenty to do in this vibrant city. From a famous cherry blossom festival to excellent hiking, boredom won’t be a thing during your stay.
Come check out our Changwon travel guide for visitors as we cover the best things to do in Changwon, Korea.
Changwon, a city located in the southeastern corner of the Korean peninsula, boasts a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. This bustling metropolis, with a population of over one million, was once a small hamlet named Changwon-gun during the Goryeo Dynasty. Its strategic location at the eastern edge of the Jinju Plains made it a vital stop along the trade route connecting the ancient capital of Gyeongju to the bustling port city of Busan.
In the early Joseon Dynasty, Changwon was granted the status of a Changwon-bu administrative district, and it remained a modest farming and fishing village for several centuries. However, with the advent of industrialization following the Korean War, the South Korean government turned its attention to Changwon as a key site for the development of heavy industry. The city was designated as a planned industrial center in 1974, with major corporations such as LG and Samsung setting up factories in the area.
As the city’s economic growth surged, Changwon underwent several administrative transformations. In 1985, it was granted the status of a city and became the capital of the Gyeongsangnam-do province. The merger of Changwon with the neighboring city of Masan in 2010 created the modern-day Changwon Metropolitan City.
Changwon’s transformation from a small agricultural community to a bustling industrial and cultural center has been a remarkable one, and its achievements in both areas have not gone unnoticed. The city is renowned for its scenic beauty, from the rolling hills and verdant countryside that surround it, to the picturesque Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival that draws visitors from far and wide.
Changwon’s rich history and continued development are testaments to the resilience and tenacity of its people. It has grown from a modest village to a thriving metropolis, a hub of industry, culture, and natural beauty that is celebrated both locally and internationally.
Changwon Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Korea
Held in early April, the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is the most significant cultural event that happens in Changwon. It hails the arrival of the cherry blossoms, and therefore, spring. Originally meant to honour naval admiral Yi Sun-sin, people relax under cherry trees with loved ones during this festival.
Start by checking out the Victory Parade. You’ll see performers in costume reenacting the pride felt after winning a decisive battle in the Imjin War. This ceremony will take you back to the 16th century when the Joseon Dynasty was at its peak.
Next, make time to check out the fireworks by Sokcheonhang Port. You’ll only have one chance to enjoy this exhilarating display, so take note of its date. At this event, you’ll get to see a demonstration of pyrotechnics that put those in the West to shame.
Finally, check out Yeojwacheon Stream at night to see a dazzling fusion of cherry blossoms, lights, and laser beams. The vibe is completely different from the day time, so be sure to check it out.
If you aren’t in town for the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival, make The House of Changwon your first stop. Once home to famed Korean academic Du-cheol, it is now a centre of learning for Korean culture.
Its 14 buildings contain various attractions. One highlight is a building that shows off the farming tools used in centuries past. If you’re lucky, you may get to watch students playing traditional folk games. After your time here, you’ll have a firm understanding of how Koreans led their lives in past generations.
Korea is famous throughout Asia for the quality dramas it produces. In Changwon, you’ll find the Marine Drama Set – here, filmmakers have shot sea town scenes for countless productions. It portrays buildings like iron smelters, fish markets, horse stables, and places where ocean side shots are possible.
God of War, Princess’ Man, and The Duo have all used this set – keep an eye out for familiar buildings if you watch any of these movies afterwards.
Check out some of the best clay art in Korea by paying a visit to the Clayarch Gimhae Museum. Throughout its halls, you’ll find numerous examples of beautifully crafted clay, from vases to sculptures. As a quiet place, it is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Changwon.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Changwon, South Korea
If you need a break from hectic nature of central Changwon, take a trip out to Mageumsan Hot Springs. Known since the time of King Sejong, these steamy waters will soak the stress out of your body.
Boasting a peak temperature of 55 degrees and minerals like manganese and sulphates, they’re reputed to have curative properties. Here, dramatic peaks surround you, making these hot springs a pleasant place to end a day of hiking. With admission only costing 6,000 won (4,000 won for children), it is an affordable outing for budget travellers.
If you are travelling in Changwon during cherry blossom season, do not miss Yeojwacheon Stream. Made famous by the Korean drama, Romance, it is set upon by crowds of tourists during the spring. It is worth it, though, as its cherry blossoms, goldenrod, and the river make for scores of photo ops.
Fans of botanic gardens will want to make the trip out to Jinhae NFRDI Environment Eco-Park while in Changwon. Sprawling over 84,000 square metres, you’ll find over 60 different species of tree and many flower specimens here.
Far away from the crowds at Yeojwacheon Stream, you’ll be able to enjoy spring at its finest. Film directors agree, as this stunning park has been a filming location for dramas like On Air.
If you need a quick break while in Changwon, spend an hour or so relaxing in Yongji Munhwa Park. A lush oasis in the middle of a rapidly-growing city, this green space is popular among locals looking to unwind. For example, many come here with musical instruments and wine on beautiful days. During the spring, summer, and fall, fountain shows are held twice nightly in its centrepiece lake – don’t miss it!
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Top 10 Things To Do in Changwon, Korea For Visitors
- Explore the picturesque Jinhae Naval Port, a historic port that played a crucial role in the Korean War and now offers breathtaking views and charming harbor-side cafes.
- Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Yeojwacheon Stream, a scenic walking trail that winds through Jinhae and is particularly stunning during the cherry blossom season.
- Visit the Changwon City Museum to learn about the region’s rich history, culture, and art, showcasing everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary works.
- Stroll through the tranquil Yongji Park, a picturesque park located in the heart of Changwon, perfect for picnics, jogging, and relaxation.
- Discover the hidden gem of Gagwonsa Temple, a serene Buddhist temple nestled in the mountains, featuring stunning architecture and natural beauty.
- Enjoy a day of fun at Seongsan Shell Mound, an open-air museum that offers activities such as pottery-making, traditional Korean games, and showcases ancient shell mounds.
- Indulge in the delicious local cuisine, from the famous eel dishes of Masan to the seafood platters of Jinhae, Changwon’s cuisine is sure to delight any foodie.
- Take in the breathtaking views of the city from the top of the 101 Tower, one of Changwon’s tallest buildings and a popular attraction for tourists.
- Visit the Changwon National University Observatory, a state-of-the-art facility offering a unique opportunity to explore the stars and learn about astronomy.
- Unwind and rejuvenate at Spa Land in Gyeongnam Hotel, a world-class spa featuring hot springs, saunas, and a variety of treatments to soothe the body and soul.
What To Eat and Drink in Changwon, South Korea
Changwon is renowned for its rich culinary heritage and offers a wide range of delicious and unique dishes that are sure to tantalize any foodie’s taste buds. Here are some must-try food and drink options in Changwon:
- Masan Eel: The city of Masan is famous for its delicious eel dishes, particularly grilled or braised eel. The meat is tender and flavorful, and often served with a variety of sides such as rice, soup, and kimchi.
- Jinhae Seafood: Jinhae is home to a bustling seafood market where you can sample a variety of fresh seafood dishes such as raw fish, grilled octopus, and stir-fried clams. The seafood platters are particularly popular and offer a sampling of the local catches.
- Ssiat Hotteok: Ssiat Hotteok is a popular street food in Changwon, consisting of a sweet pancake filled with various seeds and nuts such as sesame, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds. It’s a tasty and satisfying snack that’s perfect for on-the-go.
- Makgeolli: Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that’s popular in Changwon. It’s a milky white, slightly sweet drink with a low alcohol content, making it a perfect drink for any time of day.
- Soju: Soju is a clear, distilled alcoholic beverage that’s widely popular in Korea. It’s a great drink to enjoy with friends over dinner or in a social setting.
- Andong Jjimdak: Andong Jjimdak is a dish originating from the Andong region of Korea, but popular throughout the country. It’s a spicy braised chicken dish with vegetables, served over a bed of glass noodles. It’s a hearty and satisfying meal that’s perfect for sharing with a group.
- Bingsu: Bingsu is a popular Korean dessert made of shaved ice, sweetened condensed milk, and various toppings such as fruit, nuts, and cereal. It’s a refreshing and delicious way to cool down during the hot summer months.
In Changwon, there are many restaurants and street vendors offering these and other tasty dishes. Be sure to explore the local food scene and savor the unique flavors of this delightful city.
Tours For Visitors To Changwon, South Korea
Here are some of the top tours for visitors to Changwon:
- Changwon City Tour Bus The Changwon City Tour Bus is a convenient way to see some of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. The bus is a hop-on, hop-off style, which means you can get off at any stop and explore the area on foot before boarding the bus again to continue your journey. The tour takes you to places like the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center, Gyeongnam Art Museum, and Yongji Park. The bus operates daily from 9am to 5pm, and tickets can be purchased on board.
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour The Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Korea, and it takes place in Changwon’s neighboring city of Jinhae. The festival usually takes place in early April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. This tour takes visitors to the festival, where they can see the beautiful cherry blossoms and enjoy food and entertainment.
- Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tour Gyeongju is a historic city located about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Changwon, and it is home to many UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and Anapji Pond. This tour takes visitors to these sites and includes transportation and a tour guide. The tour is a great way to learn about the history and culture of Korea.
- Masan Fish Market Tour Masan is a coastal city located near Changwon, and it is known for its fresh seafood. This tour takes visitors to the Masan Fish Market, where they can see and taste a variety of fresh seafood dishes. The tour includes a local guide who can help you navigate the market and find the best seafood.
- Geoje Island Tour Geoje Island is a beautiful island located off the coast of Changwon. It is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, such as hiking and kayaking. This tour takes visitors to some of the island’s most popular attractions, including Oedo Botania, Haegeumgang Island, and Windy Hill. The tour includes transportation and a guide who can help you navigate the island.
Overall, there are many tours available in Changwon that cater to a variety of interests. Whether you are interested in history, culture, nature, or food, there is a tour that will suit your needs. If you prefer to create your own customized tour, many local tour companies and travel agencies offer personalized tour packages. With so many options available, visitors to Changwon are sure to have a memorable experience.
Changwon Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
Here is a guide to some of the best accommodation options in Changwon:
- Pullman Ambassador Changwon: This 5-star hotel offers luxurious rooms and suites with stunning views of the city. Amenities include an indoor pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options. It is conveniently located near popular attractions such as Changwon Exhibition Convention Center and Changwon National Industrial Complex.
- Changwon Hotel: Located in the city center, this 4-star hotel offers comfortable rooms and suites with a modern decor. Amenities include a fitness center, sauna, and multiple dining options. It is close to popular attractions such as the Changwon Cultural Center and Yongji Park.
- Hotel International Changwon: This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Changwon and offers comfortable rooms and suites with modern decor. Amenities include a fitness center, sauna, and multiple dining options. It is conveniently located near popular attractions such as Changwon City Hall and the Changwon National University.
- Hotel Avenue: This budget-friendly hotel offers comfortable rooms with a minimalist decor. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour front desk, and a restaurant. It is located in the city center and is within walking distance of popular attractions such as Changwon Art Hall and Changwon Civil Stadium.
- Value Hotel Worldwide Changwon: This budget-friendly hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern decor. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a restaurant. It is located near popular attractions such as Gyeongnam Art Museum and Changwon Civil Stadium.
- Hotel Gray: This boutique hotel offers stylish rooms and suites with a modern decor. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a restaurant. It is located in the city center and is within walking distance of popular attractions such as Changwon Civil Stadium and Yongji Park.
- Hotel Joy Changwon: This budget-friendly hotel offers comfortable rooms with a modern decor. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour front desk, and a restaurant. It is conveniently located near popular attractions such as the Changwon National University and Yongji Park.
These are just a few of the many accommodation options available in Changwon. No matter what your budget or preferences may be, there is sure to be a hotel that suits your needs in this bustling city.
Day Trips From Changwon, South Korea
If you’re looking to venture out and explore the surrounding areas, there are plenty of day trip options available. Here are some of the best day trips from Changwon:
- Jinhae: Jinhae is a small town known for its stunning cherry blossom festival in the spring. It is located about 30 minutes from Changwon by car and is a popular day trip destination during the festival season.
- Tongyeong: Tongyeong is a coastal city located about an hour’s drive from Changwon. It is known for its stunning scenery, including the Hallyeo Waterway and the surrounding islands. Visitors can also explore the historic Tongyeong City Wall and Hallyeo Maritime National Park.
- Gyeongju: Gyeongju is a historic city located about two hours’ drive from Changwon. It was once the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom and is known for its many historic sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto.
- Busan: Busan is a bustling port city located about an hour’s drive from Changwon. It is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant food scene, and popular tourist attractions such as the Gamcheon Culture Village and Haeundae Beach.
- Geoje Island: Geoje Island is the second-largest island in South Korea and is located about an hour’s drive from Changwon. It is known for its stunning coastline, hiking trails, and historic sites such as the Geoje POW Camp and the Okpo Great Victory Commemorative Park.
- Ulsan: Ulsan is a port city located about an hour and a half’s drive from Changwon. It is known for its industrial and economic significance, but also offers visitors plenty of natural beauty, including the Taehwagang River and the Ganjeolgot Sunrise Park.
These are just a few of the many day trip options available from Changwon. With so much to see and do in the surrounding areas, visitors to Changwon can easily explore the region and experience all that South Korea has to offer.
Changwon Transportation Guide
Changwon is a well-connected city with a variety of transportation options available for both locals and visitors. Here is a transportation guide to help you navigate your way around Changwon:
- Bus: The bus system in Changwon is comprehensive and efficient, with many routes covering the city and surrounding areas. The buses are clean, safe, and affordable, making them a popular mode of transportation among locals and visitors alike. You can purchase bus tickets at the ticket machines located at bus stops or pay the driver in cash when you board.
- Subway: Changwon has a subway system consisting of two lines that cover many of the major areas of the city. The subway is clean, safe, and convenient, making it a great option for those who want to avoid traffic and travel quickly between destinations.
- Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Changwon and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance through a mobile app. Taxis in Changwon are equipped with GPS systems, making it easy for drivers to find your destination. Taxis are generally more expensive than buses or the subway, but they are a convenient option for those who want to travel directly to their destination.
- Bicycle: Changwon has a bike-sharing system called “Changwon Bike” that allows you to rent a bicycle for a small fee. The bikes are available at docking stations throughout the city, making it easy to pick up and drop off a bike at your convenience. Changwon is also a bike-friendly city, with many dedicated bike lanes and paths throughout the city.
- Car rental: If you prefer to drive yourself, car rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, and Budget are available in Changwon. However, it’s important to note that driving in South Korea can be challenging, especially for those who are not used to the local driving laws and customs.
Changwon has a variety of transportation options that cater to different needs and budgets. Whether you prefer to take the bus, subway, taxi, bicycle, or drive yourself, there’s a transportation option that will work for you in Changwon.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Changwon?
Here are some of the best day trips from Changwon:
- Busan: Just an hour away by train or car, Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea and a popular tourist destination. It’s known for its beaches, temples, and vibrant food scene. You can spend the day wandering around the colorful Gamcheon Culture Village, visiting the iconic Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, or soaking up the sun on Haeundae Beach. Busan also has a lively nightlife scene, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore.
- Jinhae: Located just south of Changwon, Jinhae is a picturesque city that is famous for its annual cherry blossom festival. The festival takes place every spring and draws thousands of visitors who come to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom. In addition to the festival, Jinhae is also home to several historic sites, including the Jinhae Naval Port and the Chungmu Naval Academy.
- Tongyeong: About an hour and a half away from Changwon, Tongyeong is a coastal city that is known for its beautiful beaches, seafood, and historic sites. You can take a cable car up to the top of Mt. Mireuksan for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding islands, visit the Tongyeong Naval Battle Memorial to learn about the city’s naval history, or take a boat tour of the surrounding islands.
- Geoje Island: Located off the coast of Changwon, Geoje Island is the second-largest island in South Korea and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The island is known for its natural beauty, including beaches, mountains, and scenic views. You can go hiking in the Geoje Haegeumgang Island Natural Recreation Forest, camp out at one of the island’s many campsites, or go kayaking or windsurfing on the crystal-clear waters of Hakdong Mongdol Beach.
- Gyeongju: About two hours away from Changwon, Gyeongju is a historic city that was once the capital of the ancient Silla kingdom. The city is known for its numerous historic sites, including temples, palaces, and tombs. You can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bulguksa Temple, explore the Gyeongju National Museum, or hike up to the Seokguram Grotto to see the famous Buddha statue.
These destinations offer a great opportunity to experience different parts of South Korea and explore more of the country’s rich history and culture. Whether you’re interested in food, nature, history, or just soaking up the local culture, there’s something for everyone on these day trips from Changwon.
Changwon Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Changwon, with its rich history, cultural offerings, delicious food, and natural beauty, is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to South Korea. From exploring the ancient history of the area to enjoying the modern amenities of the city, there is something for everyone in Changwon.
When visiting Changwon, be sure to check out the city’s top attractions such as the Masan Fish Market, the Gyeongnam Provincial Museum, and the Yongji Park. Take a stroll along the scenic walkways of the Changwon Central Park and discover the beauty of the city’s flora and fauna. History enthusiasts will appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Changwon, with its ancient temples and historic sites.
To experience Changwon’s unique culinary scene, try some of the local specialties such as Dakgangjeong, a deliciously crispy chicken dish, and the famous Hwangnam bread. Don’t forget to wash it down with some local soju or Makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine.
When it comes to accommodations, Changwon has a wide range of options to suit all budgets and preferences. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses, there is something for everyone. Some of the top accommodations in Changwon include the Hotel International Changwon, Changwon Palace Tourist Hotel, and Hotel Savoy.
Changwon is also an excellent base for exploring nearby attractions such as the city of Busan, which is just a short train ride away. Visitors can also take day trips to nearby natural wonders such as the Jirisan National Park, which boasts stunning mountain scenery and beautiful hiking trails.
Getting around Changwon is easy thanks to the city’s well-developed transportation system, which includes buses, taxis, and a modern subway system. Visitors can purchase a T-Money card, which allows for easy access to all forms of transportation in the city.
Changwon is a hidden gem in South Korea, with plenty to offer visitors. From exploring the city’s rich history to indulging in its delicious cuisine and enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding area, there is something for everyone in Changwon.
The city of Changwon, so full of life A place of culture, history, and delight From the Masan Fish Market to Yongji Park There’s so much to explore, day or dark
Indulge in the local cuisine so fine From Dakgangjeong to Hwangnam bread divine Wash it down with soju or Makgeolli too A taste of Changwon, so authentic and true
Stay in luxury or budget-friendly style Hotels and guesthouses to make you smile Rest easy after a day of adventure In Changwon, memories will surely capture
Take a trip to Busan, or hike Jirisan The beauty of nature is always at hand Getting around is easy, transportation’s a breeze Explore Changwon, it’s sure to please
In South Korea, Changwon’s a hidden treasure A place of wonder, in every measure So come and visit, you won’t regret Changwon, a city you’ll never forget.