Changwon is the first of South Korea's few planned cities. Developed in the 1970s it was designed to be the new capital for Gyeongsangnam-do and an alternative capital for the country should Seoul be invaded. The city is surrounded by mountains which provides protection. A missile defense station sits on top of the southern mountain range. Changwon boasts of the longest straight road in the nation (Changwon Main Road - Changwondae-no) which is over 12 km long. If necessary the road can be used as a landing runway.
The city is home to many high-technology and machine industries, including LG, Samsung, GM Daewoo, and their employees in a high-quality urban space. Changwon Main Road divides the town with the industries mostly being on the western side and the urban environment mostly being on the eastern side.
The neighboring cities Jinhae and Masan have since 2010 administratively been parts of Changwon.
Changwon is to the west of Busan, and most travel to Changwon is via this international hub.
The Munghwa, Saemaeul and KTX (Korea Train Express) trains arrive at the Changwon Train Station in the north part of the urban area of town. There are KTX stops at Changwon Train station, Changwonjungang Train station, and Masan Train station. You can travel directly to Changwon from Seoul Station without any transfers or connections.
Buses connect Changwon to most of the other cities in Gyeongsangnam-do via the Express bus terminal. Some buses connect with Changwon at the Namsan terminal in the south part of town, including buses for Busan. Express buses connect directly to Seoul several times a day.
Buses from Busan mainly depart from the Seobu bus station in Sasang-gu. It's a short walk from the Sasang subway station to Seobu. The fare is about ₩3500.
Masan's intercity bus terminal serves destinations in the vicinity. There are frequent buses to Busan and Jinju (₩4,000 and one hour), as well as longer routes serving Tongyeong and far southern Geoje.
There are two types of city buses; express and normal. The express bus costs a little more but have fewer stops. The normal bus stops at every stop and most routes run into neighboring towns Jinhae and Masan. Current cash price is ₩1,100 for a normal bus and ₩1,600 for an express. Taxis are also a very common mode of transportation. Taxis can almost always be flagged down within a couple minutes on any semi-major to major road. All taxis (including black) start at ₩2,200 during the day but the starting rate goes up to ₩2,650 after midnight.
- Junam reservoir.
- Shell Mound.
- Cherry blossom festival, In the district of Jinhae (take local bus 151 from Changwon bus terminal to Jinhae). held yearly, in April. There are possibly more cherry blossom trees to be seen here than in any other location in Korea, and although there are a couple of popular, groomed places for visitors to see them, you can find them strewn throughout the hillsides surrounding the town of Jinhae. There are two primary locations that visitors go to see them. One is the train tracks just next to the high school that is a major bus stop. If you wait long enough, trains will come through this spot at a very low speed, making some idyllic photo shots as they roll through the cherry blossom lane. The other location is at a river in the downtown section of Jinhae, located a 30 minute walk north of the bus station. At this location there is a small stream lined with cherry blossom trees on both sides that tourists are sure to be flocking around.
- Fish market, In the district of Masan. There is a fish market near the bay of Masan.
- Hiking. Hike around the many mountains that surround the city and catch wonderful views.
- Sports. Watch and bet on bicycle races, basketball, soccer or baseball. Play badminton on one of many public courts.
- Dotseom Island. Take a ferry out to Dotseom Island, which has a carnival and circus in Masan Bay.
- Muhaksan. Hike up Muhaksan, a 700m mountain near the Masan's city center.
- Changwon College.
- Changwon National University.
Most foreign workers hold positions as either engineers or English teachers.
Changwon is known for its watermelons and persimmons. If you're cooking for more than one person, check out the traditional markets for fresh fruits and veggies at great prices.
For the shoppers out there, Changwon has a Lotte Mart, Lotte Dept Store, and an Emart all centrally located by the Rotary across from City Hall. Daedong Dept Store's not too far from the Rotary as well. There's also a Home Plus and New Core Outlet near the bus terminal, and City 7 beside Changwon's Pullman Hotel.
- Benningan's (Located across the street from Canberra Hotel.).
- Bombay, 98-3 Jugang Dong, Chagwon, ☎ . 11am to 10pm. Bombay is a nice Indian restaurant. Friendly staff and quick service. Prices are reasonable.
- Roll's Rice (directly opposite the terminal entrance, in Masan). Colorful dine-in sushi options and fusion dishes (think pastas, pilaf, omu-rice). Mains typically around ₩8,000.
- O'Briens Irish Bar & Restaurant, ☎ 005-286-6547.
- Westin Avenue.
- Monster Bar (Monster), Chongnam Dong (Around the corner from Cacaoria). A western-orientated bar with a cool interior, good food and drink, and an owner who speaks great English. Intimate. Has games like pop up pirate to play if the conversation lulls! Good meal deals on Friday nights.
- BK Bar.
- Hollywood Bar.
- London Pub.
- Nambu Sauna and Jjimjilbang, C:nus building, 4F (Downtown Masan near the bus terminal. Walk out to the intersection and it's diagonally opposite McDonalds.). A jjimjilbang within 100m of the Nambu intercity bus terminal. Expect sauna access, cotton pajamas and a pile of blankets to sleep on the heated communal floor. Has an ice room in addition to the usual array of heated rooms with decor a tiny bit more diverse than the usual warm-cube-coated-in-amethysts. ₩7,500.
- Changwon Hotel.
- Canberra Hotel.
- Pullman Ambassador Changwon City 7 (Pullman Hotel), 122 Daewon-dong, 641-210 Changwon, ☎ . By far the most luxurious hotel in Changwon.