Orienting yourself in Jinju is easy. The town is cut in half by the Nam River (Namgang), with Jinju Fortress, downtown, most hotels, the commercial-residential sprawl and the intercity bus station all on the north bank. The train station and the express bus station lie on the south bank.
Jinju's Sacheon Airport (IATA: HIN), 20 km away from the city, fields flights daily to and from Seoul's Gimpo Airport and twice a week to Jeju Island. Buses to the city center take 25 minutes and cost ₩3,000.
Bus is the easiest way of reaching Jinju. There are departures every ten minutes from Busan's Seobu (Sa-sang) terminal (1.5h, ₩6,900) and from Masan (1h, ₩4,000), as well as every 20-30 min from Seoul's Gangnam Express Bus terminal (4h, ₩20,000). Check which bus terminal you will be arriving at as the Intercity Bus Terminal is centrally located within walking distance of Jinju Fortress while the Express Bus Terminal is located a bit further south, on the south side of the river.
There is a bus that goes directly from Incheon International Airport to Jinju. It takes 4 hours, and it costs about ₩36,000.
Buses from Busan Nopodong Bus Terminal to Jinju depart roughly every 50 minutes.
The main highway in Jinju is National Highway 10 or Namhae Expressway.
There are daily 5 services to Seoul (6.5h) and 4 to Busan (3h). Jinju is served by passenger service at Jinju Station along the Gyeongjeon Line. Note: currently (Autumn 2012) Jinju has two train stations. The old train station is near downtown, on the south side of the river (near Manggyeong-dong or Juyak-dong). A new train station is being built near Gyeongsang University, at the southern end of town. This new train station is functioning; you can get on and off the train there. Rumor has it that the old train station is going to close - expect concrete news on this topic by Jan 2013. The new train station is supposed to have KTX service in December 2012. The new train station is a 20 minute walk from GNU. Getting to and from the new train station: the city buses 126, 127, 131, 132, 134, and 135 go there.
This website has an excellent run-down of the bus system, with lots of good maps. Buses inside Jinju cost ₩1100 and go almost everywhere in Jinju. You can buy a reloadable bus pass at convenience stores like GS-25. These cost about ₩10,000 and may come with a bus ride or two already on them, depending on the kind you buy. Each ride is discounted to ₩1,000 as well. See also here.
Buses are available but you'll find it hard to use it unless you speak Korean, since bus stop signs are almost exclusively in Korean and your average bus driver won't speak English.
City bus routes that go to the KTX station: 126, 127, 128, 131, 132, 134, 135, 151.
City bus routes that go past the Intercity Bus Terminal (Shee-way bus terminal, 시외버스터미널): 120-124, 126, 127, 129, 144, 260, 261, 270-273, 280, 290, 291, 295, 340-343, 350, 351, 353, 354, 360-364, 370-377, 550, 551.
By bicycle or on foot
Highly recommended. Jinju is a small city, so if you have a detailed street map, you can simply get around on foot. If you’re touring the city, you’ll probably be walking, as there is no bicycle-rental system. If you live here, a bicycle is a nice investment.
The Nam River is lined with a lovely park that featurea outdoor gymnasiums, multiple-lane bicycle paths, and 24-hour restrooms. Cars are generally not allowed.
Numerous mountains with hiking trails can be found around the city.
The basic fare for regular taxis is ₩2,200, with a surcharge of ₩100 applied according to time and distance. In deluxe taxis, the basic fare is ₩4500 and the additional fare increases in increments of ₩200. Jinju is a small city, so you will rarely spend more than ₩7,000 on a taxi ride.
Deluxe taxis are black with a yellow sign and are more expensive than regular taxis although provide a better and more comfortable service. Regular taxis are silver or yellow.
- See also: Korean phrasebook
As elsewhere in Korea, a grasp of basic Korean will be helpful.
While all younger Koreans are required to study English in school, proficiency is generally poor and most Jinju-ites only know a few simple words and phrases. A basic grasp of Korean will make your trip much smoother.
- Jinju Fortress (진주성 Jinjuseong). open 9 AM to 10 PM daily. Most sights in Jinju are located on the grounds of the Jinju Fortress, at the west end of the north bank. Jinju's moment of glory came in 1592 during the Imjin War, when a force of just 3,800 Koreans held off an invading army of 20,000 Japanese. Unfortunately, the Japanese came back the next year with an army of 70,000 — Jinju was finally crushed and all defenders were killed or committed suicide. The night scenery of the fortress is also a breathtaking sight and a must-see. Admission to the fortress grounds costs ₩1000. Parking is available in front of the fortress, at ₩500 per 30 minutes for small and medium sized vehicles, and ₩1000 per 30 minutes for large vehicles..
- Chokseongnu Pavilion (at the east end of the fortress). The command base during the battles of Jinju, this beautiful pavilion is next to the cliff with commanding views across the river. During days of peace, civil service exams were held here.
- Jinju National Museum. At west end of fortress. A small but well-presented branch of the National Museum specializing in the Imjin War. Labeling in English is a little spotty but mostly sufficient. At time of writing, an interesting (if rather propagandistic) 3D film on the First Battle of Jinju is being screened hourly for free. Admission W1000/free adults/children, open daily except Monday from 9 AM to 5 PM or later.
- Nongae Shrine (next to Chokseongnu). Commemorates the gisaeng (courtesan) Nongae, who seduced a Japanese general after their victory in the second battle, and with her arms wrapped around him plunged from the cliff to her — and his — death. The yearly Nongae Festival commemorates the event.
- Musical Fountain (a 15 minute walk west of Jinju fortress, on the river.). This fountain is a must-see for any visitor to Jinju. An impressive water and light show is put on by the fountain in time to a selection of songs ranging from classical to popular music. Shows are at regular intervals beginning after dark (exact times depend on the season). This is a popular gathering place for couples and families in the summer.
A few sights of minor interest are scattered elsewhere around town.
- Eunyeolsa Shrine. The birthplace of Confucian scholar Gang Mincheom, the shrine is small but picture-perfect.
- Nongae Festival. held in May each year. The Nongae Festival commemorates and celebrates the sacrifice of the beautiful and patriotic gisaeng (professional Korean entertainer) Nongae's suicide-assassination of a Japanese general together with the 70,000 Koreans who lost their lives in the battle of Jinju Castle during the Imjin War. The festival features an emotional reenactment of Nongae's suicidal drowning of a Japanese general from ‘uiam bawi’ (righteous rock) below Chokseongnu (Jinju castle pavilion) on the banks of the Nam River.
- Jinju National Bullfighting Contest. held at a purpose-built traditional Korean sports arena near Jinyang lake in August.. The Jinju National Bullfighting Contest is recognized as Korea's oldest bullfighting event and spectators can witness a test of strength at this bullfighting contest.
- Gaecheon Arts Festival. annually held from October 3 to 10. The entire city turns to the streets for celebration at Korea's first provincial culture art festival, which awakens the artistic spirit of the Korean people. The festival falls around Gaecheonjeol (National Foundation Day) and is widely regarded as one of Korea's finest.
- Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival. held in October for approximately ten days. This nationally designated cultural tourism festival, found only in Jinju, features a spectacle of lanterns floating on the Nam River to commemorate the patriotic spirit of the 70,000 militia corps and government troops who died for their country defending Jinju from the Japanese forces during the Imjin War (1592–1598).
There are two movie theaters in Jinju. Lotte Cinema is located downtown. MBC Cinema is located on the east side of town.
Visit this site to check movie titles and show times. Select “Gyeongsang” Province. “CVG” is MBC and the other is Lotte Cinema.
If the movie is in English, it will have Korean subtitles. If the movie uses subtitles to communicate character dialogue from a different language, it will only be in Korean.
Gyeongsang National University (GNU, Gyeonsang Daehak-gyo, 경상대학교) is located in the southern part of Jinju. They offer Korean-language classes each semester. For information, contact email@example.com .
- Taekwondo, Korea's most popular martial art.
- There are a variety of gyms in Jinju.
- If you look around your neighborhood, you might be able to see PT signs. That stands for "personal trainer.” There are a few by Gyeongsang National University (GNU, Gyeonsang Daehak-gyo, 경상대학교). There’s a boxing gym in I-hyeon-dong (I-hyeon neighborhood), on the ground floor of the sports stadium.
- Bellydancing. Location: The class occurs near the GNU Hospital, near 경상대학교 평생교육원. The beginner’s class is Wednesdays, 7-10pm. The intermediate class is Wednesdays, 10am-12pm. Bellydance =벨리 댄스 in Korean. Beginner =초금 in Korean. Intermediate = 중급 in Korean.
- Rock climbing gym. It's a bouldering gym, there is no top-roping. The gym is in the community center, downtown. Directions: "Stand in front of Lotte Cinema. Get across the road, and walk to the left towards Angels and Us. Turn right into that road, walk past the first little street and the next building on your right is the community center."
- Yoga. There are a few different yoga studios in Jinju. There’s a yoga place across the road from Gyeongsang University, Gajwadong. There’s also a yoga place called “Bobby Hot Yoga” across the road from McDonalds in Pyeonggeo-dong.
- Marathons. There are several marathons throughout the year in Jinju.
There is a great demand for ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction in South Korea. See the main South Korea article for details.
Jinju is a university city with potentially many options for ESL work.
Souvenirs for the Tourist
There´s an excellent silk outlet across the street from the fortress(촉석루) towards the main bridge. The prices are good and the quality and selection are excellent. If you want to experience a local traditional flea market, you could swing by Joong-ang central market ("Joong-Ahng-Shee-Jhang = 중앙시장". Come and get a glimpse into the daily lives of the people of Jinju at this market with over a 100 year history. At Joongang market shoppers can browse through the medicine and hanbok (traditional Korean dress) street, restaurant street, and street vendor street. The central underground shopping mall, south of Jinju central intersection, offers an array of medicinal products, accessories, cosmetics, clothing and living products. Also, there are many little shops (가게, 상점) throughout the city where you can buy goods.
Living in Jinju
Jinju now has three major department stores - E-Mart, Galleria and Homeplus, where you can purchase foods stuffs, including some western type foods, clothing, footwear, electrical goods, bedding and household goods. Both, also include a food court, where you can sit and eat western style take-away foods or a large variety of traditional Korean foods. Emart and Galleria are both close to the center of the city; Emart is a little to the west, and Galleria is a little north. Homeplus is on the east side of the city. Food/groceries are on the basement level of these department stores.
There are several Hi-marts, LG stores, and Samsung stores throughout the city, for your electronic/appliance needs.
Grocery stores are found everywhere in Jinju, from small family operated grocery stores, to the upmarket chain convenience stores like GS25, FamilyMart (renamed "CU" in August 2012), 7-Eleven, etc. These grocery stores generally operate 24 hours for your convience. At these stores you can purchase items like, milk, soft drinks, beer, cigarettes, snack foods and general grocery items.
If you are planning to set up house in Jinju, there are furniture shops in Jinju that can provide most of your requirements, whether you are looking for new or second hand furniture and appliances.Linen and bedding stores are also available and there is also two outdoor markets in Jinju where you can purchase all of these things. Personal gardens are pretty much non-existent in Jinju, however, there are plenty of shops where you can buy indoor plants and pots and all the tools to satisfy your green thumb.
There are a number of book stores in Jinju; however most only stock Korean literature. The bookstore, on the basement floor of the MBC building in Hotan-Dong, does have some English language and reading books. It is almost impossible to find English newspapers in Jinju, the internet being the only way to keep up with overseas news and current events.
Jinju has its own version of bibimbap (비빔밥), which is rice topped with all sorts of goodies. The Jinju style, also known as kkotbap (flower rice) or chilbohwaban (seven-color flower rice), is distinguished by using raw meat! (Not to be confused with the rather more famous Jeonju bibimbap.)
Another local delicacy is broiled eel (장어구이 jangeo-gui), eaten bulgogi-style with a dab of gochujang paste and wrapped in a sesame leaf.
- Kwan Namgaek Sikdang (next to National Museum). Coffee, drinks and pretty decent bibimbap sets (₩5000). There's a bizarre collection of totem poles outside to stare at while you wait for your order.
- Yujeongjangeo (유정장어) (north bank just west of the bridge), ☎ 746-9235. Specializes in amazing grilled eel. No English sign but easily spotted (it's the ornate traditional house), English menu on the wall. ₩20,000 for a saltwater Anguilla eel and the works, ₩16,000 for freshwater Conger eel, each set is designed to serves two if you order rice on the side (an extra ₩1,000). They'll halve the eel you get if you go in alone, but don't expect a discount.
See South Korea#Drink for general guidance to nightlife in Korea.
Jinju has a few bars and clubs. Pyeonggeo-dong (평거동, west side of town) has quite a few bars and clubs. For example, Umbrella Bar is quite popular. Umbrella Bar is called 우산 in Korean. Address: 우산, 평거동, 진주시. +82 55-745-9305 There are also many bars and clubs near Gyeongsang National University (GNU, Gyeonsang Daehak-gyo, 경상대학교), on the south side of town. Some people say that the tap water is drinkable, but others would recommend drinking bottled water, which is widely available.
If you are adventurous and need a really cheap place to stay, try one of the jjimjilbang (co-ed sauna rooms) around the city. Jjimjilbang typically cost ₩8000 and up, for which you get a pair of pajamas to wear, full use of the sauna, a locker to put your possessions in, and a floor to sleep on. One such jimjilbang is Theme Spa Land (테마건강란드), which has a good sauna.
There are lots of gaudy love hotels/yeogwan along the riverfront on both sides of the bus terminal. Rooms from ₩25,000 and up. Among these, The Versace Motel (베르싸체 모텔) is recognisable for it's romanesque frontage, complete with pillars and small balconies. Located right next to Jinju Bridge in the city centre, rooms start at around ₩40,000, but are large, clean and offer the best views of the river - especially during the festivals.
- Asia Lakeside Hotel (아시아 강변호텔). A business style hotel with marvellous views over a reservoir — the downside is the location 20 minutes from the city center by taxi. Both ondol (온돌식) and Western-style (서양식) rooms from ₩120,000 and up..
- Dongbang Tourist Hotel (동방관광호텔), ☎ . East end of north bank. Jinju's premier city centre hotel, getting older but still in good shape. Spa/sauna complex and a number of rooftop restaurants and bars. English spoken. Ondol (Korean style rooms where you sleep on the floor)/Western rooms from ₩106,000 plus taxes..
Jinju is a very safe city. Pickpocketing is not very common and violent crime is minimal.
Internet cafes known as PC bang (PC 방) (pr: pee-shee-bang) are common, and usually cost anywhere from ₩800-₩2,000/hr. Most have printers at the front desk.
Post offices are sprinkled around Jinju, although many are hidden on smaller roads and alleys. Most post offices sell boxes and packing materials. They probably don't speak English, or if they do, they only speak a little bit.
If you want to buy an international phone card, you can look in convenience stores (also known as ‘variety stores’, such as 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, GS25, etc.). If the convenience stores don’t have any, then you can check the Asian Food stores. Option 1: There’s a Chinese shop next to the Intercity Bus Terminal that has international phone cards. Option 2: there’s a Pakistani shop near City Hall. It's just off the road that goes past City Hall, in the Homeplus direction, down an alley, on the right. They’re cheap and last for about 4 hours.
Pharmacies are everywhere. While most are labeled only in Korean, the signage and Hangul character is easy to recognize, 약 (pronounced “yak”). Most pharmacists speak some English.
Vaccinations/inoculations: the place to get vaccines is at the Public Health Center, on the second floor. The Public Health Center is located across the street from E-Mart, in Insadong (인사동). They do not speak English there.
- GyeongSang University Hospital (055) 750-8282
- Jinju Goryeo Hospital (055) 751-2525
- Jeil Hospital (055) 750-7119
- Bando Hospital (055) 749-0200
- Jinju Medical Clinic (055) 740-8281
- Hanil Hospital (055) 750-1333
- Emmaus Hospital (055) 749-9000. Pan-mun-dong neighborhood.
Dentists: There are several good dentists in Jinju. The Korean word for “dentist” is치과 (chi-gwa).
- Ye Dentist (예치과)., Jinju city, Sinandong 13-1 Ye Building, second floor (경상남도 진주시 신안동 13-1 예빌딩 2층), ☎ . The receptionists’ English is poor, but the actual dentist’s English is very good. He does a lot of cosmetic dental work, too. Copy-and-paste the Korean address into http://map.naver.com for a good map.
- Mir Dentist (진주미르치과병원)., Jinju city, Chilam-dong 510-8 (경상남도 진주시 칠암동 510-8), ☎ . Copy-and-paste the Korean address into http://map.naver.com for a good map.
Optician (Eye Doctors): there is an INOTI in Pyeonggo-dong (Pyeonggo neighborhood) which can help you with your glasses. The employees there speak enough English to get the job done.
Chiropractors. The nearest chiropractor is in Masan (마산), a one-hour-long bus ride away. Name: Taeg Su Choi, D.C. 최택수. Address: Woo sung B/D 4F, 84-30, Hapsung-dong, Masan City, GN, South Korea (경남 마산시 합성동 84-30 우성빌딩 4층). If you copy-and-paste the address into Naver Maps, you'll get a good map of the area, and you'll see that it's really close to the Masan Intercity Bus Terminal. Phone numbers: +82-55-292-8279 / 055-292-8279. Email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.chiro.or.kr. Hours: M, Tu, W, F = 9:30am–6:00pm. Th = 2:00pm–6:00pm. Lunch hour: 1:00-2:00pm. The chiropractor speaks English.
Thai Massage. In Pyeonggeo-dong (neighborhood on the west side of town), there's a Thai massage place. The ladies there don't speak English; it's called Thai Feeling 태국전통휠링센타. 010-6399-8882. If you know the Korean alphabet, you can sound out "sports massage", etc., on their list of offered massages. It's usually about W60,000 for an hour. Latitude and longitude: 35.171592, 128.063206. If you just copy-and-paste the latitude and longitude into GoogleMaps, it should pop up with the location. The massage place is on the same block as a 7-Eleven and a Paris Baguette. The massage place is on the second floor of the building. The outside of the building says "Chinese foot massage" and has pictures of people getting massages, but the inside of the building says "Thai feeling".
Some people with sensitive stomachs should use caution when dining in Korea as some of the local cuisine is heavily spiced with copious amounts of pepper and garlic.
International English Church (Jinju Sungnam Church, 성남교회) meets on Sundays at 1:30PM for English speakers, including both foreigners and Koreans. More information is available at http://internationalenglishchurch.com/IEC/Welcome.html. They host an American-style Thanksgiving dinner for the Jinju community every November.
Jinju Church (진주교회) is international and non-denominational. Join us on Sunday at 11.00am for lively worship followed by lunch. There is also Bible study after lunch for all who want to stay. More information is available at http://www.jinjuchurch.or.kr/
Air quality is fine. Jinju is a smaller city, so the air is clean. However, some Koreans sometimes wear different types of masks outdoors for allergies, smog and yellow dust storms (mostly in March–April). Mongolian yellow dust storms were regarded as dangerous long before industrialization began in Asia. Now these storms pick up trace amounts of toxins in the Chinese industry belt.
Haircuts. If you go to Emart in Insadong, there's a hair shop in the Emart. Inside this shop, there is a person (James, or "제임스" in Korean) who speaks English. Address: Jinju Emart, 3 Insadong, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do (in Korean: 진주이마트점. 경남 진주시 인사동 3번지 [이마트 진주점 1층]. Telephone: 055-747-8322. James doesn't work on Thursdays. Open between 10am and 10pm.
Mostly, Koreans are very curious about foreigners. Many will gawk and stare while others will practice their English. For the most part, Koreans are very friendly on the street and will take great pains to be helpful, despite the above attitudes. If working in Korea, one should do a little reading on Confucianism and how it translates into social standing.