Gwangju [dead link] (광주, 廣州) is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea about 10 miles southeast of eastern Seoul. It is not to be confused with the Gwangju in South Jeolla province, with which it shares the same pronunciation but different Chinese characters. Gwangju in Gyeonggi is a smaller, more rural town that can arguably be included in the Seoul metropolitan area. Small businesses, factories, farms, and the rugged terrain are part of the city's identity. But because of the manufacturing industry, there is also a notable foreigner presence in Gwangju that has given a slight international feel to the community.
Gwangju's history has been tied to that of Seoul's. Close to historic Icheon, the city was an important part of ceramic production in Korean history and many royal artifacts can be traced back to Gwangju. In a more modern sense, Seongnam has been a part of Gwangju for a long time, but now Seongnam is separated after the riot of the poor residents in 1971. Gwangju is very well connected to the rest of the Gyeonggi province and a stop over may be worth your time to explore some history and experience some nature.
While a subway line is being constructed, the only current way to easily get to and from Gwangju is bus. From Incheon International Airport there is an Airport Limousine that makes multiple trips day. Just make sure you are going to the Gwangju in the Gyeonggi province and not the South Jeolla province Gwangju.
From the Jamsil area of Seoul, the red 500-1 bus goes directly to Gwangju. From the Gangnam district, take the red 500-2. These two buses don't go through the city center until late at night, however.
From Gangbyeon station, take the red 1113-1. This bus DOES go through the city center multiple times a day.
There are dozens of local buses that run around Gwangju all day and taxis are also a very inexpensive option. The city is very pedestrian friendly and sidewalks abound!
- Akira House. A good Japanese restaurant.
There is a Wa-Bar that is popular with ex-pats