While visiting Gwangju, if you need a break from all the historical museum and hard to hear historic stories, get to the Penguin Village ! This mural village is rich in various artistic displays and will give you time to breathe. Also, no matter where you go in Korea in most touristic or big city you can always find a mural village. So if you are enjoying mural village please do not hesitate to ask in any information center for the closest one to your location. The Penguin Village in Gwangju is small but really worth it, you can easily spend a good morning or beginning of the afternoon there.
HOW TO GET THERE
The village is located in between two subway station the Culture Complex and the Namgwangju on the only subway line in Gwangju. If you want to access it closer there is a bus stop all around you can use Naver Map (available in English) to find the fastest way to get there. You could also access it after your visit to the Sakjin Park.
Once you get there just follow the penguin shaped signs and go inside the narrow street that are located behind the Yangnim-dong Community Service.
THE VILLAGE HISTORY
This village from the 70’s to 80’s has been transformed in an outside exhibition area. The name of this village “Penguin” comes from the way elderly people with knee pain used to walk in those narrow streets. You get the image ? Looks like a penguin right ?
The villagers wanted to arrange the space as most of the houses around were abandoned. They started to hang and exhibit arts on the wall outside. One of them wrote down “Let’s be thankful that we lived in those days.” and it’s been the village’s motto ever since. Also most of the exhibition has been created using recyclable materials giving an old feels to the area.
WHAT NOT TO MISS
The must go places is in the middle of the village, the “Penguin Tavern” where all of the villagers are meeting up to talk about the future of the village and the next exhibition. In this room, you will also find a lot of the villagers art craft, and some of the residents treasures.
Outside of the tavern there is a small garden that you can also explore. Also do not hesitate to go around and check small alleys even if some are not decorated you can some nice pictures. Please remind yourself that there is people living there and that you should keep quiet while visiting.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
YANGNIM PENGUIN MAEUL COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION CAFE
This cafe is the place you should absolutely go. They have the most adorable manjoo (korean typical choux) filled with a nice cream in the penguin shape ! Also, by purchasing any drink or food there you help the village survive as they use the benefits to ameliorate and take care of the area.
ADDRESS : 89 Baekseo-ro, Nam-gu, Gwangju
This cafe is specialised in Hot Chocolate and one french pastry “Cannele”. We highly recommend you to go to the cafe rooftop to enjoy a nice view of the neighborhood.
This village is definitely a part you should not miss while visiting Gwangju. It’s one of the best spot to experience the locals slow lifestyle. During the weekend the village can be a little bit crowded but it’s still nice to enjoy. If you go during the weekdays it can look like a ghost city. Please let us know if you visit there and share with us your favorite artwork of the area !