When one thinks of South Korea, cheese is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. In Imsil, however, cheese making not only is a way of life, but has become a tourist attraction as well. Cheese was introduced to South Korea in 1959 by a Belgian missionary, who came to Jeollabuk-do to help people surviving the Korean War. The Imsil Cheese Village (tel. 063/643-3700) was founded much later, in 2005. Originally called Zelkova Village (after the trees that line the entry to the village), its name was changed by the village assembly. They offer 1- to 2-day programs, including the regular cheese experience. This program, which starts at 10:10am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm, lasts about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Costing W16,000 per person, it includes a ride on the cultivator, hands-on cheese making, and a lunch of pork cutlet with cheese. You can add on other optional programs (like harvesting vegetables, feeding calves, grass sledding, or making soap from goat's milk) for W3,000 to W4,000 more per person.
If you're not into cheese or want to also enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery the countryside has to offer, head to Okjeongho (Okjeong Lake, aka Unam Lake; tel. 063/640-2641). This is a gorgeous body of water created by a dam on the Seomjin River. It's best viewed via a 2-hour drive around the water or from the top of Guksa Summit.
From Jeonju Bus Terminal (tel. 063/281-2739), buses run every 10 minutes, from 6:05am to 10pm. The 30- to 40-minute ride costs W3,000. From Seoul, take a bus to Imsil from the Nambu Bus Terminal (Seoul subway station line 3, exit 5). The 4-hour ride will cost about W12,000.
Imsil has a Korail Train Station off the Jeolla Line.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.