Adventures of 나쁜남자 and Kancheong Girl

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daegu - Path Less Travelled

Daegu is the 4th largest city in Korea, just 1 hour away from Busan. You will notice a high number of foreigners residing here due to the proximity to the US base. Daegu, like other parts of Korea, has an interesting mix of developed areas and traditional streets. It is my first time to Daegu and I had very low expectation of what the city can bring. But wow.. the city has surpassed my expectation.

I went to Daegu mainly because my bf is working and living there now.

It is a great stopover for people travelling to Busan, you can base yourself in Daegu and make a day trip to Gyeongju.

How to get to Daegu from Incheon Airport
From Incheon airport, you can either take the airport bus or KTX to reach Dong Daegu (city area of Daegu). KTX will cost KRW55,800 one way whereas airport bus costs KRW35,800.

I chose to go by bus as it is more convenient (don't need to navigate the KTX station, bus stop is just outside the arrival area and you have someone to help you load your bags). Moreover, buses are more frequent (almost every 30 min). The only downside is that bus takes about an hour longer and is subject to traffic condition.

You can buy your ticket at the airport limousine bus counter. The boarding point is at 10C (exit from the airport and cross the road). You will be assigned a seat as well. The bus will indicate the departure timing on the front so that you know you are boarding the right bus.

The seats are really comfortable, allowing you to recline and have a good nap.

The journey takes 4 hours (not all buses take the direct route so do check with the receptionist when you purchase your ticket) and midway, it will stop by a rest stop for 15 min. It is really too short for any proper meals so make do with street snacks. The rest stops that they stop by are usually the bigger ones, the toilets are clean and there are more food selection.

When you see this iconic bridge, you are about to enter into Daegu city.

What to do in Daegu
There are tons of things to do in Daegu, especially if you are an avid hiker. Otherwise, fret not, there are cable cars that will bring you up. Before starting my list of places, would like to warn that although T-money can be used in Daegu, recharging it is not so convenient. You can't recharge via the machines or the service counter, you will have to do so at convenience stores. So, make sure you recharge your T-money in Seoul or Busan.

1. The first place I am recommending is Palgongsan natural park. The cable car ride costs KRW9,000 per person, 2 way. It is pretty high up, the wind was strong and we were quite worried as the cable car was swaying.

This is the view from the top. There is a restaurant up here. A pity that we couldn't spend much time outside as we were under-dressed and shivering. Definitely a good place to visit if you are a hiker.

2. There are lots of towers in every country (those that I have been to are CN tower, Namsan tower, KL tower, Eiffel tower, Pisa tower, Macau tower, Tokyo tower... I think you get me) and some are really exciting (with glass floor, bungy jump etc) so I thought 83 tower will be just another average tower.

Before I raise your expectation up by too much, it is indeed just another tower but we actually had our photos taken free of charge (supposed to be included in the package but this could be a promo so do ask before you have yours taken, anyway, they are ok for you to take with your own devices) at the bridge extending out of the tower.

This is the view from the tower, will recommend to come at around evening time to see the sunset. There is a cafe up here for you to chill.

Not to mention that this tower is located just above the E World theme park (nice place for cherry blossom).

3. You must definitely try out the Geundae Golmok Tour in Daegu which shows you a glimpse of the old Daegu (interesting as there are still people living and doing business here, the old way). This is not an organised tour, just a walking tour and you will be guided by tons of signs and brochures. There are a few courses to follow.

We ended up in a traditional tea house which preserved the old furnitures, menu and setting of a traditional tea house.

The recommended tea from the menu below is the third from the top known as 상화차 (pronounced as Sang Hwa Cha). It is supposed to be some kind of traditional herbal tea (for treatment of flu) where they will add an egg yolk in. Unfortunately, mine didn't come with the egg yolk as Korea was facing bird flu issue and there was egg shortage.

This traditional snack came free of charge.

This is Sang Hwa Cha, couldn't really figure out what is inside, lots of nuts and it tasted healthy (LOL). For those less adventurous, you can order 강황꿀차 (Gang Hwang Kkul Cha, honey tea, refer to second picture below).

My bf finds it nostalgic but for those not familiar with Korea's history, just treat it as a historical/cultural tour. It is actually quite interesting as some buildings are open for tourists to visit.

This is the first catholic cathedral in Daegu, it is currently still used for service and is very well maintained.

Schools set up by missionaries, you can enter into the buildings free of charge.

What to eat in Daegu

1. Bread. Yes, Daegu is famous for a few traditional bakeries. One of them is called Samsong Bbang Jib. The bread are sold at a reasonable price (around KRW1,000 to 2,000) and they were amazingly good (especially the croquette). The famous ones are the vegetable croquette, cream cheese bread and corn bread (best seller).

Cream cheese bread with red bean
Vegetable croquette
The next bakery is Geundae Golmok Danpat Bbang Jib which is located near Samsong Bbang Jib. This one has a cafe upstairs and they serve really good coffee (costs around KRW3,000 to KRW4,000) with coffee beans imported from Hawaii. The popular bread from this bakery is the fresh cream bread which comes in different flavours (I prefer the bread from Samsong bakery though the coffee here is really nice).

The sitting area on top provides a nice street view as well. This is the highly raved fresh cream bread (green tea flavour) with red bean inside.

Both bakeries are located near the Geundae Golmok tour area. The one marked at the right top is Samsong bakery, the one below on the right is Geundae bakery and the point on the left is the catholic cathedral I was referring to before. Just take exit 14 from Ban Wol Dang station (near Hyundae department store). There is a huge underground shopping area here which you can check out as well.

From Naver map
2. Another popular delicacy here is chicken liver, known as Dak Ddong Jib. You can find this chain (Daegu Tongdak) at various places. They come in 2 flavours, either original or marinated or half half. We prefer the marinated ones. This is kind of chewy and I think it goes well with beer. Don't expect to fill your stomach with just this.

3. This Bulgogi shop here can be found at Chilseong market. It was introduced on SBS Baek Jong Won's show and the best part is that one portion only costs KRW6,000 with rice (separately ordered). The meat is grilled over charcoal stove and this is definitely one of the recommended eats. Just order Dwaeji Bulgogi. The only downside of this place is that it is too crowded and definitely not the cleanest restaurant.

Exit from Chilseong market subway exit 2.

From Naver map
4. Another highly recommended cafe is Cafe Myung Ga. They have several branches as well. This cafe is probably the best cafe I have ever been to. The barista are really professional and they have the best strawberry cake in this world. I always have a habit of ordering green tea latte and I can say that they really do serve good quality green tea latte. They were actually whisking the green tea powder the Japanese way. We were awed by their precision (with weighing scale and all, not kidding) in preparing my bf's Yuja tea. Of course, the Yuja tea turned out to be really flavourful.

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