MY TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN DAEGU SOUTH KOREA
One of our three sons has been living in Daegu South Korea for the past seven years. He is married and he and his lovely Korean wife have a little boy – our beautiful grandson – and we have been fortunate to be able to visit them on many occasions. If you are interested in knowing more about Korean weddings then you might also like to read about my experience of wearing the traditional wedding Hanbok – the national dress of South Korea – at my son’s traditional Korean wedding ceremony.
As a frequent western visitor to Daegu, I feel I have now acquired a real appreciation of the best things to do in Daegu South Korea, as well as a developed local knowledge of the wonderful places to visit and attractions to see in this amazing and culture-rich metropolitan city.
Daegu is South Korea’s 4th largest city. It has a population of almost 2.4 million people. Daegu is situated in North Gyeongsang Province and located less than two hours south of Seoul by KTX fast train.
If you weren’t familiar with the name of the city of Daegu before 2020 then perhaps you will have heard of it since as it has been the main battleground in Korea against the Covid-19 outbreak.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT DAEGU SOUTH KOREA?
South Korea has a temperate climate with very cold winters and incredibly hot summers. Because Daegu is situated geographically in a land basin, surrounded by beautiful mountains, it has the reputation of having the lowest rainfall in the country during its summer monsoon but also of being the hottest Korean city in the summertime.
The spring and autumn are transitional seasons in Daegu with the most comfortable temperatures.
We have visited Daegu in all seasons and found mid-summer in August to be intensely hot and uncomfortable especially in the city. Visiting in mid-winter during February is bitingly cold, although I’m told, that snow is rare.
The best time to visit Daegu is either in September/October while the temperatures are pleasant and rainfall is low. This is also when the leaves on the trees are changing colour in the forests.
Alternatively, the warm and pleasantly sunny springtime during April/May is a very popular but lovely time to visit, when it’s also the now-famous cherry blossom season.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF DAEGU SOUTH KOREA
Interestingly, we have noticed that the people living this far south of Seoul are far more conservative than in the cosmopolitan capital city. Therefore, we have found Daegu to be a city of contrasts.
Daegu has old style markets, a guarded culture, and old-world traditions.
Yet, it also has bright lights and high-rises, the fastest internet speeds in the world, advanced technologies and futuristic 4D IMAX cinema entertainment complexes.
There is a large western ex-pat community in Daegu as there is a large US military base there. There are also a large number of English teachers (our son is one of them) working at Daegu’s English language schools and universities.
Keimyung University is a world-class private university in Daegu attracting a great many young people into the city that perhaps challenge those old-world traditions I mentioned and provide the city’s youthful commercial vibe and coffee shop culture.
My husband and I (who are middle-aged) think that the reason we get so blatantly stared at on the streets and while using the subway by the older residents of Daegu, must simply be because middle-aged western ‘tourists’ like ourselves rarely come to Daegu. But don’t let this put you off as Daegu has so much to offer the visitor!
HOW TO TRAVEL TO DAEGU SOUTH KOREA
However, if you are serious about visiting South Korea, then I highly recommend you take the time to leave Seoul and head down south to Busan on the Dongbu (Seoul to Busan line) KTX train while of course planning to take at least a couple of days out en-route to explore Daegu.
For further information on Busan see my post on Busan’s Gamcheon Culture Village UNESCO site.
The Dongbu KTX runs every twenty minutes from Seoul early morning to late evening and takes approximately one hour and forty minutes to reach Daegu.
MY TOP TEN LIST OF THINGS TO DO IN DAEGU
1) Visit Apsan Park. The sprawling area of Apsan Park is located where three mountain ranges converge. This large urban eco-park is very popular with citizens of Daegu. At the base of the mountains there are leisure pursuits on offer such as horse riding and archery and water sports or swimming in the lake. On the mountain paths there are many hikes for all ages and abilities.
For those who prefer an effortless assent (600m) up Apsan Mountain or want to escape the heat of a scorching summer sun, there is a cable car/gondola cab to take you up to the observatory platform at the top, where you can appreciate the incredible panoramic views of the city.
2) Ride the Palgongsan Mountain Cable Car. Daegu’s second mountain also has a cable car ride that takes you gliding over the rising forest canopy up to a platform at the top of Palgongsan Mountain, which is a popular visitor attraction for the views as well as a famous prayer spot with a ritual altar and a Buddhist statue.
Palgongsan Mountain cable car is especially good to do if you are visiting in autumn when the leaves on the trees in the forest are changing colour. It’s also popular in the winter. The air is clear. Views are stunning. There is a café at the top.
3) Visit the Nakdong River Victory Memorial Hall. This war museum is interesting and informative. It preserves the memory of those who fell in the Korean War and as a visitor it certainly makes you appreciate why South Korea still maintains its defensive military conscription today. That said, South Korea these days is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, as people are polite and respectful and crime levels are low.
4) Eat and drink and explore Downtown Daegu. Visit the modern city centre but also explore the traditional markets. Eat Korean street food or at a Korean BBQ restaurant. Eat kimchi. Drink Soju (carefully – as it’s strong!)
5) Experience 4D cinema at the CGV. This was my first ever 4D cinema experience and it was in Daegu and it was fantastic. You’ll never want to do a normal cinema viewing ever again!
6) Have fun at E-World Amusement Park. This is a European-style theme park offering a fun day out with rides to suit all ages and levels of bravery. There are winding pathways with lots to see and plenty of places to stop and take photos. The theme park is easy to find as it’s in the same area as Daegu Tower and Duryu Park. It’s well worth a visit. There are water features and flower gardens as well as plenty of rides and restaurants and snack bars.
Daegu’s E-World comes highly recommended especially if you have small children.
We had such a wonderful and fun time with our grandson at E-World!
7) Wander around Duryu Park. It’s right next door to E-World and is home to Daegu Tower (the tallest observation tower in Korea). In springtime, in this 40-acre park, you will see lots of beautiful young Korean couples having romantic photos taken under the cherry blossom trees. It’s a great place to wander and to relax but the park also offers many activities. Don’t forget to take a photo at the Colourful Daegu sign!
8) In Downtown Daegu visit the famous GoGo bar. Friendly and popular with ex-pats. Drink a delicious cocktail straight from a bag!
9) Go shopping in Downtown Daegu. South Koreans are very well groomed and stylishly dressed and they love shopping. They also love coffee shops, karaoke bars, and K-Pop! Gangnam Style anyone?
10) Stock up on skincare products. K-Beauty products are world-renowned. Koreans take skincare very seriously. I always stock up on moisturising facemasks before I leave South Korea as they really are the best. I like to keep my moisturising K-Beauty paper face masks in the fridge and use them weekly to try and keep any wrinkles at bay!
Have you ever visited South Korea?
If not, is it on your travel wish list?
If you’d like to ask me anything about travelling in South Korea and about Daegu in particular then leave me a message in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to help.