might not be Korea’s most visited destination, but it still has plenty to offer those who are fortunate enough to explore its streets. From 1000 year old Buddhist sites and traditional markets to vast green spaces and contemporary cafes, we explore some of the city’s must visit attractions.
Nestled in the foothills of Palgong Mountain, Donghwasa is a temple complex that dates back to the 5th century. Established by King Yongjo of the Goryeo dynasty, the temple’s main hall, Daeungjeon, boasts distinctive architectural details aimed at harmonizing the building with its surroundings. Colorful wall paintings and contemplative Buddhas adorn the structure’s interior.
Yet the most distinct artifact of the complex is the monumental Unification Medicine Buddha statue that towers 17 meters above the temple grounds. Donghwa Temple’s architectural aesthetics, combined with its stunning natural surroundings, make it one of the most beautiful Buddhist sites in all of Daegu.
For a truly unique experience, consider participating in Donghwasa’s Templestay program, an overnight experience that offers a unique look into monastic life.
35 Dohak-dong, Dong-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82 53 982 0101
Deep in the valley below Daegu’s famed Ap Mountain lie the numerous attractions of Apsan Park. It’s the largest green space in the city, and offers a number of activities to entertain visitors of all ages.
There are romantic gardens that are beautiful in the spring, a fascinating Korean War Museum and Buddhist temples that will help you find your Zen. Take the cable car to the top of the mountain to experience breathtaking views of the entire city and beyond, or hike the jagged rock formations for an unforgettable adventure.
574-87, Apsansunhwan-ro, Nam-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82-53-625-0967
As the oldest oriental medicine market in Korea, Yangnyeongsi Market is one of the best places to soak up Daegu’s rich medicinal culture. Established in 1658, the market is one of the few of its kind that still stands today, and almost half of Korea’s trade of medicinal herbs happens here.
From snakes and turtle shells to ginseng and tree bark, the market offers countless herbal remedies for an equally incalculable number of ailments. Browse the shops and let your senses be tantalized, then top off your experience with an herbal foot bath at the nearby Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine.
49 (Namseong-ro), 415-gil, Dalgubeol daero, Junggo, Daegu, South Korea, +82 53-253-4729 ext. 3359
Seomun is one of Korea’s last remaining markets from the Joseon Dynasty, yet it remains one of Daegu’s best markets to shop for local produce and gorge on the city’s culinary specialties.
From hearty Korean dishes to unique street snacks, there’s something for every palate, but its most sought after specialties are kalguksu (knife-cut noodle soup) and nabjak mandu (flat dumplings). The former is a savory noodle soup made with an anchovy and vegetable broth, while the latter are made with a chewy dough casing and a minimal amount of vegetable or meat filling. Servings at Seomun Market are generous and prices are affordable, so make sure you go hungry!
45, Keunjang-ro 26-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82-53-256-6341
To experience the more traditional side of Daegu, head to Otgol Village, a small community just outside Daegu. The tranquil village is made up of a cluster of some 20 hanok (traditional Korean homes) that have been owned by the Gyeongju Choi clan for nearly 400 years. Although most are not original and those that are have been restored over time, they are interesting in that their squared structure differs greatly from the architecture of other clan head houses. For this reason, they are considered a valuable reference for historians.
Aside from the historical significance of the village, its natural landscape is something to behold. Its 350 year old locust tree, for example, is believed to keep out demons, while apricot flowers, cherry blossoms and forsythia bring Otgol to life in the spring.
195-5, Otgol-ro, Dong-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82-53-662-2173, 2171
Daegu Duryu Park
Daegu Duryu Park
Daegu Duryu Park is a favorite relaxation spot for many Daegulites, thanks to its abundant plant life and wide open spaces. In addition to its various leisure and cultural facilities, Duryu Park is also home to Daegu Tower, the tallest observation tower in Korea, and a great place to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
The park is most beautiful during the Dalgubeol Lantern Festival, held during Buddha’s Birthday celebrations, when thousands of illuminated lanterns are set afloat above the park grounds. It’s also the venue for the annual Daegu International Bodypainting Festival (DIBF), one of the more unique events held in the city.
200-1 Seongdang-dong, Dalseo-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82-53-1330
Not long ago, it wasn’t easy to get a good cup of coffee in Daegu. In recent years, however, coffee culture has taken off. Today, the city has the greatest number of coffee shops per capita in the entire country and hosts the Daegu International Coffee Fair every autumn.
Coffee is so popular, in fact, that there’s an entire street dedicated to the beverage. Lined with Daegu’s top independent cafes, run by owners who take their beans very seriously, the trendy street boasts a unique atmosphere and is permeated with the aroma of roasting coffee.
75, Dongseong-ro 6-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82-2-1330