Spring in Daegu is a beautiful month! If you are lucky enough to be here during this time, there are tons of outdoor things to do and see. Don’t know where to start? Then you have come to the right place! If spending a spring weekend in Daegu, you can hike Palgongsan mountain, explore downtown Daegu and take a swan boat around Susong Lake, just to name a few ideas. Here is my compiled list of how to spend your weekend in Daegu, during the spring, regardless of if you have cash to spend or not!
1. Palgongsan Mountain and the Gatbawi statue
Once you are over the shock of how long it takes to get to Palgongsan Mountain, it really is a beautiful place to explore. You can take a local bus from downtown Daegu all the way out here, and it will only cost you around 1,600 KRW (1 USD) You have a couple options when visiting Palgongsan from an easy walking hike, to an intense workout and everything in between. Many locals come here to enjoy the outdoors, get in some exercise and just relax in the quiet forest, for the day.
Many Koreans flock to Palgongsan during hard times because they climb the ‘stairs of death’ to pray to the Gatbawi statue. The famous Gatbawi statue is a statue of Buddha that is on a rocky cliff, very high above sea level. The name ‘Gatbawi’ comes from the fact that the Buddha has a flat rock or 'bawi’ on its head that looks like a Korean traditional hat, called a ‘gat’. Many historical gurus have said this Buddha statue is one of the most sophisticated statues of the 9th Century. Korean myth says that the statue grants wishes and has healing properties. Many parents and families will climb up here during their children’s exams to pray for their children’s success.
Now on to the stairs of death. Probably one of the most intense thigh workouts around, if you make it, (which tons of people do, so don’t worry) you can see the Gatbawi statue in all its glory. If you are not into climbing about 1,000 stairs - I understand! There are plenty of places to stop and rest and nature to take in, every step of the way. The best thing to do is to bring a picnic lunch and head up the mountain for a half-day trip. You can easily stay up there all day if you take your time walking up the stairs, and hanging out at the Gatbawi statue for a while. Keep in mind, if it is a windy day, it will be even windier on the top of the mountain, and it could be cold and unpleasant, so be sure to pack all the essentials: a windbreaker, small umbrella or poncho, water and a high protein snack. There is nowhere to buy most of these things on the top of the mountain, however there are a couple of handicraft stores, selling different homemade jewelry and other crafts.
The easiest way to get to Palgongsan: Leaving from metro station: Dong Daegu, take Bus 401 or Express Bus 1 and get off at the entrance of Donghwasa Temple (동화사입구 in Korean)
Palgongsan Mountain & Gatbawi statue
Website: Visit Korea
2. Downtown Daegu
Downtown Daegu is another beautiful place in the spring. Mostly because all of the flowers blooming, people out and about and outdoor cafes and restaurants opening their doors to bring in the enjoyable weather. Our favorite things to do downtown in the spring are hit the newly opened cafes, people watch, shop in the underground and enjoy the local park right in the center.
Don’t know how to get here? Simply take the metro to ‘Bawoldang’, Exit 13.
Just got downtown and need a coffee? Head to 30 mL Espresso, on the corner of ‘cafe street.’ It’s one of the best local coffee shops in the area, with Owl Pipe and Ryu coffee falling right behind. Both are a couple of doors down from 30 mL. You can sit here and enjoy their atmosphere, have a delicious homemade tiramisu (a personal favorite) and people watch. If you take your coffee to go, you can head a couple of blocks down to the underground shopping entrance, which is always having sales when the seasons change. Hello bargains! Tons of clothes, socks, accessories, shoes and makeup will be for sale here. Be sure to shop around-as these locals can get competitive with pricing.
After you are all shopped out why not head to the local park? In spring it will be blooming and a great place to relax and enjoy some of your afternoon. Here you can sometimes catch free local music, people singing karaoke or just people watching. Why not take advantage of the weather before it gets too hot?
3. Susong Lake
Susong Lake is one of the most underrated places to go for a day in the spring. This area is great for sightseeing and walking around grabbing some food. It is also very peaceful here and easily accessed by the metro so you are never too far from the downtown area. Simply take the yellow metro line to the stop ‘Susongmot’. In Korean this means 'Susong Lake’ and from the exit, follow the signs posted all along the way right to the lake. It is about a 10-minute walk from the metro to the lake if you walk casually.
The whole area around the lake can easily be walked in about 2 hours, or you could also spend a day here, wandering around, getting a coffee, brunch or BBQ and enjoying the view you can see in this photo! As you can see, there are swan boats, which for 20,000 KRW (16 USD), up to four people can get inside and take a boat ride around the lake, for an hour. What a relaxing afternoon!
The following content is contributed by Trip101 writer, Barry
Towering over the city, rising 83-stories high, Daegu’s E-World 83 Tower is where visitors looking for an unbeatable view head to. Its design is an architectural masterpiece that might seem understated but is actually known as a symbol of the city. From afar, the building is majestic, however, the best experience is gotten in the observation deck at the very top. From here, you’ll get a 360-degree view of Daegu. 83 Tower offers a lot more. There’s an ice rink for those who love skating as well as several cafes and restaurants. You’ll need a whole day to explore this fascinating destination.
Daegu E-World, 83 Tower Combo Ticket
Duration: 5 hours
Kim Kwang Seok Street
If you’re familiar with Korean culture then you’ve probably heard the name Kim Kwang-Seok. Well known as an influential singer, he lived his early life on this street before his family moved when he was only five years old. This eponymous street is, evidently, in honor of his life. A statue of the singer holding a guitar welcomes you on Kim Kwang-Seok and you’re most likely going to hear his music playing in more than one of the stores. This would be a great opportunity to learn all you can about Kim Kwang-Seok’s achievements. This quaint street is also lined with eateries so you need not hurry to leave. And if you need to do some shopping you can drop by Bangcheon Market which is adjacent to Kim Kwang Seok Street.
Kim Kwang Seok Street
Address: Daebong-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Website: Kim Kwang Seok Street
Opening hours: 24hrs (daily)
Apsan Observatory offers an elevated vantage point to admire the city, a view that is simply breathtaking. This spot is accessible via a cable car, a ride that’s only 15 minutes. However, if you’re looking for more of an adventure, consider hiking from Anjiranggol, a one-hour expedition that will take you past Anilsa Temple. Ultimately, you’ll arrive at the observatory where you’ll get an excellent view of Daegu’s contrasts - the steel and concrete city center and the lush green space beyond. At night, Apsan Observatory is beautifully lit with its elegance discernible from the city. Incidentally, there are night hikes offered if you’re weary of the daytime heat. This is a popular tourist spot and so you’re very likely to find large crowds gathered here. However, if you come on a weekday, there should be fewer people to jostle with.
Address: Apsansunhwan-ro, Daemyeong 9(gu)-dong, Nam-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Website: Apsan Observatory
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 10:30am - 6:30pm; Fri - Sun: 10:30am - 8:30pm
Daegu National Museum
Lovers of history are bound to be enthralled by the Daegu National Museum. Established in the early 90s, the museum has, since then, sought to preserve Korean cultural heritage. And it has succeeded; there are tens of thousands of exhibits that showcase Daegu’s past. You’ll find Prehistoric relics and exhibits from the bronze age, and you’ll also get to learn about the region’s ancient kingdoms. All these are divided amongst the three floors and several exhibition halls. Also, take some time to stroll outside the main building and explore the ancient dome houses and stone pagodas. The Daegu National Museum is found in the downtown area, easily accessible on foot from the city center.
Daegu National Museum
Address: 321 Cheongho-ro, Hwanggeum-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Website: Daegu National Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Sat: 9am - 9pm; Sun: 9am - 7pm (closed on Mon)
Donghwasa Buddhist Temple
Built in the 1700s, Donghwasa Temple is a testament to Daegu’s rich culture and deep history. The temple’s history goes farther back than the 1700s, as far as 493 AD when its original structures were constructed. Back then, it was known as Yugasa Temple. You’ll get to learn everything about this past when you visit and explore the present structures. As you’d expect from a Buddhist temple, the buildings are elegant with intricate designs on the facade. Each hall has a story to tell, each bearing an elegant appeal. Found about 20km (12 miles) from Daegu, the temple is far enough from the city’s bustles but not too far to make it difficult to access. Enjoy a day exploring the temple and hiking the surrounding trails.
Donghwasa Buddhist Temple
Address: 1, Donghwasa 1-gil, Dong-gu, Daegu
Website: Donghwasa Buddhist Temple
A bus or taxi ride to Dalseong will bring you to Songhae Park, a destination that’s expansive, lush, elegant, and a little bit quirky. Boasting captivating landscape, the park is a combination of a lake amidst stunning greenery, peppered with man-made features like a bridge and water wheel. An unforgettable spot, Songhae is a much-needed respite from the city center’s cacophony. You’ll get lost in the beauty of nature as you stroll along the trails that take you through different sections of the park. From walking alongside a mountain to a romantic stroll through the heart-shaped archway, you’ll be captivated by the serenity in this location. My words can’t possibly do justice to Songhae’s beauty so make a point to visit this spring.
Address: 969-44 Gise-ri, Okpo-myeon, Dalseong-gun, Daegu, South Korea
Opening hours: 24hrs (daily)
Dotted with lacquer trees and sitting at the foot of Palgong Mountain, Otgol Village is, surprisingly, not known for its proximity to nature. This centuries-old village is popular because it’s where tourists get to experience authentic Korean tradition and culture. Otgol is actually home of the Gyeongju Choi and the very first house was constructed around the year 1616. Of course, a lot of reconstruction has taken place over the years to protect the houses from the vagaries of time. Take time to explore the different buildings as each one has a different tale to narrate. One fascinating building, known locally as the Baekbulgotek, is the oldest one not just in the village but the entire city.
Address: East of Daegu, South Korea
Daegu Opera House
This building is worth a visit whether you love the arts or not. An architectural marvel, the opera house’s construction was completed in 2003 when its majestic six-story construction was revealed to the public. It can seat 1490 people in total and has, since its establishment, been a center of artistic excellence in South Korea. If you love live performances then this is the place to visit during your trip. Daegu Opera House is found in the Buk-gu area, a short distance from the city center.
Daegu Opera House
Address: South Korea, Daegu, Buk-gu, Hoam-ro, 15
Website: Daegu Opera House
Ask anyone in Daegu where to go shopping and the name Seomun Market is most likely to come up. This is actually the largest street market in Daegu and boasts over 4000 retailers. Its name signifies its location - the city’s western side - and it’s just a couple of meters from the city’s West Gate. This massive market is made up of not only open-air stalls but also hundreds of stores inside the street’s buildings. If you’re looking for fabrics then you’ll definitely find all you need here. However, you can also buy local crafts as well as dried seafood. The night market is a foodie’s paradise where Korean cuisines are aplenty.
Address: 45 Keunjang-ro 26-gil, Daesin-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Website: Seomun Market
Opening hours: 9am - 6:30pm (daily)
Biseulsan Azalea Festival (Spring)
A true mark of spring is the Biseulsan Azalea Festival held each year when the Azalea flowers are in full bloom. At this time the Biseulsan Mountain becomes draped in pink, transforming it to a stunning shade, ready to host the festival. The festivities are marked by musical performances, singing contests and, of course, lots of food. Among the treats served are flower rice pancakes washed down by flower teas. You’ll also get a chance to learn how to make Azalea soap from the experts. As you’d expect, the festival is always packed with crowds of people, however, the experience is worth it.
Biseulsan Azalea Festival
Takes place: April - May
Springtime really doesn’t get any better than in Daegu. After a long day of hiking beautiful Gatbawi, taking a boat around Susong lake and drinking in downtown Daegu, you are sure to be tired from an unforgettable experience!
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