It is absolutely possible to travel to faraway parts of Korea without having to worry about how to get there and back and what to do in between. For those feeling adventurous, you should check out the one-day tours that take you out of Daegu and bring you back the same night.
It helps to have a Korean friend help you out unless your Korean is good enough to traverse through the maze of information these tour-booking sites have. You can easily find the sites, just search 대구 여행사 and you will see a plethora of websites that have their tour plans and prices right on the main page. We personally went with 진짜 재미있는 여행 (Really Fun Trips) at http://tour053.com, and found their services to be great. Their tour guide was a local university student. He tried translating some things for me and was really fun to travel with.
My friend Eunyoung and I wanted to catch the early spring season so we headed 3 hours south to Jeollado in late March. The bus picked us up at 6 o’clock in the morning in front of Hyundai Department store. They also picked people up from Beomeo and from Yongsan Station on the west side. We had a tight schedule, a long day but worth every single minute.
The first stop was the Baeun-dong Garden, a vacation home built by a scholar during the middle of the Joseon Dynasty. Various scholars and poets wrote poetry and other writings there, a hidden gem that provided natural harmony and seclusion.
Gangjin Green Tea Fields & Lunch
강진 차밭과 점심
A short walk from the garden, the woods open up to a valley of green tea fields that have the most picturesque mountain in the background. They had free makgolli and tofu for visitors, which was a nice pre-lunch snack before getting into the bus again. We headed into town for a traditional bulgogi lunch that was quite delicious.
After lunch, we headed to the small island of Gau. Parking the bus on the mainland side, we crossed on foot through this neat little bridge that gave us a picturesque view of the small island. Eunyoung and I hiked to the top to see the spectacular vase-shaped zip-lining tower. Ceramics are famous in the region, hence the beautiful larger-than-life jade-colored vase that you can walk into and then zip-line for a minute all the way back to the mainland. The cost to zipline was 25,000won and seems worth it for the long ride and extraordinary view you get on the way back to the mainland.
Our trip finally concluded with a visit to NammireukSa, a Buddhist temple that had various Buddha, elephant and monk statues. It was quite unique and different than most of the temples I’ve seen in Korea. The area was vast and included a lake with a variety of Buddhist architecture surrounding the area.
We arrived home at 8:30, a long fun-filled day that wasn’t even exhausting simply because the early start let us sleep to Jeollado and back to Daegu. These one-day tours are well worth it. The city of Gangjin offered a 50% discount on the tour, simply to promote itself and get more visitors. The trip was a mere 23,000 won. I highly recommend it as a way to get out of town and immerse yourself in a fully Korean tour with local Daegu people and with places you may never find on your own.
Written and photographed by Alex A-che