I’ve actually visited the city of Daegu twice since I’ve arrived. Once during my orientation days, and the second time quite recently with my boyfriend~ To avoid boring readers I decided to discuss both trips separately!
My first time in Daegu City was…a bit hectic. It was my first time traveling in Korea, so I was little intimidated. I had three of my friends along for the ride, and only one of the three had experience traveling in Korea. We were looking forward to having some time away from the foreigner bubble, but weren’t looking forward to being lost and clueless.
We took the public bus from the university to the outskirts of the city, and attempted to find the subway. We somehow managed to miss the fact it was located around the corner from the bus stop, but we discovered it eventually. We took the subway to Banwoldang Station and transferred to the green line since we wanted to visit Seonmun Market first. We walked to the market and picked up a much needed tourist map, and decided to come back in a few hours. Seonmun Market is a famous night market; it’s not famous for 10am early birds.
We walked to the shopping area, around Dong-A Department Store, because we had no idea just how long of a walk that would be. However, I was once told by a friend that the best way to explore a city is to get lost. I advise doing this on the grounds you have a navigation app and a map at hand. Also, try not to get lost at night. South Korea is a very safe place, but travel smart!
Around Dong-A Department Store there are many restaurants, and the main shopping plaza isn’t too far away. We stopped at a place and ate a very satisfying meal that included a wide array of vegetables and soups. Since it was August when we visited, we were hoping for something small and cool.
After lunch, we pulled out both our physical map, and Naver Maps app, to find our way to the…cheaper shopping plaza. This area includes Spao, UNIQLO, Daiso, all of the beauty stores, etc. I distinctly recall being so overwhelmed by the massive amount of people in this one area. I couldn’t move my elbows without knocking into someone! I also noticed how much music was playing. Almost every store had their own playlist, and each one was blasting it, both inside and out. Talk about sensory overload!
I had heard during orientation that South Korea was home to the best delivery system on the planet. So many franchises deliver, even if those franchises aren’t Korean companies. I didn’t take it seriously until I saw this line of McDonald’s delivery scooters. Side note: Krispy Kreme also delivers.
We weren’t feeling McDonald’s at the moment, but we were in desperate need of a place to cool down. Have I mentioned yet how hot Daegu is? Picture a volcano, now jump into that volcano and you have the temperature of Daegu in August. Just like back home in America, Starbucks is on every corner. One thing, however, that Starbucks doesn’t have is bingsu. South Korea has so many cafes, you can’t walk two feet without bumping into a sign for one. We chose the chain Holly’s Coffee, as one of my friends had mentioned how good their bingsu is. She was completely right.
Bingsu is a mound of soft, shaven ice, topped with ice cream and usually bits of whatever flavor you get. Strawberry comes with strawberry slices; mango has mango cubes scattered, and mint choco(pictured above) has shaven(grated?) chocolate pieces! Also included is a small amount of heavy cream that you drizzle about before enjoying your flavored ice, and the size is big enough for two to three people, depending on your appetite.
-Korean language tip- When ordering in a Korean place, or shopping, you don’t necessarily need to understand a lot of Korean. It’s helpful to have this one phrase, so you don’t wind up a deer in the headlights(me, daily though): “ee-go joo-say-oh” Now, that’s not romanized, but more of a “sounded out”ization. Hangeul would look like this: 이것 주세요. And romanized: igeot juseyo. Of course, there are tons of ways to romanize something, but hopefully this is all you will need. Point to what you want, and use that phrase! People really, truly appreciate when travelers use the local language. It shows you care. And don’t worry, Koreans are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You won’t be run out town for pronouncing poorly, and most people will try and use a little English if you’re having trouble with Korean 🙂 I’m still a low-level learner, and people are VERY understanding and patient with me.
Okay back to Daegu! My friends and I, properly chilled thanks to bingsu, made our way to Seonmun Market before going back to the university. Along the way we discovered a very cool cathedral. This place is huge, and overlooks a large portion of the city. I believe the picture below is the back. Past it were some memorials for the independence movement, and Seonmun Market is close to it.
When we arrived at Seonmun Market, the giant shopping center was finally open, and bustling with people, and where the food carts weren’t yet selling, the food “district” was. I was able to fill my craving for something red bean!
These are different from the popular red bean street snack, but it more than satisfied my craving. Bonus, it was super hecking cheap like most street food. The shopping center is huge, with each floor having a specialized theme. The tourist center near the main entrance to the Market has a map that includes information on each floor and street. The entire Market can be navigated in an hour or a little more depending on how serious of a shopper you are, but for us we just wanted to look and experience it.
After the market we were far too tired to figure out the bus home, and just hailed a taxi instead. The fare was a hefty one, but between four passengers we didn’t care all that much. We just wanted to shower and sleep!
That concludes part one of my Daegu experience. For part two, I will be sharing my weekend trip with my boyfriend. With two days to explore, we branched out and did quite a bit more than my first trip. Look forward to that 😀
If you have any question, comments, or notice any errors(Korean language, city markers, or heck even grammar) feel free to review.