When people visit Korea, Daejeon isn’t exactly the first place that they decide to visit. In fact, when I was going to Daejeon recently, a lot of people looked at me with baffled looks on their faces because they had no idea where that was or why I was going there to begin with. Of course, my goal was to find out what the place has to offer.
It turns out that Daejeon is the fifth largest metropolis in Korea. It is a leader in science and technology, and the place is absolutely breathtaking. Not only is Daejeon utterly gorgeous from any angle or aspect, but it will also provide the peace and quiet you might need away from your hectic life in Manila. I suggest you check it out, and here are some things I suggest you do when you go:
Buy some ginseng.
Is it weird that I put that first on the list? I honestly didn’t know much about the beneficial properties of ginseng before I got to Daejeon, and I was blown away by what I found out. It can help with acne, aging, cholesterol levels, stress… When I realized that almost everyone I was with stocked up on the stuff while we were there, I obviously did the same, and I have no regrets!
Get a makeover.
Want to replicate the looks of your favorite Korean idols, but having trouble finding anyone in Manila who can get it done flawlessly? Where better to get the ultimate Korean look than in Korea itself? There are many salons in Daejeon, and the prices are pretty much the same as the prices in Manila, so you don’t have to worry about overspending just because you’re in a different country.
Try some dotori-muk (acorn jelly soup).
I know. That name doesn’t sound appealing at all. However, I gotta tell you that that stuff is ADDICTING. I loved it so much! Apparently, it isn’t only delicious; it is also low in calories, so if you are on a diet, this is what you should feast on. I was also told that this acorn soup is only available in Daejeon and honestly, I would go back to Daejeon just to have this again.
Enjoy a relaxing foot spa for free.
Yuseong District is well-known for its hot springs, and they also have free foot spa areas, where you can relax before or after a long day. Don’t worry. If you don’t know how it works, there’s always Google. Or you can learn by observation. ;) This particular foot spa was right in front of the hotel we were staying at – talk about convenience!
Try your hand at pottery.
Channel your Demi Moore or Patrick Swayze vibes by learning how to do pottery at the Hanulkang Atelier. Even if you end up sucking at it (which I utterly and incredibly did), watching the pottery master at work will blow your mind! Plus, they have great coffee, and you can buy a pretty souvenir while you’re there.
Visit the Currency Museum of Korea.
Love museums? The Currency Museum of Korea is located in Daejeon, and if you love money (who doesn’t? :p), this is a nice place to visit.
I’d highly recommend this for families with kids as it is very informational and they’ll have fun checking out all of the cool coins.
Yes, those are Hello Kitty and Star Wars coins!
There are English translations and the staff speaks English well, so you won’t have any trouble getting around here. You can also buy a bookmark sized aluminum sheet, which you can turn into a cool bookmark. There is a good coffee shop right outside, where you can rest afterwards, as well.
Visit Ppuri Park.
If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, I’d highly recommend visiting Ppuri Park. There’s a wide field where your family can enjoy, as well as huts that you can relax in. There is a convenience store nearby, as well, plus a gorgeous bridge and pretty flowers to be seen on the way there.
Ppuri Park itself is also very interesting, though, but there sadly aren’t any English translations anywhere. The place is meant to educate and inform people about Korean ancestry, showcasing different stone sculptures, each with a Korean family name.
Each sculpture symbolizes a family name to make people aware of their pedigree and realize that they are the descendants of the Korean race.
Fall in love with the Hanbat Arboretum.
The last time I saw anything as beautiful as the Hanbat Arboretum was when I lived in Europe. You simply don’t get to enjoy seeing this may roses and plants in the Philippines, and it was a welcome change. Aside from the gorgeous flowers, many families come to the Hanbat Arboretum for the small activities on the side and to ride bikes and bond.
Visit the Daejeon Museum of Art.
If you’re a KDrama fanatic, you might recognize this place from Episode 1 of ‘She Was Pretty’. Being a KDrama spot aside, museum fans will love this place for its beauty, and the arts and culture that come with it.
Learn how to make Korean food.
We also learned how to make some delicious Korean food in Daejeon. Here’s a photo of me working on our kimchi.
And here’s Kuk Shine working on our bibimbap!
Try their local alcohol.
We learned that the soju they offer in different cities in Korea are actually different from one another and while I’m not a huge fan of the soju that we find in Manila, I LOVED the soju in Daejeon. I also loved their extra cold Hite (pronounced like height) beer, as well as their sweet rice wine. The best alcohol for me, though? Mixing soju with the beer to create what they call a Volcano. Daejeon is a haven for alcohol lovers like me!
Go shopping at Euneungjeongi Cultural Street.
Of course, shopping should always be on your list when you’re out of the country, and my favorite place to go in Daejeon is Euneungjeongi Cultural Street. This is a picture during the day; but at night, if you look up, you’ll fall in love with how this particular part of the place lights up.
Euneungjeongi Cultural Street kind of has the same vibe as Haji Lane in Singapore for me, except that it’s much more spacious. The coffee places are good. They have places where you can buy chocolate and candy (and those Korean flavored almonds everyone loves) for pasalubong at much lower prices. They also have great clothing shops to satisfy your love for Korean style.
Watch out for local events!
If you do end up going to Daejeon, make sure to check if they have any local events. There was actually a huge beer festival while we were there, but we sadly weren’t able to go because some people in our group weren’t prepared for it. :(
KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR SONG JOONG-KI.
And I’m not just saying that coz he’s getting divorced. Apparently, Song Joong-ki is from Daejeon and comes back often. A little bird told me he spends time at his brother’s cafe, Caffe Pascucci, and he oftentimes comes back for special celebrations with his family and friends!
Have you been to Daejeon before?