Andong

Andong (안동,安東) is a city in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.

Understand

Manhole cover showcasing the most iconic mask of Andong.

Andong is the self-proclaimed "Capital City of Korean Spiritual Culture", having maintained aspects of the traditional culture of Korea throughout the past 2,000 years. Over 280 cultural assets are scattered around the city. It takes 3 hours to get to Andong from Seoul, 2.5 hours from Busan or Daejeon, and 1 hour from Daegu by car.

Andong's international claim to fame comes from having been visited by Queen Elizabeth II of England. So the story goes, the Queen asked to be taken to the most Korean place in Korea. She got taken to Andong.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 6.1 8.1 14.1 21.0 26.2 27.5 31.1 27.8 26.2 20.3 13.4 2.9
Nightly lows (°C) -6.9 -3.8 1.2 6.9 11.2 17.1 20.9 20.0 15.6 7.7 1.9 -7.1
Precipitation (mm) 1.1 6.1 80.9 60.0 22.9 49.5 69.4 348.8 121.5 140.5 49.9 9.8

Korea Meteorological Administration

Get in

By train

There are regular direct services from Busan, Daegu and Gwangju. Passengers heading from Seoul can either take a KTX high-speed service to Daegu and transfer to the local train, or a muhgunghwa (semi-fast) train direct from Seoul's Cheongnyangni station. Andong's train station is located right in the city centre and most hotels can be reached within 5 minutes walk. The station has English-speaking staff, self-service ticket machines, a Global ATM and a tourist information centre.

By bus

Andong is quite easily accessible on the intercity bus network. Bear in mind that it's usually best to pre-book your ticket or at least try to confirm departure times online.

From East Seoul Terminal

Located out the front of Kangbyeon station (subway no.2-green line) The buses go every 10~15 minutes to Andong and it takes 2 hours, 40 minutes.

From Gangnam (Seoul) Express Terminal

Located in Gangnam Express Bus Terminal-station (subway no.3 and no.7-orange&olive green) It's easier to find the terminal by getting into the Sinsegye Department Store and going via the FENDI & GUCCI store (1F) because the way between those stores is connected by the terminal. The buses go every 40-60 minutes to Andong and the ride takes 2 hours, 50 minutes.

From Daejeon

Andong lies due east of Daejeon, thus across the grain of Korea's train network. As such, buses are about your only realistic transport option short of hiring a car. Departs from Dong-gu Express Bus Terminal, on the far east side of town down near HomePlus and Han-nam University. Buy your ticket at the Intercity Bus counter (on the right facing the counter, or left as you walk in). Cost is ₩14,100 one-way, and the bus is never full. Expect a rather long stopover at Gumi to get out, stretch your legs, and twiddle your thumbs aimlessly, after which the bus will depart again from another platform. The buses go about every hour and the full trip takes roughly 2 hours 10 minutes. Daejeon's bus timetable website is an indecipherable mess, so just show up with fingers crossed.

From Andong back to anywhere

Last bus leaves around 8:00 pm. To some cities, its around 6:00 pm. Be sure to confirm the times: Andong actually has a very good timetable website but unfortunately it's not web indexed. If aiming to be back by a certain time, consider that the listed times can and do vary wildly according to traffic, in particular Sunday evenings are a nightmare.

Get around

The downtown area of Andong is very small and you can walk across the city centre in under 10 minutes.

Taxis can be flagged off the street but it's not recommended as you may have a long wait. The best place to get a taxi from the city centre is from outside the railway station, otherwise it's recommended to order one by phone - ask your hotel for the phone number of a reputable company. Black 'Deluxe' taxis are available too at a higher price for better comfort and drivers who can communicate well in English and Japanese.

Buses link Andong to surrounding towns and villages. Almost all buses depart from the street outside the train station and serve most of the tourist attractions. Information at bus stops are only written in Korean - however the tourist information office at the train station provides a useful English bus schedule displaying departure times, destinations and fares. Bus fares do not increase by distance but are instead based on the length of the route - typically about ₩1,000 for a bus going to the outer suburbs to ₩2,500 for the furthest destination. Change is available (in coins only) but it's not recommended to attempt paying with a ₩10,000 note for example. Domestic tourists rejoice, for Seoul T-money cards are in fact accepted!

See

Andong Hahoe Folk Village

Hahoe Village from atop Byongdae Cliff. Mind the step.
Festival performance in Hahoe Folk Village.

Various cultural assets including national treasures and tangible or intangible cultural heritages are well preserved in the Andong Hahoe Folk Village, and the whole village was designated as Important Folk Material No.122, also a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. People live in every house in the village and you can enjoy the true folk culture of Korea there. They provide the traditional Korean mask dance on weekends (3 pm, every Sunday in March, April, November / 3 pm, every Saturday and Sunday from May to October).

Other sights include:

You can visit the village from 9 am to 5 pm during the winter season (November-March) and 9 am to 6 pm during the summer season (April-October). Nominal (₩2,000 won?) admission fee.

Take bus #46 from the stand directly across the road (and a few metres to the right, in front of the convenience store) from the Intercity bus terminal. Buses run about every 1–2 hours during peak time and be aware that the trip takes a whole 50 minutes. Cost ₩1,000. As of 2010, the last two buses back to Andong during festival season depart at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm respectively. Note that the you are not left with much time to jump on to an intercity bus home upon arrival.

Bongjeongsa Temple

Bongjeongsa is a Korean Buddhist temple on the slopes of Mount Cheondeung in Andong city, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. It is a subsidiary temple of Gounsa, the head temple of the 16th branch of Jogye Order.

Bongjeongsa is the largest temple in Andong, and is the site of the oldest wooden building in Korea, Geuknakjeon. There are 10 buildings at the main temple and a total of 9 other buildings at Bongjeongsa's two sub temples found to the east and west of the main temple complex.

Temple Stay programme is available, which offers a great accommodation in a traditional Buddhist temple.

Confucian Schools

Being one of the major historical sites in Korean Confucianism, there are a couple of these listed as attractions on the local guide maps.

Do


Buy

The iconic Andong mask replicas are the obvious souvenir of the city, although the mass-produced lacquered ones can be purchased just about anywhere in Korea. At the entrance to Hahoe village you can find entire shops that specialise in these masks, so if seeking a uniquely crafted mask replica, try there.

Eat

Heotjesabap, a bit similar to bibimbap, in an Andong restaurant

Andong has a few specialty dishes, including local jjimdak (Andong-style chicken and cellophane noodles), grilled salted mackerel, and heotjesabap, or false funerary food. Jjimdak can be found in the "Jjimdak golmok (Chicken restaurant street)" in the city centre, which is full of small restaurants specialised in Jjimdak. You can choose any of them, as every restaurant offers a similar taste. Grilled mackerel can be found everywhere in Andong.

Drink

Andong Soju is one of the specialties of the city. Its traditional distillation method dates back to the Silla Dynasty (57BC-935AD). The wife of a household was traditionally responsible for distillation along with other household chores, and she passed it down to the wives of her sons. Today, Andong Soju is made with fresh ingredients, and the maximum alcohol content can be 45%, though you can get varieties which are much less alcoholic for less money, yet still preserving the traditional flavour.

Sleep

Budget

Andong has its fair share of cheap motels. Try looking around the area immediate in front of the train terminal. If that's still too expensive, there's always passing out on the floor of a jimjillbang (public bathhouse).

Mid-range

Andong has many traditional houses which offer a great experience to visitors.

Splurge

Temple Stay

Connect

Just like the rest of Korea, internet cafes, known as PC Bang (look for signs showing PC방) are plentiful in Andong, these provide high speed internet access and modern desktop usage for around US$1 an hour.

Go next


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, October 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.