Daejeon: Great Field... or Great War?
Daejeon's accompanying hanja, quite literally means "Great Field" (daejeon, 大田), fitting given its roots as a wide, flat arable valley. However, it coincidently is a homophone of "Great War" (daejeon, 大戰), and indeed war has touched the city. In 1950, in the midst of the Korean War, the Communist armies had progressed south of Seoul and surrounded then-Taejon on July 17th. Despite being outnumbered, the US 24th Division of the Joint UN Forces held back the tide of the war for 20 days, before its commander went missing in action on the front lines.
Daejeon is the 5th largest city in South Korea, with a population of approximately 1.5 million. It is located in the centre of Korea and is at the crossroads of national rail and road transport routes, the Gyeongbu railway, Honam railway, Gyeongbu Expressway, and Honam Expressway.
Daejeon hosted Taejeon Expo '93, during which 108 countries participated and 14 million visitors attended.
The city has been promoted as a city of science and education centred about Daedeok Science Town, more lately called Daedeok Innopolis. The Daejeon municipal government dubs itself a core city of research and development and the cradle of Korea's cutting-edge science sector.
More than 200 research institutes, including the research and development facilities of Samsung, LG, Korea University of Science and Technology, are located within Daedeok Science Town in Yuseong-gu on the far outskirts of town, locally referred to as "Daedeok Techno Valley". This, plus the "Daedeok Innopolis" cluster of KAIST, Chungnam National University and government research institutes lend themselves to the city's local nickname: the Silicon Valley of Korea.
Daejeon has adopted the slogan: "It's Daejeon". The letters in the word "it's" are meant to be an backronym expressing; Interesting, Tradition and Culture, Science and Technology.
Yuseong Hot Springs Resort and Daecheong Dam are amongst the city's most popular tourist attractions.
|Daily highs (°C)||5.9||8.3||13.9||21.1||25.9||27.7||30.2||27.8||26.9||21.2||13.9||3.4|
|Nightly lows (°C)||-5.5||-1.9||3.0||8.2||13.3||18.9||22.5||21.4||17.1||9.5||4.0||-5.5|
Source: 2014 Korea Meteorological Administration
Daejeon has a monsoon-influenced, 4 season climate that lies within the transition between the humid continental and humid subtropical climatic regimes (Köppen Dwa/Cwa respectively). Monthly mean temperatures range from −1.9 °C (28.6 °F) in January to 25.5 °C (77.9 °F) in August.
Daejeon is separated into 5 administrative divisions or gu (구), (districts), all of which maintain their own tourist website in English. The divisions are largely run along rivers bisecting the city.
- Daedeok-gu (대덕구; 大德區)
- Dong-gu (동구; 東區)
- Jung-gu (중구; 中區)
- Seo-gu (서구; 西區)
- Yuseong-gu (유성구; 儒城區)
- Dunsan is not a gu, but is the central business district and where you will find the majority of the shops and restaurants. The area is served by three stops on the subway: City Hall, Government Complex and Galma stops 111, 112, 113 respectively. For more upscale shopping and accommodations head over to the Yuseong hot springs resort town (Yuseong-gu), which is the northwest part of the city, and is serviced by the Yuseong-spa subway stop. The former city centre is located in Jung-gu and serviced by the Jungangno subway stop.
Gyeryongsan National Park straddles the city border to the west. Three streams which eventually join with Geum River, called Gapcheon (갑천), Yudeungcheon (유등천), and Daejeoncheon (대전천), flow through the city from south to north.
To pick up a map you can visit the information desk in EXPO Park or in Daejeon Station. For district tourism offices please see
- Daejeon Tourist Information Center, 3-1 Doryong-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon (Expo Science Park), ☎ +84 42 1330, +84 42 861-1330. AM-6PM in summer (Mar-Oct), 9AM-5PM in winter (Nov-Feb). Information is provided by interpreters in English. Japanese or Chinese. For tourist information dial 1330 (with no prefix number) from within Daejeon
- Daejeon Railway Station Information Service, Jeong-dong, Dong-gu, ☎ +84 42 221-1905.
- Express Bus Terminal tourism information, ☎ +84 42 632-1338.
- Daejeon International Community Center (DICC) (大田国际交流中心), Juwon Building 3-4F, 77-2 Jung-dong, Dong-gu (Across the street from the main KTX train station. Subway/underground take the #2 exit into the beginning of the underground shopping area, look for the #2 exit on your left, then take the stairs on your left. The DICC will be on your right within 10 m, located on the 4th floor with signs in English), ☎ +82 42 223-0789. 9AM-9PM, Tu-F & 10AM-7:30PM. Closed Mondays and holidays. English language speaking staff provide visitor information and support.
Daejeon is a road and rail transportation hub in South Korea. Two major expressways, Gyeongbu Expressway and Honam Expressway, and two major railways, Gyeongbu railway and Honam railway, are joined here. Travel time between Daejeon and Seoul using the high-speed railway system, otherwise known as KTX, is about 50 min. The nearest airport to Daejeon is Cheongju Airport in the neighbouring city Cheongju and at least 30 min by road to the north of Daejeon.
Cheongju International Airport (Hangul: 청주국제공항; Hanja: 淸州國際空港) (IATA: CJJ) is located just north of Cheongju. There is a railway station next to the airport, called Cheongju Airport station, which is on the Chungbuk Line althoufg it is 600m from the airport itself. The usual way to reach Daejeon from the airport is via intercity bus.
Parking for 1,100 vehicles is available opposite the passenger terminal. The facility is open from 06:30-22:00.
Cheongju International airport currently has a very limited schedule, with flights to Jeju for a few times a day.
- Cheongju Airport Station (Ticket issuing) ☎ +82 43 214-2114, +82 43 210-6616. Located 600 m from the front gate of the airport. A shuttle bus operates between the Airport Station ⇔ Airport passenger terminals. Inquiries ☎ +82 43 210-6328. All passenger trains on the Chungbuk line stop here. Tickets are issued at 1F tourist information counter in the airport passenger terminal.
- Buses to Daejeon Dongbu Terminal, CheongjuAirport ↔ Daejeon Dongbu Terminal - ₩3,500
Daejeon lies on the main train line connecting Seoul and Busan. There are two principal train stations in Daejeon, the main Daejeon Station and the secondary Seo-Daejeon Station. Both are served by the KTX, the Korean high speed bullet train rail service. It takes from 50 min from Seoul to Daejeon and 100 min from Daejeon to Busan.
Conventional trains take about twice as long but come at a considerably lower price. As an example at the other end of the spectrum an unreserved "deluxe floor" seat on the Mugunghwa from Seoul will set you back less than ₩9,000 and take almost 2 hr. A similar train from Busan to Daejeon will take almost 4 hr but costs under ₩15,000. If these sound unreasonable, bear in mind that trains down the main line in Korea do sell out, especially on Sunday afternoons and into the late night so you may no have a say in the matter. On the bright side, the last Mugwanhwa from Busan terminates at Daejeon, so if stuck on its cold, cold floor, you can usually upgrade yourself (to 1st class even) after Daegu.
There are several railway stations. The station you will arrive at or leave from depends on where you're coming from or where you're going. If using the KTX Gyeongbu Line or the KTX Honam Line you may want to try and get off at Shintanjin Station to the north of the city or Seodaejeon Station to the southwest if using the KTX Honam Line.
Daejeon Station (KTX Gyeongbu Line) is in Jeong-dong, Dong-gu. The station first opened in 1905 and has recently been expanded with the completion of a new station building in 2003. This serves the bullet train between Seoul and Busan. The bullet train takes you to Seoul in around 50 min from Daejeon. It is operated by the Korea National Railroad☎ +84 42 1588-7788
- Arriving on the North-bound Line—intermediate points are Cheonan·Asan ⇒ Gwangmyeong ⇒ Yongsan ⇒ Seoul (northern terminus)
- Arriving on the South-bound Line—intermediate points are Dong-Daegu ⇒ Miryang ⇒ Gupo ⇒ Busan (southern terminus)
Seo-Daejeon Station (KTX Honam Line) is at 74 Oryu-dong, Jung-gu. The Seo-Daejeon Station began service in 1914 when the railway between Daejeon and Mokpo opened. If wishing to travel to the Jeolla area by rail (southwest areas of the country) then make your way to this station, not Daejeon Station.
- Arriving on the North-bound Line—intermediate points are Cheonan·Asan ⇒ Gwangmyeong ⇒ Yongsan ⇒ Seoul (northern terminus)
- Arriving on the South-bound Line—intermediate points are Nonsan ⇒ Iksan ⇒ Gimjae ⇒ Jeongeup ⇒ Gwangju ⇒ Naju ⇒ Mokpo (southern terminus)
Tickets for Korail (Korea National Railroad) services can be purchased at station windows, travel agencies, or online.
To add to the confusion, if entering via bus, there are three intercity bus terminals, and several pick up stops for the airport bus express.
- Dong-bu inter-city bus terminal connects to major cities in South and North Chungcheong province. Dong-bu express bus terminal connects to most major cities in South Korea via express way. Both of them are share a building in Yongjeon-dong, Dong-gu.
- Seo-bu bus terminal in Yucheong-dong, Seo-gu, connects to western regions of South Chungcheong province such as Nonsan, Buyeo, Daecheon etc. Yuseong bus terminal located in Bongmyeong-dong,
- Yuseong-gu, connects to northern regions of South Chungcheong province such as Gongju, Yesan, Dangjin, Cheonan etc.
There are two bus stop around government complex, some of express buses depart from Dong-bu and Yuseong stop by as well as the bus destined for Incheon airport.
Incoming buses terminating at Dong-bu terminal drop all passengers off at a random one of a few petrol stations or empty carparks near the terminal. Don't be alarmed. Whilst inconvenient for those transferring on, this does leave you on the right side of the road to grab the local express bus #2 down to the central Korail/subway station.
Locals and those staying for a longer time can purchase a Hana bank rechargeable transportation card, which offers free transfers. When you open an account at Hana bank, this smart bank card can be charged with money to be used on buses, taxis. "Hankkumi" transportation cards are also available at manned booths within the subway stops. These cards cost ₩2,500 won and are rechargeable at the station or at many GS 25 locations. Unfortunately with only one subway line, which bisects the city and runs southeast from the northwest corner, only central Daejeon, old downtown (Daejeon station area) and a handful of sites are convenient to reach solely by subway. The subway IS now compatible with Seoul T-money passes. Hankkumi cards or tags purchased after February 2011 now contain both Hankkumi and Seoul T-money functionality.
The inner-city bus service is extensive, but a bit slow. Most buses pass through Daejeon station which does not have a bus rank. Instead, they all leave from one of about 10 stops dotted around the area. Note that bus routes 1 and 2 are express stops and annoyingly not even typically marked on the handful of bus shelters where they do stop. City bus services in Daejeon buses are divided into four types.
Each type of bus has a different colour; red, blue and green (2).
- Red buses express cover 2 routes (1 and 2). They stop at major bus stops, ensuring a rapid transit service.
- Blue buses regular connect the downtown areas with the suburbs.
- Green buses there are 2 types of green - coloured buses:
- One of the green buses connects all districts within Daejeon, and the other connects Daejeon with its neighboring areas.
Bus fares vary depending on the passengers age group. Children, middle and high school students, and adults. A Traffic card is available and offers discounts and free transfer. T-money also works for discounts and free transfers,
Each bus has two doors:
- The front door for entry and back door for exit.
- Place your transit card close to the card reader upon entry and exit. Cash payment is also available.
- Expo Park - 121, 301, 606, 705, 911, 918
- Daejeon O-world - 301, 115, 311, 314, 318, 315
- Bomun-san (Mt.) - 119, 619, 618, 108, 313, 620
- Gyejok-san (Mt.) - 103, 617, 311, 314
- Daecheong Dam - 72, 73
- Gubong-san (Mt.) - 210, 114, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
- Jangtae-san (Mt.) - 22
- Sikjang-san (Mt.) - 611, 619, 607, 313, 60, 61, 62, 63, 71
- Manin-san (Mt.) - 501
- Uam Historial Park - 311
- Jangsu Town - 312, 313
- Donghak-sa (Temple) - 107, 48
- Daejeon Korail Station - 1, 30, 31, 52, 60, 62, 63, 102, 311, 501, 511, 512, 603, 605, 606, 607, 612, 616
- Seodaejeon Korail Station - 119, 201, 202, 314, 612, 613, 701
- Shintanjin Korail Station - 2, 71, 72, 75, 703, 704, 705
- Dongbu Intercity and Express Bus Terminal - 2, 102, 105, 106, 201, 501, 601, 602, 607, 611, 616, 701, 802
- Seobu Intercity Bus Terminal - 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, 34, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 113, 316, 916
- Yuseong Intercity Bus Terminal - 109, 911
A full bus route map is printed on practically every last bus shelter in town. Navigation may be easier if used in combination with a pocket-sized printed copy of the numerical list above.
Two city tour buses also run, doing daytime trips between "science" sites such as the Currency Museum, Expo park and KAIST. Night time trips between "night" sites include Yuseong Spa and Daecheong Dam. They wind across town via various pick-up spots prior to the tour and tend to end at Yuseong, but perhaps the most convenient pick-up point is at the park at the rear (south side) of City Hall.
The City Bus Free Transfer System has operated since 2005 and allows bus passengers holding a traffic card to transfer to another bus or subway three times at no additional cost. When using this system passengers are only required to pay a single fare for up to 4 segments of travel in a single direction. The traffic card allows 3 free transfers within 80 min of the first boarding, with 30 min transit time subsequent to the passenger placing the card on the card reader when exiting. Another service will need to be boarded and the card read again within the specified 30 min (off the bus) period. Check the city website (English version is available) for the latest schedules, departure times and costs.
Daejeon's first subway line opened in March 2006, connecting Daejeon Station to both the western and eastern parts of the city. The subway stations are fed by buses, and the fare is ₩1200-1400 a ride, with tickets easily bought from machines (select the price according to the map it displays, enter money, get token). The subway itself is extremely clean and tidy, and the stations are regularly decorated with art courtesy of local university arts students or schoolchildren. Small musical performances aimed at the older generations of Koreans (often some quite pleasant jazz actually) are sometimes held in Daejeon and Seodaejeon-negori stations.
Daejeon Subway Line 1 is the first of a planned 5 line subway system for the city. Line 1 has been fully operational since 2007. It connects Daejeon station in the original city centre, with the more modern and recently developed sections of this city, including Dunsan. The other lines have not yet opened and future plans for the extra lines appear to remain speculative.
Daejeon is quite spaced out, so taxis fares can run up quickly. For a cross-town trip, expect to spend up to ₩10,000, far higher if travelling to the lesser developed outer regions west of the bisecting mountain range, north of Yuseong, or around Shintanjin. The width of town can be covered usually in ₩4,000-5,000. Daejeon experiences near city-wide gridlock from 5PM to almost midnight on Fridays and 5PM to 7PM on weekdays so use the subway to cross the length of the city and catch a taxi from there to cover the width. Unregistered taxis are a common sight around the Dongbu bus terminal, so keep a keen lookout for the "It's Daejeon" logo on the side of the vehicle or a meter in the front if you don't wish to be mislead or deceived by un-licensed operators in un-metered vehicles.
Daejeon has a system of public-use bikes Tashu, which is available for a nominal fee for short rentals, although it can rise quickly for extended use (>1hr as of July 2014). The system requires a mobile phone number and Alien Registration Number to use. Note that stations are present mostly in the central valley, and may be empty or filled (thus preventing returns). Check for stations near your destination via the station's computer before renting a bike. Although bikes are maintained, they are quite often broken, so be sure to check the bike before renting. Bicycle roads exist in larger roads and riversides, but tend to be filled with pedestrians and tend not to yield to cyclists.
Daejeon is mostly far too spread out to be convenient to walk between attractions. However, Expo Park, the National Science Museum, Hanbat Arboretum, Dajeon Museum of Art, Mannyeon-dong, and even Dunsan-dong (although this last one is pushing it) are situated close enough to one another to wander back and forth.
There are 8 specific localities designated by the city government as scenic attractions, these are the Eight Sights of Sikjangsan.
- Sikjangsan Mountain Forest, Deasungdong Dogu, ☎ +82 42-600-3695. Open all year round, no parking facilities. The site provides extensive walking trails and temple visits. Free.
- Mount Bomunsan, Desadong Junggu, ☎ +82 42-581-3516. Observatory, recreation facilities, and cable cars. Also 20 springs, one every 20 m and each supplies drinkable water. 10 trail routes are available including the Sirubong, Mupilbon, and Sansunggil trails. Important historical sites are located on the top of the mountain. Open year round. No parking facilities. Free.
- Mount Gubongsan, San 75 Kwanjeodong Seogu, ☎ +82 42-611-6261. Open all year round, no parking facilities. This mountain has 9 peaks and walking trails. Free.
- Mount Jangtaesan, Jangandong Seogu, ☎ +82 42-585-8061. Accommodation, fish farm, deer farms, a children’s playground within man-made forests and natural forests. 12km trails, a sky tower, small gorges, rest and picnic areas. Children are provided with playgrounds and there are exercise facilities throughout the park.
- Mount Yuseong Spa, Bomyeongdong Yuseonggu, ☎ +82 42-611-2130. Wounded soldiers of the Baekje Dynasty are said to have been healed after taking a bath in these springs. Kings and presidents including the first King of the Josun Dynasty, have reposed here.
- Mount EXPO Park, Deajeon Expo Science Park Local Corporation 3-1 Doryongdong, Yusunggu, ☎ +82 42-866-5114. Commemorate the Deajeon Expo held in 1993 and committed to understanding the role of science and technology. Closed every Monday. Entrance ₩2,500 per person. Parking for 100 cars, small ₩1,500-large ₩2,000. Image simulation hall, dome image hall, energy hall, electric energy hall, and science hall science/exhibition, science academy, robot class, handicraft class, body world, dinosaur festival, unification hall, Hanbit tower, scientist street, Aqua resort, Magic plaza, Gabcheon River, restaurant street, dining hall and tourist information centre. During the 1993 Deajeon Expo, a total ₩180 billion won was invested. 108 countries participated and 14 million visitors attended.
- Daecheonghosu Lake, Daejeon-si Daedeok-gu Miho-dong, ☎ +82 42-930-7241. Tu-Su. Information office is at 618-316, Daecheong-ro, Daedeok-gu, Daejeon Metropolitan City (left bank of Daecheong Dam). The lake was formed in 1980 when the Deacheon Dam was completed. This lake provides Deajeon City and Cheongju City with drinking water. Open year round. No parking facilities. Free.
- Mount Gyejoksan, Hyopyeongdong Donggu, ☎ +82 42-620-6256. Bike and walking trails. Site of the Yongwal thermal power plant, and Gejok Mountain Fortress. Open year round. No parking facilities. Free.
Many of the other cultural centres and sight seeing places are located in Yuseong-gu district with the exception of Ppuri park and Daejeon Zoo.
- Daecheong Dam (Take the 72 or 73.). Large dam on the far north east outskirts of town. Responsible for the Daecheonghosu lake, South Korea's largest.
- Gubongsan Fall Foliage. autumn.
- The Daejeon Museum of Art (In Dunsan Grand Park). An art museum established in 1998 and focused on the convergence of art and technology. Numerous exhibitions on contemporary art have been held here.
- Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra. Performs in Daejeon Culture and Arts Center and other local venues. Recently completed several international tours, including visits to the United States and Japan.
- Daejeon Station. A walk around the alleyways straight across from the station will offer Ginseng (인삼 insam) and traditional medicine stores. Across the street from the market, see the Buy section of this article.
- National Cemetery (Take the courtesy bus from the National Cemetery Daejeon subway station.). National cemetery for Korea's war heroes and patriots. It's quite beautifully landscaped and surrounded by a ring walking trail. Dress standards apply. Free.
- Hanbat Arboretum (한밭수목원 (Hanbat Sumokuwon)) (Bus, or walk the long route around the Daejeon Government Complex from the subway, cutting through the government complex grounds). If coming by taxi, be sure to use the Korean name. Free.
- Dunsan Prehistoric Settlement Site, Dunsan-dong (Government Complex Daejeon subway stop. Two blocks north and one block west of the station). When excavating for Dunsan new town in the early 1990s, a bunch of "stone-age" relics were discovered. Prior to the discovery, it was widely believed the region had a rather recent history. At a glance, the site is essentially a very hilly grassy park with scattered reproduction 'prehistoric huts' built over it. However the site provides extensive historical information for visitors. It is open at night and the inside of the huts light up as you approach showing off an interpretation of what was discovered, complete with reproductions of the various farming and domestic tools unearthed. Free.
- Ppuri Park, Jangsu Town (Take the 312 or 313 through Jangsu Town, it's the last stop. Alternately, you could hike about 1km down the road south from O-world). A family-oriented park on the far southern outskirts of town. Down by a smallish dam, there are the usual swan boats and the like, but the odd drawcard is the hill covered in stone statues representing local family lineages. Local Koreans no doubt have a great time pouring over these, tracing their roots (ppuri), but to the casual observer it's just a curious, if unusual, collection of modern art. A path also leads over a bridge and to the top of the cliff directly to the south where not only is there a pleasant view, but the peak is also littered with a bizarre array of wooden phalli. Free.
- Fall (autumn) colors. On any of the five surrounding mountains, or the adjacent national park. The government recommends Mt. Gubongsan. See the Hike section of this article.
- Daejeon Citizen. The city's K-league soccer team. Daejeon, being a co-host of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, has a soccer stadium in Yuseong-gu on the north side of town (월드컵경기장 World cup kyeonggijang), quite literally and unbelievably plonked in the middle of a farm and now rather rusty in appearance. It's serviced by a dedicated subway station (listen for the old Korean World Cup themesong announcing the stop), although you'd have to walk through the Nouen Wholesale Market and adjacent Wholesale Fish Market to get there. ₩10,000 and under from the team website.
- Hanwha Eagles. The city's professional baseball team. Baseball games are held at the baseball field of Hanbat Sports Complex ex (한밭 운동장 Hanbat undongjang). Express bus #2 passes by it, or it can be walked within 15-20 min from Jungangno station. Various teams play including the local professional team and those of the local universities sometimes on Friday nights. Despite tickets being rather inexpensive, many locals choose to climb up nearby Mt. Bomun to the conspicuously-placed observatory and watch down with binoculars. ₩10,000.
- Yuseong Hot Springs Resort (Hot Springs & Saunas), Daejeon-si Yuseong-gu Bongmyeong-dong, ☎ +82 42-611-2114, +82 42-824-0210, +82-42-1330 (Korea Travel). These hot springs are known to be effective in countering many kinds of maladies. Containing alkaline minerals such as calcium, and potassium, sulfur, carbonic acid, silicic acid and radium and are considered to be beneficial in treating neuralgia and geriatric diseases. Accommodations are available nearby.
- Daejeon Observatory. Open from 2-10PM, closed Mondays and the day following a national holiday.. Here you can observe the sun during the day or any number of celestial bodies at night. Located west of Expo Park, take the 604 bus to the observatory stop.
- National Science Museum (국립중앙과학관 Gungnip Jungang Gwahakgwan) (Adjacent to Expo Park on the north side of town.). 9:30AM-5:50PM, closed Mondays. Showcases both pernament and special exhibitions. ₩1.000 for exhibitions and another ₩1,000 for planetarium; half price for under-20s.
- Daejeon Currency Museum (화폐박물관 Hoapyebak Mulgwan) (Behind KAIST in Wolpyeong.), ☎ +82 42-870-1000, fax: +82 42-861-5245. 10AM-5PM, 10AM-4PM in winter, closed Mondays. Historical currencies of Korea up to the modern day, including those of the DPRK (North Korea). Free.
- Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon Seo-gu Mannyeon-dong 396 (From the subway station, it's on the opposite side of the government complex). Daejeon's primary art facility, nestled between the Government Complex Daejeon, Hanbat Arboretum and the small Mannyeong-dong restaurant district. Has a spacious park filled with modern art sculptures out the front. A small stage out the front sometimes hosts free cultural performances on weekends.
- Daejeon Art Center ((대전창작센터) Daejeon Changjak Center), Eunhaeng-dong, Jung-gu (Three blocks south of exit 2 of Jungangno subway station, on the corner of the Eunhaeng-negori junction. Has the space-invader mosaic on the front.). Small but conveniently placed art gallery in old downtown showcasing modern art works of young artists. The exhibits rotate every 1-2 months exhibiting to an often unusual theme, individual pieces regularly are quite involved, taking up an entire room. Free.
- Donghak-sa Temple, Gongju-shi (Bus #107). A picturesque temple outside of Daejeon in the adjacent city of Gongju, but linked in on the Daejeon bus routes. In addition to the temple, the valley contains restaurants, hotels and saunas (including a fair few of the funky "hobbit mushroom" styled ones) and a fairly dramatic waterfall, albeit dry much of the year. This all falls within Gyeryongsan National Park. A well stocked tourist information booth exists at the entrance and is an ideal starting point for a hiking trip over the region. Restaurants in the area tend to be well catered towards foreign (primarily Japanese) tourists with picture menus of the most popular items: a rarity in central South Korea. To get in, the 107 bus will take you from Daejeon Korail station direct, although it is much faster to take the subway to the National Cemetery station, and hop on the 107 there as it prepares to zip out of town. The bus stop is right next to the subway exit. ₩2000.
- Uam Historical Park, Dong-gu Kayang-dong (Bus #311). Historic scholarly site nestled in a mountain valley. Has a well kept lake and quite nice to stroll around. Hosts a (poorly gazetted) festival sometime in October. For hikers, the trail hidden at the rear-left of the park continues up the mountain, past a place to fill your water bottles and after a less than 30 min walk, all the way to the top of the ridge overlooking the immense Daecheong lake east of town. Free.
- Yuseong Foot Spa, Yuseong-gu (From the Yuseong Spa subway stop head towards the main Yuseong junction to the north. Turn east and follow the wide grassy median strip about 500 m down the road). A heated foot spa. The temperature is pretty high but varies along the length so it's appropriate even in winter, and you won't overheat in summer. Note that unlike most foot spas, the local populace demands pre-washing of feet at the wash-station at the end of the footspa prior to entering (akin to the etiquette of a full body public bathhouse). Drop your stuff where you intend to sit, then walk down the end, wash up, and walk down the spa to get back to your seat. It can be an embarrassingly fulfilling sight seeing the eldery locals accosting Korean visitors from elsewhere in Korea unaware of this unstated rule. To get there, leave the subway station and head towards the main Yuseong junction to the north. Turn east and follow the wide grassy median strip about 500 m down the road. Free.
- O-World (Easy to reach if coming by car: literally all major intersection signs across Daejeon point to here. By bus, take 301, 115, 311, 314, 318 or 315). A theme park, on the far, far south end of the city. Comprises Zooland (zoo boasting 130 species), Flower Land (flower park boasting 190 species) and Joyland (a regular ol' theme park).
Note that the Dreamland theme park up on Mt. Bomun, despite being marked on many maps is long since gone and the equally well known abandoned site also recently completely bulldozed. The river flood plain adjacent to Expo Park is where a lot of expatriate action takes place on the weekends outside of the festival, and also makes for a nice stroll.
Whilst Dunsan downtown tends to cater to the retail-loving crowd, the downtown area in central Daejeon (Jungangno subway station) and particularly the area a few blocks south tends to be rather artsy, including many small, often privately run art galleries. Some of these are attached to independent coffee shops. Occasionally on Sundays there are street stalls run by local arts students.
Daejeon has a recent history of attempting to jumpstart annual festivals (a Winter lights festival in Jungangno for example) only to have them fall on their face after one year. Signs still promote some of these on the outskirts of town.
- Daejeon Balloon Festival (Opposite Expo Park, by the river). Once a year around October, this is not the international balloon festival you are likely thinking of. The 2010 edition of this annual event had a sum total of two hot-air balloons, both tethered tightly to the ground. However, as the sun sets, they let off an amazingly large quantity of small disposable lantern balloons that float off in the south-westerly breeze of the neon Smart Towers housing complex and into the mountains. Both Daejeon city and the DICC have a tendency to try and book in other festivals at the same time as this nearby to attract more out-of-town visitors, so keep an eye on local schedules.
- Cherry Blossom Festival. In Shintanjin, in April (spring) when the flowers happen to be in full bloom.
Any, or all, of 5 mountains designated by Daejeon tourism amongst the city's eight most popular sites:
- Mt. Sikjangsan (southeast)
- Mt. Bomunsan (south)
- Mt. Gubongsan (southwest)
- Mt. Jangtaensan (south)
- Mt. Gyejoksan (northeast)
Most have either a typical Korean gazebo at the top or a historic fortress wall, or often both. Jangtaesan has a treetop walkway. Springs offering drinking water are marked on the local maps. To find the start of the myriad hiking trails, a good rule of thumb is to look for burial mounds on the hills, as they are often lurking just behind them. Once on the trail, trail marking and intersection signposting is really good, but the actual start point locations are almost never announced.
The city's traditional market is located next to the train station. The market by Daejeon Station is the general market, really nothing to write home about as far as appearances, the specialty stores are excellent, and you can get plants (from seeds to pots) which are not always easy to come by. Some household goods, and cheap clothes. The street to southeast, outside the market perimeter specialises in tools. South East Asian import canned and packet food including Mi Goreng (Indonesian-Malaysian dried instant noodles) and phonecards can be found at the International Food shop. Exit Daejeon Station through exit #3 and go straight for less than a minute. It's a very small shop that's located right in front of the traffic lights.
A second, slightly smaller traditional market exists in Yuseong. Further traditional markets still can also be found near Seodaejeon Korail station, opposite Hanbat stadium, and a little further east of the Dongbu Intercity bus terminal.
For further discounts, Nouen wholesale market is located north of Yuseong. Take the subway line and get off at the World Cup Stadium stop (the subway plays a little soccer themesong so you can't miss it).
There's a Costco directly beside Seodaejeon station. Costco offers OK discounted prices, and most everything is in bulk, but you can get some hard to find goods imported from the USA. You will need a personal (Gold Star) membership for 35,000 won, or you can use your card from home. It can solve dry food purchasing for a month or more in a single trip; watch out for seasonal specials, the November truffles make for nice, and cheap, gifts. For those without CostTo membership, E-mart Traders offers similar services with no membership requirements (not to be confused with E-mart proper). The Seodaejeon area also has the stock standard Home Plus, as well as some clothing department stores. The area is becoming rapidly one of the most affluent in the city so expect to see more fancier outlets opening here over time. Uniqlo (Japanese unbranded clothing chain) is also located nearby in the basement floor of the Say Two Department Store (good to know in winter as it sells cheap thermals). The Lotte Department Store in Yongmun-dong has a Uniqlo as well (2nd floor).
E-Mart and Home Plus (Tesco) is relatively ubiquitous, and a bit dear too. It does however offer a variety of basic house goods for settling into a new home, deodorant, as well as basic general produce (both fresh and dry), which are marginally cheaper than the prices in most corner stores, as well as offering it all in one stop. If you can't afford to set up your new home here, perhaps try tracking down a Daiso, a Japanese "1,000 won store" chain that stocks all sorts of kitchenware and just general use plastic items.
For cool summer shopping and warm winter shopping head underground. Underground shopping can be found connected to subway stops at Daejeon Station and Jungang-no, stops 104 & 105 respectively, on line 1.
If looking for general Korea souvenir-items, two shops, quite literally opposite one another are underground at subway Exit 2 of Daejeon station (stop 104 on Line 1). They specialise in a wide variety of trinkets including from mass-produced items from elsewhere in the country.
Also department store shopping is popular for the more affluent of Daejeon at Timeworld Galleria, Lotte Department Store and CGV; each of which also have a movie theatre on their top floor. Timeworld plays host to an array of full price brand outlets such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton, which despite the lacking crowds, still insists on having its patrons queue up to enter. The basement sells a wide variety of imported foods.
Most electronic needs can be found at TechnoWorld, which is close to KBS tower in Manneyong-dong, Seo-gu. For further consumer electronics, try the street running between Government Complex Daejeon subway station to Timeworld Galleria in the vicinity of Dunsan E-Mart: this street has no fewer than 3 electronics department stores Hi-mart, Jeonja Land plus smaller specialty stores LGgoodshop. Apple has a retailer called Frisbee outside Jungangno subway station, Jung-gu.
For funky independent-made items, keep an eye out for university-run arts fairs. Theres no real way to know when you'll find one, but they are seemingly quite common.
In addition to the copious amounts of Korean restaurants and Koreanized "Japanese" izakayas scattered all over town, some foreign restaurants, including some offering Italian cuisine, can be found around the two main downtown districts of Dunsan-dong (opposite Timeworld) and near Jungangno station. Some nicer restaurants also still exist up near the World Cup Stadium.
Oddball theme restaurants are scattered around town. For example, there are a couple of eateries in Dong-gu near the Intercity bus terminal subscribing to the "hobbit mushroom" school of architecture, a restaurant called literally Nameless (이름없음, Ireumeopseum) in front of Woosong university whose decor could be best described as "clusterbomb of ropes", and a full military themed chicken joint on the wrong side of the tracks in Shintanjin (follow the road/lane due south from the Loving Hut listed below).
Sit-down sushi roll restaurants (as opposed to sushi trains) are scattered about Jungangno and Dunsan and can be a good option as the generic copy-cat business model typically involves picture-menus and prices under ₩10,000 a meal. Options go beyond sushi to salads, pastas, gratins, and Japanese style omu-rice. Korean-style sushi, not to be confused with kimbap is extremely flamboyant in appearance.
Finally, if just looking for a quick snack, don't be afraid to try the street food. In central Daejeon around Jungangno there are at least 1-2 of the standard Korean odeng stands. Standard etiquette is to literally just grab a stick, eat it, and pay after you finish, the most common price is ₩500. Topokki (떡볶이tteokbokki) is a spicy ricecake and eggs in red spicy sauce. Stalls plus a handful of vendors with permanent shop-fronts can also be found here. The funny looking "buns" you may see the owner frying up are in fact essentially an inside-out pancake with syrup and nuts.
The following are a few of the more outstanding or unusual eateries:
- Indy, Dunsan-dong (Diagonally across from the E-Mart in Dunsan-dong, near the T.G.I. Fridays and a Hanbok store. Close to Government Complex subway station and buses the #185, #215, and #115 all drive by.). Indian restaurant on the north side of town. Service may be a little slow for some and their prices are in the higher range. Curry dishes come with free rice or naan. Vegetarian options are available.
- Loving Hut, Shintanjin (From Korail Shintanjin station, cross the tracks to the wrong side over the rickety bridge, head north about 10 m, and then 1 block west.). Part of a chain of organic, 100% vegan, new pseudo-religious group-run restaurants. Menus in the chain vary between outlets: Shintanjin's mostly serves rice or noodle based fare, but has a Western-style fake-meat item. Prices typically under ₩5,000, owners are friendly and probably won't try to convert you. Fake-meat can also be purchased to take home. A second outlet may be opening near Expo Park.
- Sung Sim Dang, Eunhaeng-dong, Jung-gu (Near Jungangno subway station, a few blocks south, walk from the wooden). Established in 1956, this bakery has a wall full of past awards and credentials on display, the prices for baked goods are similar to elsewhere and they make their own macaroons. There is a food court upstairs serving typical continental fare.
- Flying Pan, Eunhaeng-dong, Jung-gu (next door to Sung Sim Dang). Restaurant specialising in Italian style cooking and steaks, seemingly owned by the same folks as Sung Sim Dang next door. It's practically a local institution so cab drivers will know it. Has a separate cafe upstairs.
- Little Tomo, Eunhaeng-dong, Jung-gu (under Flying Pan, in the underground shopping mall's southern spur). The latest entry into Sung Sim Dang's growing downtown empire, this is an informal cafe style Japanese restaurant. The food style is neither authentic Japanese style nor the Koreanised "izakaya" fare. Styled somewhat like a country kitchen and decorated with napkin cranes from past diners. Has the rare honor of food that looks much better in reality than on the menus out the front. Meals typically about ₩6,000.
- TGI Fridays. The obligatory local chapter of the international American bar/restaurant franchise. Has an outlet very conveniently located about 100 m from the Government Complex station (opposite E-mart), but more notable is the one in the Lotte Department store in Seo-gu as it takes up the entire west side of 9F, offering sunset views of the city and mountains. Course meals from ₩23,000.
- Kraze Burger. A Korean dine-in burger chain with an outlet in Dunsan-dong, about one and a half blocks west from the main Timeworld intersection and on the north side of the road (backing on to the drinking precinct) and another near City Hall. Noteworthy because the chain has extensive mushroom/tofu options for those who don't eat meat.
- Taco-K (tell the cab driver, Nonghyup gung-dong. Across the NH store you'll see a pharmacy at the corner. Enter that alley and keep walking until you see Taco-K, it's less than a 10 min walk. It's also the same alley that's right beside the apartment complex.). Tacos, burritos, fajitas, nachos, and enchiladas. Course meals ₩8,000-12,000..
- Daejeon Cantina, Dunsan-dong, near Timeworld (Go to the intersection that has the convenience store, Gartien Bier/Yellow Taxi, etc. Walk in the direction towards the restaurants/bars from afar. (If you look carefully, you'll see a yellow sign that reads, Bonbon.) Walk in that direction until you see the Cantina sign; it'll be on your left.). Open Tue-Thur 6PM-2AM; Fri/Sat 5PM-5AM; Sunday 6PM-12midnight; closed Mon. Mexican restaurant/bar. Meals from ₩8,000.
- Takorea Mexican Grill, Eunhaedong/Old Downtown (2-3 min walk from subway station no. 105 (Jungang-no), exit 4. Exit the subway and when near Jung-gu Police station walk to the left and turn left on the 2nd street (at the Heungkuk financial) then turn right on the 1st street.). M-Th. 12noon-2PM, 5PM-11PM. F-S: 12noon-2PM, 5PM-12midnight. Classier than Cantina with more variety, but more expensive. Meals ₩5,000-18,000.
- House Grill (exit Yongmung Station through exit #4. Keep walking until you reach the bus stop and enter the plaza (there is a Paris Baguette and glasses store sandwiching the entrance). Keep walking straight until the end of the hallway, it'll be on your right), ☎ +82 42 528-6639 (Brian), +82 10 9165-5142. 7 days a week from 11:30AM-10PM. Excellent burgers, arguably the best in Korea. Also offers chili fries, spaghetti, wraps, and huge donkatsu. Meals from ₩5,000.
There are two major "downtown" areas for drinking in Daejeon. One is in new-town in Dunsan-dong, opposite the Timeworld Galleria shopping complex, and a short walk from Government Complex Daejeon subway station. The second is in the city centre of old Daejeon, down by Jungangno subway station.
In addition, two further large drinking quarters exist in Yuseong and around Chungnam University as well as opposite Seodaejeon Korail station. Smaller areas of bars naturally exist beside each of Daejeon's universities, such as Hannam in the far East and Woosong in the far south.
- Santa Claus Lounge, Kung-Dong. Basement hangout place that offers free darts, pool table and foosball. This bar is popular with foreigners, especially international KAIST students.
- The Shisha House, Kung-Dong 404-5. The Shisha House is one of only a handful of bars in Daejeon that carry draft imported beer. The bar is owned by a French expatriate, and is typically very popular for shisha smokers and shisha newcomers due to a wide range of shisha strengths. ₩10,000 won for a shisha, ₩6,000 won for a Big Rock beer.
- Ethnic Bar, Dunsan-Dong. An alternative shisha bar located downstairs in Dunsan. Entrance is a little stairwell amongst all the izakayas by GS25. A little less selection on the smoking front, but beautifully decorated with a fake stream in the middle. Music caters more to dates on weeknights and group sessions on weekends.
- Sponge, Dunsan-Dong. Western style drinks and imported bottles along with 2 dart boards and free pool. It is one of the largest bars in Daejeon and is frequented by expats, locals and travelers.
- Yellow Taxi, Dunsan-Dong. Yellow Taxi is a western bar. It is very large, with enough space to dance, and has lots of tables to sit and enjoy company. Drinks and food served. There are 2 dart boards and a pool table. On weekends, expect to find live music: rock, funk, blues, or electronic.
There are three western-style dance clubs in Daejeon.
- Cocoon, Dunsan-dong (on the same side of 2 floor arcade but slightly north. Well marked with a 7-eleven diagonally opposite. The cover charge also gets you free draft beer all night). Dance club that plays a mix of hip hop, house, and K-pop. ₩15,000 cover.
- After Hours, Dunsan-dong (on the north side, opposite Sponge.). Dance club that exclusively plays house and tries to cater to a more mature and upscale clientèle. ₩10,000 cover.
- Club Volume (뉴스), directions=. New dance club, plays electronic music and is named after the popular "club Volume" is Seoul. It is near "News Nightclub," which is near the Express Bus Terminal. Look for the Angel-in-us coffee shop at the corner; enter that street and keep walking.
Jjimjilbangs are not ubiquitous, but they are there. Check that they allow overnight sleeping first.
- Dong Bang Sak Leports (Nearest subway stop is Government Complex Daejeon, but it's a fair walk north). Located in Mannyeon-dong, about 3 blocks south of the KBS broadcasting tower this jjimjilbang looks like a Disney theme park. They have a cave, a "normal" sleeping room as well as a really cool spot where you sleep in "nature" with reeds and bird tweets. Past the normal things, they have a restaurant, internet cafe, Playstation room, as well as drink bar, a facial and hair cut, and ice and oxygen rooms. All are charged to the key and payable on the way out. Don't forget to get a parking pass on the way out if you came by car. Name is romanised on the signage, so it's fairly easy to spot. ₩8,000.
- Magic 24 Sauna (매직24사우나), Yuseong-gu (In the middle of the Love Motel district north of the Yuseong Intercity/Express Bus Terminal and one block south of Yuseong HomePlus.). A jjimjilbang located very close to Daejeon's primary Express Bus Terminal, this is situated conveniently for those merely passing through town. The building is a nondescript white cube with a simple backlit sign in hangul (no English) which sticks out like a sore thumb amongst all its trashy neon neighbours. This jjimjilbang offers hot and cold public baths from the natural thermal springs of Yuseong district.
- Another jjimjilbang is available in the Rodeo Town building, between City Hall and Tanbang subway stations, and walking distance (~1 km towards and beyond City Hall) from downtown Dunsan.
- A Youth Hostel has dorm accommodation for ₩7,000-₩8,000 per night. It is located in southern Yuseong, approximately a 10 min walk south from Hanbat Nat'l University or you can take the 102, 103, 104 or 113 bus to its western termination and then walk east for its approximate location. You will then take the left fork and going away from the terminal, which is adjacent to the restaurant buildings, and you will see a left turn, about 250 m, which leads to a very big Youth Hostel. It appears to be intended mainly for conventions and conferences. There are just rooms where you get a blanket to sleep on the floor so don't expect beds. Showers are shared.
You can look for love motels which vary in quality, price and cleanliness. Many of these are centred in Dong-gu, near the Dongbu Intercity Bus Terminal or in old downtown in Jung-gu, south of the Jungangno nightlife district. Most western style hotels with close proximity to the subway line are located in the Yuseong Spa vicinity. This is also where you will find the splurge hotels so inquire ahead. Outside of Yuseong, chain hotels also exist around the Government Complex Daejeon.
- Toyoko Inn, 922, Dunsandong, Seo-gu, Daejeon (10 min walk from Government Complex Daejeon Station), ☎ +82 42-545-1045, fax: +82 42-545-1046. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. Part of the Japanese chain of no-frills business hotels. ₩60,500 won for a single, ₩132,000 for a suite, disabled access doubles for ₩82,500.
- Riveria. The only 5 star hotel in Daejeon. ₩180,000 for a normal room, ₩300,000 for a junior suite, ₩1,000,000 for the royal suite.
- Best Western Legend Hotel, 547-5 Bongmyeong-dong, Yuseong-gu, ☎ +82 42-825-2521. ₩193,600 for a double, ₩484,000 for the top suite.
- Yousung Hotel (Yuseong Hotel), 480 Bongmyeong-dong, Yuseong-gu, ☎ +82 42-820-0100. ₩190,000-330,000.
A few of the universities in town accept considerable numbers of international students.
- DICC. DICC runs a range of Korean language classes. The most basic elementary classes are held in the medium of English language on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. It is best to inquire in person as the website is poorly maintained. Elementary courses start several times each year. Intermediate courses start as demand dictates.
Daejeon has numerous job openings for ESL/EFL teachers at public schools and private academies. Most teaching jobs require applicants to be a native English speaker and to have a 3-4 yr college degree. Salaries for teaching jobs generally start between 2.0 and 2.5 million Korean won per month and often include free housing and round-trip airfare on a 1 year contract. Since the Korean won has dropped precipitously in value relative to other major currencies, salaries are starting to rise.
PCbangs (internet cafes) are peppered over the entire city and dirt-cheap to use, plus complimentary internet-enabled PCs are a common sight in independent coffee shops.
An immense range of international calling cards are available from the International Food shop outside Daejeon Korail station, as well as from smaller shops located beside universities catering to international students, such as the one outside Woosong West campus' main East Gate.
Daejeon is a very safe city by global standards. Note that Daejeon does not play host to a US military base, and as such, anti-American sentiment (and by extension, anti-Westerner sentiment) is low. If anything in town could be deemed dangerous, eldery drunks occasionally congregate around the front of Daejeon Korail station at night, including weeknights. Ironically, they are more inclined to hurl abuse at or chase down groups of obvious foreigners than individuals.
Daejeon's tap water is "drinkable" however residents tend to boil their water or purchase affordable bottled water, or fill their own bottles at local parks or at the mountain springs that surround town.
For a police emergency, dial 112. For a fire or ambulance emergency, dial 119.
For various help, consider visiting the DICC.
Cleaning services will exist at high-end hotels, otherwise, find a local dry-cleaner by looking for the sign setak (세탁).
According to the city government, you can get to anywhere in South Korea from Daejeon within half a day.
Seoul and Busan are less than an hour and two hours away, respectively, on the KTX. Gyeongju is also now rather accessible courtesy of the new Shin-Gyeongju KTX stop between Daegu and Busan. Seo-Daejeon Korail station will similarly link you up to Gwangju.
There are several pick up spots around town for the airport bus, which charges a princely sum of about ₩14,000 for the ride (₩3,500 for the regular inter-city bus). Also see this articles Get in section for information on travel to Jeju. Another option to get to Jeju would be to take KTX to Busan and catch a ferry but this would be both less economical and efficient.
Closer places of interest include:
- Mt. Daedun, one of Korea's more famed mountains (you may have seen photos of its suspension bridge) is close by at a 45 minute bus trip away. Buses depart from the Dong-gu Intercity bus terminal at 10:30AM. Miss it and you're out of luck.
- Gongju, adjacent city and former capital of Baekje, known for its Beakje tombs. Also the gateway to hiking a nearby national park.
- Cheongju, Daejeon's airport, and historic town in its own right. Birthplace of jikji, the world's oldest moving metal type print book.
During festival season, Daejeon is the natural transfer point for travellers from the south end of the country heading to Boryeong for its expat-oriented mud festival.
|Routes through Daejeon|
|Seoul ← Cheonan/Asan ← Shintanjin ←||NW SE||→ Dong-daegu → Busan|
|Mokpo ← Iksan ←||SW NE||→ END|