Forgive me for being a bit outside of my normal topic of language, but I thought it necessary to dispense some of my travel experience…
If you ever go to South Korea, check out the city of Andong. If you ever go to Andong, heed my advice. I traveled to there with weeks of preparation and phone calls under my belt…but of course~things went wrong. Here is what I learned and what you must see if you are ever so fortunate as to have the opportunity to experience “The Capital of The Korean Spirit”: Andong City.
Situated in the center of South Korea (and a bit to the East) is the city of Andong.
How To: Get There
By no means impossible to get to, Andong’s recent popularity boom has made it quite accessible by both bus and train. Though the train may be novel, the bus is most definitely the way to travel. The bus is fast (1~3 hours faster), cheap (about 15,000won or roughly $12), and very comfortable thanks to its plush, wide seats.
Directions: Go to Dongbu Seoul Bus Terminal (on subway line 2)and from there hop on one of the Andong-bound buses that depart every 20 minutes. This will take you right to the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal in the center of the city.
Distances to Attractions: WARNING!
Though advertised by their website as all easily accessible via the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal, DO NOT BE FOOLED! Though every tourist site in the city is technically on one bus line or another, the locations are far and the buses are few. Not knowing this, I was in for a real headache. This is my only warning: Planning your Andong trip with the idea of getting from place to place via bus will frustrate and exhaust you!
So, how do you resolve this problem? Simple: Rent-a-Car**. If I ever go back to Andong in the future, I will not think twice about this! This is my one strong suggestion. Renting a car in Andong will save your mind, body, and soul as you come to realize the distances you must travel even by bus to get to some of the more amazing attractions. **I have just been informed those in the business of renting out cars in Andong will not rent out to anyone without sufficient Korean language skills!! Taxis may be the next best thing. **
The Amazing Attractions
1) Dosan Confucian Academy (Dosan Seowon)
2) Bongjeong Temple (봉정사)(鳳停寺）
3) Sinsedong Seven-Story Brick Pagoda
4) Jirye Artist Colony
5) Hahoe Village
6) Andong Folk Liquor: Soju Museum
When they say that Andong is the center of tradition and culture of Korea, they are not lying. Within a one-hour radius of the center of the city are a dozen treasures (some literally are national treasures!) that are completely unique and breathtaking. Here is a list of the places I went to see and can personally attest to their existence and worth. Continue reading