Daegu (대구, 大邱), formerly romanized as Taegu and officially known as the Daegu Metropolitan City, is South Korea's fourth largest city (after Seoul, Busan, and Incheon), and the third largest metropolitan area in the nation, with over 2.5 million residents. Daegu is in southeastern Korea, about 80 km (50 miles) from the seacoast, near the Geumho River and its mainstream, Nakdong River in Gyeongsang-do.
Daegu is in the middle of a wide, flat valley, rectangular in shape, and hosts one of the country's largest US military bases. The obligatory South Korean slogan for the city is 'Colorful Daegu'.
Daegu administers itself, although it is mostly surrounded by North Gyeongsang province and therefore is placed there in our hierarchy. Daegu and surrounding North Gyeongsang Province are often referred to as Daegu-Gyeongbuk, with a total population of over 5 million. During the Joseon Dynasty period, the city was the capital of Gyeongsang-do, which was one of the traditional eight provinces of the country.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Daegu has a cool version of a humid subtropical climate. The mountains that comprise the basin trap hot and humid air. Similarly, in winter, cold air lies in the basin. The area receives little precipitation except during the rainy season of summer, and is sunny throughout much of the year. The average temperature for January, the coldest month in Daegu, is -4 °C (25 °F) and for August, the warmest month, is 31 °C (88 °F). Daegu's nickname is "Daefrica" (대프리카) because it is deemed as hot as Africa. In summer they install sculptures on the streets to make fun of this nickname.
- 1 Daegu International Airport (TAE IATA). Has domestic flights to Seoul Incheon, Jeju island, and international flights to Shanghai and Beijing in China and Kansai near Osaka in Japan. The airport is quite small but international and is shared with the military.
The airport is on the east side of the city. To go to the downtown area, take a bus (No. 401, fare: ₩1,100) or ride a taxi. A taxi ride to the Dongsungro district in the center of the city costs around ₩7,000 and takes 25 minutes, while the fare for the 10-minute ride to the Dongdaegu train station is around ₩3,000.
Hotel Airport in the area has a room rate from around ₩130,000 including tax.
There are two train stations in the city. One is Dongdaegu (East Daegu) station and the other is Daegu station. Both stations are connected by Subway Line 1.
You can take high speed KTX train or quite inexpensive Seamaeul and Mugunghwa train if you are to spend less on transportation.
Dongdaegu (East Daegu) station
This is the main station, and only serves the high speed KTX trains. KTX trains connect Seoul to Busan via Daegu and Daejeon, usually they take 1 hour 40 minutes to Seoul and 38-44 minutes to Busan. They are usually in every 20-30 minutes. The fare to Seoul is ₩43,500, Busan is ₩17,100 and Daejeon is ₩17,700 (as of December 2016). There are other trains such as Saemaeul and Mugunghwa. Also you can go to other places from this station. There are trains to Yeongcheon and Pohang, Gyeongju and Ulsan.
It is in the centre of the city (Dongsungro/Jungangro). The station is a complex building with Lotte department store (the largest domestic department chain). Only Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains stop at this station. Because of its location, it is easy to access to the downtown (5-10 min walking) or other places of the city.
For traveling by train, visit the Korail website. It provides timetables, fare, and some information around their stations.
Gyungbu highway between Daejeon and Gyeongju.
Daegu is in the middle of the extensive intercity bus system in South Korea. Buses go directly from Daegu to Seoul in just under 4 hours. Integrated Express Bus Website provides ticket reservation service. The bus fare varies.
By public transportation
Daegu has three subway metro lines. The first two lines intersect at the main downtown stop of Banwoldang.
Line 1 (red line) runs from Daegok to Ansim and Line 2 (green line) runs from Munyang to Sawol. Stops are announced in Korean and in English. Subways typically run from 05:30 to 23:30. Tickets can be purchased from machines.
To enter the subway, scan your token and hold on to it because you will need to insert the same token as you exit.
The monorail, Line 3 (yellow line) is connected in the downtown with Line 1 at Myeongdeok Station and Line 2 at Sinam Station. Line 3 will run from Chilgok to Beommul.
Ticket machines marked "complimentary tickets" are for people with specific types of South Korean Identity cards, such as pensioners.
There is a local bus network in the city too.
Taxis are cheap and easy to find. People in Daegu do not use street addresses. To give directions, you should give the nearest landmark to your destination such as a department store, hotel, or movie theater.
By tour bus
Daegu operates a City Tour Bus that passes by many cultural remains and otherwise touristy places, runs 5 times a day. It is open year-round and operates from 10:00 everyday departing from Daegu Tourist Information Center, Dongdaegu Train Station and Banwoldang. It costs about ₩5,000 for an adult with discounted fares for school students. Road map and leaflet can be downloaded from here.
See & do
- Parks include Bongmu Reports Park between Daegu Airport and the entrance of Mt. Palgong, it has playgrounds and equipment for tennis, Jokku, badminton, shooting and so on; you can enjoy of outdoor variety sports. Not only Mt. Palgong, but also Apsan Park, 83 Tower, Daegu Arboretum, Dalsong Park, are also good for sightseeing.
- 1 E-World & 83 Tower. A European-styled theme park, featuring the 202-meter-high 83 Tower, 20 and more kinds of amusement facilities and rides, a zoo, and ice rink. The Sky Lounge and observation platform on the 83rd floor of the 83 Tower offers a panoramic view city and various ethnic food restaurants offer a fine array of tastes. The 83 Tower Luminarie which uses 8.3 million LED bulbs, shows one of the largest light festivals in the nation.
- 2 The Arc (Gangjeong-Goryeong Weir). The largest in length and volume among the 16 weirs in the 4 major rivers in Korea. The scenery of the surrounding area, including the reeds and sunset, is very beautiful. Bicycle roads are connected along the Nakdong River. Here, you can find diverse water-friendly cultural spaces in harmony, such as The Arc, a water-themed cultural center, designed by world-class architect, Hani Rashid.
- Hillcrest is a theme park full of things to see and experience such as the herb garden, where various herb plants can be enjoyed throughout the year. Also inside, Zoo-Zoo Land and Reptile Park exhibiting the world's reptiles promise a unique experience. There are amusement facilities, and rides like the Merry-Go-Round and Viking and the Agriculture Folk Exhibition Hall.
- Around Suseong Lake, you will find benches, gazebos, trees, a promenade, a multi-cultural amusement park 'Suseong Land' and other amenities, which altogether from a resort area. In Suseong Land, there is skating rink as well as various workshops offering hands-on experience programs, which makes it a good venue for family outings and gatherings. Nearby, are a variety of restaurants and cafes, and it is also not far from the famous Deuran-gil Food Town which has long been loved as a dining out spot by Daegu citizens.
- The most well-known sight of the city is the stone Buddha called Gatbawi on the top of Gwanbong, Palgongsan. It is famous for its stone gat (Korean traditional hat). People from all over the country visit the place, because they believe that the Buddha will grant one's single desire. Gatbawi Stone Buddha is the representative masterpiece of the unified Silla Kingdom, and its official name is Gwanbong Seokjoyeoraejwasang, designated as Treasure Number 431.
- Mt. Palgong is a mountain northeast of Daegu and about 20 km (12.4 mi) from downtown. Its central peak is Birobong which is 1,192 m (3910 ft) above sea level. There are other peaks such as Dongbong and Seobong. Although it belongs to Daegu City, it contains four other cities and its total size is 30,593 km2 (11,812 mi2). It looks like a sacred ground of Buddhism because there are many Buddhist statues, pagodas and rock cliff Buddhas in Palgong Mountain. Gatbawi is a Buddhist statue located on the top of mount Palgongsan which is believed to grant one's wish once in a life and attracts visitors from the whole country.
- 3 Kim Gwangseok-gil Street. A mural street near Bangcheon Market where the now deceased Kim Gwangseok used to live. The 350-m-long wall has statues and murals depicting his life and music. Every autumn, the area of Bangcheon Market and Dongseongno hosts a “Kim Gwangseok’s Singing Contest.”
- Gukchae Bosang Memorial Park In February 1905 the National Debt Redemption Movement began as a nationwide campaign to repay the nation's debt by cutting down on tobacco and alcohol consumption, donating jewelry, and reducing a number of side dishes at meals. The Movement was initiated by Seo Sangdon, a local businessman, in Daegu, which later on inspired the movements in other countries to repay foreign debts such as China in 1909, Mexiao in 1938 and Vietnam in 1945. This campaign, with the spirits of Daeu citizens, also provided wisdom for overcoming the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis. 
- Gyesan Catholic Church – the first Catholic church in the Yeongnam region – and the first Presbyterian Church of Daegu – the first Christian church in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region – are located inside the modern alley, and are symbolic buildings in the history of Catholicism and Christianity in Daegu. Featured with Gothic-style tall spires, both churches are precious historical sources for studies of modern Korean architecture.
- 2.28 Democratic Movement Memorial Park The 2.28 Democracy Movement was a voluntary resistance protest organized by high school students in Daegu to withstand the dictatorship. On February 28, 1960, about 800 high school students refused to comply with the dictatorial to attend schools on Sunday. Instead, they gathered in Banwoldang and the Gyeongsangbuk-do Government Office to rally against the government's illegality and corruption. The Movement was initiated with the spirits of Daegu students and citizens, and led to the following democracy revolution in Korea.
Various festivals in various themes like the Colorful Daegu Festival, Dongseongno festival, Palgongsan maple festival, Biseulsan azalea festival, Korea in Motion Daegu, and so on, are held by the city, each ward, or the specific groups, all through the year. In late August, Daegu hosts the Asian Bodypainting Festival, a sister event of the World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria.
In every May, sponsored and managed by Daegu Foundation of Culture, Colorful Daegu Festival [dead link] offers performances and art programs for everyone to enjoy and participate in. A variety of events are held and the highlight of the festival is the Colorful Parade. Other activities include rock & b-boy dance competitions, concerts, and food trucks to get your fill.
And every summer during July, Daegu Chimac Festival celebrates what Koreans love to enjoy, chicken with beer, and will take place at Duryu Park in Dalseo-gu, Daegu. The term "chimac" is a portmanteau of chicken and maekju (meaning "beer"). With over 880,000 visitors in 2015, and one million visitors during the festival of 2016, the number of total visitors continue to increase as this festival steps up to become one of the most significant events in Korea. This year's festival will include music and cultural performances, making the entire festival overflow with youthful energy. 
Daegu Dalgubeol Lantern Festival is the annual event, held in Daegu city, when people gather altogether to make their own colorful lantern, write some wishes on the lantern and fly them together during sunset time. This event is held to celebrate Buddha's birthday every year on April or May at Duryu Park.
Daegu International Musical Festival Exciting melodies have filled the air across the city every summer as the city hosts its annual musical festival since 2006. Along with a splendid opening concert, the DIMF Awards, a variety of international performances attract musical manias as well as citizens. The DIMF, as the first international musical festival in Asia, offers a chance for musical producers and agencies as well as people to come together and share the joy of musicals with the world.
Watch baseball, the national sport, at Daegu Samsung Lions Park (home to Samsung Lions) and football at DGB Daegu Bank Park (Daegu FC).
Like all South Korean cities, Daegu has numerous job openings for English language teachers at public schools and private academies. See The South Korean article on Teaching for more details.
Daegu has several department stores and a shopping district all around downtown. Also, to the northeast, there is a Costco.
- Dongseongro. If you arrive in downtown, Dongseongro, you can enjoy shopping for jewelry and clothes and visiting Gyodong Market and Seomun Market.
- Seomun market. A little bit of everything. Take the green line of the subway (line 2) to Seomun Market. Walk about two blocks north to find the market.
- Hyundai Department Store (downtown). One of Daegu's largest stores. Hyundai Department Store is at Banwoldang Station (both subway lines), exit 18.
- Samsong Bakery since 1957, is the oldest bakery from Daegu. The corn bread is the most popular bread, it is also known as 'drug bread' due to its addictive taste. Filled with cream and whole kernels of corn, sweet cream cheese and diced vegetables, the store sells about 5000 per day on average. In 2015, the Daegu-based bakery is making in-roads into Seoul and other areas.
- Seomun Market, the largest traditional market in Daegu, was historically referred to as Daegu Market. Along with Pyeongyang Market and Ganggyeong Market, it was known as one of the three largest markets in the Joseon Dynasty. Its night market, opened in 2016, becomes a hot attraction where people come to enjoy delicious food and the romantic atmosphere.
- Daegu Jjimgalbi A dish unique to Daegu since the 1970s, Daegu Jjimgalbi consists of beef ribs cooked in a worn out aluminum pot seasoned with spicy red pepper powder and chopped garlic. This dish is completely different from the steamed short ribs cooked in soy sauce that is served in other areas of Korea. The unique feature of this dish is the tongue-tingling, burning sensation it creates when enjoyed with soju (hard Korean alcohol) or rice mixed with leftover spices. Unlike the steamed ribs from the Seoul and Gyeonggi Province areas, the way its sweet and spicy taste sets your tongue ablaze is unparalleled. This food first appeared in the early 1970s on a residential street in Dongin-dong, Jung-gu, which has since blossomed into a small "village" of local food establishments. 
- Daegu Ttarogukbap For over fifty years, Daegu has been the only place in Korea where rice and soup are usually eaten separately, whereas other regions customarily mix their rice and soup together. In Korean, "ttaro" means "separate" and "gukbap" means "soup and rice". Putting them together to form the Korean compound word "ttarogukbap," the meaning becomes "rice and soup served separately". This dish, which is only found in Daegu, is made with beef shank, leek, and radish cooked in a broth with plenty of red pepper powder and chopped garlic. It has an unrivaled aftertaste that is both spicy and refreshing. Its flavor is the epitome of Daegu's unique "spicy and burning" taste.
- Nightlife is usually found outside the main universities (Kyungpook, Keimyung) and in the downtown area (Banwoldang). Banwoldang is where the greatest concentration of foreign restaurants lies, and weekend nights are filled with people shopping, walking, or sitting in the innumerable pubs, coffee shops, and cafes.
- Gypsy Rock (짚시랔), KNU North Gate (walk past Paris Baguette with Dunkin Donuts behind you; Keep going until you see Gypsy Rock on your right). 20:00. A great underground "rock bar" in the KNU North Gate area. The lighting is a little dark, the air a little damp, the music a bit too loud, but Gypspy Rock remains one of Daegu's best watering holes. The owner of the bar, Dohan, speaks English well and is more than happy to take any request songs from his voluminous library of rock music. The bar is busiest on Friday and Saturday nights, when both students and English teachers from the nearby university come to unwind. With that in mind, it's a great place to meet locals and expats. ₩3000/draft beer.
There are a few options for budget accommodations in Daegu. There is one hostel in Daegu, and plenty of motels and jjimjilbang (찜질방) for the budget-minded. See the main South Korea article for more information on these options.
Guest houses are recommended for travelers want to cut the budget on accommodation since the price range of guest house per night is US$20~30. And if you want a little more expensive but better quality with English speaking clerks, visit Daegu Tourist Information English Page [formerly dead link] for further information.
- Danimbackpackers, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The only hostel in Daegu is "Danimbackpackers". "Danim" means "traveling" in Korean. Danimbackpackers is located in downtown Daegu near the Banwoldang Subway Station, Daegu's central subway station where both subway lines intersect. It takes 5 minutes on foot to downtown, and is easy to get to any place in Deagu by public transportation. Staff are young and enthusiastic to help travelers and are English-speaking. Additionally, this hostel offers one free drink for every night at its bar and breakfast is included in the price.
- Union Tourist Hotel, ☏ . The Union Tourist Hotel is just west of Daegu station. Rates are between ₩38,000 and ₩50,000 per night. The rooms are fairly large and clean but somewhat old, and the bathrooms, especially the bathtubs, are in need of remodeling. Nevertheless, it is a quiet, comfortable, and affordable place to stay. If you call to reserve a room, you receive a discount.
- LifeSpa. A short taxi ride from Jincheon subway station. It might be best to ask for 'Oncheon', or follow a map from the website. This is a jjimjilbang in west Daegu, near to the west bus terminal, Woobang Tower Land and Duryu Park. The entry fee, under ₩10,000, includes access to a large bathing area and impressive hot rooms. There are provincially themed rooms including Mungyeong and Gyeongju rock. One scorching hot room has a carriage of rocks on tracks that seem to have come from a great subterranean forge. There is a snow room, which is far more impressive than most jjimjilbang ice rooms, with falling snow from above. Unfortunately, this room can look a little ransacked if it has hosted families or drunks in the evening. There are small male and female sleeping rooms, but the open sleeping areas are fairly quiet too. The provision of sleeping mats is much worse than in most jjimjilbangs. The baths and saunas are large and impressive. There are several standard pools, a big cooled pool where kids enjoy swimming, a great pine steam sauna and a traditional hot spring room with cold fresh air. The PC room is large and in good repair, there is a restaurant and a rooftop garden and there are far more television screens than could possibly be necessary.
- Eldis Regent, 360 Dongsan-dong, Joong-gu, ☏ , fax: . Drawbacks include small parking lot that is overfilled at any event (weddings), usually weekends, but clears out in evening. Also rare for a taxi driver to recognize the name, expect to show a map or give directions from the Prince (nearby).
- Grand Daegu Hotel, 563-1 Beomeo 1-dong, Susung-gu. Rooms roughly the same as the Prince. Has a parking garage but often a tight squeeze.
- Daegu Garden, 688-1 Bongdeok3-dong, Nam-gu, ☏ , fax: . Rooms said to be not as nice as the Prince or Grand, although is near a more active nightlife area.
- Novotel Daegu City Center, 611 Gukchaebosang-ro, Jung-gu, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. In the main downtown area, this is the only major international chain hotel in the city of Daegu. rates from ₩140,250.
Like the rest of Korea, all of Daegu is safe at any time of the day. However, westerners, especially minorities or men with Korean women, may encounter hostility from drunken men, but this is increasingly rare. The water is safe, but newcomers with sensitive stomachs should be prudent with street food or with the spice levels. Be aware that some, but not all, ATM machines close before midnight if you need late-night drinking money.
Korean taxi drivers may drive somewhat erratically. Drivers are usually honest and being cheated on fares is not common.
- 4 Dodong-seowon (SW of Daegu). A Confucian academy, one of nine to make up the world heritage site Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies.
- The major cities of Seoul, Daejeon, Ulsan or Busan via the KTX.
- Andong, home of the annual International Mask Festival and World Heritage rated Hahoe Folk Village.
- Gayasan Mountain National Park, home to Haeinsa, one of Korea's Three Jewel Temples and a World Heritage Site.
- Gumi, nearby electronics powerhouse, but not without its fair share of hiking opportunities too.
- Gyeongju, Korea's cultural capital and home to World Heritage rated Donghaksa Temple.
|Routes through Daegu|
|Daejeon ← Gimcheon (Gumi) ←||NW SE||→ Shin-gyeongju → Busan|
|END ←||NW S||→ Miryang → Busan|
|END ←||NW S||→ Miryang → Masan|