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- 24 Feb 2020, 3 nights
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Self-proclaimed as South Korea's fashion capital thanks to its thriving textile trade, Daegu is a fascinating blend of old and new. Traditional palaces and temples rub shoulders with glitzy high-rises and 4D cinemas, and the city's lively markets sell everything from ancient herbal remedies to this week's must-have accessories. Visitors descend on the city throughout the year for events such as the Buddha's birthday (a public holiday), the Dalgubeol Lantern Festival and Daegu Chimac Festival – which celebrates fried chicken paired with beer.
You can stay in a Daegu hostel with traditional-style rooms close to the Station, a contemporary hostel with spacious communal areas or cosy dorms with underfloor heating. Catch the city's glittering night view from a rooftop terrace or relax in an outdoor swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi is standard (and South Korea has some of the fastest internet in the world). Most Daegu hostels offer free breakfasts and you can also find extras such as toiletries and laundry facilities.
Jung-gu district is Daegu's city centre and it's where you'll find the commercial downtown shopping street Dongseong-ro. Nightlife, restaurants and fashion shopping can be found underground at Banwoldang, while Seomun Market has thousands of vendors selling everything from hanboks (Korean traditional dress) to homeware, plus mouthwatering street food. On the edge of the city, Otgol Village is known for its folk culture and historic hanok houses. If you'd rather head into the great outdoors, Biseulsan County Park stretches out to the south and is famous for its azalea festival.
Daegu has plenty of attractions. You can see a 17m high Buddha statue at Donghwasa Temple or explore the narrow alleys of Yangnyeongsi Market, one of the oldest Oriental medicine markets in Korea (look out for giant mounds of dried ginseng). Buskers perform on Kim Gwangseok-gil Street, which commemorates the eponymous folk-rock singer with colourful murals. To see the city from above, head to the 83 Tower Observatory in E-world Amusement Park, or you can hop on a cable car at Apsan Park.
To get to Daegu, an express bus runs direct from Gimhae International Airport and takes around an hour. From Seoul's Incheon International Airport it's a 4-hour journey on the express bus and from central Seoul you can take a bus, or the KTX train to Dongdaegu Station (2 hours). Within the city, a user-friendly metro and bus system makes it easy to get around. The city centre is compact enough to walk shorter distances and taxis can be hailed on the street.