If you’re planning to travel to South Korea and would like to visit authentic and traditional cities, I strongly recommend you visit the city of Andong. You can also visit the beautiful folk village of Hahoe which is about 30 kilometers from Andong.
In this blog post, I’m going to tell about some great attractions to visit in this beautiful region but first, let me help you get to Andong and book your accommodation there.
Let’s dive in! 🙂
How To Get To Andong
If like me, you’re traveling to Andong from Gyeongju, the easiest way to get there is by train. The trip takes about two hours by local train and a one-way ticket costs 8300 won, about $7. To check out train schedules in South Korea, visit this site. If you plan on using the train as your main means of transportation in Korea, you can book the Korail Pass online to have unlimited access to most train routes for a limited period of time.
FYI, here’s what my train ticket looked like:
First car and first seat! Can you do better? 😀
If you’re coming from Daegu, Jeonju or Seoul, the most convenient means of transportation to Andong is actually not the train but the bus. The Andong bus station is not in the city center but slightly outside (around 7 km away). Here is its exact location.
As far as bus schedules are concerned, there isn’t, to my knowledge, a website in English to check out bus timetables. So I asked for schedules and ticket prices at my hotel’s reception desk before each trip. If you’re coming from a big city, you can also go directly to the departure bus station (in the morning for example) and get the next bus. Bus frequency is generally quite high from big cities; there’s a departure to Andong at about every hour.
Where To Stay In Andong
Accommodation-wise, all the attractions I’m going to mention are in the city of Andong so book your accommodation there. The visit to the village of Hahoe will take a day to complete. Since you’ll be in a traditional Korean area, I recommend booking at a hanok-style inn like Kim’s House. It offers dorm beds and a private double room. You’ll need to book early though because it is a very popular hostel that sells out pretty fast.
By the way, for more traditional houses in Korea, read this blog post: The 9 Best Hanok Stay in Korea.
If you’re wondering how much time you should stay in Andong, I think 2 nights would give you enough time to visit the folk village of Hahoe and the main attractions of Andong.
How To Get To Hahoe Folk Village
As I said, the village of Hahoe is about 30 kilometers from Andong and you can get there by bus. It is bus number 246 you’ll need to take from this bus station for example. The trip takes a little less than an hour and costs 1300 won or about a dollar. Departures are scheduled approximately every hour.
Once at the entrance of the village, you’ll need to pay 5000 won or about $4 to enter. Here is what the ticket office and the ticket look like:
Once you get your ticket, you will take another bus (scheduled every 15 minutes I think) and arrive at the village after 5 minutes. 🙂
Visit Hahoe Folk Village
Entrance fee: 5000 won or $4
Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/gECDCxWKNHAaEi1k9
Built more than 600 years ago, the village of Hahoe is like an open-air museum! It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. It was the Ryu clan of Pungsan that established the Hahoe Folk Village which has beautiful old houses with tiled or thatched roofs. Many people still live in this village and we must be careful not to disturb them even though they are very friendly.
That’s not all! You can also visit the village church, take a stroll on the banks of the Nakdong River and buy many handmade products. Talk about a change of scenery… Hahoe is like traveling in time! 🙂
Hahoe is a big village so do your best to devote at least half a day to visit and enjoy every nook and cranny of this great attraction. To move around Hahoe, walking would be ideal but you can also rent electric vehicles if comfort is of any concern to you.
The Best Things To Do In Andong, South Korea
The Mask Dance Festival
Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/Z15TeiJQmUszq1Pa9
Every year in Andong, people celebrate the mask dance festival. It takes place from late September until early October and lasts about ten days. Even if you don’t go to Andong during this period, I still recommend you walk around the theater where the festival takes place. You will find lots of sculptures with surprising masks there.
On the other hand, if you go to South Korea during the festival period, make sure to be in Andong right on time for the festival! Entrance to the theater show costs 7000 won (about $5).
Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/bRBkwR2q78xuA5BKA
If you want to get some fresh air during your stay in Andong, make sure to cross the beautiful 387-meter wooden bridge of Woryeonggyo. As you can see, I went there during the day but it seems that it is also very beautiful at night with all the lights on.
Enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains of the region and the Nakdong River I mentioned earlier. FYI, the Nakdong River is the largest river in Korea.
The Mini Folk Village
Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/zaMtWVffJ3FwYsgK8
When you cross the Woryeonggyo Bridge, you will get to a large park with kind of a mini folk village. There are houses with thatched roofs there and you can even visit some of them. You can also enjoy other aspects of the traditional Korean lifestyle there including a beautiful watermill or a beautiful stone bridge. Of course, it has nothing to do with the village of Hahoe but I think it’s worth the trip.
The Soju Museum
Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/M2md1vs8rWjYGWjY7
Soju is typical Korean alcohol that was originally made from rice. But more and more Soju is now made with wheat or potato starch. Having had some quite often during my trip to Korea, I recommend you try it at least once! Koreans sometimes mix it with beer and even if it sounds weird, it works great. 🙂
It might remind you a little bit of Japanese Sake, but you should know that Soju is a distilled alcohol while Sake is produced through fermentation, like beer.
So at the Soju museum in Andong, you can taste and learn more about this alcohol and also about Korean “table culture”.
To go to the museum from the city center, you will have to take bus number 80 or 81 (20-minute trip).
Last (musical) note on Soju, here’s a song by Jay Park who is an American rapper of Korean origin and who dedicated one of his songs to just that. It might have nothing to do with Andong but I thought it might be of interest to some of my readers. 😀
Let’s wrap up this blog post with some music, guys! So the Andong region is one of the cultural and traditional centers of South Korea and I really think it is a must-visit city when traveling to The Land of Morning Calm.
If you have questions or more information to share on Andong or Hahoe, make sure to leave them in the comments below.
See you around,