As cultural travellers, we are always seeking out destinations that best tell the story of a nation. In South Korea, that place is Andong. That’s not just us making this claim – back in 1999, Queen Elizabeth II was taken to the most Korean place in Korea at her request.
And so, she ended up in Andong. Home to the Hahoe Folk Village, classic temples, ancient Buddha statues, and more, this place is a must-see on your travels in South Korea.
Come check out our Andong travel guide for curious travellers as we cover the best things to do in Andong, Korea.
Andong City Guide: A Brief History Of Andong, Korea
Andong is a city located in the southeastern part of South Korea. It has a rich history that dates back to the Three Kingdoms period of Korea. Andong was also the birthplace of many famous scholars and artists during the Joseon Dynasty. The city is known for its traditional culture, including the Hahoe Mask Dance, which is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
During the Three Kingdoms period, Andong was called Gochang, and it served as an important strategic location for the kingdom of Silla. The city became a cultural hub during the Joseon Dynasty, producing many scholars, artists, and politicians. Andong also played a crucial role in the Imjin War against Japan in the late 16th century.
Today, Andong is a bustling city with a mix of traditional and modern elements. Visitors can experience the city’s rich history and culture by visiting its numerous museums, temples, and other historical sites.
One of the most famous attractions in Andong is the Hahoe Folk Village, which is a traditional village that has preserved the architecture and lifestyle of the Joseon Dynasty. The village is also the birthplace of many famous scholars, including Ryu Un-ryong, who was one of the most influential Confucian scholars during the late Joseon period.
Other notable attractions in Andong include the Andong Confucian Academy, which was the highest educational institution in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty, and the Dosan Seowon, which was a Confucian academy established in the 16th century.
Andong is also known for its delicious local cuisine. Visitors can try various dishes, such as Andong Jjimdak, which is a savory chicken stew, and Andong Guksu, which is a noodle dish served in a flavorful broth.
Overall, Andong is a fascinating city with a rich cultural history that offers visitors a unique glimpse into the traditional culture of Korea.
Andong Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Korea
If you’re planning on visiting Andong, chances are you’re making the trip to see the Hahoe Folk Village. With buildings that date back centuries, UNESCO has recognized it for its authentic representation of ancient Korean culture.
This community is home to tiled and thatched roof houses which were once home to the Ryu clan. Set in a lush valley alongside the Nakdong River, its natural surroundings create an atmosphere that is unforgettable.
When you aren’t walking through narrow alleys or verdant rice fields, be sure to sample this community’s eats. This village is famous for its Heotjesabap (bibimbap eaten by nobles) and Andong Gangodeungeo (a mackerel dish). These meals will take you to the heart of Korean cuisine, so don’t miss your chance to try either.
Get a sense for local rituals by stopping by the Hahoe Mask Museum. Here, you’ll find a collection of masks used by villagers in ceremonies stretching back centuries. Local masks make up most of the collection, but this institution does have international specimens as well.
You won’t be able to try them on, but there are programs where you can make your own. In the process of doing so, you’ll understand the importance of these ancient rituals.
If you visit between the end of September and early October, you’ll get to see them in action at the Andong Mask Dance Festival. During this period, you’ll experience parades, performances, and other mask-related fun.
As you watch experienced dancers do their thing, buy some beondegi (silkworm pupae) to go with your beer. In doing so, you’ll be indulging deeply in the place known as the ‘most Korean place in Korea’.
However, you don’t have to content yourself with watching – you can participate as well. Throughout the festival, locals encourage visitors to create masks. With the guidance of experienced mask crafters, you’ll come up with something fresh – don’t be shy.
Have you had your fill of Hahoe Folk Village? Head out of town to visit the Dosanseowon Confucian Academy. Over many centuries, this philosophical school has tuned out countless Confucian scholars.
This school gained recognition for its role in developing Korean culture by the government in 1969. Dubbed a National Treasure, it also perfectly portrays the architecture of that period.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Andong, Korea
If you are looking to tour a Buddhist place of worship in Andong, check out Bongjeongsa Temple. According to legend, the Monk Ui-Sang founded this temple in the late 7th century. It is likely to be that old, but sadly, the ravages of the Korean war destroyed any corroborating evidence.
During reconstruction work in the 1970s, uncovered documents proved that workers performed renovations on the structure in the 13th century. This makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site the oldest wooden building in Korea – don’t miss it during your visit.
You wouldn’t be in Korea without running into examples of the integration of the old and the new. The Traditional Culture Contents Museum is a prime example, as it mixes Korea’s past with state-of-the-art displays.
There are no artifacts in the traditional sense here – just touchscreens, video presentations, and other interactive displays. With English translations throughout, it is well worth your time, as it will deepen your understanding of Korean culture.
Adong is also famous for its contributions to Korean cuisine. These include alcoholic beverages, as the Andong Soju Museum shows. Within, you’ll learn about the production of soju, from the fields to the final bottling.
Exhibits also show off bottles used for soju over the years, and cups used to consume this strong drink. It is in the same building as the Traditional Food Museum, so head over to it to learn about local dishes afterwards.
Lovers of monuments won’t want to miss the opportunity to see the ancient Rock-Carved Standing Buddha while in Andong. Many ages ago, workers chiselled this 13-metre high monument out of a cliff face.
Estimates put its age at around 800 years old. After centuries of exposure to elements and war, its survival is a minor miracle.
source: Full Belly Travels on YouTube
Top 10 Things To Do in Andong, Korea For Visitors
Andong is a city in the Gyeongsangbuk-do province of South Korea. The city is famous for its well-preserved traditional culture, beautiful scenery, and unique festivals. If you’re planning to visit Andong, here are the top 10 things you should do:
- Hahoe Folk Village: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a traditional Korean village that has been preserved for over 600 years. You can experience the traditional Korean way of life here, with ancient houses, food, and activities like archery and traditional dances.
- Andong Soju Museum: Andong Soju is a traditional Korean rice wine that has been produced in the city for over 700 years. At the Andong Soju Museum, you can learn about the history and process of making this popular drink, and even try a sample.
- Dosan Seowon: Dosan Seowon is a Confucian academy that was established in 1574. The academy is known for its beautiful architecture, tranquil atmosphere, and stunning natural surroundings.
- Bongjeongsa Temple: Bongjeongsa Temple is a historic Buddhist temple that dates back to the 9th century. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Woryeonggyo Bridge: The Woryeonggyo Bridge is a historic stone bridge that spans the Nakdong River. The bridge is known for its beautiful design and is a popular spot for photos.
- Andong Dam Market: This traditional market is a great place to try local foods and buy souvenirs. You can find everything from street food to traditional crafts and clothing.
- Andong Mask Dance Festival: This annual festival is held in October and is a celebration of traditional Korean mask dances. The festival features parades, performances, and workshops where you can learn to make your own mask.
- Andong Folk Museum: The Andong Folk Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Andong. The museum features exhibits on traditional Korean clothing, food, and crafts.
- Buyongdae Cliff: Buyongdae Cliff is a scenic overlook that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. The cliff is a popular spot for hiking and photography.
- Hahoe Mask Museum: The Hahoe Mask Museum is dedicated to the traditional Korean masks used in the Hahoe Mask Dance. The museum features over 3,000 masks from all over Korea and the world.
Andong is a city that truly celebrates and preserves its traditional culture. These top 10 things to do in Andong offer a glimpse into the rich history and beauty of the city. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or nature, Andong has something to offer.
What To Eat and Drink at Restaurants in Andong, Korea
Andong is a city in South Korea that is famous for its rich culinary heritage. Here are some of the must-try dishes and drinks when visiting Andong:
- Andong Jjimdak – This is a spicy chicken dish that is braised with various vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, and onions. The dish is seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, and other spices.
- Heotjesabap – This is a traditional Andong dish made of rice and various wild vegetables. The dish is served with a side of soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Andong Guksu – This is a noodle soup that is made with a clear anchovy broth. The noodles used in this dish are handmade and are thin and chewy.
- Ssambap – This is a dish that consists of rice and various herbs and vegetables, which are wrapped in a lettuce leaf. The dish is then dipped in a spicy sauce made with gochujang, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
- Andong Soju – This is a traditional alcoholic drink that is made from rice, wheat, and barley. Andong Soju is known for its smooth taste and is often served with Korean barbeque.
- Andong Sikhye – This is a sweet rice drink that is made by fermenting rice with malt. The drink is sweetened with sugar and is often served as a dessert.
- Andong Salju – This is a type of rice wine that is made with a mixture of rice, barley, and wheat. The wine has a slightly sweet taste and is often served as an aperitif.
- Andong Mackerel – This is a local specialty that is made by marinating mackerel in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. The fish is then grilled until crispy.
- Chueotang – This is a soup that is made with mudfish and various vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, and garlic. The soup is known for its rich and savory taste.
- Andong Hwajeon – This is a traditional Andong dessert that is made with rice flour and various edible flowers, such as chrysanthemums and roses. The dessert is often served with a cup of tea.
When in Andong, be sure to try out these dishes and drinks to get a taste of the city’s rich culinary heritage.
Tours For Visitors To Andong, Korea
With its beautiful natural scenery and cultural heritage, there are numerous tours available for visitors to explore and experience all that Andong has to offer.
- Hahoe Folk Village Tour: This tour takes visitors to the Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The village is a living museum that showcases traditional Korean culture and architecture. Visitors can experience the daily life of the residents of the village, and participate in cultural activities such as mask-making and traditional dance performances.
- Andong Soju Brewery Tour: Andong is famous for its traditional Korean alcohol, called soju. This tour takes visitors to a local brewery where they can learn about the history and production process of this iconic drink. Of course, visitors can also sample the different types of soju and enjoy a taste of the local culture.
- Buyongdae Cliff Tour: Buyongdae is a cliff that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can take a leisurely hike up to the top of the cliff, where they can enjoy panoramic views of the Nakdong River and the surrounding mountains. The cliff is also home to a number of historical sites, including the Buyongdae Pavilion and the Tomb of King Guhyeong.
- Andong Jjimdak Cooking Class: Jjimdak is a traditional Korean dish made with chicken, vegetables, and a variety of seasonings. Visitors can take a cooking class to learn how to make this delicious dish, and then enjoy their creation with a glass of soju.
- Dosan Seowon Confucian Academy Tour: The Dosan Seowon Confucian Academy is a historic site that was once used as a school for Confucian scholars. Visitors can tour the academy, which features traditional Korean architecture and beautiful gardens. The academy also has a museum that showcases the life and teachings of Dosan Seowon, a prominent Korean philosopher.
- Bongjeongsa Temple Stay: Visitors can experience traditional Korean temple life by staying overnight at Bongjeongsa Temple. The temple offers a variety of programs and activities, including meditation, tea ceremonies, and Buddhist chanting.
- Andong Mask Dance Festival: The Andong Mask Dance Festival is an annual event that showcases traditional Korean mask dances. Visitors can enjoy performances by dancers in colorful costumes, and participate in mask-making workshops and other cultural activities.
- Byeongsan Seowon Confucian Academy Tour: The Byeongsan Seowon Confucian Academy is another historic site that was once used as a school for Confucian scholars. The academy features beautiful gardens and traditional Korean architecture. Visitors can tour the academy and learn about the history and teachings of Confucianism in Korea.
- Andong Goryeo Celadon Museum Tour: Celadon pottery is a type of pottery that originated in China and was later adopted by Korea. The Andong Goryeo Celadon Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and production of celadon pottery in Korea. Visitors can learn about the intricate techniques used to create these beautiful pieces, and view a variety of celadon artifacts.
- Andong Folk Museum Tour: The Andong Folk Museum is a museum that showcases the traditional culture and lifestyle of the people of Andong. Visitors can learn about the history of the city, as well as the customs and traditions of its residents. The museum features a variety of exhibits, including traditional clothing, household items, and agricultural tools.
These are just a few of the many tours available for visitors to Andong. With its rich history and cultural heritage, there is something for everyone to explore and discover in this beautiful city.
Andong Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
Whether you’re planning a short visit or a longer stay, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from in Andong.
- Traditional Hanok Guesthouses: For a truly authentic experience, consider staying in one of Andong’s traditional Hanok guesthouses. These historic buildings have been converted into comfortable guest accommodations, complete with traditional Korean furnishings and architecture. Some popular options include the Jirye Arts Village, which features beautiful gardens and cultural activities, and the Yewon Guesthouse, which has a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
- Modern Hotels: If you prefer a more modern accommodation, there are several hotels in Andong that offer comfortable rooms and convenient amenities. The Andong Grand Hotel is a popular choice, with spacious rooms and a great location near many of the city’s attractions. The Goodstay Andong Park Hotel is another good option, with modern facilities and friendly service.
- Pension Guesthouses: Pension guesthouses are a popular choice for travelers who want a comfortable and affordable place to stay in Andong. These guesthouses offer private rooms with shared common areas, and many include breakfast or other meals. Some popular options include the Dalzip Guesthouse, which has a great location near Andong’s historic sites, and the Annyeong Guesthouse, which has a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
- Hanok Homestays: For an even more immersive experience, consider staying with a local family in a Hanok homestay. These accommodations offer a unique opportunity to experience Korean family life and culture firsthand, while also enjoying comfortable and well-appointed guest rooms. Some popular options include the Yeongeukchae Hanok Homestay, which features traditional Korean meals and cultural activities, and the Hahoe Hanok Guesthouse, which is located in a beautiful rural setting.
No matter what type of accommodation you choose, you’re sure to enjoy your stay in Andong. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural scenery, and delicious cuisine, this city is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to South Korea.
Day Trips From Andong, Korea
Andong, located in the southeastern region of South Korea, offers a great starting point for exploring the surrounding areas. Here are some top day trips from Andong:
- Hahoe Folk Village – A UNESCO World Heritage site, Hahoe Folk Village is known for its well-preserved traditional houses and cultural heritage. You can explore the village on foot and learn about traditional Korean culture.
- Gyeongju – Often referred to as the “museum without walls,” Gyeongju was once the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom. It is home to numerous historical sites, such as the Gyeongju National Museum, Bulguksa Temple, and Seokguram Grotto.
- Seonunsa Temple – One of the most beautiful temples in Korea, Seonunsa Temple is nestled in the foothills of the Baekdudaegan mountain range. Visitors can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and admire the traditional architecture of the temple.
- Danyang – Danyang is a picturesque town located on the banks of the Namhan River. It is famous for its stunning natural scenery, including the picturesque Stone Pillars of Danyang and the Guinsa Temple.
- Daegu – Daegu is a bustling city known for its traditional markets, street food, and shopping districts. Some of the popular tourist attractions in Daegu include the Seomun Market, Dongseongro Street, and the Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine.
- Gayasan National Park – Gayasan National Park is a beautiful natural area located near Andong. It is home to Mount Gayasan, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, as well as the Beopjusa Temple, which is known for its beautiful architecture.
- Yeongju – Yeongju is a small city located in the northern part of Gyeongsangbuk-do province. It is known for its scenic beauty and historic sites, including the Sosu Seowon Confucian Academy and the Buseoksa Temple.
- Yeosu – Yeosu is a coastal city located on the southern coast of South Korea. It is known for its beautiful beaches, scenic harbor, and delicious seafood. Visitors can also take a cable car ride to the Yeosu Expo Tower for panoramic views of the city.
- Gochang – Gochang is a small town located in the northwest part of Jeollabuk-do province. It is known for its ancient dolmens, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as its scenic countryside and traditional Korean culture.
- Boseong – Boseong is a picturesque town located on the southern coast of South Korea. It is famous for its tea plantations, which offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can also learn about the traditional Korean tea ceremony and sample different types of tea.
Andong Transportation Guide
If you plan to visit Andong, it’s essential to know the different transportation options available. Here’s a guide to Andong transportation to help you navigate the city with ease:
- By Train: The most convenient way to reach Andong is by train. The city has a railway station, Andong Station, which is located in the downtown area. There are regular train services that run to Andong from major cities like Seoul, Busan, and Daegu. The journey takes about 3-4 hours from Seoul and 2 hours from Busan.
- By Bus: If you’re traveling on a budget, taking a bus to Andong is a good option. The city has a central bus terminal that connects to many cities in South Korea. The journey from Seoul takes about 4 hours, while it takes about 3 hours from Busan.
- By Car: Renting a car is a great option if you prefer to explore Andong and its surrounding areas at your own pace. You can rent a car from major car rental companies at airports or in the city. It’s essential to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in South Korea.
- By Taxi: Taxis are widely available in Andong and are a convenient way to travel within the city. You can easily hail a taxi from the street or call a taxi service. Most taxi drivers in Andong do not speak English, so it’s essential to have your destination written in Korean.
- By Bicycle: If you want to explore the city’s natural beauty, renting a bicycle is an excellent option. You can rent a bike from various bike rental shops in the city. Andong has many bike paths that are perfect for leisurely cycling.
In conclusion, Andong offers various transportation options for visitors. Whether you prefer convenience, affordability, or freedom, there is a mode of transportation that will suit your needs. With this transportation guide, you can explore Andong and its surroundings with ease.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Andong?
After your visit to Andong, there are numerous destinations worth exploring. Here are a few recommended places to consider:
- Gyeongju: Located about an hour and a half east of Andong, Gyeongju is a historic city with numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Known as the “museum without walls,” Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient Silla kingdom and boasts numerous temples, tombs, and other cultural attractions.
- Busan: About three hours south of Andong lies Busan, a bustling port city with beaches, temples, and an exciting food scene. Highlights include the Jagalchi Fish Market, the Gamcheon Culture Village, and Haeundae Beach.
- Jeju Island: Located off the southern coast of Korea, Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination with stunning natural scenery, including waterfalls, beaches, and volcanic landscapes. Visitors can also explore traditional Jeju culture and cuisine.
- Seoul: As the capital of South Korea, Seoul has something for everyone. From ancient palaces to modern shopping districts, traditional markets to cutting-edge art galleries, Seoul is a vibrant city that never sleeps.
- Daegu: Known as the “Apple City,” Daegu is a hub of Korean traditional culture, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Visitors can explore historic temples, visit traditional markets, and sample local cuisine.
- Danyang: Located about an hour north of Andong, Danyang is a scenic area known for its natural beauty. Highlights include the Eight Scenic Views of Danyang, the Gosu Cave, and the Mancheonha Skywalk.
- Jinju: Located in the southern part of the country, Jinju is known for its historic fortress and the annual Jinju Lantern Festival. Visitors can also explore traditional Korean villages and sample local cuisine.
- Sokcho: Located on the east coast of Korea, Sokcho is a popular beach town with stunning views of the sea and nearby mountains. Visitors can also explore the Seoraksan National Park and the nearby fishing village of Jumunjin.
- Gangneung: Another coastal city, Gangneung is known for its beautiful beaches and historic temples. Visitors can also explore traditional markets and sample local cuisine.
- Jeonju: Located in the southwestern part of the country, Jeonju is known for its traditional Korean cuisine, including the famous bibimbap dish. Visitors can also explore traditional Korean architecture and culture in the Hanok Village.
Andong Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Andong, with its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, is a must-visit destination for travelers to South Korea. From exploring ancient sites to sampling local cuisine, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Andong.
Make sure to visit Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can step back in time and experience traditional Korean village life. The nearby Buyongdae Cliff offers stunning views of the Nakdong River and the surrounding mountains. And for a unique cultural experience, don’t miss the Andong Mask Dance Festival, held annually in October.
To fully immerse yourself in Andong’s culinary scene, try dishes like Andong Jjimdak (braised chicken), Andong Soju (rice wine), and Andong Sikhye (sweet rice punch). And if you’re a fan of Korean traditional liquor, be sure to visit the Andong Soju Museum to learn about the history of the famous Andong Soju.
Accommodations in Andong range from traditional Korean hanok guesthouses to modern hotels. And with convenient transportation options, including bus and train, getting around Andong and exploring its neighboring cities is easy.
After your trip to Andong, consider visiting nearby cities such as Daegu, Gyeongju, and Busan, each offering their own unique attractions and experiences.
With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and unique cultural experiences, Andong is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
Nestled in the heart of Gyeongsangbuk-do,
Andong’s charm will make your heart aglow.
With a rich history and culture so grand,
Your visit here will be nothing but grand.
Take a stroll through the streets of old,
Experience a world that’s centuries old.
Indulge in traditional foods so fine,
Your taste buds will surely dance in line.
Visit the Hahoe Folk Village so quaint,
With its thatched roofs and river so faint.
Discover the past at the Andong Folk Museum,
And let your imagination’s wings blossom.
Take a hike to the Woryeonggyo Bridge so tall,
And feel the breeze brush past you and all.
Visit the Dosan Seowon Confucian Academy so wise,
And let knowledge from the past, within you rise.
With beauty that’s both natural and manmade,
Andong will leave a memory that won’t fade.
So come and visit, and let your heart sing,
And let the charms of Andong, your soul bring.