Sitting smack dab in the centre of Korea, Daejeon is easy to reach from Seoul, Daegu or Busan. While not as flashy as its northern or southern counterparts, it has its share of low-key but interesting attractions.
From the former site of Expo 1993 to a relaxing hot spring, you’ll find plenty of attractions here.
Come check out our Daejeon destination travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Daejeon, South Korea.
Daejeon City Guide: A Brief History Of Daejeon, South Korea
Daejeon, located in the central region of South Korea, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. It is believed that the area was originally settled by early humans during the Neolithic period, and that it was home to several ancient cultures, including the Buyeo, Mahan, and Baekje kingdoms.
During the Baekje era, Daejeon, then known as “Hanbat,” was a flourishing center of culture and commerce. The city was strategically located along major trade routes, and was home to numerous artisans and craftsmen who excelled in pottery, ironwork, and silk production. In fact, the famous Baekje Cultural Land theme park, located just outside the city, offers visitors an immersive look into the daily life and traditions of the Baekje people.
During the Joseon Dynasty, Daejeon continued to thrive, with a growing population and the emergence of new industries. The city was also known for its advanced educational institutions, with the establishment of several schools and universities that attracted scholars from all over the country.
In the late 19th century, however, Daejeon was occupied by the Japanese, who sought to control the region’s valuable natural resources and strategic location. During this time, the city was transformed into a military center, with numerous barracks and facilities built to support the Japanese military.
Despite the hardships of the occupation, Daejeon continued to grow and evolve, particularly in the fields of industry and technology. In the mid-20th century, the city became a key player in the country’s post-war economic boom, with the establishment of several major companies and research institutions.
Today, Daejeon is a bustling and dynamic city that embraces both its rich history and its modern innovations. Visitors can explore numerous museums and historical sites, including the National Science Museum, the Daejeon Museum of Art, and the famous Expo Science Park. The city is also home to several major universities, including KAIST and Chungnam National University, which have helped to establish Daejeon as a hub of research and innovation.
Overall, the history of Daejeon is a fascinating and complex story that reflects the city’s unique position at the intersection of tradition and modernity. From ancient kingdoms to modern technology, Daejeon has played a vital role in shaping the history and culture of South Korea, and continues to be a dynamic and exciting destination for visitors from around the world.
Daejeon Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in South Korea
Start your sightseeing adventure in Daejeon in Expo Park. Back in 1993, this city became one of the few developing world centres to host this prestigious global event. After its conclusion, it became a centrepiece park that is now the most popular gathering place in the city.
Of all its points of interest, its stunning bridge is the most noteworthy. Lorded over by arches that are lit brilliantly by spotlights and bulbs, it is a spectacular sight after dark. The Hanbit Tower, Daejeon Expo Memorial Hall (commemorates the events of the 1993 Expo), and the World Expo Memorial Museum (looks back at the 200-year history of the World Fair) are also worth seeing in this park.
Culturally-minded travellers will want to include the Daejeon Museum of Art on their visit to this city. This institution boasts more than 1,100 pieces of modern art produced by Korean and foreign creatives. With over 8,400 m2 of exhibition space and an outdoor sculpture park, you’ll be busy for hours. Situated across from Expo Park, it is also easy to include if you are on a tight schedule.
Next, make your way out to Uamsajeok Park. Located on the outskirts of Daejeon, it is a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city centre. Confucian scholar Uam Song Si-yeol thought similarly, as he chose to meditate here back in the 17th century.
The grounds of this park contain buildings that are still used by Korean academics today. These include Namganjeongsa (where Uam taught), and Songjadaejeonpan (a library that contains Uam’s written works).
If you wish to follow in Uam’s example, the gates open at 5 am (6 am in winter). This early start will give you the solitude needed to find the clarity of mind to achieve greatness in your life.
Seek out further peace by taking a trip out to Jangtaesan Natural Forest. An hour south of Daejeon, its heavily forested peaks will grant relaxation not easily found in the city. All around you, stands of cypress and ginkgo trees scent the air, and mountain views inspire the soul.
Altogether, there are 12 kilometres of trails, but if you want to relax, there are also tenting sites. With a deer park, botanic garden, and exercise facilities, you can easily spend a full day out here.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Daejeon, Korea
After a long day spent seeing the sights in and around Daejeon, you may feel worn out. Soothe any aching muscles by spending an hour or two enjoying Yuseong Hot Springs. You won’t need to head to the outskirts to experience this attraction, as it located in the city centre.
The waters that feed these baths are known to have curative properties. These effects are provided by minerals that include radium, sulphur, calcium, and potassium. These elements can help those afflicted by the maladies of old age, but anyone sore will benefit from a bath here.
However, this place has more appeal than just hot water. Long ago, a warrior suffered mortal wounds during a battle with the Silla Kingdom. His mother tended to his injuries but worried whether he would survive. Then one day, she saw a crane dip its wing in a hot pool. Taking it as a sign, she bathed him in the Yuseong Hot Spring; soon after, he was well again.
Even if you don’t believe this tale, it is an excellent way to start/end a day in Daejeon. With hours that run between 7 am and 11 pm, a visit is easy to work into any schedule.
Those who enjoy gardens will want to make time for a visit to the Hanbat Arboretum. Located within Dunsan Grand Park, this attraction is the biggest of its kind in Korea. This sizable attraction is broken up into 19 gardens, featuring Magnolias, decorative rocks, and medicinal herbs.
Travelling families may want to drop by Daejeon O-World during their time in this city. Formerly the Daejeon Zoo and Joy Land, zoo animals and amusement rides are its main draws. The zoo portion of the park features over 130 different species, including Bengal tigers and black bears.
Meanwhile, on the amusement park side, rides, water slides, and an outdoor stage will keep your kids entertained. Prices start at 12,000 won for adults, and 5,000 won for children, making it an affordable family outing.
source: Michael and Yemisi on YouTube
Top 10 Things To Do in Daejeon, Korea For Visitors
Here are the top 10 things to do in Daejeon:
- Visit the Daejeon National Cemetery: This is a place of great historical significance, where the remains of many Korean patriots who died during the Japanese occupation are enshrined. The cemetery also features a museum that showcases the history of Korea’s fight for independence.
- Explore the Hanbat Arboretum: This is a vast nature park that houses over 1,700 species of plants and animals. Visitors can take a relaxing stroll through the gardens or hike one of the many trails that wind through the park.
- Take a trip to the Daejeon Museum of Art: This museum houses a collection of contemporary and traditional Korean art. Visitors can admire paintings, sculptures, and other works by both local and international artists.
- Enjoy a relaxing day at Yuseong Hot Springs: This is one of the most popular hot springs in Korea, known for its healing properties. Visitors can relax in the warm waters and take in the scenic surroundings.
- Explore the Daejeon Expo Park: This park was created for the 1993 World Expo and has since become a popular tourist destination. Visitors can admire the many exhibits and pavilions, including the famous Sky Cube and the Space Science Museum.
- Visit the Daejeon Modern History Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history of Daejeon and showcases the city’s growth and development over the years.
- Take a hike up Mount Sikjangsan: This is one of the most scenic hiking trails in Daejeon, offering breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landscape.
- Visit the Daejeon Science Museum: This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in science and technology. Visitors can learn about various scientific principles and explore interactive exhibits.
- Check out the Daejeon World Cup Stadium: This stadium was built for the 2002 World Cup and has since become a popular venue for sports events and concerts.
- Take a stroll through the Dunsan Prehistoric Site: This site is home to one of the largest prehistoric settlements in Korea. Visitors can admire the many artifacts and learn about the lives of ancient Koreans.
Overall, Daejeon is a city that offers something for everyone. With its rich history, natural beauty, and modern amenities, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Korea.
What To Eat and Drink at Restaurants in Daejeon, South Korea
Daejeon is a culinary paradise for food lovers. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, Daejeon has a wide range of options for every budget and taste. Here are some of the must-try dishes and drinks in Daejeon:
- Galbi-jjim: This is a braised beef dish that is marinated in a sweet soy sauce with various vegetables. It is a favorite among locals and a must-try for visitors.
- Makgeolli: A traditional Korean rice wine, Makgeolli is a must-try drink in Daejeon. It is a milky-white alcoholic beverage with a slightly sweet taste that is usually served in a bowl.
- Bibimbap: A signature Korean dish, bibimbap is a mixed rice dish that consists of various vegetables, meat, and a fried egg on top. It is a staple dish in Daejeon and can be found in most restaurants.
- Sae-woo-gui: This is a grilled shrimp dish that is marinated in a spicy red pepper sauce. It is a popular seafood dish in Daejeon and can be found in most seafood restaurants.
- Kalguksu: A noodle soup dish made with handmade wheat flour noodles, Kalguksu is a popular comfort food in Daejeon. It is often served with dumplings or meat.
- Soondae: A Korean blood sausage made with pig’s blood and various other ingredients such as sweet potato noodles, rice, and spices. It is usually served steamed or boiled.
- Pajeon: A savory Korean pancake made with green onions, seafood, or kimchi. It is a popular street food in Daejeon and can be found in most markets and food stalls.
- Baekseju: A traditional Korean liquor made with 100 medicinal herbs, Baekseju is a popular drink in Daejeon. It has a slightly sweet and bitter taste and is usually served chilled.
- Gamjatang: A hearty Korean pork bone soup that is usually served with potatoes, vegetables, and noodles. It is a popular comfort food in Daejeon.
- Hoeddeok: A sweet Korean pancake made with brown sugar and cinnamon filling. It is a popular street food in Daejeon and can be found in most markets and food stalls.
In summary, Daejeon offers a wide range of traditional Korean dishes and drinks that are a must-try for any food lover. Whether you are looking for a fancy restaurant or a local street food stall, Daejeon has something to offer for every taste and budget.
Tours For Visitors To Daejeon, South Korea
To make the most of your visit, consider booking a tour with a knowledgeable guide who can show you the city’s best sights. Here are some of the top tours for visitors to Daejeon:
- Walking Tour of Daejeon: A walking tour is a great way to explore Daejeon’s rich culture and history. Join a local guide who will take you on a journey through the city’s past and present, pointing out important landmarks and hidden gems along the way.
- Daejeon City Tour: This guided tour will take you to some of Daejeon’s most popular attractions, including the Expo Park, the National Science Museum, and the Yuseong Hot Springs. You’ll learn about the city’s history and culture while enjoying its stunning natural beauty.
- Temple Stay at Magoksa Temple: For a unique and immersive cultural experience, consider booking a temple stay at Magoksa Temple. This ancient Buddhist temple is located in the scenic mountains outside Daejeon and offers visitors the opportunity to learn about traditional Korean temple life.
- Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Tour: While not located directly in Daejeon, the DMZ is just a few hours’ drive away and is an experience not to be missed. This highly controlled area is one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world and offers a unique glimpse into Korea’s history and current political climate.
- Daejeon Observatory Tour: Located on the top floor of the Daejeon Government Complex, the observatory offers stunning views of the city and beyond. Book a guided tour to learn about the constellations and planets visible from Daejeon and take advantage of the telescopes available for public use.
- Bike Tour of Daejeon: For a more active way to see the city, consider a guided bike tour. You’ll get to explore Daejeon’s many bike paths and scenic routes while getting some exercise and fresh air.
- Daejeon Street Food Tour: Korean cuisine is famous for its delicious and diverse street food, and Daejeon is no exception. Join a food tour to sample some of the city’s best bites, including hotteok (sweet pancakes), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and mandu (dumplings).
- Craft Brewery Tour: South Korea’s craft beer scene has been growing rapidly in recent years, and Daejeon is home to several top-quality breweries. Book a tour to learn about the brewing process and sample some of the city’s best brews.
- Korean Traditional Culture Experience Tour: Experience traditional Korean culture through hands-on activities such as tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) rentals. This tour is a great way to immerse yourself in Korean culture and create lasting memories.
- Daejeon River Cruise: Take a relaxing cruise down the Yuseong River and enjoy stunning views of the city from the water. A guided tour will provide historical and cultural context while you sit back and enjoy the ride.
Daejeon Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
The city has a wide range of accommodations to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury hotels. Let’s take a closer look at Daejeon’s accommodations guide.
For those on a budget, there are many guesthouses and hostels in Daejeon. These accommodations are a great option for backpackers or travelers who want to save money on their trip. Some popular budget-friendly options in Daejeon include Daejeon Guesthouse, Jamsil Tourist Hotel, and Brown Stone Guesthouse.
If you’re looking for a comfortable and convenient stay without breaking the bank, mid-range accommodations in Daejeon are a great option. These accommodations typically offer more amenities and services than budget accommodations, such as fitness centers, restaurants, and lounges. Popular mid-range hotels in Daejeon include Hotel Interciti, Benikea Hotel Daelim, and Toyoko Inn Daejeon Government Complex.
For travelers seeking a luxurious and indulgent stay, Daejeon has plenty of high-end accommodations to choose from. These hotels offer top-of-the-line amenities, such as spas, fine dining restaurants, and high-end shopping. Some of the most popular luxury hotels in Daejeon include Lotte City Hotel Daejeon, Hotel ICC, and Yousung Hotel.
If you’re looking for a more unique and memorable stay in Daejeon, there are a few accommodations that are sure to pique your interest. For example, Hanwha Resorts Daejeon provides traditional Korean hanok-style accommodations, which are quaint and comfortable with a unique cultural touch. Another unique option is the Daejeon Hotel Anansi, which is a quirky and colorful hotel that’s sure to catch your eye.
Overall, no matter what your budget or preferences are, there are plenty of great accommodations to choose from in Daejeon. Be sure to book early to ensure that you get the best deal and availability for your stay.
Day Trips From Daejeon, South Korea
Here are some of the best day trips you can take from Daejeon:
- Sejong City – Just 30 minutes away by car or train, Sejong City is South Korea’s newest and most modern city, named after King Sejong the Great who invented the Korean alphabet. Here you can visit the Sejong Cultural Center, the Sejong Lake Park, and the Sejong Government Complex.
- Gongju – Located about an hour from Daejeon, Gongju was the capital of Baekje Kingdom from 475-538 AD. You can visit the Gongju National Museum, the Gongsanseong Fortress, and the Tomb of King Muryeong, which is one of the best-preserved tombs from the ancient times.
- Buyeo – About an hour and a half away from Daejeon, Buyeo is another ancient capital of the Baekje Kingdom. Here you can visit the Buyeo National Museum, the Busosanseong Fortress, and the Jeongnimsa Temple.
- Cheongju – Located an hour and a half north of Daejeon, Cheongju is known for its traditional hanok houses and the UNESCO-listed Sangdangsanseong Fortress. You can also visit the Cheongnamdae Presidential Villa, which served as the summer residence for South Korea’s presidents.
- Chungju – Located about two hours north of Daejeon, Chungju is a popular destination for water sports and outdoor activities. Here you can visit the UNESCO-listed Sangju Pavilion, the Tangeum Lake, and the Uamsan Mountain.
- Jecheon – About two hours east of Daejeon, Jecheon is known for its beautiful scenery and hot springs. You can visit the Cheongpung Lake, the Songnisan National Park, and the Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex.
- Andong – Located about two and a half hours northeast of Daejeon, Andong is a city known for its traditional culture and folk villages. You can visit the Hahoe Folk Village, the Andong Confucian Academy, and the Bongjeongsa Temple.
- Gyeongju – Located about three hours southeast of Daejeon, Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom from 57 BC to 935 AD. Here you can visit the UNESCO-listed Bulguksa Temple, the Seokguram Grotto, and the Gyeongju National Museum.
- Daegu – About an hour and a half south of Daejeon, Daegu is the fourth-largest city in South Korea and is known for its traditional markets and street food. You can visit the Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine, the Seomun Market, and the Apsan Park.
- Busan – Located about three and a half hours south of Daejeon, Busan is South Korea’s second-largest city and is known for its beaches and seafood. Here you can visit the Haeundae Beach, the Jagalchi Fish Market, and the Gamcheon Culture Village.
Daejeon Transportation Guide
Whether you want to explore the city or travel to nearby destinations, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here is a comprehensive transportation guide to help you navigate Daejeon with ease.
Getting to Daejeon
The nearest airport to Daejeon is the Cheongju International Airport, located about 40 kilometers away. From the airport, you can take a taxi or bus to Daejeon. Alternatively, you can fly into Incheon International Airport or Gimpo International Airport in Seoul and take a train or bus to Daejeon.
Daejeon is a major transportation hub in South Korea, and it is well-connected to other cities by train. The city has two major train stations – Daejeon Station and Seodaejeon Station. Daejeon Station is located in the city center and serves KTX (Korea Train Express), SRT (Super Rapid Train), and regular trains. Seodaejeon Station, located in the western part of the city, serves ITX (Intercity Train Express) and regular trains. From Daejeon, you can take a KTX or SRT train to Seoul, Busan, Gwangju, or other major cities in South Korea.
Daejeon has two major bus terminals – Daejeon Terminal and Dongbu Intercity Bus Terminal. Daejeon Terminal serves buses to major cities in South Korea, including Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and Jeju Island. Dongbu Intercity Bus Terminal mainly serves buses to cities in the eastern part of South Korea, including Gangneung, Sokcho, and Wonju. In addition, there are many city buses and intercity buses that operate within Daejeon.
Getting Around Daejeon
Daejeon has a modern subway system, which is convenient and easy to use. The subway system has two lines – Line 1 (Green Line) and Line 2 (Red Line). Line 1 runs from Panam Station to Banseok Station, and Line 2 runs from Seobu Bus Terminal Station to Government Complex Daejeon Station. The subway operates from 5:30 am to midnight, and the fare starts at 1,250 won.
Daejeon has an extensive bus network, which is operated by Daejeon Metropolitan Express Transit Corporation. There are many city buses that operate within Daejeon, and they are numbered according to the areas they serve. In addition, there are many intercity buses that connect Daejeon to nearby cities and towns.
Taxis are a convenient and affordable way to get around Daejeon, especially if you are traveling in a group. There are two types of taxis – regular taxis and deluxe taxis. Regular taxis are colored orange or white, while deluxe taxis are colored black. The fare for regular taxis starts at 3,000 won, while the fare for deluxe taxis starts at 5,000 won.
If you prefer to drive around Daejeon, you can rent a car from one of the many car rental companies in the city. However, driving in Daejeon can be challenging, especially if you are not familiar with the city’s roads and traffic rules.
Getting around Daejeon is easy and convenient, thanks to its well-developed transportation system. Whether you prefer to take the subway, bus, taxi, or rental car, there are plenty
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Daejeon?
After visiting the vibrant city of Daejeon, travelers can explore a number of exciting destinations that are easily accessible from the city. Here are some top options for where to visit after your trip to Daejeon:
- Seoul: As the capital city of South Korea, Seoul is a bustling metropolis with a rich history, stunning architecture, and endless entertainment options. Visitors can explore historic sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace, sample delicious street food at traditional markets, shop for the latest Korean fashion trends in trendy neighborhoods like Gangnam, and soak up the city’s vibrant nightlife.
- Busan: Located on the southern coast of South Korea, Busan is a port city known for its beautiful beaches, seafood markets, and cultural attractions. Visitors can stroll along the picturesque Haeundae Beach, explore the colorful Gamcheon Culture Village, and take in stunning views of the city from the Busan Tower.
- Jeju Island: Known as the “Hawaii of Korea,” Jeju Island is a popular vacation destination for its pristine beaches, lush countryside, and unique cultural attractions. Visitors can hike to the top of Hallasan, the island’s tallest mountain, explore the volcanic rock formations of Jeju’s coastline, and indulge in delicious local cuisine like black pork and fresh seafood.
- Gyeongju: As the former capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju is home to a wealth of historical sites and cultural artifacts. Visitors can explore ancient temples and tombs, stroll through beautiful parks and gardens, and marvel at the intricate artwork and architecture of Silla-era artifacts.
- Andong: Known as the “capital of traditional Korean culture,” Andong is a charming city with a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can sample local cuisine like Andong jjimdak (braised chicken) and Andong soju (traditional rice liquor), visit historic sites like the Hahoe Folk Village and Dosan Seowon Confucian Academy, and take part in traditional cultural experiences like mask dancing and calligraphy.
- Jeonju: As the birthplace of Korean cuisine, Jeonju is a food lover’s paradise. Visitors can sample local delicacies like bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), makgeolli (traditional rice wine), and kongnamul gukbap (bean sprout soup with rice) at the city’s many traditional markets and restaurants. Jeonju is also home to a number of historic sites and cultural attractions, including the Jeonju Hanok Village, where visitors can experience traditional Korean architecture and crafts.
- Sokcho: Located on the eastern coast of South Korea, Sokcho is a picturesque city with stunning natural scenery. Visitors can explore Seoraksan National Park, home to some of the country’s most beautiful mountain landscapes, and relax on the city’s sandy beaches. Sokcho is also known for its delicious seafood, including fresh squid and octopus.
These are just a few of the many destinations that travelers can explore after visiting Daejeon. Whether you’re looking for history, culture, natural beauty, or delicious food, South Korea has something to offer every traveler.
Daejeon Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Daejeon, the fifth-largest city in South Korea, is a destination that captures the heart of every traveler. With its rich cultural heritage, modern cityscape, and natural wonders, Daejeon offers something for everyone. From bustling markets to tranquil parks, ancient temples to modern museums, this city has it all.
I highly recommend a visit to Daejeon for its unique blend of old and new, East and West. And to help you make the most of your trip, here is a comprehensive travel guide with all the information you need.
First, explore the city’s history by visiting the Daejeon Museum of Art and History. Here, you’ll learn about the city’s evolution from a small village to a thriving metropolis. You can also visit the Hanbat Arboretum, an oasis in the middle of the city that showcases Korea’s diverse flora.
Next, indulge in the city’s culinary delights. Daejeon is known for its traditional dishes such as makgeolli, a Korean rice wine, and sikhye, a sweet rice drink. You can try these dishes and more at the bustling street markets and local restaurants throughout the city.
For a dose of nature, head to the Gyeryongsan National Park, which boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. You can also take a relaxing stroll through the Expo Science Park or visit the Daejeon O-World, a popular amusement park with rides and attractions for all ages.
For those interested in Korean culture and tradition, the Gyejoksan Mountain area is a must-visit. Here, you can explore the ancient Buddhist temples and hiking trails, or attend a traditional Korean tea ceremony.
And don’t miss out on Daejeon’s vibrant nightlife scene. The city has plenty of bars and clubs where you can enjoy live music, karaoke, and dancing until the early hours of the morning.
As for accommodations, Daejeon offers a range of options from luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses. And getting around the city is easy with its efficient public transportation system.
Daejeon is a destination that should not be missed. With its mix of culture, history, nature, and modernity, it truly has something for everyone. So pack your bags, book your ticket, and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Daejeon!
In Daejeon, city of light, There’s always something new in sight. From the gardens to the streets, Every corner is a sweet retreat.
Foodies come from far and wide, For the cuisine that they’ll abide. Festivals, museums, and parks, Will keep you busy till after dark.
From mountain trails to city halls, You’ll find adventure through it all. The culture, history, and art, Will captivate your every part.
Daejeon is a city of wonder, With a vibe that’s hard to put asunder. So come and see what it’s all about, You’ll never want to head back out.