Prior to the Sokcho leg of the most recent backpacking trip, I was in Andong, North Gyeongsang. Before my trip, I knew that Andong was a sure visit because of the various things that you can visit and try to experience the beautiful rural city.
One thing I appreciated more than anything else is the convenient intercity buses. They are also rather affordable, and you can literally go anywhere in South Korea from any point. As I had to travel to Sokcho after Andong, I was super worried that there wasn’t any intercity bus! But that worry is really unfounded because the bus routes did not have one end point. Most of the buses served different cities.
Also, I realised that I can book bus tickets online without a Korean number. What I did was input a number that fitted Korean phone numbers (I think I mixed Singapore’s international calling code and my phone number to fit nicely!) and the system still allowed me to book them! How?
After I book the tickets, printing them was a little bit difficult if you do not know of a Korean friend. Unlike Japan, convenience stores in Korea do not have printing services (maybe they do? But I didn’t see any printers around). So I only booked it online, but went to the office before I boarded the bus. Give at least 30 minutes clearance, in case there are long queues. I showed the booking reservation on my phone to the person at the counter and in no time, bus tickets were in my hands.
Back to the Andong story.
Andong had a really calm vibe to it. Perhaps it was the days before Chuseok, but there were not many people around. Took the bus to town and found our hostel. We stayed at the Gotaya Guesthouse. It was located really near the Jjimdak Street as well as Lotte Hi-Mart/Home-Plus, so you need any necessities — you know where to go!
(omg I just realised that I didn’t take any photos of the guesthouse?? I think I helped my roomies take photos using their cameras instead! Haha. Anyway Google it — it’s a really nice hostel but has rather strict curfew!)
Andong Mask Festival
I was there when the whole city was literally emptied for this annual festival! It was a party… on a provincial scale. Students from neighbouring universities came over to facilitate several booths. One of my roomies was from Andong National University!
During the night I went to the festival, there was this massive dance party. I’ll let the photos do the talking…
My friends and I wanted to visit a beautiful part of Andong, and chose Dosanseowon. As it was nearing fall, some trees were already turning colour. Although fall hadn’t peaked yet, the scenery was still so beautiful. This place used to be an academy, like those you see in Saeguk dramas. I’ve forgotten the history of the place, but it still amazes me how intricate each building is made to be and every room is located purposefully in a location.
The Gradient of Greens… Makes a good caption, right?
Definitely Andong Jjimdak. It’s similar to the Malay’s ayam/daging masak kicap, but this specialty dish is more herby in nature. Eaten on a huge plate/tray that is meant to be shared with at least 3 grown adults, you sit on the wooden floor with your shoes off and a midriff-high wooden table. Rice (밥, lightly pronounced as ‘bab’) is served. The photos are on my phone,… I’ll dig them out soon.
Andong Hahoe Village 안동 하회 마을 & why I didn’t go!
This was a place that I did not visit due to the lack of time. I saw some reviews that it might not be a recommended place if you’re short on time. Granted, it might be good, but I chose not to go because of the readily available events whilst I was there i.e. Andong Festival.
For the festival, there was a lot to do which you cannot possibly cover in just a few hours. Also, activities change daily, so what was held today will not be held tomorrow. I didn’t feel that I missed out on a lot just because I didn’t go to the village; I quite experienced the entire Andong Village at the festival itself and it’s an authentic feeling! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this post thus far. Are you planning your trip to Andong or any other cities and need some help? Do leave a comment and I’ll try to assist you as much as I can.
Honestly, I’m missing Andong a lot. Fantastic, friendly people.