Tag Archives: Traveling

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The 28th of December

23rd January 2016

*Note to readers…this is a very late post that I wrote while on the 28th of December. It still felt relevant because January has the special gift of feeling a bit dreary at times. I hope you enjoy.

 

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According to experts*, the 28th of December is apparently the most depressing day of the year. I couldn’t disagree with that statement more. Yes, the turkeys been eaten, the presents have been given out and work is looming but we all know everyone is secretly still wearing Christmas socks.
Then again I am technically still on holiday and excited to see all the UK has to offer so maybe I’m not the best judge.

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I am currently heading to Bournemouth from Wales on the train. It’s a trip I’ve made countless time in the past to visit one of my best friends. But today it feels different.
Ever since arriving back on British soil I have been the world’s biggest tourist. I’ve taken photos of quaint looking stone buildings, giggled at people’s beautiful accents and fallen in love with this country all over again. I’ve even loved the weather, which is saying something.
There is a beauty to the UK that you don’t find anywhere else. People are friendlier and inquisitive. The country is in a constant rally to get through the drizzle and a cup of tea is never far away.  I may have been away too long but coming home this holiday has been an eye opener. I never thought I’d want to settle back home but staring out of the train window at the rolling green fields and the cream brick terrace houses makes me yern to come home for good.
It does help you love a country when every day you see people from your past and laugh until you cry.I live in a small town and it feels like every street has a story from my childhood. Every road I pass has a forgotten game played on it, certain corners are first kisses and every road feels like home.
I love Australia and I can’t wait for future adventures , perhaps in Canada or New Zealand , but boy do I love my green green grass of home.

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* In this scenario the experts is referring to the radio telling me this is a fact.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

30th December 2015

Travel is an incredible thing. It’s the ability to expand your horizon & see things that your grand parents only read about in books. image
When I woke up this morning I was in Tokyo and when I go to sleep tonight I will be the other side of the globe and in the home I grew up in. From one of the busiest cities on the planet to my small little home town hidden away on a hilly valley.
Travel is exciting because it brings with it so many new experience but it can be a curse.
The curse of being away and living life means missing the people you love. Missing people vs. missing out can some times feel like an impossible struggle.
I do know how lucky we are though. I know that if we had wanted to move to Australia forty years ago we may have been on a boat for a month , we would have had to write long letters on blue travel paper that would maybe never reach it’s destination. Trying to communicate with people would have been as painful as pulling teeth (mainly for them because I can barely speak English- as you’ve seen from my writing here). All of this is before we start worrying about mastering a foreign language. image
With skype and sky scanner and Facebook and email, it’s as if you never really miss out completely. I don’t know how people use to do it. We are both in awe of those crazy ‘Magellan-esq’ loons.
Today’s adventure wasn’t our usual type of trip. The plane wasn’t taking me somewhere exotic or new. I wasn’t excited to lay on a pearly white sandy beach or giddy to stare at rainforests. I was ‘cheek hurtingly’ happy because I was going home.

It’s easy to forget sometimes how much you love where you came from. Travelers may moan about the weather or the locals but home is definitely where the heart is…and where the crumpets are. Oh and the Sunday dinners…oh and don’t forget all the delicious Cadburys.
Bridgend is a tiny town that most Welsh people don’t even know about but we love it there.It has made us adventurous, romantic and the curious wanderers that spend two hours queueing in customs and spending days locked in the toilet because you just had to have one of those *insert any crappy street food that you bought down an alley*.

image This Christmas I will be listening to my family play games while The Muppets Christmas Carol plays on TV for maybe the 50th time. We won’t have any presents to give because we are stupidly poor from the tear-jerking cost of our tickets but luckily I think I’m going home to a house full of people that won’t mind too much.
Travel can be incredible , it can be
tiring, thrilling and wonderous but traveling home will always be one of my favourite trips. It does help that I take my partner in crime and my little piece of home in human form along for the ride.

This Christmas I am happy to say that Lee and I are in rainy Wales, watching crappy TV and moaning to our families and you know what… I would change that for anything in all the world.

 

Let’s Go To Asia – Travel Video

27th September 2015

So as the astute among you may have noticed, we are already finished with our trip. We are in lovely Australia. I still have a few posts about our trip to come, but I recently finished editing this little video together and couldn’t wait to share it.

So here is just a few of the best parts of our trip:

Ubud – Chilling out, Maxing, Relaxing All Cool

19th September 2015

header Oh Ubud. I thought I was in love with you before we even arrived. I had lived vicariously through blog posts, books and the eloquent ‘word of mouth’ that you have inspired. I always knew that our trip would include Ubud. I just hoped it would live up to the sky high expectations I’d already put on it.

We arrived for our 5 day adventure at Bali airport and were both amazed. Airports aren’t exactly known for being stylish or very different from one another. Bali airport is very different, they have redone the airport and have made sure that your first impression is a good one. A huge entrance gate full of statues and fresh flowers greets you from the plane. It really sets the holiday off to a good start. ubud006 ubud002 ubud001 ubud005

Then came our long taxi ride to our hotel. Ubud is about 45 minutes away from the airport and it was so dark that Ubud kept itself hidden. We arrived at our hotel and we experienced the magic that is an Ubud hotel. Many of the hotels have been built into temples so when you walk in you are faced with the detailed stone mosaiques, the smell of sandalwood and the beautiful flowers strewn all over the temple floor.

Just a casual street in UBUD

Just a casual street in UBUD

We woke up to the sounds of the jungle and we couldn’t wait to explore.

Ubud is bizarre, it’s a vibrant, funky little space. Hipster-ish but in the best kind of way. Walking around Ubud makes me want to do nothing but eat healthy, do yoga and drink smoothies. Everywhere you look there are temples, small markets and beautiful flowers.

The Balinese culture is so unique and probably one of my favourite cultures to discover. Each store and home has a small bamboo bowl filled with candles and flowers which is their daily tribute to the gods. They believe in family and don’t really believe in leaving Bali or in some cases even Ubud. This was especially strange to discover while talking to a local. He asked me and Lee a million questions about our exploits, but when it came time for him to decide if he’d love to see these places for himself he seemed completely content where he was. He said ‘Balienese people love stories but we love home more’. Bali is unique because it has somehow kept its traditional charm while still being very modern. Each restaurant still stares out onto endless rice paddies, Balinese traditions are everywhere you look and yet you can still use atm’s and buy anything you could possibly imagine. Other places around the world could definitely learn something from Ubud on how to retain their charm as tourism starts to take over.

ubud007 ubud013 We were lucky that a day after we arrived we were joined in Ubud by our friends Carly and Conner. Carly is my Ubud guru. Not only did she introduce me to the place but she also introduced me to the wonder that is Yoga. After just one class I was hooked. It only made sense that since we were in Ubud we would have to go to the one and only Yoga Barn. The Yoga Barn was made famous in Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and has become THE place for yogi’s from around the world to relax and display their skills. Having a class here guarantees not only a beautiful setting but the knowledge that you are being taught by the best of the best.

Even though I’d read a lot about the place it was nothing like I thought it would be. I have only been to two different yoga studios I suppose so I am not an expert, but I thought it would be a building with a large room for yoga…nope! It’s huge! There are cafes, restaurants, and a garden area with a stream. This is all leading to a huge open air atrium that goes down to a great (if not very expensive) yoga shop and of course the large yoga room. You could easily spend a week here. I wish we’d had time to do more than one class but we just did the one and I loved every moment of it. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a while is so I can get back into a good fitness routine. It’s not impossible on the road and there are countless bloggers that look amazingly fit and healthy while they travel, but Lee and I love being lazy and eating our way around the world when we travel which doesn’t leave much room for gyming it.

indo3 ubud008 We honestly just spent 5 days being pampered, eating and driving bikes around this beautiful town. We got to see one of Lee’s favourite animals, monkeys in the monkey forest. I’ve never seen him as happy as when he had a monkey on his shoulder. We ate incredible food. Hummus, fresh fruit, olives and delicious treats are abundant in Ubud. The massages are super cheap so we had quite a few of them and were instantly annoyed that we hadn’t had more during our Asia experience.

ubud012 ubud011 ubud010 ubud009 It is a beautiful place and I’m sad that we couldn’t spend more time there. I think it’s definitely a place that we both felt we could easily live in for months and months. Who knows maybe one day we will.

Happy Ubud Faces

Happy Ubud Faces

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Yogyakarta – Asia’s Hidden Gem

20th August 2015

banner When we were planning our Indonesian route Lee stumbled on a little city in Java that peaked his interest. As a History buff Lee saw the words ‘largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia’ and his eyes lit up.

yogya09 yogya13 The most important thing to know about Yogyakarta is how to pronounce the darn place. I was calling it yogi-o-karta until I arrived at the airport. Indonesians  pronounce it ‘Jog-ja-karta’ but the locals call it ‘Jog-ja’. This is what everyone calls it and it’s much easier to get by once you know that.

We were only in the town for 3 days and we spoiled ourselves with a nice place. There was a roof top pool and large comfy beds. Unfortunately the hotel is also where local school kids stay over night on school trips. Our room was surrounded all night by loud teenagers running up and down the halls. Its safe to say, as two ex-middle school teachers ……we weren’t impressed.

yogya06 yogya08 The kids weren’t the only down side of our first day on the trip. I also received some horrible news from home and spent my night curled up with Lee feeling horrible and very very far from home. Luckily I didn’t have time to think about everything too much since we had already planned a trip that started at 4am. I didn’t have time to think. I just had time to try and close my eyes before the alarm went off and we were on our way to Yogyakarta’s famous temples – Prambanan and Borobudur.

yogya02 yogya03 yogya07 yogya10 We took a tour to Prambanan organised by our hotel. We had a lovely driver and arrived at the temple complex just as the sun was rising. When you arrive at the temples you are given some water, a snack and a stylish sarong to wear. We leisurely wandered around the temple. Taking in the intricate carvings depicting Buddha’s pilgrimage and lifeline, beautiful surroundings and miles of jungle all around us.

The only thing to disturb the peaceful surroundings was the hundreds of kids that are taken there on trips. Schools take kids there to practice their English. We found it quite endearing because they were so cute and lovely shouting ‘mister , Mrs picture, picture’. We must have posed for at least 12 photos and managed to grab a few of our own.  It did take away from the beautiful sights a little especially since the concentration of kids was on the iconic roof of Borobudur where we wanted to take the most photos but couldn’t. But it was another welcome distraction on a sad day.

My favourite part of the day was when Lee and I went off the beaten track and climbed the hill over looking the Borobudur complex. We sat and watched the mist roll over the mountains in the distance and literally had time to smell the roses…and frangipans (at least that’s what I’m told they are called). Being so far up above the clouds was beautiful and I just wanted to stay there forever with Lee.

yogya04 yogya05 Since it was a tour , we didn’t have time to stop for too long. Our next stop was Prambanan. It was built in the 9th century and has a number of temples, each dedicated to different gods, The Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). There was also a temple for Ganesha which is one of my favourite of the gods since it is half Elephant and half god. He is the god known for removing obstacles. He is seen as a patron of the arts and Hindus ask him for help during writing sessions almost like a godly muse. I’m not Hindu but I love the idea of a god that inspires imagination. It seems very fitting for a blogger to like him I suppose. He is also the god of beginnings. I had just discovered I had lost someone extremely important to me and it was nice to think of it as a beginning rather than a sad end. I am lucky to have known my aunty well enough to feel she was with me at every step of our journey.

yogya01 yogya12 yogya15 yogya16 Lots of things end but sometimes its nicer to think of them as changing. Maybe not always for the better but change opens us all up for new experiences and we also carry with us the things we learnt in the past. These temples were hidden from the world for so long and now they are there for everyone to see, even before that , in another life time they were strong central pillars to a community and a civilisation . People came to these stones for hope. It’s a wonder to be able to travel and see these sights that have been viewed by so many others.

A lot of people hate the idea of tourists or other people discovering something before them but I like it. I find it kind of satisfying to share these sights and incredible places with people I would never meet or even live in the same century as. It’s a privilege that I hope I never take for granted.

I am sorry for this reflective and slightly sad post but I don’t mean it to be . It was an uplifting trip and one I think we will both hold dear. Lee actually says he prefers these temples to Angkor Wat. I love them both equally but I also think it’s such a huge shame that Prambanan and Yogykarta itself is so over looked.

I’m really glad we stopped off in this nice little city as our first port of call in Indonesia. It was cheap  and a little grimy but the temples alone were worth the visit.

Our first impressions of Indonesia are high. I can’t wait to see what else we find.

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Angkor Wat – Temples , Temples Everywhere

23rd June 2015

angkorwatsunrise When people say they are going to Cambodia it’s normally an un-said assumption that they are also going to Siem Reap to see the beautiful ruins of Angkor Wat.

We were really excited to go to the ruins but at the same time we were a little worried that we had heard and seen so much of it online and in people photos that it would be a little under whelming.

We had been given the perfect plan of attack for this big complex by our friend (which i’ll post for you guys soon). We decided that because we have been traveling so much that just the one day would be the perfect amount of time for us in the complex…we were also warned from many people that unless you are a History graduate studying the building , you will probably be ok just doing the one day.

angkorwat3 We payed our tuk tuk driver to take us to pick up our tickets the evening before from the Angkor Wat offices. This allowed us to see Angkor Wat while it was quiet (with the added bonus of the beautiful dusk light as the sun set).

The next day we woke up at early o’clock…4am…urrrrr and headed to see the rest of the temples. I am no expert what so ever on the history of the temples but I will say that my favourites were the temple of faces named ‘Bayon’ and the temple made famous from the movies ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Tomb Raider’ called Tah Phrom. Tah Phrom is recognizable because of the tree’s that have been left to grow out and around the buildings making the stone structures more jungle and artifact.

Pictures can’t do this place justice but here are a select few.

bayonwheelpose bayon2 angkorwatsunrise2 angkorwat2 angkorwat1 angkorwat 1 spiderweb tahphrom2 tahphrom3

The town of Siem Reap itself is like an adult Pleasure Island from Pinocchio. We really liked it and it was a shame we didn’t have more time to spend there. I got to have a drink in ‘Angkor WHAT?’ and drink a Costa coffee (the british style starbucks) so I was a happy camper.

I don't care what anyone says...this is a dinosaur carved into tha phrom

I don’t care what anyone says…this is a dinosaur carved into tha phrom

A great lightning storm in the sky's of Siem Reap

A great lightning storm in the sky’s of Siem Reap

Small and Tall do Angkor Wat

Small and Tall do Angkor Wat

Kyoto – Day 2 – Geishas, Monkeys & a Forest of Bamboo

4th March 2015

banner Today was a day we’ve been waiting for. Today we visited the Bamboo forest in Arasiyama and the Arasiyama Monkey Park (Iwatayama).
Lee, who has dubbed our holiday ‘The Great Monkey Marathon’ loves animals but monkeys and apes in fact all simians are his favourite.
We set off from Kyoto station to the Saga Arashiyama station via the JR line . Once we hopped off the train there were signs everywhere so even we didn’t get lost, and soon enough the towers of bamboo were in front of us.

11 12 kyoto2_7 The bamboo forest was fantastic. Towering stalks that filled the area with the smell of wood and greenery. When the wind blew we could hear the wood gently knocking all around us…that and Lee singing ‘The old bamboo’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which we realised we only knew one line too.  It was fantastic. The tourists around did detract from the peace and calm but we went quite early and avoided huge crowds. It was free to enter, which helped our puny budget. kyoto2_8 kyoto2_9 kyoto2_10
Then it was over the magnificent river to the monkey forest. On the walk to the forest we had to pause and  take in the sights. This place really is stunning. Many Japanese people seem to come to visit Kyoto to experience the traditions and a lot of them wear the traditional Kimonos. It’s great to see them dressed up everywhere. These three girls asked us if we wanted to take a pictures of them and we jumped at the chance. They also wanted pics of us with them but for the life of me I have no idea why. I’ve talked to people who live in Korea who worry about visiting Japan because it could be ever so slightly similar but I can’t explain how different these two countries are. If you are in two minds, ignore the doubt and come now! Especially to Kyoto. 15 17
All this excitement was had even before we scaled monkey mountain , which is a little steep to start with but not a very long walk at all. I think older people would be ok if they did it slowly and wore trainers… if Lee and I can do it, anyone can.
Our first glimpse of a monkey was when it was on the path up ahead. It was so close. We sat for far too long, just excited to be near them. When we actually made it to the top viewing area we were surrounded by these lovely cute creatures. In the feeding room we bought some apples and peanuts for 100 yen (about 50p) and expected the money’s to grab and attack for the food but they were patient and kind. Just touching their soft little hands to feed them was thrilling. After about an hour or more we forced ourselves down the mountain both agreeing it was one of the best things we’d ever done. Lee didn’t steal a monkey but I can see he was tempted.

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We only had the two sights we really wanted to see, which left us lots of time to wander and discover. We headed back into Kyoto city and stumbled upon a restaurant just outside the Kawaramachi station. It was called ‘Mr Young Men’ and their cook filled our bellies with ramen and Takoyaki (octopus ball covered in egg). Before coming to Japan Lee swore he hated Japanese food. I tried many times to convince him he just needed to try it. Luckily he dipped his toe into the Japanese food bonanza and now I think I’ll never get him back out of the pool of Takoyaki and Teriyaki. 14

Once we had rolled ourselves out of there we found ourselves on Pontocho alley. Famous for Geishas and its old history rooted in the nightlife. It was just after dusk and although in the back of my mind I was hoping to spot a Geisha on the backstreets I knew that the chances on a Wednesday were slim…but just up ahead we saw two beautiful ladies who stood out from all the lovely Japanese tourists wearing their kimonos. In front of us was two elegant Maiko or apprentice Geisha’s. I could have taken a photo but it was such a great moment that I just watched them with Lee. I have seen online how much they are hounded and I didn’t want to be one of those people. They seemed to see the camera around my neck and nodded in appreciation, but then again that could just have been in my tiny excited mind.

13 16 So that was our day. Filled with Monkeys, Bamboo and Geishas in Gion. I am not sure we could have had a more Japanese day if we tried. Tomorrow we are planning on a trip to the Fushimi Onari-taisha shrine (or the orange gates to anyone who is clueless like I was until I just looked up the name on Google)

I am shocked that I have managed to write two days in a row but this jacuzzi bath in the hotel makes it very easy to find reasons to relax and write. Let’s see how long I can keep this up…

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Why Choose Daegu?

9th October 2014

heading When we decided to move to Korea we both looked at the ideal place to live and like almost every expat our ideal choices were:
Seoul
Or
Busan

Unfortunately because we were inexperienced teachers we were informed that our best option of getting an EPIK (English Program in Korea) placement would be any where but these two places. So we put our thinking caps on, which of course is code for ‘went on google’.
Apart from the two main cities and the island of Jeju there wasn’t much information on the day to day lifestyle of other cities but since they were the next two biggest places we decided it was a toss up between Ulsan and Daegu. We weighed the options such as good transport links in Daegu vs the proximity to the beach in Ulsan and after some sleepless nights decided on Ulsan. We were set. Not even two hours after making this decision we found out from our recruiter that the only likely place that we would get placements close to each other, since we aren’t married, would be Daegu. So we instantly forgot all of our research because it seemed we were now destined to be Daeguians. It was daunting to say the least.
First off you need to know the Daegu basics. Every city has a motto in Korea and Daegu’s is ‘Colorful Daegu’…on a completely random note, my favourite city motto is ‘it’s Daejeon’ because it sounds like an excited game show host or like Jack Nicholson has come smashing through your Korean front door.
The name ‘Colorful Daegu’ sums up the culture, art and fashion available here. Korean people talk about Daegu as the Fashion hub of the country. There is every type designer clothes store you can imagine here as well as lot of material shops and markets. This has also led to the most beautiful Koreans flocking here. Daegu is without a doubt home to the most beautiful Korean men and woman I’ve seen. Well tailored suits and 6 inch heels are an every day occurrence here in Downtown Daegu. But don’t worry as they don’t look down on me for my ballet flats and un-kept hair.

daegu2 The other thing people say about Daegu is that it’s still very traditional. To me these two ideas of the fashion capital and tradition are in conflict but it really works. You can go to Chanel and get the latest deals or you can travel a tiny bit out of the centre and see an old lady selling the onions she grew on her roof out of a plastic bowl. People in Daegu have stuck very firmly to traditions such as respecting your elders which is nice to be around, if not a little scary at times. If you are on a bus and reading a book don’t be surprised when an old lady physically picks you up to sit down and then takes your bags off you to put on her lap so that you don’t have to hold the weight. They are like pushy, lovely grandmothers.
Something you hear people refer to quite a lot is the Daegu dialect. It is thought of as quite an angry and straight forward way of sounding, even if they are as happy as Larry. I suppose it is similar to the way Europeans think of Russians or Germans. Even when they are ecstatically happy or passive the older Daeguins can sometimes sound angry so make sure you take it in your stride and remember they are probably not being rude at all but just want to talk to the interesting foreigner.

daegu1 So I thought I’d write a post for those people that might be sat at home and terrified about the fact they are committing to a city they know nothing about. So without further adobe here are five reasons to come to this lovely city we are happy to call home.

baseball1 1. The Samsung Lions
Before coming to Korea I knew nothing what so ever about Baseball. I had seen it in Goofy cartoons but that was about it. Hearing that Daegu had a baseball team didn’t excite me at all but once I arrived I realised I should probably take a little bit of notice. The Daegu baseball team are called the Samsung Lions and they are the best baseball team in Korea. They have won the championship for the last 3 years and look set to win again this year. People in Daegu love their team and if you are teaching you can always score some extra points by including the team name in your power points. Going to a Korean baseball game is a great way to spend an evening. Through the Spring and Summer people don their baseball jerseys (Me and Lee each have one), head to the stadium , sit in the sunshine , drink cheap beer, eat fried chicken and watch the Korean cheerleaders …oh and they also watch some baseball.

Lee, my friends and I were attacked by some Koreans for pictures

Lee, my friends and I were attacked by some Koreans for pictures

The crowd is electric and everyone is friendly. These baseball games are some of my favourite Korean memories. I’ve even picked up a lot of the rules of the game. If you are planning to move to Daegu or even just visiting I’d advice checking on their website  when their next weekend games are at home. Head down to the stadium and pay the 8,000won for a ticket. The party zone normally sells out quickly  so if you have a kind Korean to help you order a ticket online you will be in luck. Even without the party zone the baseball is a bargain and a great time.

makgoli1 2. The Food
Daegu may not have the variety that is offered in Seoul but there is still a huge variation of foods to try. If its Korean food you are after (which makes sense since you are now living in Korea) then you are in luck. There is Daegu’s own brand of street food in the shape of Nabjag Mandu , Seomun market which is packed full of delights and then the countless traditional restaurants where delicious Korean food is abundant and well priced. Western food is also easy to find but if you are after a very specific variation of Western food you can sometimes be limited. For example, if you are in the mood for Thai food then you have Pan Asia downtown or Noodleman near Kyeonbuk University so you don’t have to go without but they aren’t around every corner. I do find that this means we enjoy it more when we have it though. If it’s pizza or burgers you are after then you have come to the right place since Daegu has everything from Mcd’s with its legendary home delivery service to the massive burger challenge at Traveler’s Bar and Grill which is a popular expat hang out. I’m not going to lie to you, we go to Seoul just to eat but mainly for the brunches and the new scenery. There are places in Daegu for almost everything if you take the time to look. Now that I’ve moved to Daegu I have also found many useful resources such as the Touch Daegu website reviews and the Daegu Compass. In fact I liked them so much I started writing for them once I arrived in Korea. food3 food2 food4
The food here may not be as good as home but they definitely fill a hole. My favourite place to eat when down town in Daegu is at the Dak Galbi chain Yoo-ga-nae Dak-galbi (유가네 닭갈비) Here your food is cooked right in front of you. Rice, veggies and your choice of meat are stirred in together with a delicious sauce and the added bonus of being able to add cheese helps too. You won’t be going hungry in Daegu.

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My lovely friend Jess came to visit during the Autumn and got to see some great views

temple4 temple7 3. The Temples
We’ve been lucky enough to travel around Korea quite a lot. From Geongju to Namhae, Ulsan to Gyeongju and we have seen a LOT of temples but I have to admit that in my opinion all of my favourite ones have been in Daegu. Haeinsa is listed as one of the 3 Jewel temples of Korea. It is seen as one of the three most important places in Korea because of its Buddhist history. A 45 minute bus ride takes you out of the bustling city and into the mountains where you can take the stroll to the Temple. This is a working temple and it’s lovely to see the monks tending to the area and praying. This serene and secluded area gives you a real sense of how it must have been years ago. There is also the added bonus that this temple houses the oldest printing press in the word. Wooden blocks called the ‘Tripataka Koreana’ dating back to the 13th century to print Buddhist scriptures. I will write a longer more detailed post on this place soon since it is my favourite temple but suffice to say it’s impressive, especially in autumn. temple5 temple6
Not only does Daegu have Haeinsa but it also has Palgonsan. From what I can gather in my broken Korean Palgonsan means Falcon Mountain. It is an impressive sight. This mountain is home to Dongwassa temple and it is a great day out. After you see the temple and lanterns, as well as the largest stone Buddha in Asia, you can always attempt the mountain climb. Don’t be too worried since you can take the Cable car to the top if you don’t fancy the hike. At the top I’d advice you to have a break with some Korean Pajeon (savoury seafood pancake) and some Korean Magkolli (rice wine) and take in the views.

temple8 temple9 temple10 temple11 temple12 4. The Nightlife
Most foreigners that live in Korea have heard about Daegu and the reason is normally the night life. I have travelled to many cities for nights out and Daegu wins hands down. Because the city is a hell of a lot smaller than Busan and Seoul everything is in one place. You will be hard pressed not to see at least one of your friends on a night out. Obviously there are a lot of Westerners all in one place which can be annoying if you want a quiet night but almost always people are friendly and just out for a good time. Bars such as Go-go’s that provide you with ‘very’ alcoholic bag drinks are a right of passage in Daegu. Just make sure to take it slow as many people in Daegu have experienced a go-go black out. If you want to escape the expat scene you also have many traditional Makgolli bars in the medicine quarter of Daegu or Soju hoff’s (local liquor rooms) on every corner. drink3 drink4
If the busy town isn’t really your scene there are also quieter areas to go out in such as the restaurant area of Duryu, the international scene of Keimyung University or the live music bars of Kyeonbuk University area. Daegu has something for everyone. drinking1 drinking2 gogos

5. The Transport links
The KTX, Daegu airport and the many bus stations are just a few of the ways you can see the rest of Korea. The KTX is a great fast option to both Busan or Seoul with the train to Seoul taking about one and a half hours and costing 45,000 won or you can take the slow train for three and a half hours for about 18,000 won. These are great, comfy, fast options. If it vacation time, pay day or a special occasion it is smart to pre-book your trains here travel travel3 The rest of Korea is easy to see with buses going to all locations all through the day and night. There is also an airport with flights to such places as China, Taiwan and Jeju. As well as transport outside of Daegu there is a subway system that (touch wood) has never been late or delayed while I’ve been here. Daegu will also soon be seeing the opening of its first tram line. Buses (That you can check here) to get you to everywhere in Daegu are normally my main mode of transport. Daegu prides itself on having so many bus routes that you can get anywhere with only one change of bus. It means that sometimes bus journeys are long but for 1,200 won a time it’s definitely worth it if you are saving the pennies. I will be honest with you that Korean Bus drivers scare me. They drive like they are trying to win Mario Kart but I’ve never seen an accident (touch that wood again) and I always get to my destination in one piece. The old ladies here are pros at balancing on buses. I go flying around the place and they are as still as a rock so it must just be my awful bus ninja skills that let me down.

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So there you have it. Daegu in a nutshell. we’ve lived here for almost two years and we wouldn’t trade our fashionable, historical, traditional community for any other.

Have you been to Daegu? What was your favourite thing? Which Korean city do you live in ? Are you thinking about moving to Daegu or Korea in gereral? Would you recommend any where we may have missed in Korea? Let us know.

Happy Travels x

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