Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Tour/Press Article] Daegu Stamp Trail(Korean Ver.) / Part 4: Nakdong & Mt. Biseul Area

Thus far, these stamp trail posts have covered all three of the areas listed in the English version of the Daegu Stamp Trail as well as those same three areas in the Korean version of the trail. This post is the last in the series, and it will discuss the last section of the Korean stamp book, the Nakdong/Mt. Biseul area locations. This area is not mentioned in the English version of the book, but there are eight locations in it. This post will also provide details about how to submit your stamp books for a prize.

The locations in the Nakdong/Mt. Biseul area of the book are primarily ones that you will need to visit on different days as they are quite far from one another. That being said, Daegu has a science and environment city tour that goes to three of these locations: the ARC, Daegu National Science Museum, and the Daegu Arboretum. 

For just 5,000 won, you can see all three locations without the hassle of trying to get via public transportation. It is highly suggested that you take the tour. This tour runs once a day on Saturdays, starting at 10am and finishing at 4pm. The tour pickup location is outside of Hyundai Department Store downtown. But if you want to do the tour, please call to make a reservation first to check that seats are available for your selected date. The phone number is 053-627-8900. They should speak enough English on the phone in order to make the reservation, or you could ask a Korean friend or co-teacher to assist you. 

Although the tour isn’t really geared towards foreigners, the tour guides don’t give you a ton of information about the locations anyway. Their main role is to make sure the bus stays on schedule, and they should be able to speak enough English to tell you how many minutes you have to spend at each place. One more note: the tour price does not include the $3 entrance fee for the Science Museum.

The first stop on the tour is the Science Museum. It is about 40 minutes outside downtown. The Daegu National Science Museum opened in the fall of 2013, so it is still very new. It is in a beautiful location, surrounded by mountains as well. The exhibits inside the museum have a lot of English, and they are working towards captioning the various films in the museum as well as the films at the museum’s planetarium. There are a variety of short, 4D films inside the museum; don’t worry about the fact that they are in Korean. You can probably understand what is happening without understanding the language. 

The Science Museum is great for children! It is very interactive, and the information at the museum is really geared toward a younger age group. It isn’t a very large museum, and each wing is a different topic. The topics are climate change and technology. There is also a wing specifically for very small children to play and experience science. Before you leave, make sure to grab some lunch at the museum’s cafeteria. You can get your stamp at the information desk inside the museum.

The Arboretum is the second stop on the tour. The Daegu Arboretum is a beautiful place to visit year-round because the flowers and plants that you see change with the seasons. The Arboretum was built on a landfill and now houses more than 1,000 species of plants. There is a special museum on the grounds that depicts the transition from landfill to arboretum. You can get your stamp from the staff member in the booth by the parking lot before you go into the park. 

The Arboretum is a fairly expansive park where you can picnic or play in warm weather. There are outdoor gardens, ponds, and fountains all around the park as well as indoor green houses. The cactus greenhouse is especially interesting. There are also experience programs, such as soap making. Walking along the path on the outer left of the park makes you feel as though you are in a forest instead of a city. The Arboretum is definitely a place to relax and get back to nature.

The last stop on the Science and Environment Daegu City tour is the ARC. If you’ve seen it, your first thought was probably, “what is that!?” The ARC is a large, silver arc-shaped building built right along the Nakdong River. Inside, there is a small exhibit about the importance of the river to the history of Daegu, including how the river, and its role, has changed over time. 

There are also a few rotating art exhibits. You can get your stamp from the information desk on the first floor.From the top, you can get a beautiful view of the city and surrounding mountains. Part of the bike trail, which goes all along the river, passes by the ARC. In hot weather, you can sit underneath the canopies outside, and children can play in the fountain that shoots water periodically. The ARC is an impressive structure dedicated to the rich history of waterways in Daegu.

If you do the city tour, you will finish three of the eight locations in this part of the stamp book. Now let’s talk about the rest. The Nakdong/Mt. Biseul area of the Korean version of the Daegu Stamp Trail includes three of the themed villages in Daegu: Mabijeong Mural Painting Village, Samunjin Jumakchon Taverns Village, and Myogol Village (Yuksinsa Shrine).

It is possible to visit the Mural Painting Village and the Taverns Village on the same day. They are both in the southern part of Daegu, but the Taverns Village is more to the west and the Mural Painting Village is to the east. In order to get to either village, you have to go to Daegok Station on the red line. The only bus that goes to the Mural Painting Village is the Dalseong 2, which you can pick up just outside exit 1 of the station. Take it to the stop called Mabijeong Wall Painting Maeul.

The problem is that the Dalseong 2 is a branch bus, meaning that it only goes to that location about 10 times per day, so there are long intervals between buses. It is very difficult to ensure that you are getting on to the correct branch of the bus. It is much simpler to take a taxi for about 5,000 won to the village from Daegok Station. If you show the page in your stamp book to the driver, he or she should know where it is. In case you aren’t following the book, but want to go to the village, the full name of it is “Mabijeong Byeokhwa Maeul (마비정벽화마을).”

The Mural Painting Village has the feeling of a small, countryside town. There are beautiful murals all over the village that portray Korean traditions and culture. They allow visitors to imagine a simpler time in Korean history. Some of the murals are even interactive or “3D.” For example, you can hold a dog’s leash or make it seem as though you are mixing a pot. In addition to the murals, there are some hiking trails in the area as well as some restaurants for you to enjoy some cheap, but delicious, Korean food. 

The stamp is actually inside one of the restaurants in the village. The village forks, with an option to walk right or left just after you enter it. In order to get your stamp, take the right path and walk up the hill. Take your first left and walk under an archway into what almost looks like someone’s home. Go inside the restaurant in the door on your right and the stamp should be out on a table. If you show anyone in the village your book, they should be able to help you.

Taking the bus from the Mural Painting Village back to Daegok Station is much simpler than going to the village. Either way, in order to get to the next village, the Taverns Village, go back to Daegok Station. From outside of exit 1 of the station, get the 650 bus to Hochon2-ri. This stop is right after crossing a bridge. Walk back to the other side of the bridge, and the Taverns Village will be on your left, next to the bridge. 

Another option is to take the Dalseong 1 bus from the stop across the street from the 650 stop. You can take that bus to either the same stop as the 650 or to Hwawon Resort. That stop will be right before crossing over the bridge. In this case, the village will be to the right side of the bridge. Although the Dalseong 1 is a branch bus, all the branches stop at Daegok Station and Hwawon Resort or Hochon 2-ri bus stops. In any case, it is a very short bus ride, and it is much simpler to get to this village via public transportation than the Mural Village.

The Nakdong River used to be the center of trade for the city of Daegu as the river was the only way to transport goods around the city prior to the creation of bridges and roads. The Tavern Village was rebuilt in the same style as the old trading villages from long ago. Upon first impression, it is not much to look at—just three straw-roofed houses that serve as restaurants. But around the village is a lovely park that is well-worth the trip in nice weather. 

If you are tired of always going to Duryu Park, the park at the Taverns Village is a great alternative. There are open areas for picnicking, play structures for children, and a small hill with a tower on top from which you can see a beautiful panoramic view of Daegu. There is also a small zoo at the park where the animals seem well cared-for. The location for the stamp is at the information booth right next to the parking lot at the park’s entrance. The Taverns Village, and the surrounding park, is an excellent place to exercise or relax on a nice summer day.

The final themed village in the Nakdong/Mt. Biseul area of the Korean version of the Daegu Stamp Trail is Myogol Village or the Yuksinsa Shrine. In order to get there, take the green line to Daesil Station on the green line. Walk straight out of exit 1, and take the seongseo 2 bus to Yuksinsa. Again, please be aware that the seongseo 2 is a branch bus. It only runs 9 times per day, so there is a long wait time between buses. Be sure to ask the driver if the bus goes to Yuksinsa. You can say, “Yuksinsa ay kayo (육신사에가요)?” Or if you can read Korean, the electronic sign may display which branch of the bus is coming next to the number of minutes until it arrives. 

If this is too difficult, a taxi should not be very expensive at all from that area. The bus will drop you off just a short walk down the road from Yuksinsa Shrine. You go out of the parking area and turn right. Walk through the Myogol Village, and you’ll see the main gate into the Shrine. To the left of the gate is an information booth where you can get your stamp.

The Myogol Village is a small village surrounding the shrine that contains several very old hanok-style homes. They are beautifully preserved, but the main attraction is Yuksinsa Shrine. The history of the shrine is an interesting one. King Danjong of the Joseon Dynasty succeeded to the throne at age 12. Given his young age, his uncle, Sejo, decided to stage a coup and seized power in 1453. The following year, six officials of court attempted to put Danjong back on the throne, but their plan was discovered, and they were executed. Yuksinsa Shrine now houses the mortuary tablets of these six men. Memorial ceremonies are held yearly for the men.

You should now have six of the eight Nakdong/Mt. Biseul area stamps completed. The seventh location is Dodong Seowon Confucian Academy. Dodong Seowon Confucian Academy is quite far outside the city. The best way to get there by public transportation is to take bus 600 to Guji town office stop and then transfer to the Dalseong 4 to the Dodong Seowon stop. The Dalseong 4 is a branch bus that leaves six times per day at 150 minute intervals. It may just be easier to take from the Guji Town Office bus stop instead. There is an information booth right next to the Academy where you can get your stamp.

Dodong Seowon Confucian Academy is one of the five most important Confucian Academies in all of Korea. It was first established in 1568, but the original buildings were burned by the Japanese during their invasion in 1592. Dodong Seowon was reconstructed in 1605 in its current location.Outside the Academy, you can see a 400 year old gingko tree. Dodong Seowon is surrounded by mountains and is kept well-hidden from the outside world. There are a number of beautiful carvings on the earthen walls around the Academy, and the main building has four dragon heads carved along one wall. The various buildings at the Academy were once used for dormitories and classrooms. At Dodong Seowon, you can get a glimpse of how Confucian scholars once lived. 

The last location is one with no historical value what so ever to the city of Daegu. Instead,  Daegu Shooting Range simply gives visitors something entertaining to do on a weekend.  The shooting range is only on one branch bus line, so it is a challenge to get there on public transportation. Instead, take a taxi from the Bisan E-Mart area for only about 5,000 won. If you show the driver the page in the stamp book for the shooting range or say, “Daegu sageokjang (대구사격장),” you should be able to get there without a problem. 

The taxi will drop you off in the parking lot in front of one of the two shooting range buildings. Outside, next to that building, there is a “combat special forces” practice shooting area set up with a small ticket office room next to it. In that room, there should be a staff member who can give you your stamp. You will also need to ask one of the staff members there to call you a taxi back after you are finished at the shooting range. There should be no extra cost for that.

The Daegu Shooting Range offers visitors four different shooting options. There is no centralized ticket booth, so just purchase tickets from the staff members at the shooting area you choose. In the first building, you can do target shooting with an air rifle or screen shooting, which is perfect for children. Outside the front building, as mentioned previously, is a “special forces”area. There are two walled-in areas set up to look like combat zones with all kinds of barriers. There is even a model helicopter. You and your friends can practice your shooting in an open, and perhaps more realistic area. The prices for that are 14,000 for adults and 11,000 for children. 

Inside the first building, one the first floor, you can try your hand at screen shooting, which costs 2,000 won for adults and 1,500 won for children, to get a little practice before you shoot a real gun. In the room next door, air rifles are available. There, you sit in chairs and shoot at paper targets. You can choose between 20 shots for 4,000 won or 10 for 2,000 won. The other floors of the first building are primarily closed, but there are a lot of other shooting rooms, probably for competitions or members to use. In the second building, just a short walk behind the first one, you can try shooting actual weapons. 

The Daegu Shooting Range offers four gun options to visitors, but it is possible that not all of them will be available on the day of your visit. The pistol shooting range is just two small rooms with 3 booths each, enclosed in sound-proofing and bullet-proof class. Buy your ticket, put on a safety vest and head phones, and wait your turn in line. You can watch other people through the glass and see how they shoot on the target screen above the window. When it is your turn, the staff might not speak very much English, but it’s not a big deal. They will explain, basically, how to aim your gun properly, but they will load it for you. There are metal chains holding the sides of the gun to the booth so that you can’t turn it around or do anything unsafe with it. 

For 16,000 won, you get to fire 10 bullets. After you are done, you can keep your paper target as a souvenir. Behind the second building, there is a field for clay pigeon shooting. 25 shots cost 24,000 won and 10 cost 11,000 won. This style of shooting seems the most difficult, but good luck if you want to try it! The Daegu Shooting Range has a variety of options of shooting available to visitors, accommodating all ages and shooting abilities. It is a very interesting way to spend an afternoon.

By now, the Daegu Stamp Trail has taken you to places all over the city. You’ve learned new things at famous historical and cultural locations, participated in sporting events, visited art museums, appreciated the beautiful scenery of the city, and simply enjoyed yourself doing the many diverse activities that this city has to offer. 

Now what do you do with the book? If you were able to get a stamp at each of the 30 different locations in the Korean version of the book and/or the 10 different locations in the English version of the book, you now need to send the book in for your prize. You can send the book to the Daegu Department of Tourism and Cultural Properties at this address: 88 Gongpyeong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu, 700-714 (대구광역시중구공평로 88 대구광역시청관광문화재과앞).Please include a short letter with your name, email address, phone number, and your address. The books will be verified during the month of November, and you should receive your prize within the month or shortly thereafter. Your books should also be returned at that time. It is still unclear what the prize actually is, so it will be a surprise!

Thank you so much for following these posts and for taking part in the Daegu Stamp Trail. You have probably seen and experienced more throughout the city than most know even exists. Hopefully, you found it worth your while. Now, send in your books and claim your prizes; you earned them! Thank you again.

1 comment: