Daejeon: A Whistle-Stop Tour of South Korea’s Fifth City


It’s been over a year since I was last in Korea! And hopefully it won’t be too long until I head back (watch this space!), but until then, I thought I would introduce you to Daejeon, South Korea’s fifth-largest metropolis, and one of the eight major cities of the country.

Daejeon 대전 is situated in the centre-west of the country, and is a jikhalsi, a Special City, meaning it is administratively independent of any larger provinces – the city is a province in itself. It is surrounded by mountains and forests, and is cut by the Gap river. Daejeon is home to eighteeen different universities and the Taejeon Expo ’93, and has also been nicknamed “Asia’s Silicon Valley” for its high involvement in the world of technology.

Picnicking at Jangtaesan Recreational Forest

Jangtaesan Recreational Forest, Daejeon

Jangtaesan Recreational Forest

Jangtaesan Recreational Forest, Daejeon

I spent just a day and a half in Daejeon, visiting a friend that I met in England the year before. It was my first time staying in a Korean home, which was an experience in itself – though not so displaced from home life here in the UK, Korean home life is marginally different in various aspects, except breakfast, which is virtually indistinguishable from a Korean lunch or dinner!

Walking the Daejeon World Expo Science Park gardens

Daejeon World Expo Science Park

Expo Science Park gardens

Daedong Mural Village, Daejeon

Daedong Mural Village

Street art in Daedong Mural Village

Due to my limited time in Daejeon, my friend took me round some of the major sights: we took a walk down the River Gap at night; we visited the Expo Science Park, built specially for the 1993 world’s fair, in the north of the city; I went for morning walk and picnic in the Jangtaesan Recreational Forest 장태산자연휴양림 with my friend’s mum (who spoke little to no English – Google Translate definitely became my best friend that morning!); we had Korean barbecue and doenjangjjigae (soy bean paste stew); and finally we visited the Daedeong Mural Village and Sky Park for a great sunset view over the city.

Wash it all down with Korean BBQ!

Korean BBQ, Daejeon

Samgyeopsal Korean BBQ and banchan (side dishes)

The little whistle-stop tour was perfect to experience a little bit of what Daejeon has to offer. With a few more days I could have done a lot more, but if you only have a day or two to spend in the city, then I definitely recommend the places that I popped by! It’s a good mix of nature, culture and metropolis. And with Daejeon just an hour away from Seoul on the train, it’s perfect for a short escape from the capital to experience another Korean city.

This is a post in my South Korea Second-Timer series. Read the others here!

My Holiday Bucket List
Part 1: Plane Panic and, um, Personal Space Please?
Part 2: Welcome to Busan!
Part 3: Hwamyeong, a Temple, and Being Spend Happy
Haedong Yonggungsa 해동용궁사 – The Water Temple
Gamecheon Culture Village 부산 감천문화마을
Beomeosa 범어사 – Temple of the Nirvana Fish
Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁

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