Travel Report: Otgol Village – Daegu, South Korea.
April 2019. It was an absolute nightmare getting to Otgol Village! Situated on the edge of Daegu city, we knew this traditional hilltop community was isolated and that it would take some planning to get to. There’s basically only one bus and it runs just a few times a day. But what we hadn’t anticipated was that there were two versions of said bus and of course we got onto the one that branched off somewhere into the heart of Where-the-hell-are we? After a comical game of charades with the bus driver (significantly aided by a translation app), we set off on a steep half an hour hike that finally delivered us to the village.
April 2019. Otgol Village is home to some of South Korea’s most preserved traditional homes, known as Hanoks. Here you can see around twenty that have been owned by the Gyeongju family for a whopping four hundred years! Some of these structures are originals, some have been heavily restored and a few are fairly new, having been constructed in the original style.
April 2019. Otgol Village is a delightfully simple place. Just breathe in the fresh air (well, fresh compared to central Daegu at least) and take your time strolling up and down its country lanes with their stone-stacked walls, wild flowers, Cherry blossom trees and chirping birds.
Quite a few of the buildings in Otgol Village are of historical significance. Take the above structure for example, a humble little building that served as a lecture hall for the great Confucian scholars of The Joseon Dynasty.
This even smaller house was Built in 1789 by the order of King Jeongjo to honor Heung-Won Choi, an influential confucian scholar.
It shouldn’t take more than about half an hour to do a complete circuit of Otgol Village. When you’re done, you might want to nip into the rickety cafe-restaurant for a traditional Korean dish or two. The coffee is appalling but then it was free, so I shan’t be too hard on them. Apparently there are some excellent hiking trails around Otgol, but Wonderboy and I had business back in the city, so we opportunistically jumped on a rare bus back into town and congratulated ourselves on ticking off another cool spot on our Daegu adventures!
Otgol Village is free to enter and open daily from dawn till dusk. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, getting there can be a bit of a headache. First up you’ll need to take the metro to Haean Station on Line 1. Take Exit 2 where you’ll find the bus stop to Otgol. The bus you want is Donggu 3, though I can’t speak for the other version of that bus that whisks you off to nowhersvillle. The trip should last about twenty minutes, get off at the last stop, Village of Gyeongju Choi’s clan/Otgol Village. If all this sounds like too much hassle, just jump in a taxi. The address is: Otgol Village, 188, Otgol-ro, Dong-gu, Daegu.
For more on what to see and do in this hugely underrated city, check out my travel reports from Daegu.
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