Believe it or not, my last trip to Korea was my 10th time already. I’ve explored all the famous big cities of Korea from Seoul to Jeju Island to Busan and even my family’s personal favourite, Pyeongchang :) The only main one I haven’t gone to was Daejeon, the 5th largest city and prior to KTO’s invite, I’ve honestly never heard of it. When Vern and I first got the email, we were wondering what makes the city so special and different from all the ones we’ve gone before. When we met up with Mr. Kim, one of the organisers of this trip, he told us to not expect anything from the get go but just open our minds to this as any part of Korea will always be worth going to! So we did! :) We spent almost a week exploring Daejeon with the most diverse group of people. A couple coming from Manila City Hall, a high official from Malaca?ang, two from the Press Club of the Philippines and we were even with the vice president of the Philippine-Korean Organization that is based in Manila. Yup, VERY diverse I tell you! :P Our schedule was packed with things to do as the tourism board meticulously chose places that would show us every tiny bit of Daejeon. We even spent around 4 hours in their world renowned hospital learning about their services and the factory making the biggest Korean tobacco brand (Essè) that is manned and operated by almost no human already, just robots. We’ve gone to every inch of the city but here are 5 reasons why you should make that trip to Daejeon!
1. Ppuri Park. This was our first stop! Daejeon is about 2-2.5 hours away from Incheon airport and there is a direct bus that will take you to the city. Daejeon is the centre of the Korean Peninsula so you’ll most likely pass this place anywhere you’re headed to from Seoul. Ppuri Park is where Koreans learn and honour their family lineage with sculptures that represent each main family name. There’s also a small museum that will help understand visitors the history of Korean family lineage. It might be a bit weird for tourists to come and learn about this but the place is very picturesque! :)
2. O-World. This is Daejeon’s version of Everland in Seoul. The theme park has a a safari, a flower land and thrilling rides that’s perfect for families. Verniece and I tried the drop here for the very first time and we honestly thought we were going to faint! lol The safari was fun though and we really missed Verns while touring it :) Plus Vern finally got to see giraffes unclose again!
3. Daejeon Aquarium. The Daejeon Aquarium is a complex that houses fresh water marine animals from around the world. What makes this different from aquariums we’ve visited before is that each place is themed according to what continents the animals are from! :) It’s like being transported all around the world! What we didn’t like about this place though was the mini zoo at the end of the exhibit. They have black panthers, lions and tigers that are caged in areas that are just twice their size. It was heartbreaking to see how restless and depressed they’ve become! :( I wish the government would do something about it.
4. Cheongnamdae. This was our favourite part of the trip! Cheongnamdae used to be the President’s personal vacation home that they’ve opened to the public a few years ago. The place is massive and a lot of nature surround the palace so it’s very relaxing :) It’s their own version of Versailles so it’s a nice place to take photos, too!
4. Hanbat Arboretum. Hanbat Arboretum is Daejeon’s Botanical Garden. Okay, maybe this was our favourite part of the trip! lol Only because we love taking photos with flowers and it was spring when we visited. It’s rose festival in Daejeon so it was blooming all around the place! Anyone that’s fond of flowers will love this place :)
5. Gapcheon Water Sports Experience Park. What’s amazing about an upcoming city like Daejeon is that it’s developed itself to be a place where you can do anything you can think of. Theme park check, zoo check, flowers check, good food check and water sports? They have that too! Before our trip back to Seoul, we visited Gapcheon to experience water cycling around the river. It’s very clean and perfect for kids! :) The park’s available water sports equipment include six kinds: leisure kayak, dragon boat, pedal boat, rafting, watercycle, and standing canoe. Visitors can select and enjoy their preferred water craft, free of charge. Cool right?? :)
A big thank you to Korean Tourism Organization of Daejeon for taking good care of us! :) Till the next time we visit Korea!