10 Jun - 13 Jun 2013 Andong

East Asia
Republic of Korea aka South Korea
20, Dongheung1-gil
Comfortable and clean a/c dorm bed for KRW 17,000.- or US$ 15.- per night in a modern 5th-floor apartment. Continental breakfast included. Free wifi. Fully-equipped communal kitchen/lounge.
Laundry: KRW 3,000.- per load (washed and dried).
Central location and genuine backpacker atmosphere.
Friendly, enthusiastic and very helpful young hosts, sufficient English.
Beer: 500-ml bottles of chilled Korean Hite Ice Point (c. 4.5 % alc./vol.) for KRW 1,600.- or US$ 1.40 from a mom-and-pop neighbourhood store; or cheaper: 500-ml bottles of ice-cold Korean Cass Fresh (c. 4.5 % alc./vol.) for KRW 1,200.- or US$ 1.05 from Home Plus supermarket.

Click below for an interactive road map of the GoTaYa Guesthouse in Andong, which we would recommend, and for directions:


Matt: Time-travelling back into the 16th century CE, having very amicable meetings with both (i) the ghosts of Ryu Unryong and Ryu Sengryong and (ii) their living offspring amidst the centuries-old tile-roofed and straw-roofed traditional houses at Hahoe Folk Village (UNESCO World Heritage Site, +82548543669, entrance fee: KRW 3,000.- or US$ 2.60 per person; city bus no. 46 from Andong for KRW 1,200.- per person, one way), learning about the two Ryu brothers’ merits in the Joseon Dynasty, ambling through well-tended veggie gardens, cherry orchards and rice paddies and, from the bottom of my heart, agreeing with Queen Elizabeth II who had visited Hahoe in 1999 CE and who wrote afterwards in the village's guest book: “… as I visit Hahoe Folk Village, where Korean culture is always alive, I feel the beauty of a Korean spring day…”

Matt: Ascertaining beyond doubt that Andong’s major attraction is her local specialty food, indulging in (i) spicy Korean soft tofu stew aka soondubuchigae with mushrooms, which manages to be both hearty and healthy at the same time, at the only vegan eatery in town, the Loving Hut +82548419244 (KRW 5,000.- or US$ 4,40 for the complete meal with rice, fishy kimchee and veggies), (ii) grilled salted mackerel aka godeungeo gui, dressed up a little with a squeeze of lemon and grated ginger, (iii) Andong’s signature noodles aka guksi, served with a sauce made with sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions and a small amount of chili powder, sometimes topped for garnish with a fried egg, gim and zucchini (my favourite: Sunmi Restaurant +82548578498, sumptuous noodle meal with rice and eight side dishes for KRW 5,000.- or US$ 4.40), (iv) peculiar Andong heotjesabap, ancestor food for hungry living beings, and (v) the ubiquitous, hot tteokbokki (a generous helping for only KRW 2,000.- or US$ 1.80 from any of the friendly stalls on Seobu-dong), furthermore, learning to distinguish between sweet common sikhye (which was once a part of the Korean royal court cuisine) and spicy Andong sikhye (which includes radishes, carrots, ginger and the infamous powdered Andong red pepper), thus creating enough reasons to finish my food investigations with an extensive digestive visit of Ok-Hwa Cho, the 92-year old renowned master destiller and official skill-holder of the Andong Soju Museum +82548584541 (after all, Andong is being touted as “The Capital of the Korean Spirit”, cheers).

Matt: Driving Andong’s distinctive 45-proof soju out of my system and rejuvenating my body at the straight and rather non-LGBT Spa Land +82548578118 (entrance fee: KRW 5,000.- per person for 24 hours, no photos), one of these comfortable Korean bathhouses aka jimjilbang which are open 24 hours and where people can even stay overnight.

Matt: Saving face in Andong’s phrenologically challenging, excellent Hahoe Mask Museum (admission: KRW 1,500.- or US$ 1.30 per senior citizen), practising my almost forgotten, non-computerised face-recognition skills and, finally, agreeing with Robert Bloch, best known as the writer of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, that “…horror is the removal of masks.”

Matt: Crossing the Wolyeonggyo Bridge, Korea’s largest wooden bridge (387 m long), over the Nakdong River to the state-run Andong Folk Museum (“The Lives and Wisdom of Our Ancestors Come Alive Here”, +82548210649, admission: KRW 1,000.- per person), rambling through the museum's outdoor part with its diversity of traditional Korean houses and learning in the adjacent exhibitions about Korea’s life culture from birth through to death with the focus on clothing, eating and housing, thus including displays of (i) the first birthday aka dol, (ii) the coming-of-age ceremony aka gwanrye, (iii) the wedding ceremony aka honrye, (iv) various distinctive funeral rites aka sangrye and (v) ancestral rites aka jerye.

Matt: Taking, together with fellow traveller Lowine from France, an ordinary Korail train in 2nd class from the modern Andong Train Station to Gyeongju’s Train Station (c. 110 km, 2 ¼ hours, KRW 7,900.- or US$ 7.- per person) thus arriving at a town which is known as “the museum without walls” and which holds more tombs, temples, rock carvings, pagodas and palace ruins than any other place in South Korea or even in South Africa.

For Amazon schnaeppchens from Germany, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United States, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United Kingdom, please click here

From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to worry;
It’s good to live.
Keep your bearings!