AAX Media Fam Trip Apr 2016 (Daegu-Andong-Mungyeong-Gyeongju-Busan)

On early April, Air Asia X (AAX) has organized a fam trip for media representatives in collaboration with Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), Daegu Metropolitan City, Gyeongsangbuk-do Tourism Corporation (GTC) and Busan Tourism Organization (BTO). We invited 8 medias accompanied by AA staff and KTO staff.

The purpose of this fam trip is to publicize the south-eastern part of Korea as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination to Malaysian.  Other than that is to introduce new tourism attractions and activities like flower festivals, marathon race and V-Train.

Olleungdo (올릉도) Seafood Stew

We took our flight on the early morning of 6 April from KUL-PUS and reached Busan Airport around 8 in the morning. As soon as we reached, we started our journey to Daegu which took us around 2 hours. We had our lunch at Olleungdo once we arrived in Daegu, and met representative from Daegu Metropolitan City. This restaurant served mainly seafood in this restaurant such as seafood stew and spicy braised seafood. The food portions allows you to share between 4-5  people and it cost around 50,000-60,000 Won per serving including side dishes, rice and water. This restaurant also allows Muslim to have their prayer on its private space at the side of the restaurant. You just need to inform them earlier.

Address: 9 Dusan-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu

대구광역시 수성구 두산동 9

View in Google maps: Click HERE 

Cherry Blossom at Suseong Lake (수성못)

After lunch we moved to our first attraction which is Suseong Lake. Suseong Lake is famous especially during spring season with is wide cherry blossom tree all around the lake. You can see a lot of family, couples and even friends hang around this lake to enjoy the chilly weather. They also offer duck boat ride and some fees need to be paid for that. At night you can watch fountain show with music which available from May to October (twice per night). Alongside the lake you can find a lot of cafes where you can just sit there with a cup of coffee to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Seomun Traditional Market (서문 시장) 

After strolling around at Suseong Lake for the cherry blossom scenery we then head to Seomun Traditional Market. Yes, it is a traditional market but don’t be surprise they have a lot more to offer than just groceries.  Seomun Market was known as ‘Daegu-Keun Market’ and it is one of the markets during the Joseon Dynasty. You can find a lot of affordable stuffs here from street foods, souvenirs, trendy clothes and of course fabrics! Specialty of this market is fabric-related items like silk, satin, linen, cotton, knitted goods and so much more. So it is one of the best place if you want to find Hanbok as well, cause you can get lower price here.

E-World & 83 Tower

After we had our shopping time at Seomun Market we then head to E-World. It features a waterfall, fountains, lighting displays, and flowers, as well as rides, exhibition and performance halls, and restaurants. E-World has several plazas characterized by different themes; major plazas include Entry Plaza (at the park entrance), Central Plaza, Children’s Plaza (playground), and Young Town Plaza.

We came at the right season which is Spring! Like other places in Daegu E-World too is surrounded by Cherry Blossom tree. You can spot pink color everywhere here, with the colorful light at night that surely will give a romantic feeling to visitors.

Nestled just behind E-world Daegu’s theme park is the 83 tower. You will need to take the cable car to go on top. If you are looking for something different to do other than spend your day and night downtown the 83 Tower is the place to consider. Over and above the fact that it is right by an amusement park the tower has enough activities to keep you busy for a whole day in itself.

We then went to Euroseum, located on the second floor. Euroseum is very similar to Seoul’s Trick Eye Art Museum. Get ready to put your creativity to the test and have fun with innovative 3D artworks and optical illusions. Here you can get some creative pictures being chased by dinosaurs or eaten by a fish which is the perfect way to set the tone for a fun date.

Bap Doduk (도둑)

We next head to Bap Doduk for our dinner located 15 minutes drive away from E-World. This restaurant is known for its seasoned raw crab since 1997. The menu here is very simple we had the seasoned raw crab, soybean paste stew with rice and a lot of side dishes. Korean meals are well known for their side dishes, It sometimes can be up to 10 side dishes per meals. We even celebrated two of our participants since their brithdya is just around the corner. Happy birthday again to you both Tatie and Aniza!

Address: 3-3 Dusan-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu

대구광역시 수성구 두산동 3-3

View in Google maps: Click HERE

Daegu Interbulgo Hotel (대구 호텔인터불고)

After a long day we finally checked in to our hotel at Interbulgo Hotel in Daegu. The room is very cozy and warm. They uses warm colors for most of the decorations in the room. We stayed there for one night. This hotel is actually located roughly around 27 minutes away from Daegu downtown, Dongseong-ro. This hotel also provides a prayer room for Muslim who needs to have their prayer conveniently. The prayer room is located at lobby just behind the reception. Kindly inform the receptionist in-advance if you need to use the room. The next morning we too had a halal breakfast meal specially prepared by the chef for us.

Skylake (Facial Mask making experience) 

The next morning we went to Dongseong-ro Street for facial mask making experience at Sky Lake. Skylake is actually the manufacturer of traditional oriental medicine cosmetics, beverage & etc. Skylake is also known for chemical free product where to the point that all the products made can also be eaten just like that. The media had the chance to experience themselves making the facial mask following the instructor guide one by one. Participants been divided into pair in this activities. After we are done each one of us can take back the facial mask as a souvenir! Before we left the place we check out the front part of the shop where they displays their products on the racks. They have tons of skincare and beauty products to look out for, from head to toe.

Address: 11-1 Yeonam-ro 12-gil, Buk-gu, Daegu, South Korea (Sangyeok-dong)

대구광역시 북구 연암로12길 11-1(산격동)

View in Google maps: Click HERE

Mosimjeong Traditional Cuisine (모심정)

We then travelled to Mungyeong from Daegu and it takes around 1 hour and a half journey. Once we reached Mungyeong we straight went for lunch at Mosimjeong (모심정), Gyeongbuk Traditional Food Experience Institution. We would say this restaurant is very unique not just in terms of the food that they serve, but also because the restaurant is built in a form that resembles “hanok”, a traditional Korean house. They have a large space of parking lot in front for the restaurant and surrounded by mountain. The view is very calming and a perfect place if you want to spend time away from the busy city. Since it is a bit far from city, this restaurant is able to be reached if you drive a car.

Address: 13, Bongsaeng 1gil, Maseongmyeon, Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do

경상북도 문경시 마성면 봉생1길 13

Coal Museum (문경석탄박물관)

We then went to the Coal Museum in Mungyeong, probably 15 minutes drive away from the restaurant. This museum exhibits history of coals and explains its important contribution to Korea’s rapid industrialization now and then. The information actually helps visitors to understand the vital role that coal has played in shaping Korean modern life. In this museum display 6,730 collection of mineral, fossil, equipment, documents, books & etc.  We also took a ride on an underground train which bring us to the real-life sized underground coal mining exhibition.

Mungyeong Saejae KBS Drama Set (문경새재 KBS촬영장)

Right next to the museum is the Mungyeongsaejae KBS Drama Studio. We took an electric car to go there. This studio or shooting set was built by Korean Broadcasting System in 2000 in Yongsagol to film a historical drama about the Goryeo Period.

The studio was built in Mungyeongsaejae because its mountains (Joryeongsan and Juheulsan) resemble Songaksan in Gaeseong (the capital of the Goryeo Period) and the area is filled with numerous traditional roads. Major dramas and films shot at the studio include Taejo Wang Geon, the Dawn of the Empire, the Age of Warriors, Dae Jo Yeong, Scandal, and Romantic Assassin.

Andong Myeongga Jjimdak (안동명가 찜닭)

We then moved to Andong which took us around 2 hours journey and had our dinner at Myeongga Jjimdak in Andong. The restaurant prepares for us special dish which used halal chicken meat. We had a happy meal that night because most of us have been craving for chicken! Normal price for one serving of braised chicken is around 25,000 Won which can be share within 4-5 people since the portion is so big. It comes together with rice and a lot of side dishes.

Address: 184-4, Seobu-dong,  Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

View in Google maps: Click HERE

Weolyeong Bridge (월영교)

After a hearty meal we head to Weolyeong Bridge to a stroll for its night view. The bridge is 387m in length and is the longest pedestrian overpass made of wood in Korea. Woryeonggyo Bridge harbors a tragic yet beautiful legend about a wife who made a pair of Mituri (hemp shoes) out of her hair in heartfelt yearning and condolence for her late husband. In commemoration of her pure and noble love, the bridge was designed in the style of Mituri. At the center of the bridge is the Woryeongjeong Pavilion.

It is so romantic to walk pass this bridge whether it is at night or during the day. Specially during spring season, around the river/lake it is surrounded with cherry blossom tree. After we had a walk we went to the cafe just opposite the bridge to get our cup of coffee.

Andong Grand Hotel

Back to the hotel that we stayed for one night, which is Andong Grand Hotel located about 10 minutes drive away from Wolyeong Bridge. The hotel have more modern interior compared to our previous hotel. Very cozy and warm perfect after a long day for all of us. 

V-Train Experience (Yeongju-Cheoram-Buncheon)

Today is the day that we are waiting for! We had breakfast at hotel and straight depart to Yeongju station to experience the V-Train. Our return journey took us about 2 hours and 30 minutes and the journey is approximately 185km long. The view along the ride is amazing because you can witness the valley scenery as it travels through the remote mountainous areas of Gangwon-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do.

V-train is non-stop and makes only 5-10 minute stops at Yangwon Station, the smallest train station in Korea, and Seungbu Station, which has particularly beautiful scenery, so that passengers have time to take pictures.

Train stops: Buncheon – Bidong stop - Yangwon – Seungbu – Cheoram

Tojong Daechu (토종 대추)

After we had our V-Train ride we then went for lunch at the final station which is Buncheon station. We had bibimbab with Soybean Paste Stew there with of course a lot of side dishes. We tried corn tea here for the first time and it taste not bad at all.  We then departed to Gyeongju from Buncheon which takes us about 3 hours and 45 minutes journey.

Address: Buncheon Station, Santa Village, Buncheonri, Socheonmyeon, Bonghwagun

분천역산타마을, 경상북도 봉화군 소천면 분천리

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Ssukbujaengi (쑥부쟁이)

We need to have a quick dinner since we are rushing for our theathre performance later that night. We had our dinner at Ssukbujaengi which is not far from our hotel. The restaurant is very authentic as well since it resembles hanok house and look very vintage inside and out. They served Japchae (glass noodles), together with some other fusion Korean food such as kimbap and yogurt salad. The price per serving here range around 15,000-20,000 Won and can be shared with 4 people.

Address: 585-5, Bobullo Hadong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do

대한민국 경상북도 경주시 하동 보불로 585-5

View in Google maps: Click HERE

BaSilla Non-verbal Performance (신라:바실라)

We then move to Gyeongju Jeongdong Theatre for the non-verbal performance, BaSilla. BaSilla is The story of the ancient Persian prince, a princess of Silla and the heroes of their time unfolds on the fantastical and spectacular stage. From the love between the Persian prince and princess of Silla that spans over 20,000 kilometers to invasion and resistance, the pain of losing one’s country, revenge and finally, the birth of a new hero, this epic story is played out on the stage in a moving performance that celebrates the joy, anger, sorrow and pleasures of life.

Gyeongju Hyundai Hotel (호텔현대-경주)

After that we went back to our hotel and stayed that for one night. The hotel we would say is one of the best hotels we have stayed so far. They have amazing view of the Bomun Lake behind the hotel. Together with the cherry blossom view from our balcony, spacious room with bath tub in toilet. Unfortunately we only stayed there for one night.

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon 2016 (경주벚꽃마라톤)

The highlight of Gyeongju this time around is its annually Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon. It usually takes palce during the peak of cherry blossom, drawing large crowds to participate in the event. We have been told the marathon participated by participants from 39 countries. Runners can choose from the full, half, 10 km, and 5 km courses, which start at the Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park. Gyeongju is a city where Korea’s long history and traditions are still alive. It is home to many relics and UNESCO World Heritage sites as well, making the city an open-air museum full of things to see and enjoy.

Shilla Millenium Park (신라밀레니엄파크)

After we walk around the marathon event, we then moved to Shilla Millenium park which is just 5-8 minutes walk from the Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park. Shilla Millennium Park is a theme park integrating both education and entertainment about the history and culture of the Silla Period. This place is suitable for all range of age. They offer a lot of activities such as archery and also Shilla Royal Costume experience.

Visitors can enjoy an outdoor set in which the famous Korean drama "Queen Seondeok (2009)" was filmed. In addition, the park houses Ragung, the first hanok (traditional Korean house) hotel in Korea. It became famous when it appeared as Yoon Ji-hoo’s home in the Korean drama , “Boys over Flowers (2009).” The hotel is divided into Suite Hanok and Royal Suite Hanok. Inside each hanok is an outdoor open bath offering comfort and rest to visitors.

Royal Tomb Complex (대릉원 – 천마총) & Gyochon village UNESCO World Cultural Heritage (경주 교촌마을)

Next we went to Daereungwon Royal Tomb Complex, where large ancient tombs of kings and nobles of the Silla Kingdom can be seen around Gyeongju at the Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong Tomb). There are twenty-three large tombs located here; the most famous being Cheonmachong and Hwangnamdaechong. 

In an excavation of the area in the 1970s, Cheonmachong was discovered with a painting of a mounted horse. This painting is the only discovered painting from the Silla era. You can also view the inside of Cheonmachong. There are 11,526 remains and royal crowns inside the tomb, demonstrating the lavish lifestyle of the king.

Oase Seafood Buffet at Jagalchi Market (오아제 뷔페)

After touring around the village we then transfer to Busan, and the journey took us around 1 hour and 50 minutes. Arriving in Busan we straight went for dinner at Jagalchi market at buffet restaurant name Oase. Oase offers a wide range a seafood buffet and also other dishes from western foods to Korean foods.

View in Google maps: Click HERE

BIFF Square (BIFF 광장)

After dinner we had our shopping time at Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Square. 쏟 square mostly crowded with youngster since there are a lot of stuffs to shop here. Having been remade as a cultural tourist attraction promoting the advancement of Korea’s film industry, the BIFF Square has contributed to Busan’s newfound status as an international cultural tourist city. The 428 meter-long street stretching from the Buyeong Theater in Nampo-dong to the overpass in Chungmu-dong was divided into “Star Street” and “Festival Street”.

Homers Hotel (호메르스호텔)

After a long day we checked-in to our hotel which we will be staying for two nights. Homers Hotel sits along the beach at the end of beautiful Gwangandaegyo Bridge, offering not only a cool coastal breeze, but also a picturesque view of the city skyline. 

Nearby tourist attractions include Gwangalli Beach and Haeundae Beach, aquarium, and dried fish market.

Nakdong River Rapeseed Flower Festival (창녕 낙동강유채축제)

Early in the morning after we had our breakfast in the hotel, we straight went to one of the attraction of Busan during spring season which is the Changnyeong Nakdonggang Youchae Festival. This year is the 5th time that they have organized such event. The Nakdonggang Yuchae Festival is an annual event held during mid to late April in a canola flower field in the Namji-eup area of Changnyeong. The festival offers live performances; an experience hall of insects and birds; agricultural and specialty product exhibition, sales, and experience, and promotion booth; Namji Cheolgyo Gallery; yuchae photo rally, and other events for visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery of yellow canola flower in full bloom with the blue thread of the Nakdonggang River.

Our advice is to visit during weekdays, it will be less people compared to the weekend. But if you want to come during weekend it is best to visit early in the morning, because when we left around 10-11AM a flock of people came to visit the place.

Geumjeongsan (금정산)

Before lunch we drop by Geumjeongsan and took a cable car to the top of the mountain. Geumjeongsan has historically been considered as a mountain conducive to the defense of the country. For this reason, Beomeosa, a leading temple believed to defend and protect the country, was built along Geumjeongsanseong Fortress, the nation’s largest fortress, built in The Three Kingdoms period.

The mountain is not startlingly tall, but has a graceful shape with dense forest and clear water fountains throughout the exquisite rocky cliffs, proudly representing itself as a famous mountain in Busan. Compliment by the cold breeze weather the aerial view is such an exquisite surrounded by the cherry blossom tree. It is very colorful from the top of the mountain. A lot of local citizen came there for a morning hike with family and friends.

CappadociaBusan Mosque

We then had our lunch at Cappadocia. They served mainly halal Turkish fusion cuisine. One of the restaurant's most popular menu items is a Korean fusion, Kimchi Kebap. Korea and Turkey were an allied force during the Korean War, and both participated in the 2002 World Cup. Cappadocia works to become a "Little Turkey" in Korea. Not only does Cappadocia serve great Turkish food, but it also offers books and visuals to help customers understand Turkish culture. The owner (Sulaiman Jung) of this restaurant is so friendly and greets us warmly. He is a Muslim himself, thus he understands very well on how to prepare halal meals according to the Islam guidance.

Next to the restaurant is the Busan mosque, Busan Masjid was the second masjid to open in Korea. It was built in 1980 with financial support from Ali Fellaq, the former minister of finance of Libya.

Oncheoncheon Stream (온천천)

Before heading to Busan National University, we drop by to walk along the Oncheoncheon Stream. It is famous stretching along side a stream that flows most peacefully. It is also popular among the citizens for having lots of facilities for exercising, such as a bicycle road, basketball court, a stepping-stone, and trails for joggers. Due to these, many people come to Oncheoncheon day and night to exercise.  You may find this attraction more or less similar like Cheonggyecheon Stream.

View in Google maps: Click HERE

Busan National University

After a walk by the stream we then moved to one of the biggest shopping are in Busan which is Pusan National University (PNU) along with Seomyeon and Gwangbokdong (Nampodong). The shopping district is just a walk away from the main gate of the university and the subway station. You can find a variety of shops including international and local brands here. Not to forget more cafes and skincare shops around this area too. Most of the participants had a good time shopping here since it will be their last day in Korea before heading back to Malaysia the next day.

Cheongsapo Hajininae Haeundae

Later that night we had our dinner at the famous shell-fish restaurant by the beach. It is located along side Haeundae Beach, such a perfect place to end our trip. The food still tastes the same like when I visited this place last year during autumn. We have been told that a lot of celebrities visited this restaurant before such as PSY.

We went back to our hotel and packed our bag, since it will be our last night here and we need to leave the hotel early morning the next day.  

View in Google maps: Click HERE

Images courtesy from participating medias: 

Nisa Kay; Kisah Tatie; Shea Rasol; Bella Idura; Jelita Magazine; New Straits Times; Harian Metro

Seoul Tourism
Busan Tourism