Day Trips from Seoul: Daejeon

Daejeon 대전 is Korea’s 5th largest metropolitan city located near Seoul. This city is home for one of Korea’s top university, KAIST. There isn’t much to do in Daejeon for more than a day so a day trip from Seoul would be enough to see this city 🙂

How to Go to Daejeon

You can either take a slow train (Mugunghwa), express train (KTX) or bus. I would recommend taking the trains though. Mugunghwa will take 2 hours from Seoul to Daejeon while KTX will only take half the time. Of course KTX will be more expensive, slightly more than double the price of Mugunghwa to be exact – 10,800 vs 23,700 KRW.

We decided to try out Mugunghwa since 2 hours isn’t very long and paying double the price to save 1 hour. Honestly it wasn’t very bad, the train was definitely older than the KTX trains and there was no wifi on board, but the seats were still comfortable for a two hours trip. We took the 08.08AM train and reached Daejeon Station at 10.08AM.

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Inside the Mugunghwa train on our way to Daejeon

Places to Visit in Daejeon

Jungang Market 중앙시장

This market is pretty similar to Gwangjang market but with lesser people. They also have a hanbok market inside, like Gwangjang. This market is located near the Kalguksu house (which I will talk about in the next session), around 10 minutes from Daejeon Station.

If you walk through the market from the Kalguksu restaurant and find the right exit, you will see a place similar to Cheongyecheon with unique bridges across it (pictured above). Daejeon was very quiet and peaceful with very few people around so walking in the area was quite therapeutic 😀

Hanbat Arboretum (한밭수목원)

The Hanbat Arboretum, linked with the Government Complex in Daejeon and the Science Park, is the largest manmade urban arboretum in Korea. It’s a perfect place to have a quiet afternoon walk since only a few other people were around when we visited.

Try not to come on a Monday or Tuesday if it’s not a public holiday because some parts of the garden closes on those days. Admission is free, but be sure to come latest by 5.00PM to see the whole garden.

Where to eat in Daejeon

We spent most of our day in Daejeon eating actually. Our friends took us to good and famous places to eat in town so do check these places out if you are visiting.

Ossi Kalguksu 오씨 칼국수

Kalguksu literally translates to “Knife Noodles” in Korean and this restaurant is one of the oldest, more traditional kalguksu noodle house in Daejeon. This restaurant can be reached by a short 10 minutes walk from Daejeon Station so we had this for breakfast.

Each portion of noodles costs 5000 KRW, so it’s really affordable. It comes with tons of clams in the soup and more importantly, it’s tasty! They combined our portions into one huge bowl and it was a great dining experience.

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Sung Sim Dang Bakery (성심당)

This 60 years old bakery is now available in Seoul too but it originally opened in Daejeon. This bakery is special because they are recommended in the Michelin Food Guide. There were two sides to the bakery, we went to the cafe side for a short tea break.

The prices were surprisingly quite affordable. We spent around 20,000 KRW for 5 different pastries. I would say, definitely try this out if you are in Daejeon.

City Traveller Cafe 도시여행자

This hipster cafe is also a bookstore with many books related to travelling. After indulging in cake, we went here to grab some coffee and to cool down. The interior of the cafe and the lack of people there makes this cafe a perfect spot to chill (or to get some work done).

We had 닭갈비 (Dalkkalbi) dinner in a chain restaurant called 백철판. It is also available in Hongdae, Seoul, so I am not gonna write about it here. If you want to try it out in Daejeon, the store can be found here.

Overall, I really enjoyed my day trip to Daejeon. It was one of the out-of-town trips I made when I went to Korea. It was a great break from the hustle and bustle of Seoul and I was pleasantly surprised by the quietness of the “metropolitan” city. Special thanks to my friends, 이준호 and 김기섭, for being great tour guides for the day 😀

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