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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[Nov/Tour] Andong Unmasked

The city of Andong is heralded in Korea for its outstanding traditional food, especially its steamed chicken (Jjimdak), grilled mackerel (Kohdunga) and native all-natural rice-wine (soju). In fact, a trip to Andong is well worth it just to enjoy these three culinary treasures. But Andong, which is Gyeongsangbuk-do’s largest city in the northern part of the province, is internationally regarded for its amazing folk heritage--in particular, The Hahoe Folk Village and the Annual Folk Festival featuring  the Andong Masks.

The Hahoe Folk Village can be reached via a scenic bus ride from downtown Andong. The village uniquely features an active community of residents living as they would a century ago. Walking down the village’s lanes and alleys affords visitors glimpses of traditional Korean life that have become all too rare. It’s easy to lose track of time as you turn a corner and gaze at rice paddies and mountains without any modern distractions. Not surprisingly, Hahoe Folk Village has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Traditional Korean residence at Hahoe Folk Village
Recently Andong residents welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the 41st Annual Folk Festival that featured its parade of masks and presentations by performing artists from around the world. The masks have the power to mesmerize as they come alive in numerous theatrical shows and displays. Vendors from throughout Korea dot the fair grounds offering everything from natural foods to clothing. The entire festival, held each fall, is striking in its diversity and vibrancy.
Masks at Andong's Annual Folk Festival

Even restaurants get into the act
Enhance your visit to Andong with an overnight stay at a local Korean inn (min-bak). A fine example is The Man Hyu Guest House located about 25 minutes from downtown Andong. Take bus #51 and ask for Bongjeongsa Temple. Sit back and let the driver take you to the end of the line. Man Hyu Guesthouse is just a short walk up the hill.
A delicious breakfast at the Man Hyu Guest House
Visit Andong for yourself and experience its marvelous masquerading. It is surely one of Korea’s, and Gyeongsangbukdo’s, best treasures.

Getting there: Andong is about a 2-hour train ride from Dong Daegu Station.
The Man Hyu Guest House is a 25-minute bus ride from downtown Andong. Take the #51 bus to its last stop. 

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