Andong 안동시 is known for its based chicken, masked dances, and the folk village Hahoe 안동하회마을. Since coming to Korea, I have been looking forward to going there. Unfortunately, I went at the wrong time of year, and during Covid, the town was tranquil, and not much was going on. Never he less, I found a few hidden gems and was able to enjoy myself.
I got to Andong in the early afternoon from Gangnueng 강릉시. I was extremely exhausted because I never slept well on vacation, so I decided to sit, read and have a coffee while I waited to check in at my hotel. After I checked in, I went to get some food, and I had this fantastic Jjim-Dalk 찜닭 braised chicken and vegetables with glass noodles dish Andong is known for. The chicken was tender and juicy with a sweet-savory soy flavor that was delectable. Not only did the chicken fall off the bone, but if you accidentally bit into the bone, it will crumble in your mouth 10/10.
I turned it in early for the night since the village Hahoe 안동하회마을 was about an hour bus ride away, and the buses were pretty infrequent. When I arrived in the been, I went to the mask museum, which told the story of the mask dance that Andong is known for. The dance is more than a dance but a Shaman ritual in the form of a play to appease spirits. The museum also had masks from around the world which was really interesting, especially when there were similarities to the Korean masks.
After the museum, I paid my entry fee and hopped on the bus to the village. Being winter and covid the village was really empty. I was surprised that this village is a lived-in village with no cafes and only one restaurant that wasn’t open. I spent about an hour or two walking in the village and then along the nearby river. Overall I was pretty disappointed. I thought there would be more than one mask workshop, an area set up for the traditional dancing in the village, and maybe some evidence of shamanistic practices, but there was not a lot or non that I could see. In fact, looking back on my trip, I wonder If I missed something because more tourists go to Andong than Naganeupseong 순천 낙안읍성.
On my way back, I stopped at a lovely cafe with the best cheesecake I think I have ever had. The cheesecake was a black sesame cheesecake. The sesame seeds gave the smooth and creamy cake a nutty flavor, and it was to die for. I had to go back the next day for another piece.
That evening I was pretty unsuccessful with food because Andong is also famous for its beef. However, every place I went only served two or more people, or I was required to buy 2 servings worth 60,000 KRW each ($46.41 USDA), which was out of my budget. I was defeated, so I ordered a burger and fries to go and tried to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
Early the following day, I checked out of my hotel and made a 45min ride out to Bongjeogsa Temple. The oldest wood structure in Korea. I did not get to go inside as I did not want to interrupt the morning prairie, but there was something honey and peaceful about this place. I walked around the courtyard and to the monks’ old housing while listening to the Buddhist chanting. There is something truly special about this place.
Although I was done with the temple, the next bus was an hour away, so I decided to hike up the mountain behind the temple in hopes of seeing some caves. The walk was very piece full, but soon my knee started to bother me, so I just sat for a bit enjoying nature before hopping back on the bus to take the train to Dague.
Overall I’m not sure if Andong is worth a stop if you have less than a month in Korea. Though that may be my exhaustion and knee injury, which worsened my two-week-long trip from Gangnueng to Busan talking. I hope to go back for its mask festival and do the area justice.
Places to See
Andong Market– (where you can find Jjim-Dalk 찜닭) – 20,000KRW-45,000KRW – 경북 안동시 번영길 11- 55 Beonnyeong 1-gil, Seobu-dong, Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do
No So Coffee – 노스커피 – with the best cheese cake ever – +5,000KRW – 경북 안동시 중앙로 50-1 1층
Adong Hahoe Village – 안동하회마을 – 5,000KRW – 36760 경상북도 안동시 풍천면 하회종가길 2-1-2-1, Hahoejongga-gil, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Around the Village
–Buyongdae Cliff 부용대 – free
Traditional Mask Museum 하회세계탈박물관 – 2,000KRW
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