Welcome to Andong, a hidden cultural gem in the historically rich province of Gyeongsangbuk-do! Andong is a time-honored destination where tradition and history seamlessly meld with the modern world. As you step into this charming city, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a living museum of cultural treasures, ancient architecture, and age-old traditions. From the preserved beauty of Hahoe Folk Village to the serenity of Bongjeongsa Temple, join us as we explore the top things to do in Andong.
Top things to do in Andong: FAQs
Why should I visit Andong?
Andong is considered the “Capital of Korean Traditional Culture” because of its Hahoe Folk Village, which was founded in the 14th century during the Joseon Dynasty. It’s considered one of the two most representative historic clan villages in Korea (Yangdong Folk Village in Gyeongju is the other). Because of this, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Andong is also referred to as the “Capital of Korean Spiritual Culture” due to its long history of Confucianism. You can visit Confucian academies, temples, and historic sites that showcase the city’s spiritual significance. Dosan Seowon Confucian Academy is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Andong.
There is no shortage of authentic Korean cuisine, natural beauty, cultural heritage, traditional experiences, and charming streets to explore in Andong. It makes the perfect addition to your Korea trip for any type of traveler.
Wondering where else to go on your trip to Korea? Check out my ultimate South Korea travel guide & itinerary, written by a local.
When should I visit Andong?
Because Korea experiences harsh summers and winters, the best time to visit Andong for great weather is in the spring or fall. In the spring, Andong’s natural landscapes flourish with greenery and flowers. If you time it right, you can even see cherry blossoms adorning the city. In the fall, colorful foliage provides a stunning backdrop for Andong’s many attractions. In both spring and fall, the weather in Andong is mild and pleasant. Because the Hahoe Folk Village and many other top sights are outside, good weather is important for a visit to Andong.
The Andong Mask Festival is held at the end of September or the beginning of October every year, providing a unique experience for those lucky enough to travel through at that time. You can check the dates and programs of the festival on the official website here.
If you want to catch the Mask Dance Performance, make sure to visit the Hahoe Village on a weekend. The show happens every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
How to get to Andong?
Andong is well-connected by public transportation, making it easily accessible from major cities such as Seoul and Busan. Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel preferences, there are many transportation options to choose from.
- By train: The most convenient way to reach Andong is by taking a KTX (high-speed train) from Seoul, Busan, or other major cities to Dongdaegu Station. From Dongdaegu Station, transfer to a Mugunghwa or ITX train to Andong Station. The journey takes about 2 to 3 hours. You can book KTX tickets here. They go on sale exactly a month in advance and sell out quickly, so make sure to be on top of it!
- By bus: Intercity and express buses also connect Andong with major cities in South Korea. The journey takes about 3.5 to 4.5 hours from Seoul. You can book express bus tickets here and intercity bus tickets here.
- By air: You can fly to Daegu International Airport or Gimhae International Airport (Busan) and then take a bus, train, or rental car to Andong. Daegu is closer to Andong, but Busan offers more international flight options.
- By car: Renting a car is the most convenient way to reach Andong and have maximum flexibility during your stay. Keep in mind that all foreign travelers must have an International Drivers Permit (IDP) to drive a car in Korea.
- By tour package: Joining a guided tour is one of the best options for reaching Andong, especially for a day trip. Tour packages provide a convenient way to explore the city and its attractions, minimizing the time you have to wait around for public transportation.
The best ways to reach Andong are either by car or by tour package. Public transportation in Andong is infrequent and you will waste a lot of valuable time waiting around for it. The Hahoe Folk Village lies well outside of downtown Andong, so it’s best to have easy and reliable transportation.
How long to spend in Andong?
Andong makes for a great day trip or weekend trip. On a day trip to Andong, you can see the Hahoe Folk Village and make a few other stops at nearby destinations. I recommend visiting #1-#5 on this list, in order, on a day trip. With a weekend in Andong and a rental car, you can cover almost everything on this list. Visit #1-#5 on day one and #6-#10 on day two. If you have a weekend in Andong but are using public transportation, I recommend only visiting #6-#8 on day two.
Where to stay in Andong?
The best place to stay in Andong is in the city center. Staying in the city center allows easy access to the city’s main attractions, restaurants, and cultural sites. You’ll find a range of hotels, guesthouses, and hostels for any budget here. If you’d prefer to have an authentic cultural experience, you can stay in the Hahoe Folk Village. The village has traditional Korean houses (Hanoks) that the locals converted into guesthouses.
Is Andong safe for solo female travelers?
Andong, like many other cities in South Korea, is very safe for solo female travelers. Like the rest of Korea, it has low crime rates and is a welcoming environment for women traveling alone. You should always exercise the usual precautions and be aware of your surroundings, but you should experience a trouble-free visit to this culturally rich city.
Top 10 things to do in Andong
1. Wander around the Andong Hahoe Folk Village
Without a doubt, the main attraction in Andong is the Hahoe Folk Village. Built in the 14th century, it is one of the most well-preserved and iconic examples of a traditional Korean village, earning a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. While exploring the village, you can take a journey back in time to experience the culture, architecture, and way of life of the Joseon Dynasty. I suggest spending a couple of hours wandering around the village, observing the distinctive thatched roofs and the Nakdong River that surrounds it.
2. Watch the Mask Dance Performance at the Folk Village
If you visit on a Saturday or Sunday, don’t miss the Mask Dance Performance that happens right outside of the Folk Village at 2-3 p.m. Entry starts at 1:40 p.m. and the stands fill up quickly, so be sure to arrive in advance. The show tells an 800-year-old story about daily life and the conflict between the common people and the privileged class.
3. Stroll across a wooden bridge at Woryeonggyo Bridge
Woryeonggyo Bridge is one of the longest wooden footbridges in South Korea, known for its distinctive beauty and cultural significance. Take a stroll across the bridge while admiring the architecture and its natural surroundings. After you walk across the bridge, you can try delicious drinks and traditional Andong desserts from the nearby Wolyeongdang Cafe while taking in river and bridge views.
4. Try jjimdak, the signature dish of Andong
Jjimdak (찜닭) is a popular braised chicken dish that originated in Andong. The dish consists of chicken, vegetables, potatoes, and glass noodles cooked in a spicy soy sauce and served on a large plate. At Andong Market, you can visit the Jjimdak Alley to try this nationwide hit. There are over 30 jjimdak restaurants on the street to choose from.
5. Sample the famous cream cheese bread from Mammoth Bakery
Down the street from the Andong Market Jjimdak Alley is Mammoth Bakery, Andong’s most famous bakery that has been recommended by Michelin Green Guide South Korea. The most popular items are cream cheese bread and yuja (citron) pound cake. This makes for a great dessert after your jjimdak dinner, if you have room! However, I suggest you stop at the bakery first as they usually sell out by the end of the day.
6. Find peace at Bongjeongsa Temple
Located in the foothills of the Dosolsan Mountain about 30 minutes outside of Andong city center, Bongjeongsa Temple is a significant and historic Buddhist temple. It’s known for its traditional Korean temple architecture and breathtaking natural surroundings. Make sure to see Daeungjeon Hall and the Seated Stone Maitreya Bodhisattva Statue, which are both designated as South Korean National Treasures.
7. Take in the river view while sipping on a drink at Cafe Foremost
Cafe Foremost (풀모스트) is a large, scenic cafe set along the river on a scenic driving route. There’s a large bakery and drink selection with a comfortable, spacious, and aesthetic interior. Take a break from your hectic schedule to enjoy this trendy cafe and take in the river views.
8. Learn about and try traditional Korean alcohol at the Andong Soju Museum
Andong soju is a local specialty of the Korean alcoholic beverage, undergoing multiple distillation processes. This results in a smoother, purer, and higher alcohol content than other varieties of soju. It’s considered an essential part of Andong’s cultural heritage because of its role in traditional rituals and ceremonies. At the Andong Soju Museum, you can learn about the history and heritage of Andong Soju while sampling its distinct flavors.
9. See the beautiful architecture and serenity of Dosan Seowon Confucian Academy
Dosan Seowon, a historic Confucian educational institution, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its historical and cultural importance. It played a key role in educating scholars and fostering Confucian ideals in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The academy is known for its stunning architectural design and natural surroundings. In Dongjae and Seowonjeon Halls, you can see important cultural relics, including books, calligraphy, and artworks related to Confucianism and Korean history.
Dosan Seowon is located almost an hour outside of Andong City Center by car, so this stop is only recommended if you have a rental car or it’s included in your guided tour.
10. Experience a K-drama filming location at Manhyujeong Pavilion
Manhyujeong Pavilion is a historic and scenic pavilion located on the banks of the Nakdong River. It’s known for its picturesque setting, cultural events, fishing, and scenic paths. Its beauty has been a source of inspiration for poets and scholars throughout history. It was even a filming location for the popular K-drama “Mr. Sunshine”.
Mahyujeong Pavilion is located 30 minutes outside of Andong City Center by car, so this stop is only recommended if you have a rental car or it’s included in your guided tour.
So, there you have it, the top 14 things to do in Andong! From wandering through the charming streets of the Hahoe Folk Village to exploring the rich cultural heritage of Dosan Seowon and savoring the unique flavors of Andong Soju, this city has a lot to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or just someone looking for an authentic Korean cultural experience, Andong has something for every type of traveler.
Need help planning the rest of your South Korea trip? Check out my ultimate South Korea travel guide & itinerary, written by a local.