Previous articles have covered other sections of both the Korean and English versions of the Daegu Stamp Trail, a great way to see sights in Deagu you may not otherwise know about. Even if you aren’t following along with the stamp book, check out these posts to get ideas about places to visit in Daegu. The Korean version is quite ambitious, with 30 different stamp locations, while the English version is very simple, with only 10. The books cost only 1,000 won each, and you get a prize for collecting all the stamps by October 31st.
This article will cover the Palgongsan area stamp locations listed in the Korean version of the stamp book only. Those three locations are the historic site of General Sin Sung-Gyeom, the Otgol Village, and Daegu Safety Theme Park. All of these can easily be seen in one day, but be aware that you will be taking a lot of public transportation, so make sure you have a charged travel card or enough cash.
The locations that are shared by both the English and Korean versions are covered in this article: http://globaldaegu.blogspot.kr/2014/05/tourpress-article-daegu-stamp-trail.html
The first stop of the day is the Otgol Village. To get there, go to Haean station exit 3 and transfer to the donggu 3 bus. Unfortunately, this bus has several branches, and the Daegu transport authority doesn’t make it clear--in English at least--what time each of the branch buses comes. If you’d rather not wait around for what could be a long time, just take a cab to the Otgol Village for less than 5,000 won.
The Otgol Village is an important historical site in the history of Daegu. It is a seemingly simple village full of traditional Korean homes (hanoks). The hanoks were built by the Choi family, one of Daegu’s old families. Throughout the years, the village has been the residence of many Confucian scholars and political figures. The most notable house in the village is Gyeongju Choi’s head house. It is one of the oldest Joseon Dynasty-era structures in Daegu and was built around 1630.
The architecture of the house shows how the ruling class lived during that period. The stone wall in the village is another important part of Daegu’s history. It has been preserved as a cultural heritage site for the city. Aside from these significant homes, the small village is peaceful to walk around. On a nice day, you can see flowers and fruits growing from vines along the walls. The managers of the village also run school programs about the history of the village, so you may see groups of cute kids walking around.
In order to get to the second stop, the historic site of General Sin Sung-Gyeom, you need to get the donggu 3 bus to Ayanggyo station, which is just a few stops passed Haean station. When you’re finished at the village, you may be lucky and catch the bus back from the village entrance. If not, you may need to ask someone to call a taxi for you. There should be someone in the tourist information booth between the village entrance and parking lot that can help you. This person can also give you a stamp for your book. In either case, get to Ayanggyo station exit 3 and transfer to the geubhaeng 1 bus.
Get off the bus at the Palgong Boseong Apartments stop, and it’s just a short walk from there to the historic site. Turn right as you get off the bus. You will take your second right down a side street off the main road, meaning you’ll have to cross the street. The side street you’re going to go down has a crosswalk right next to it. Also, to make sure you walk down the correct street, there’s a brown sign for the historic site to the right of the crosswalk with an arrow pointing down the street. Look for the sign.
Continue straight down that street for 500 meters. You’ll cross a small bridge over the river, and you’ll see a map of the area and a wall. You can either go into the park area through the small gate right in front of you, or take a left and walk down the street for another minute to get to the main entrance of the historic site on your right. At the main entrance, there is a tourist information booth where you can get your stamp. Be careful about the time that you arrive though because the staff of the booth go to lunch in the mid-afternoon.
The historic site of General Sin Sung-Gyeom is another place of importance to the city. General Sin Sung-Gyeom, serving under King Taejo, was instrumental in helping to unite Korea under the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). The site marks the location of an important battle where the General died in 927. In this battle, King Taejo, who controlled the northern part of Korea during the Three Kingdoms Period, fought Later Baekje, the ruler in the south-west of Korea. The King’s army was surrounded, and General Sin Sung-Gyeom decided to sacrifice himself to save the King. The General happened to look very much like the King, so the men exchanged armor and horses. In this way, the General was able to save the king. There is a small funeral mound dedicated to General Sin Sung-Gyeom as well as some traditional Korean buildings. The majority of the historic site consists of a lovely park area. The park is a nice place to walk around or have a picnic.
The last stop for the day is Daegu Safety Theme Park. Go back to the bus stop you arrived at to go to the historic site and get back on the geubhaeng 1 again. Get off on the last stop of the line, Donghwasa area. In front of you and up a small hill, you’ll see the grey, square building that is the Daegu Safety Theme Park. You can get your stamp at the front desk of the exhibition hall. It is important to note that this theme park is not like a museum. You can’t walk around on your own; you have to go in with a group. The tours of the theme park leave often enough, but they are completely in Korean. If you want an English tour, you must call and reserve it at least two days prior. That being said, you don’t really need to understand what the tour guide tells you. You can glean most of the meaning from the pictures and videos that you see.
Daegu Safety Theme Park was established after the February 18, 2003 train fire. An arsonist travelled nine stops on the red line of Daegu’s subway before setting fire to his train car when it stopped at Jungangno station in the heart of downtown. A second train, coming from the opposite direction, then caught fire as well when it entered the station. The fire killed almost 200 people and injured another 150. At that time, the train cars were not equipped with the same emergency switches and communication systems as they are today. This horrible incident is what prompted the installation of those. The tour begins with a documentary-movie about the train fire. The second part of the tour is another video, but this one is a reenactment, and guests sit in a small theater with a lap bar. Be aware: the reenactment may be traumatic for children as the main character for the first part of the film is a little girl who calls her father from the train as it is burning and later dies. Though the video doesn’t involve your seats doing any real jolting, they do move down, acting more as a sort of elevator to bring you down a floor to the next part of the theme park. The theme park houses a real burned train car involved in the incident. It leaves you with a very eerie and uneasy feeling.
The last part of the theme park is interactive. You and the other guests are taught how to use the emergency safety mechanisms in today’s subway train cars. A simulation of the train fire then begins, and you have to open the train cars and follow the lights up the stairs and out of the station, holding the walls. The tour guide then shows you a video of yourselves escaping to see how you did. Although it is a simulation, it is hard not to get just a little panicked. The last room of the tour is a timeline of Korea’s accident history, which is just a little scary to see. Behind the main exhibition building, there is an experience hall where you can learn to shoot fire extinguishers, among other things. You must sign up to participate at the front desk in the hall, and this only runs at certain times throughout the day. Be sure to get your name on the list.
The Korean Palgongsan Area of the stamp book features two historically significant and peaceful locations in the city. The Safety Theme Park is an abrupt departure from the other two, but it is one of the more unique places to visit in Daegu. Once you’re finished with these three locations in the Korean stamp book and the other three locations that are shared by both books, you’ve finished the Palgongsan Area section of the book!
Other posts about Stamp Trail by Abigail
- English Sramp Book: Part 1: Palgongsan area ▶ http://bit.ly/1r4GIK9
- English Sramp Book: Part 2: Dwontown area ▶ http://bit.ly/1uh6DP1
- English Stamp Book: Part 3: Suseong/Gachang Area ▶ http://bit.ly/1qqq6XI
- Korean Stamp Book: Part 1: Downtown area ▶ http://bit.ly/1qzfC9p