Planning a Trip
The Daegu International Airport (tel. 053/980-5290; http://daegu.airport.co.kr), located just 2km (1 1/4 miles) outside of the city, serves as the central air hub for the area. International flights arrive at the Daegu airport from major Asian cities, including Beijing, Bangkok, Shanghai, Shenyang, Qingdao, Manilla, and Hong Kong. There are a couple of domestic flights a day from Seoul's Gimpo Airport and Incheon Airport, offered by Korean Airlines (KAL) and Asiana Airlines. Regular buses (nos. 401 and 718), costing W1,100 ($1.20/60p), run daily every 6 to 12 minutes from the airport and go to most parts of the city. More upscale buses (nos. 104, 105, and 719) with guaranteed seating cost W1,500 ($1.60/80p). If you want to take the subway, take bus no. 104 or 401 to the Ayanggyo station to catch the subway from there. Taxis to Daegu city hall cost about W5,000 ($5.40/£2.70).
There are two train stations in Daegu, the old station in the middle of the city, Daegu Station and the newer and larger Dongdaegu Station to the east. The eastern train station, renovated in 2004, is served by the KTX high-speed train. Both train stations have subway stops off of line 1. Daegu is located on the Dongbu (Seoul-Busan) line. KTX trains from Seoul run daily every 20 minutes from 5:30am to 10:10pm and take about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Standard fares are W34,900 ($38/£19) and first-class seats are W48,900 ($53/£26). Trains from Busan run daily every 20 to 30 minutes from 7:15am to 9:45pm to the Dongdaegu Station. The 1-hour train ride costs W10,900 ($12/£6). Daegu is also served by the Daegu line, which runs east-west between Daegu and Gyeongju and connects to the Jungang line, which goes north from Yeongcheon.
Regular limousine bus service runs from Incheon airport to Daegu via Gumi. Buses run daily about every 50 minutes from 6:40am to 10:30pm. The 5-hour ride costs W30,000 ($32/£16), with an increase to W33,000 ($35/£18) at night.
You can also take a nonstop bus from Seoul's Express Bus Terminal or the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to the Daegu Express Bus Terminal. Buses run more frequently from the Seoul's Express Bus Terminal, but they both have buses daily from 6am to 10pm, with a ride that lasts just about 4 hours with regular fares at W14,800 ($16/£8), W21,800 ($23/£12) for deluxe buses, and W24,000 ($26/£13) for the midnight fare (a bit misleading since it applies to buses that run between 10pm-5am). The ride lasts about 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Somewhat confusingly, Daegu has three different express bus terminals located right next to each other just south of the Dongdaegu train station, and another one, the SeoDaegu Express Bus Terminal, in the northwestern part of the city. Pretty much any bus going north or west of Daegu will stop at the SeoDaegu terminal, which includes buses to Seoul, Gwangju, Daejeon, Masan, Jeonju, Cheongju, Suncheon, Chuncheon, and Uijeongbu. The SeoDaegu terminal is right down the street from the Bukbu bus terminal and Daegu city buses.
The main Daegu Express Bus Terminal complex is more complicated. If one of the bus terminals doesn't service your destination, try the other two. The one closest to the train station runs mostly south to cities like Busan, Jinju, and Ulsan. The one across the street serves Seoul, Incheon, and areas northeast. The one next door to the east has buses to Daejeon, Gyeongju, Jeonju, Jinju, and Busan. Unfortunately, the buses are run by different companies and you'll have to know which companies go where to find out the schedules by phone. The companies are Hanjin Express (tel. 054/743-2828), Kolon Express (tel. 054/743-2282), Hanil Express (tel. 054/743-2956), Kumho Express (tel. 054/743-1101), Dongyang Express (tel. 054/743-1961), Jungang Express (tel. 054/743-2662), Cheonil Express (tel. 054/755-1001), and Samhwa Express (tel. 054/754-3606).
Daegu has a small subway system (www.daegusubway.co.kr) with two lines that intersect each other at the Banwoldang station. The regular fare is W1,100 ($1.20/60p). The subway doesn't go everywhere, but the stations are announced and clearly marked in English. If you plan on being in Daegu for more than a day, I suggest getting a transportation card, available at any subway station or newsstands near bus stops. The card's base cost is W2,000 ($2.15/£1.10), but you can add any amount. It gives you a discount for both the subway and local buses, plus free transfers within an hour of your last trip.
Buses in Daegu go pretty much anywhere you want to go. There are two types of buses -- local (W1,100/$1.20/60p) and limited (W1,500/$1.60/80p), which usually have more seats. The first buses of the day depart daily at 5:30am and stop running by 11pm. The great thing about city buses is that they are numbered by their routes. Bus numbers have three digits, each number indicating the zone that the bus serves. For instance, bus no. 704 runs from zone 7 to zone 0, and then to zone 4. Other routes that are circular are named for the districts they serve and are numbered from 1 through 3. For instance, bus no. 242 has a circular route starting at zone 2 going though zone 4 and ending back in zone 2. Bus no. 242-1 has a circular route going the opposite direction.
There are two types of taxis in the city -- regular and deluxe. Regular taxis are usually silver or sometimes black with a blue or green sign on top. Deluxe taxis are black with a yellow sign on top and offer a free interpretation service (using the phone in the taxi). Although most taxi drivers won't know how to speak English, many taxis have a destination guide, including the names of most hotels and shopping centers in English. You can flag a taxi down anywhere on the street. Regular taxi fare starts at W1,500 ($1.60/80p) for the first 2km (1 1/4 miles), while deluxe taxi fares start at W2,500 ($2.70/£1.35) for the first 3km (2 miles).
The main Daegu Tourist Information Center (DTIC; tel. 053/627-8900; Apr-Oct 9am-8pm, Nov-Mar 9am-6pm) is located right next to the outdoor concert hall in Duryu Park. Their English-speaking staff provides reservations for train or plane tickets and offers brochures and maps in English. There are also information booths, open daily, at the Daegu Airport (tel. 053/984-1994; 7am-8pm) on the first floor, at Daegu Station (tel. 053/660-1432; Mar-Oct 9am-7pm, Nov-Feb 9am-6pm), at Dongdaegu Station (tel. 053/939-0080; Mar-Oct 8:30am-7:30pm, Nov-Feb 8:30am-7pm), in Seomun Market (tel. 053/429-1491; Mar-Oct 9am-6pm, Nov-Feb 9am-5pm), at Dongseogno Street (tel. 053/252-2696; 10am-7pm), at the herbal market's Yangnyeongsi Exhibit Hall (tel. 053/631-3324; 9am-6pm), and at the entrance to Palgongsan (tel. 053/985-0980; Mar-Oct 9am-6pm, Nov-Feb 9am-5pm). The city's official site is http://english.daegu.go.kr.
The city of Daegu offers inexpensive (only W3,000/$3.25/£1.60)!) bus tours. There are eight tours that leave from the DTIC in Duryu Park and seven that start at the airport. Tours begin at 10am and are determined by demand, so call (tel. 053/627-8900 or 053/627-8986) or check ahead to make reservations (www.daegutour.or.kr).
Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- At the airport, Daegu Bank has two English-language ATMs -- one on the first floor next to the money-exchange booth and another on the second floor. There is also a money-exchange booth on the second floor next to the international departures, which opens whenever the first international departures occur (usually fairly early in the morning). Although most banks have ATMs outside their branches, most of the machines close at midnight. Some ATMs with the Cirrus or Star logos are open 24 hours and can be found in most popular public areas.
Internet Access -- Most large hotels and even a couple of the lower-priced motels and youth hostels offer Internet access. If you don't have your own computer, your cheapest option is the PC bahngs in town. Just look for the letters PC; most of them are found on the second or third floors above restaurants. You can also use the free computers with Internet access at the main DTIC at 588 Duryu-dong, Dalseo-gu, inside Duryu Park.
Post Office -- Post offices in Daegu are open weekdays March through October 9am to 6pm, November to February 8am-5pm. On Saturdays they're open 9am to 1pm. They are closed holidays.