Daegu’s fascinating traditional-medicine market is its biggest tourist draw. Come here to see strange roots the size of human thighs, jars of honey-coloured liquids, baskets of flowers, dried leaves and medicinal herbs. Even if it’s pouring rain the avenues smell fragrantly of these ancient cures, which many Koreans still swear by today (though Viagra is gaining a foothold in the ‘stamina-producing’ arena).
A simple, two-line subway system makes getting around easy, and the country’s third-largest city has great restaurants, good nightlife and neon that puts parts of Seoul to shame.
Daegu makes a great hub for day trips: be sure to check out Haeinsa and Jikjisa (p196), both of which offer temple stays for those wishing to get a closer look. Note that Daegu, while surrounded by Gyeongsangbuk-do, is its own administrative district and has its own telephone area code.