Wow Korea 2016 2nd Trip [Andong]

Friday, 11 November 2016

Andong! The first thing you hear about Andong is usually about the Jjimdak (braised chicken) or the Mask Festival. True, those were the things that I knew about Andong and when I heard I was going I was actually pretty excited. Headed off to Andong from Seoul in the morning, a full 4 hour road trip where we started the day with our first activity: LUNCH!

We had one of their famous food as well, which was the mackerel. Funny how you only find out new things after being there. This is one of the things I love about Wow Korea (this program), is that we don't have to plan our own trips ourselves and all the planning and research with regards to the itinerary has already been done for us. All we have to do is try it out and talk about it.

Crossed the carpark and headed to Hahoe Village, a place classified as a UNESCO World Heritage , which is one of the oldest standing villages (most famous one too) in Andong. This place is extremely huge and we were unfortunate to run into rain. It would have been a great place to walk and shoot photos if the rain wasn't that annoying. Anyway, we headed into the Mask Museum first where we saw a huge array of masks from many different countries and cultures, not only the ones from Korea. 

Hahoe-ri, Pungcheon-myeonAndong,Gyeongsangbuk-doSouth Korea
Take Bus No. 46 from the Express Bus Terminal to Hanoe Village
Summer: 0900 ~ 1900
Winter: 0900 ~ 1800
Spring & Autumn: All Day

It was quite an experience, looking at all the different masks from different countries, each having their unique features and quirks. Headed down to the first floor where we had our first mask painting experience. We used a type of "clay" that sticks onto the masks and leaves a color on it BUT doesn't stain your hands nor your clothes. It's some crazy technology, I must say. We got the basic colors of red, blue, yellow, white and black and we could put them together to make other colors. 

My finished product

I don't know what to say but seeing people in masks scares me a little. It's almost like seeing clowns and it's definitely not something that I liked since I was a child. Even with all the colors you'd expect everyone to look friendlier but it just made me even more freaked out hahaha. Wouldn't want to come across people in masks in the night all alone. 

The village is so huge that they even have shuttle buses to bring you from the carpark to the entrance of the village. It was raining so I didn't take much photos for fear of my camera. The body was weather proof but the lens is a Tamron 28-75 and not weatherproof. Considering the fact that there were already some problems with the focus (making my photos look blurry in some shots), I would not want to spoil it further. 

Came across the famous cliff and braved the rain for a bit to take a photo. Continued walking throughout the village to head back to the bus stop where there was shelter because I was feeling sort of gloomy due to the rain. The place was extremely beautiful and it would have been amazing to walk if not for the rain. 

Hopped back on the bus and headed to Andong Market, or also known as the Jjimdak street (braised chicken street) where it was rows of shops selling the same product. I'm usually not for one to eat this dish since it's always spicy, no matter how you tell them to make it less spicy. I end up eating with a bottle of water beside me and and a tissue in hand for all the perspiration.

Andong Jjimdak Street
184-4 Seobu-dong, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Thereafter! The highlight of the day: The Mask Festival. The day we arrived was the opening ceremony of the mask festival and though it rained, people were still there watching the performances and walking around to take photos. Even high school students were dressed up and wearing masks running around taking photos. It was pretty amazing that even amidst rapid development, the city of Andong still holds dearly their tradition of masks. 

Mask Festival Performance Grounds
Unheung-dong, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

The opening ceremony was really lively and the people were energetic. We walked around to take photos with the decorations set up among the booths. Then we headed to the indoor stage where masks dances were held. Apparently it's the most famous stage for mask dances as people who study these traditions watch videos of dances held in this very arena. 

There were a total of 3 different performances, each carrying a significant and distinct message meant to tackle the problems and issues of those generations. It included the differences between financial standings and how people are treated. It was a really surreal experience for me, watching people in masks (as I mentioned how much they freaked me out) dance and perform out a story while I hear clashes and drumbeats fill the room. 

Of course, it was an experience like no other that and it's one of the things that I can say I've checked off my list to do in Korea. We stayed in one of the top hotels in Andong, Richell Hotel. There were great rooms, a wide spread buffet in the morning, and really comfortable beds! 

Richell Hotel
346-69 Gwangwangdanji-ro, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Hopped on the bus after a hearty breakfast and headed to our next location: Andong KBS Drama Studio! But on the way, we found a huge field full of beautiful cosmos flowers so we all got off to take some photos. It's a little similar to the cosmos field that I was at last year at Goryeong.

The entire place looked just like a village, equipped with bridges, fields, waterfalls, pavilions... it just looked like a well preserved village for royalty where nobody lives. It's perfect for filming dramas that took place many years ago, as per those that you have probably watched on television. We even filmed a short little skit there in our groups. Other groups did things like a music video, love story, but we made one on friendship based on a true story that usually happens between friends when they travel together.

Andong KBS Drama Studio
Seokdong-dong, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

After that we headed to the Dosanseowon Confucian Academy. We concluded that this place was where the traditional Seoul National University stood. It was a place so secluded that it was literally within nature (or I'd call it wilderness). Nature was so well preserved because it's something for the scholars to come out and look at before heading back to their books. It meant no temptations or distractions from their studies. 

Dosanseowon Confucian Academy
154 Dosanseowon-gil, Dosan-myeon, Andong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

An SNU student in traditional SNU

Of course, with beautiful locations come photo time! I spent quite a lot of time walking around, waiting for people to leave in order to take scenery photos with no people in them. The entire place seemed like a location parents would exile their children to in order to become top scholars in the city. 

Another SNU student in traditional SNU

Had a great time mingling and making friends with this awesome bunch. Definitely looking forward to more trips in the future and exploring more parts of Korea together. This was it for Andong as we moved on to the next area: Yeongju! Stay tuned~

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