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What You Need To Know

Daejeon is South Korea’s fifth-largest metropolis. Daejeon had a population of over 1.5 million in 2010. Located in the center of South Korea, Daejeon serves as a hub of transportation and is at the crossroads of major transport routes. The capital Seoul is about 50 minutes away by high-speed train.

Daejeon is one of South Korea’s administration hubs with the Daejeon Government Complex (Other administrative hubs: Seoul, Gwacheon and Sejong). The Korean administration in the 1980s decided to relocate some of its functions from Seoul, the national capital, to other cities. Currently, 12 national government offices, including Korea Customs Service, Small and Medium Business Administration, Public Procurement Service, National Statistical Office, Military Manpower Administration, Korea Forest Service, Cultural Heritage Administration, and Korean Intellectual Property Office, as well as Patent Court of Korea, are located in Daejeon. Korea Railroad Corporation, Korea Water Resources Corporation, and Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation are also headquartered in the city.

Daejeon has 18 universities, including Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Chungnam National University, Hanbat National University, Hannam University, and Korea University of Science and Technology. Daejeon has earned its name as “Asia’s Silicon Valley” and “high technology city”. The city hosted the Taejon Expo ’93 and the International Mathematical Olympiads in 2000. Several important research institutes are based in the city.

Population: 1.552 million (2014)
Area: 208.4 mi²

Currency

The currency of South Korea is the South Korean won, or won for short. The currency sign for the won is South Korean Won KRW Symbol. The South Korean won comes in coins of 10, 50, 100, 500 and bills or banknotes of 1000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000.

Converting your cash to Korean won in your home country is usually not a good idea. Many international banks have a small amount of Korean won to exchange or even do not carry any at all. Exchange rates could also be high, so it is better to wait.

Converting cash at the Airport may be better than at overseas bank, but it is also not a good idea. The conversion rates are usually horrible or there is a large commission fee. If you need to convert a small amount of money to be able to get to your hotel, then that should be fine, but do not convert a large amount of cash. You will feel cheated if you do.

At a time, it seemed like restaurants and shops only accepted cash. Today, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere including more and more small restaurants. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. American Express is rarely accepted. To be safe, bring as many different types of credit cards as you have.

Climate

Daejeon has a monsoon-influenced, 4 season climate that lies within the transition between the humid continental and humid subtropical climatic regimes (Koppen Dwa/Cwa respectively). Monthly mean temperatures range from −1.9 °C (28.6 °F) in January to 25.5 °C (77.9 °F) in August.

Language

Korean Is the language spoken in daejeon. The Chungcheong dialects These dialects are spoken in Daejeon city.

Safety

Daejeon is a very safe city by global standards. Note that Daejeon does not play host to a US military base, and as such, anti-American sentiment (and by extension, anti-Westerner sentiment) is low. If anything in town could be deemed dangerous, eldery drunks occasionally congregate around the front of Daejeon Korail station at night, including weeknights. Ironically, they are more inclined to hurl abuse at or chase down groups of obvious foreigners than individuals.

Daejeon’s tap water is “drinkable” however residents tend to boil their water or purchase affordable bottled water, or fill their own bottles at local parks or at the mountain springs that surround town.

More recently, as of late 2010, the large chaebol megacompanies have started buying up land around the station sites on the proposed second subway line, some of which have since become the scene of local protests and sieges.

Getting Around

The inner-city bus service is extensive, but a bit slow. Most buses pass through Daejeon station which does not have a bus rank. Instead, they all leave from one of about 10 stops dotted around the area. Note that bus routes 1 and 2 are express stops and annoyingly not even typically marked on the handful of bus shelters where they do stop. City bus services in Daejeon buses are divided into four types.

Daejeon’s first subway line opened in March 2006, connecting Daejeon Station to both the western and eastern parts of the city. The subway stations are fed by buses. The subway itself is extremely clean and tidy, and the stations are regularly decorated with art courtesy of local university arts students or schoolchildren. Small musical performances aimed at the older generations of Koreans (often some quite pleasant jazz actually) are sometimes held in Daejeon and Seodaejeon-negori stations.
Daejeon Subway Line 1 is the first of a planned 5 line subway system for the city. Line 1 has been fully operational since April 17, 2007. It connects Daejeon station in the original city centre, with the more modern and recently developed sections of this city, including Dunsan.

Daejeon is quite spaced out, so taxis fares can run up quickly. For a cross-town trip, expect to spend up to 10,000 won, far higher if travelling to the lesser developed outer regions west of the bisecting mountain range, north of Yuseong, or around Shintanjin. nregistered taxis are a common sight around the Dongbu bus terminal, so keep a keen lookout for the “It’s Daejeon” logo on the side of the vehicle or a meter in the front if you don’t wish to be mislead or deceived by un-licensed operators in un-metered vehicles.
Daejeon has a system of public-use bikes for a nominal fee, however, in practice, the racks tend to be few and far between, mostly on the north side of town around Dunsan-dong and more often than not completely empty.