Let’s just get this out there…the wine tunnel is not what I expected. Let me take you through my dreams of what the wine tunnel would be.
There would be staff to greet my friend Phil and I at the “door” and they would show us to a table in a vast cavern of the tunnel. We would have proper menus and table service. There would be adults in attendance, each quietly enjoying the selection of persimmon wine and it would be glorious. Glorious. You know, more like a vineyard or winery.
Now I’ll explain what it was actually like.
First off, it is packed to the gill with people. I had no idea that what I was going to see was actually just another tourist trap. The 800 meter walk to the tunnel would be lovely if it wasn’t for the cars lined up waiting for parking spaces, screaming and running children everywhere, stalls of food and other persimmon flavored items for sale, and more screaming and running children. In a wine tunnel. Children. Oh, and the only bathroom I could find in the whole place was a two stall shack in between the food stalls. None are actually inside the tunnel. They have really spread the “get in, get out” type message well.
The tunnel is separated into two main parts, the eating/drinking area and the art gallery. There is no wait staff, there is a bar where you order wine by the glass from a teenager and then choose between the pretty subpar snacks. Finding a seat is actually pretty easy since most people buy only one tiny glass of wine to sip on. I believe Phil and I were the only ones around us that bought an actual bottle of wine to split. Why? I kept wondering what the entire point was for them to come to the tunnel.
Also, if you are a foreigner, expect a lot of staring. And by “a lot” I mean, expect every single person who sees you to stare at you and expect children to never stop staring. Also expect that strange thing where people will start speaking in random English to their friends to show off. There are definitely a lot of non-Seoulites there.
The art gallery was unexpectedly good, though and I really enjoyed this part of it. There were three Korean artists exhibiting there and you did get to see the giant wine barrels in the same area.
Even with all my complaining I would still recommend it, if and only if, you are making your way to that area. Don’t go out of your way for it because it is, like I said, a tourist trap and there are more interesting places to go in Korea. Or, just go early! It’s five o’clock somewhere, right? And you’re sure to miss most of the crowd if you go early. I think if I had known what I was getting myself into I would have felt better about the trip.
In my next post I’ll show you the best part, the very quiet temple only 100 meters from the tunnel that no one goes to apparently. It’s nestled among the persimmon trees and was a great find.
UPDATE: Whoops! My aunt asked me how the wine tasted and I realized I never said anything about it! I get so sidetracked. The wine was very nice and we only bought the “regular” at the tunnel. It’s really crisp and clean. Phil also bought a bit more expensive bottle to take home that we’ll have at a picnic sometime this summer.
Next up, I’ll show you the art showcased within the tunnel. Stay tuned!
No entrance fee but the art gallery costs 2,000 won.
Address: 85, Songgeum-gil, Hwayang-eup, Cheongdo-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do 경상북도 청도군 화양읍 송금길 100 (화양읍
We took a train from Dongdaegu Station in Daegu to the Cheongdo Station. From there we took a cab. It’s very popular and its in Konglish so you can tell the cabbie “Wine Tunnel.”
haha i went to visit my sister in china last year and every single place we went to had this similar experience… nothing is EVER what you will expect in China its so funny. you have a beautiful place and there is so many ppl squished in there. it was traumatic as it was Chinese holiday too and the staring at us three extrememly pale irish ppl was mad. i had so many ppl take my photo.. going back with my cousins in feb next year and ill be visiting everything at the craic of dawn haha i see korea is very similar 🙂
Yessss…a few years ago I was still having random people ask me to pose in their pictures but that’s seemed to clear up a bit (or I stopped going out, lol). But, yeah, if its someplace that anyone has heard of it will be packed. It’s such a small country and there are so many people there’s really no other option except make your way someplace before the masses wake up! I’ll remember that on my next daytrip. 😀 Enjoy your trip back to China!
i had people asking me to pose with their children.. though my two sisters didnt get it as much. i think it was cause my skin looked reflective in the sun! I will cheers 🙂
That’s too bad, though I guess it’s to be expected. I’ve had this on my list of things to see for awhile and just haven’t gotten down there. If you haven’t done it, I recommend the wine train trip from Seoul out to Mani Winery. It was pretty fun and since there are only so many seats on a train, it’s not so crowded and there were no kids when I went. No one wants to spend the money for a ticket to waste on a kid that won’t be drinking probably. ^^ http://thesoulofseoul.net/2010/12/08/wine-wine-and-more-wine/
Honestly, I wouldn’t take it off your list, if you really want to go just go early :). The two things I haven’t blogged about yet, the gallery and the temple, are both worth a visit. I will definitely look at the wine train, thanks for the recommendation!
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