Korea's Silicon Valley

Daejeon is a metropolitan city located in central Korea, in the middle of the Chungcheong region, with a population of just over 1.5 million people, making it the 5th-largest city in the country. Originally nothing more than a small rural county at the turn of the 20th-century, the construction of important national railroads through Daejeon in the early 1900’s quickly transformed it into a major transportation hub and its population exploded. In recent years it has emerged as a major research center, with numerous government-sponsored research groups and think tanks headquartered in the city along with KAIST, one of Asia’s top STEM universities, and Chungnam National University, one of the ten flagship national universities of Korea.

 

While Daejeon may lack the long history its neighboring cities, the traditional provincial capitals of Chungju and Cheongju, have, it has carved out a strong niche for itself as a city of science and technology, earning a reputation as the “Silicon Valley of Korea”. Numerous research institutes run by both the government and major conglomerates, such as Samsung and LG, call Daejeon home. The area housing the city’s two major universities and these numerous research centers is known as Daedeok Innopolis. This district also hosts the National Science Museum, the largest science museum in the country with interactive exhibitions about the scientific history of Korea and showcases of the latest national technological and scientific developments. Right across the stream from the museum is the Expo Science Park, which is home to fun interactive science exhibitions, situated on the site of the 1993 World Expo.

 

The city also has plenty of other activities and sites besides science and technology. The Yuseong Hot Spring is located in the center of the city, with a public park open for people to dip their feet in as well as numerous hotels and spas that boast high-class facilities for people to bathe in the hot spring. There are also numerous parks, mountains, and forests surrounding the city, including Bburi Park, Jangtaesan Mountain, which boasts a beautiful Sequoia forest, Bomunsan Mountain, and Daedong Sky Park, the latter two boasting incredible views of the city. Daejeon’s culinary tradition is a bit limited compared to other areas, but it's most famous for its samgyetang, a soup dish that uses a whole chicken cooked in a ginseng broth. Daejeon also claims to be the home of the first modern seolleongtang restaurant, a type of beef noodle soup.

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