2011's tourism hotspots: What to do in Daegu, Korea

The city of Daegu in South Korea is set to shine this year, if you listen to the experts over at Rough Guides.

South Korea's third-largest city but often overlooked by tourists in favor of Seoul or Busan, Daegu authorities have branded 2011 as "Visit Daegu Year," beginning a huge promotion push ahead of the IAAF Athletics World Championships later this year.

According to Rough Guides, which selected Daegu as one of its top ten places to visit in 2011, Daegu has also become known as a 'fashion city' thanks to the proliferation of urban shopping malls.

In a bid to boost knowledge of the city overseas, authorities are set to appoint 35 international student residents as 'social media gurus', as well as releasing a seven-minute film about Daegu, with an edited version available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl93vow46LM

A look at some of the top attractions in Korea's colorful cultural metropolis:

Get painted - Daegu is home to the world's largest body painting festival, a dazzling annual array of skin art normally held in late August.

Pray - The city is home to and surrounded by some of Korea's most impressive temples, particularly in the neighboring valleys of Mt. Biseulsan, where the natural surroundings make for an undisturbed meditation.

Listen - Daegu's Opera House is one of the most striking in Korea, shaped like a piano, made of glass and illuminated with the colorful lights of the city. Opened in 2003, it's steadily increased its profile to become one of Korea's premier performance venues.

Watch - Sports are popular in Daegu and are set to become even more so with the IAAF World Championships at the enormous Daegu Stadium, nestled under Mt. Daedeoksan.

Relax - Daegu is home to an impressive number of hot springs with high mineral content, popular with locals and tourists alike.

Recover - With the help of the springs, Daegu has built a name for itself in health tourism and has a reputation as a center for alternative medicines and herbal remedies. The huge medicine market is well worth a visit.

Celebrate - Daegu is a capital of festivals, with the city's streets taken over fairly regularly for displays of traditional dancing, plays, paintings and art. Among the largest are the Preview fashion festival (held in March), the Yangnyeongsi medicine festivel and the Dongseongno Festival in May and the Bongsan Fine Art Festival and the Palgong Goryeo Cultural Festival in October.

Daegu Tourism: http://english.daegu.go.kr

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