Published: July 1st 2012June 30th 2012
burial mounds nr the motel
This was the day to leave the "comforts" of the Lord Beach Hotel in Haeundae in Busan and head toward somewhere a bit more cultural and with more history, namely Gyeongju. This involved taking a bus for about 50 minutes to the north. The Nopodong bus terminal is however at the northern end of town right at the end of the subway line 1 - only about four stops on from where I started mountain bashing the other day. This did of course mean taking the 16 old stops into town on line 2 and then changing to line 1 for about the same again. Despite the fact that I did this the other day I still messed up the transfer as the signs only seemed to take you half way. Anyway I got to the bus terminal and as you will see from the attached photograph of the various destinations, I did take the opportunity to show the ticket girl the name in Korean script -- believe me Gyeongju, Cheongju, Jeonju and less so Gwangju could all be pronounced by a learner in such a way as to confuse the listener as to where you actually wanted to go. Anyway
pick a bus any bus
(@ Busan) just pronounce it correctly, or end up in the wrong place
the bus went on the expressway most of the way and I was in Gyeonju at about 3:30 PM.
Headed off from the bus terminal and could see that there were plenty of motels to choose from, as there usually are from such places. One does wonder how they all make any money. Anyway I went into one that looked like it might fit the bill as relatively modern. She took me up to see a room but I just decided it was too claustrophobic and left. There are plenty more to see after all. I had somewhat forgotten that it was Saturday night, which is peak business for such places, until I walked into the Dollar Motel and was shown a room and told that the price was 60,000Krw ($53). Given that I had been used to paying 40-45,000 it was a bit of a shock. I think the room was actually a "deluxe" room and was decorated rather "distinctively" as you will see. Not exactly fantasy style but certainly much more in the style of the proverbial love hotel than anything I have stayed in previously. She wanted 50,000 for Sunday night but I haggled her down
"theme" room I think they call it
to 100,000 for the two nights (given that on Sunday night the third floor when I am seems to be virtually completely empty I was doing her a favour).
The first mission was to make sure that the Internet worked. After a fruitless hour of plugging my own laptop into the Internet router box, and also the room computer, I made the dazzling discovery that the router was not actually plugged into the power board, hence no power! Once I had pulled out half of the furniture to get at the power board that is and remedied the situation. After that I was finally able to get out and wander around. The area is quite close to some tumuli (royal burial mounds) which are in the local park. The highest of them is 21 m high so is rather large. These are free to simply walk around but there is another area which I have not been to yet which is enclosed and for which there is an entry fee.
Although there were a lot of shops in the area to the east of the motel in common with other places this does not necessarily mean that there
back to dressing gowns & yellow spreads
are any eating places. I ended up eating in one mentioned by the Lonely Planet mostly because it had the proverbial model dishes in the window -- in other words it was a Japanese restaurant, which was fairly standard sushi and udon noodles to make a change for simplicity -- although even they served a little side dish of kimchi!
There are more photos below