Blogs from Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea, Asia - page 2


Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju September 15th 2012

Fairly quiet day today (and no photos I'm afraid). I headed off (in the drizzle) for the Gyeongju National Museum, where all the treasures unearthed in the Silla tombs have been carted off to and displayed. For the most part, the excavation of the tombs didn't start until the 1970s (the first royal tomb was discovered when the "hill" was levelled in preparation for building works. Starting so late means that the excavation was highly organised and carefully documented at each stage. The National Museum is split into three buildings: the archeological building, which contains a collection of the most breath-taking artefacts from the various Silla royal tombs, the Buddhist art building and the Anapji building, which contains a selection of the artefacts recovered from the Anapji pond, which was the site of a Silla palace. ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju September 14th 2012

In almost British style, the drizzle set in today - no torrent like my first day in Korea (thankfully), but enough to be irritating. Undeterred, I headed for the temple at Bulguksa ("bool-guh-ksah"), a quite stunning Buddhist monastery (only parts of which are open to the public as the monastery itself is still practising) to the South East of the city. Me, and a hundred school kids on a day out. The sensation of being mobbed by a screaming horde of barbarians aside, I quite like watching school trips as it reminds me that, wherever you are in the world and whatever language you speak, trips with your school are always the same. Someone spills their lunch on someone else, the fat kid lags behind (s/he didn't want to come, anyway), one kid plays pranks on ... read more
Bulguksa Temple
Bulguksa Temple
Bell ringer

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju September 13th 2012

Before the oh-so-talked-of Joseon dynasty, there was the Silla ("Shilla") dynasty. A small collection of clans and peoples on Korea's South West coast that banded together and expanded between around 70 BC and 1000 AD. And their capital was Gyeongju. The (small) city was earmarked early on as culturally important in Korean history and has been carefully (one might almost say obsessively) kept very traditional. Former President, Park Chung-Hee (fun fact - assassinated father of the current Presidential candidate Park) used quite draconian measures - prescribing that there were to be no buildings above a certain height, imposing strict planning permission conditions and requiring all roof to be the traditional Korean tiled roof. This has meant that, while the city has remained highly traditional - and you can actually look around you to the mountains surrouding ... read more
Silla Tombs - Noseo
Silla Tombs - Noseo

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju July 1st 2012

As I really only had one full day in Gyeonju, and the particular things I wanted to get to were relatively spread out, this meant a relatively early start (like 11!). There was a free espresso coffee machine in the lobby of the hotel so almost gave a random button a push (they were labelled in Korean after all) and at least got a shortish black coffee which wasn't too tragic. Noted that they even have a toaster, some bread and jam sachets. However I have tended to rely on places like Paris Baguette for my morning pastry. In this case I ended up heading off with only the coffee under my belt as I headed straight to the bus stop. Buses here tend to be of the exact change variety, although if you throw 2 ... read more
more Bulguksa stonework
Bulguksa temple drum
Bulguksa - Dabotap pagoda

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju June 30th 2012

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 ... read more
pick a bus any bus
Gyeongju $Motel
Gyeongju DollarMotel


Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju June 1st 2012

One of the destinations on our "things to do before we finish our four years and split from this country" list was Gyeongju. In fact it's been on my list for probably three years but when we lived in Seoul it just seemed to far to go for a weekend trip and any extended weekend would most likely be spent on a beach or island hopping which always appealed to us more at the time. But now that we're neighbors with the tomb city we thought we'd check it out over Buddha's birthday. Our original plan was to take off Friday night at 6:00. The only way to get to Gyeongju from Yeosu, as far as I know, is to go via Busan, or Seoul with a beach as it's known, South Korea's second biggest city. ... read more
goofing off
hill people

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju May 11th 2012

We took a bus (1 hour) from Busan to Gyeong-ju. We stayed at Guesthouse Santa – a hard to find, right in the middle of downtown, clean and wonderful hostel. The owner doesn’t speak much English but is very nice and helpful. He also had REAL (fair trade and organic too!) coffee to drink for breakfast. Mmmm... Gyeongju is a small town for Korea. Its population is about 300 000 compared to Seoul's 10 million and Busan’s 4 million. This made it very nice and relaxing to walk around town. Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla(57 BC – 935 AD) which ruled about two-thirds of Korea. The town is scattered with 'Tumuli' or ancient burial mounds. It makes for a lot of interesting green space in the city! For dinner we went ... read more
Bulguksa Temple

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju May 1st 2012

Ash and I were meant to save our money last weekend and have a quiet weekend in Daegu. However we seem unable to overcome our itchy feet at weekends (need to sort this out somehow!). We still wanted a cheap weekend but had the idea to find a quiet seaside village and beach nearby so we could still get out and see stuff. I researched and found a little fishing village called Gampo just outside of Gyeongju that we decided to visit. We got up early on Saturday and caught a coach from Daegu to Gyeongju and then another from Gyeongju to Gampo. For two hours the total cost was about £3 - bargain. For anyone looking for tourist attractions Gampo is not the place for you. It’s really small and is based around a harbour. ... read more
Crab soup
Sunrise on Naejong beach
Rapeseed fields in Gyeongju

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju April 5th 2012

On payday weekend we decided to leave Daegu and take a trip to nearby Gyeongju. It’s renowned as a beautiful place and an example of a traditional Korean city it is steeped in history as it used to be the capital of the Silla Dynasty of Kings. So on that very rainy Friday evening Ash and I met are buddies Nat and Drew (two Nat’s so I am Natalie in Korea as she got there first!) and went to get the bus to start our adventure. It could all have gone pear shaped though. When we’d bought our tickets and were waiting for the bus to arrive for some reason I had another look at the destination sign and thought out loud ‘Oh that’s weird that they also spell Gyeongju as Cheongju' We all looked ... read more
Photo 2
Ringing the bell of Mercy
Lanterns at the grotto

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju November 7th 2011

There are those relatively rare periods of travel that leave you breathless with wonder and excitement. As I settled into the bus heading to the southern part of Korea, I was not to know that the next few days would be one such period. My predilection for religious sites always finds me gravitating to churches, mosques, temples and other sites of divine significance. My visit to South Korea would be no different, and the Haeinsa Temple was the first of such places on this sojourn. Situated amongst the glorious mountain scenery that dominates the peninsula, its fame derives from its housing of the Tripitaka Koreana, a 13th century collection of 81,258 wooden blocks inscribed with over 52 million Korean characters of Buddhist scripture. Not being favoured of a temple stay (thus missing the early 3am start ... read more
Geumgwachong Burial Tomb at dusk - Gyeong-ju, South Korea
Birim Memorial Stone Forest - Haeinsa Temple, near Daegu, South Korea
Haein Art Project Exhibit - Haeinsa Temple, near Daegu, South Korea

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