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


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

I needed a trip out of Busan to relieve the cabin fever that had set in during December, so Deborah came with me one cold Saturday on a day trip to the small city of Gyeongju. We had the incredibly comfy bus again with the seats that almost recline into a bed. It looked like a very pretty town indeed, most buildings had traditional Korean roofs, even petrol stations! One thing we weren't prepared for though was the bitter cold - the wind cut right through us! Should remember that's it's always warmer in Busan! We hopped on a bus that would take us to Bulguksa (temple) - one of the main attractions of the area and one that was mentioned in my 5th graders English book - "Gyeongju has Bulguksa. Bulguksa has two towers. What ... read more
frozen lake
frozen by the lake

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju November 25th 2012

We were told that the intercity buses were on strike by two people and that we'd have to take the express bus tp Gyeongju. So off we went to the express bus terminal and bought a ticket to Daegu, where we would need to change. Not only change buses but also bus stations! Luckily only across the road though, where we got a bus to Gyeongju with 5 minutes to spare.In Gyeongju, the intercity and express terminals are next to each other, and the intercity one was very busy for a strike. Nevermind, we got there in plenty of time to meet our couch surfing host. We read the following day that the strike was all buses and only for an hour from 5.30am. Nice to know tourist offices have the correct info! Apparently the striking ... read more
Tumuli in the city centre
Last of the autumn colours
squid drying on the side of the road

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju November 23rd 2012

Leaving Seoul's Express terminal bus on a gloomy day, soon as I found where my bus is, found my seat, it was very comfortable so I passed out quickly and for the most of the 4 1/2 hour ride I was dead to the world. Jet lag and non stop nite out caught up with me, I remember the bus stopping for lunch but I could barely peel my eyes open so I skipped a feed, I felt like a train wreck, arriving at the bus terminal in Gyeongju I was the last out, I struggled to wake myself up, groggy and disoriented I paged through my rough guide, apparently there is a tourist info at the bus station, after minutes of searching for it, I gave up and asked the waiter in the cafe it's ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju October 22nd 2012

The slow train to Gyeongju was comfortable and there was some lovely scenery to admire on the way (interspersed with massive apartment blocks that didn't look so pretty). The autumn leaves are out now, so there are various shades of red, yellow and orange alongside the tracks. Gyeongju is described in Lonely Planet as an open-air museum because of all the temples, burial mounds and other historical artefacts to be found around the town, so you can imagine how excited Dean and Eleanor are about staying here. I thought I did the right thing by booking a hotel with a spa, sauna, golf course etc (and it's next to the major temple in the area), however it was built in 1978 and has a touch of 'The Shining' about it. Located in the Barooga part of ... read more
About to enter the tomb
The mounds are everywhere
A walk around the park

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju » Golgulsa Temple October 15th 2012

Day 35 (Wed 10thOct) I moved on from Busan in the morning, after taking in Breakfast. Got the Subway to the nearest express bus terminal, bought my ticket which is very good value at just over £2 and got on the limousine bus. These buses are very comfortable with huge lazy-z-boy like chairs, nicer than some of the beds I’ve slept in. Takes 1 hour give or take to get to Gyeong-ju from Busan. Arrived and got checked into my hostel, possibly the first hostel I’ve found without getting lost, which was a bonus, although this place is a lot smaller than anywhere I’ve been so far. Took a walk out to see a royal tomb which is literally a huge grassy mound up a lane. It turns out there’s tombs everywhere here, just random grass ... read more
Bulguksa Temple
Mt Namsan National Park
Golgulsa Temple Stay

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangbuk-do » Gyeongju September 16th 2012

Final day in Gyeongju and I at last realise that the reason the weather has been so poor recently is that there is a tropical storm approaching. By all accounts, it won't be serious, just a bit windier and rainier than at present - but at least I understand where there is persistent rain and now wind. The storm is due to hit Gyeongju in the course of Monday afternoon (tomorrow), so I made the most of my last day of comparatively good weather to go see the Underwater Tomb of King Munmu the Great. Better known as the Silla king who first unified six clans/tribes into what we now know as Korea. Yes, I had visions of great underwater cave complexes, too, when I first heard about it. The actual tomb (or what remains of ... read more
Tomb of Great King Munmu
Bonggil Beach
Bonggil Beach

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

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