Take a 2 Days 1 Night break to the cultural heritage - Gyeongju

Friday, October 20, 2017

Best moment wearing hanbok and travel around Gyeongju
If you're into culture and history, Gyeongju, the capital of Shilla Kingdom will be the best destination for you. The historical buildings in Gyeongju are well maintained and most of the attractions are within walking distance which made it easier and more convenient for visitors to travel.

Recommend Places to Visit in Gyeongju
Daereungwon Royal Tomb
Daereungwon is 11mins walk from Hwangnamguan Hanok Village (ps: this photo is not Daereungwon)
There are lots of tombs in Gyeongju but the must-visit tomb is Daereungwon which holds the large tombs of kings and nobles of the Shilla Kingdom. Not only a collection tombs during the Silla period can be seen, the beautiful park in that area definitely worth a pose for pictures. Cheonmachong tomb , the only tomb that is open for public was closed down at the moment for maintenance so we were not able to view the burial goods that is recovered from the tomb. (ps: we were really curious about the tomb pattern ㅠㅠ)

Cheomseongdae Observatory
Cheomseongdae Observatory is just 2 mins walk from Daereungwon Royal Tomb
Not only locals swarm to this place but foreigners as well, Cheomseongdae Observatory is well-known as the "oldest astronomical observatory in Asia". You can check out a hall right next to the entrance which offers video information on how the observatory was built. (ps: English subtitle is available & No entrance fee is needed here)

Donggung Palace & Wolji Pond (Anapji)
16mins by No.11/600 bus or 25mins walk from Cheomseongdae Observatory
Our top recommendation for night view, Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond. (ps: Wolji Pond also known as Anapji Pond) We were pretty shocked by the number of people queuing to buy the tickets at 9PM (ps: 1 hour before it closed) but what's worth the wait was the amazing night view. (ps: Entrance fees per adult - 2,000won (around RM7.40)) Wolji Pond was served as the garden for the Silla kings and queens to spent their leisure moments. Do visit during the night, as it gives a different view compared to the day visit.

Bulguksa Temple & Seokguram Grotto
Bulguksa Temple: Entrance fees per adult - 5,000won (around RM19)
1 hr 16mins bus ride from Hwangnamguan Hanok Village (No.10,11,700 bus from seo-ra-beol-ne street 서라벌네거리)
Buddhist culture has widespread during the Silla Dynasty and so temples are also the hit place to visit in Gyeongju. Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can get a glimpse of the Buddhist art and architecture there. (ps: a temple stay is available at Bulguksa Temple)
You can drink the water here - a place in Bulguksa Temple
We visited Bulguksa Temple on our 2nd day trip in Gyeongju as we have packed schedule so we did not visit Seokguram Grotto. If you want to immerse more about the Buddhist culture, you may check out Seokguram Grotto which is a 23minutes bus ride from the temple. (ps: ride No.12 bus from Bulguksa Temple)

Gyochon Traditional Village
Free performance at the entrance & Free entrance to Gyochon Traditional Village
One of our favourite spot in Gyeongju, Gyochon Traditional Village where traditional performances, games and restaurants can be found. We indulged ourselves in this beautiful scenery while walking from Gyeongju National Museum to Gyeodong Ssambap (for dinner) which located next to Hwangnamguan Hanok Village. And so, we decided to slow down our path and enjoy this nature environment. 
The paddy filed that shines by the golden light during the sunset
Asides, we also dropped by Gyochon Traditional Village, Wol-jeong Bridge and Gyeongju Hyanggyo (a school run by the government during Goryeo and Joseon era) which is located on the way back to the restaurant. Thanks to our great decision, we able to experience the traditional activities at Gyochon Traditional Village with environment-friendly surrounding consisting of the traditional houses - hanok. (ps: there are classes and workshops available for visitors to join)
Gyochon Traditional Village: Great place for a pose at no charge
Day 1 Itinerary
Gyeongju Bus Terminal --> Hwangnamguan Hanok Village --> Lunch (돼지세끼) --> Check-in --> Daereungwon Royal Tomb --> Gyerim Forest --> Cheomseongdae --> Donggung Palace & Wolji Pond --> Dinner (우정한정식) --> Hwangnamguan Hanok Village

Restaurant Reviews
Food ordered: 떡갈비정식 (Tteok-galbi) - 10,000won (RM38) & 얼무비빔밥 (Bibimbap) 7,000won (RM26)
Restaurant Name: 우정한정식 (Woojung Korean cuisine)
Location: 10mins walk from Donggung Palace & Wolji Pond
Price: ...........................2/5
Taste: ...........................4/5
Worth Visit: .................4/5

Day 2 Itinerary 
Breakfast --> Bulguksa Temple --> Seokguram Grotto --> Gyeongju National Museum --> Wol-jeong Bridge --> Gyochon Traditional Village --> Gyeongju Hyanggyo --> Dinner (교동쌈밥) --> Gyeongju Station --> Seoul

Restaurant Reviews:
Food ordered: 되지쌈정식 (ps: the amount of side dishes - slurp!) - 24,000won for 2 people (RM90)
Restaurant Name: 교동쌈밥 (Gyodong Ssambap)
Location: Right next to Cattle & Bee Cafe & Hwangnamguan Hanok Village
Price: ...................3/5
Taste: ...................5/5
Worth Visit: .........5/5

How to get to Gyeongju?
We came from Miryang which is a 2 hours bus ride to Gyeongju Bus Terminal. (ps: bus ticket price - 11,600 won (around RM43)) For travellers who travelled from Seoul, there are 3 options - either by flight, bus or KTX. The cheapest option is by bus which the ride takes about 4 hours from Seoul Express Bus Terminal.

Transporation in Gyeongju 
Bicycle rental service in Hwangnamguan Hanok Village - 1 day for 5,000won (RM19)
We are staying at Hwangnamguan Hanok Village which is located close to most of the attractions and so we choose to walk to most of the attractions. No worries if you do not prefer to walk, as Hwangnamguan Hanok Village provides bicycle rental service. Also, there are also dozens of bicycle rental shops around the town centre which bicycle is available to rent by the day or hour. (ps: biking paths are on the regular roads so it's pretty safe for bikers) The rates are approximately 3000~4000won (RM11~15) hourly or 12,000~15,000won (RM45~56) daily.

Recommend souvenir: 황남빵 Hwangnam Bread (red bean pastry) & Chalborippang Bread (barley bread with red bean paste

Slow down your path and enjoy this rich in culture city, Gyeongju~ (ps: planning ahead and doing research beforehand will make your trip much smoother) Thanks to Safe Stay Korea, we ended our wonderful 2Days 1 Night trip in Gyeongju.

ICYMI, check out our stay at --> Hwangnamguan Hanok Village

Attractions source: Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) 

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