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Gyeongju, Museum without Walls

1. Introduction
A city filled with cultural relics, Gyeongju dates back to the 1st century BC in the province of Gyeongsangdo. Goguryeo(37 BC~ AD668)and Baekje's (18 BC ~ AD678) collapse gave rise to the first unified Korea under the reign of the Silla (57 B.C. ~A.D. 935) kings. The incredible 992 year history of the Unified Silla Kingdom makes today's Gyeongju a tourist'dream. This picturesque city allows tourists to step back in time, experience the beauty of the land and exquisite architecture,and view numerous relics from the Unified Silla Kingdom. This one of a kind historical treasure of a city attracts around 8~9 million tourists a year (both domestic and foreign). Some of the most famous sites here include: Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, The National Gyeongju Museum, Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds, Bunhwangsa Temple, Cheongseongdae Observatory, Hwangnyongsa Temple, Ahnapji Pond, Poseokjeong Watercourse, Namsan Mountain, and Bomun Lake Resort. At the 2002 World Heritage Committee gathering, Gyeongju's relics were recognized among the worlds most treasured (for the preservation of Gyeongju's relics, UNESCO has placed many relics on the international 'Cultural Treasure' list).

2. Gyeongju's main tourist spot - View the map
- Click on individual pictures to find out more detailed information

Bulguksa Temple
(불국사)

Seokguram Grotto
(석굴암)

The Gyeongju National Museum
(국립경주박물관)

Deareungwon,
Royal Burial Grounds
(대릉원)

Cheomseongdae Observatory
(첨성대)

Bunhwangsa Temple
(분황사)

Seokbinggo Ice Storage House

Poseokjeong Watercourse
(포석정지)

Underwater Tomb of King Munmu
(문무대왕수중릉)

Anapji Pond
(안압지)

Bomun Lake Resort
(보문관광단지)

Gameunsa Temple Site
(감은사지)

3. Gyeongju's BEST sightseeing course

① Bicycle Course (Estimated time needed: 3~4 hours) → View the map
This pleasurable biking course takes you right through the heart of this historical city. For your convenience, bicycles can be rented at numerous places throughout the city including: nearby the Gyeongju Train Station, Gyeongju Bus Terminal, and Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds.

Course
Starting at Downtown Gyeongju - Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds - Cheongseongdae Observatory - Gyerim Forest - Seokbinggo Ice Storage House - Anapji Pond - The Gyeongju National Museum - Hwangnyongsa Temple Site - Bunhwangsa Temple - ending up back in the downtown area.

Tips
▶It is a good idea to bring along some food on your biking journey PLEASE note that there are VERY FEW places to purchase food!! One of the few places along the course that has some restaurants is near the Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds. There are several nice spots for one to have a relaxing picnic. The Gyerim Forest and the Banwolseong areas are 2 ideal settings for a peaceful break.
▶Due to the fact that much time will be spent in the sun, it would be a good idea to pack sunscreen, water, and a hat.

② Sightseeing Day-trip in Gyeongju → View the map
Most of the main sites don't open until 9 a.m. , but the Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto sites are open to the public from 7a.m. . Why not get an early start and make a day of it? You can start your day early by first visiting Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, and then enjoy the bicycle course mentioned above. If you only plan to be in Gyeongju a short period of time, this day- trip is certainly worth while!

Course Outline
Downtown Gyeongju (City bus #10 or #11 will take you to Bulguksa Temple) - Bulguksa Temple (For those who aren't up for a hike, bus #12 can be taken up to Seokguram Grotto) - Seokguram Grotto (you can take bus #12 back down to Bulguksa Temple where you can find bus #10 or #11 to take you back to the downtown area and a rent bicycle) - downtown Gyeongju(you can find bicycle rentals near Gyeongju Train Station and Gyeongju Bus Terminal in the downtown area) - Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds - Cheongseongdae Observatory - Gyerim Forest(good place to stop for lunch) - Seokbinggo Ice Storage House - Anapji Pond - The Gyeongju National Museum - Hwangnyongsa Temple - Bunhwangsa Temple - ending up back in the downtown area(where you can return your bicycle).

Tips
▶ The Gyerim Forest makes for the ideal lunch setting. There are ONLY beverages for sale in this area. PLEASE bring any food you wish to eat with you from the downtown area.
▶ Bus #12 takes you from Bulguksa temple up to Seokguram Grotto. There is typically one bus every hour. You can find bus schedules at local tourist information booths. The bus ride up to Seokguram Grotto is approximately 15 minutes. For those who enjoy a good hike, Seokguram Grotto can be reached in about 1~2 hours.
▶ City busses and City Coach busses (a slightly more expensive bus with more comfortable seats) from Bulguksa Temple heading towards the downtown area come about every 10 minutes.

③ Gyeongju Walking Course (1 day) → View the map
It is certainly possible to walk from the downtown area to The Gyeongju National Museum, although walking from The National Museum to Bulguksa Temple is another story. For this portion of the course it is recommended to take city bus # 11(found in front of The Gyeongju National Museum) to Bulguksa Temple. Bus #12 can then be taken up to Seokguram Grotto. It is quite a hike from Bulguksa Temple up to Seokguram Grotto. Seokguram Grotto is located at the top of a mountain and for those people who don't want to hike up, the bus is highly advised. Buses are coming about once every hour. Bus #10 or #11 can be taken back to the downtown area.

Course Outline
Begin at Downtown Gyeongju - Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds - Cheongseongdae Observatory - Gyerim Forest - Seokbinggo Ice Storage House - Anapji Pond - The Gyeongju National Museum- Bulguksa Temple - Seokguram Grotto -returning to the Downtown Gyeongju area.

④ Namsan Mountain 1-Day Course
Located south of Gyeongju, Namsan Mountain is generally referred to as a museum without walls with about 100 temple locations, 80 stone Buddha, and 60 stone pagodas. Because the cultural assets are scattered around, it would easily take a month to see them all. Therefore, it is best to plan a hike that can cover most of what you want to see. (See the hiking trails below). If mountain climbing is not an option, you can see Samneung Valley, Poseokjeong watercourse, Tongiljeon Memorial, and Seochulji Pond near Namsan Mountain.

Hiking Trails
There are a number of hiking trails in Namsan Mountain. The most popular are the following. The trails take approximately 5 hours. Samneung Valley – Sangseonam - Sangsa Rock – Geumobong Peak – Observatory - Buheungsa Temple - Poseokjeong Watercourse Samneung Valley – Sangseonam – Sangsa Rock - Geumobong Peak – Observatory – Buheungsa - Poseokjeong Watercourse
Samneung Valley - Sangseonam - Sangsa Rock - Geumobong Peak - Observatory – Peaked Hat Rock – Tongiljeon Memorial Samneung Valley - Sangseonam - Sangsa Rock - Geumobong Peak - Observatory – Ilcheon Rock – Borisa Temple

Tip
▶ Starting your hike up Namsan Mountain late in the afternoon is not advisable, as you could get lost after the sun goes down. Therefore, it is best to start hiking in the morning. Also, since the hike takes about 4 to 5 hours, be sure to take snacks and drinks and wear long pants and hiking or sports shoes.
▶ If you are going to see some of the tourist sites around Namsan Mountain, see Samneung Valley and Poseokjeong Watercourse together, then take a taxi and see Tongiljeon Memorial and Seochulji Pond together.

⑤2 days 1 night sightseeing course
Having 2 days in Gyeongju allows you to more leisurely experience all the beauty that this ancient city has to offer. For your first day, you can choose between the sightseeing day-trip in Gyeongju or the walking course (1 day). If you decide to take this 2 day trip to Gyeongju, you can make use of city tour bus #150 on your second day. This bus will take you to the Kampo region in which you can see the Underwater Tomb of King Munmu. A 15 minute walk brings you to the Gameunsa Temple Site which houses the Three-story stone pagodas. The next recommended site is the Golgulsa Temple. Take the bus to Andongsam 3-way junction, then walk about 20 minutes up the straight road until you see the sign for the Golgulsa Temple. Proceed toward the left-hand side of the road and within about 10 minutes you will enter the temple grounds.
First day : Sightseeing Day trip in Gyeongju or Gyeongju Walking Course (1 day)
Second day : Downtown Gyeongju - The Underwater Tomb of King Munmu - Gameunsa Temple Site (which houses the three-story stone pagodas) - Golgulsa Temple.


Tips
▶ After getting off the bus at Andongsam 3-way junction, it is about a 30 minute straight forward walk, but due to the fact that the temple isn't visible from the road one should be sure to examine a map of the area before departing.
▶ The Underwater Tomb of King Munmu is located right in front of Bonggil Beach. During the summer this is a lovely location for water recreation. In this case it's a good idea to start off at Golgulsa Temple, then head to Gameunsa Temple Site and lastly go to the Bonggil Beach area.
▶ City tour bus # 150 is the only bus that can take you from Gyeongju's downtown area to The Underwater Tomb of King Munmu. This bus comes approximately every 40 minutes. The bus ride is around 1 hour.

⑥ 2-Night / 3- Day Course
This is the same as the 2-day & 1-night course above, plus a visit to Wolseong Yangdong Village and neighboring tourist sites. The trip is a 30 to 40 minute-drive from Gyeongju. A village of the noble class during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Wolseong Yangdong Village consists of 150 tile-roofed and thatch-covered houses as in the past. Descendants of the noble villagers still live here, subsisting on agriculture, so a visit to Wolseong Yangdong Village is like a journey into the past. The village is quite large, and you will need at least 2 to 3 hours to see it all. Near the village, there is Oksanseowon (Confucian Academy), where scholars of the Joseon Dynasty taught talented students, Dongnakdang House, a nobleman’s house of the Joseon Dynasty, and Jeonghyesaji 13-story stone pagoda.

Day 1:
② Sightseeing Day-trip in Gyeongju or ③ Gyeongju 1-day Walking Course
Day 2:
Gyeongju downtown – Underwater Tomb of King Munmu - Gameunsaji Temple Site – Golgulsa Temple (Golguram Grotto)
Day 3:
Wolseong Yangdong Village – Oksanseowon Confucian Academy - Dongnakdang House – Jeonghyesaji 13-story Stone Pagoda

Tip
▶ As you walk around the village, you will find stone plaques in front of the major houses of interest. The names of the houses are written in Korean, English, and Chinese characters, and they also provide directions. So look for those signs and for useful information.
▶ Home stays are not available in Wolseong Yangdong Village. You’ll have to return to the neighboring city of Gyeongju for a homestay.
▶ From Gyeongju City to Wolseong Yangdong Village, it takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes by bus (# 200, 201-208, 212, or 217). However, access to the nearby tourist destinations by public transportation is rather limited, so it is more convenient to rent a car in Gyeongju.

4. Fun activities in Gyeongju

① Horse riding experience
This is an equestrian lovers dream. The majestic views are unmatched in this area. There are tracks and programs available for the more novice horseback riders. There is staff on-hand to assist you.

Place : The Banwolseong Horse Riding Farm
Time : 10:00 ~ 19:00
Admission fees : 12 and under: 3,000 won; 13years old and up: 5,000 won
Closings: Closed on rainy days.
Information number : +82-54-1330(Korean/English/Japanese/Chinese)
Transportation : By taxi, it takes about 10~15 minutes from either Gyeongju Train Station or Gyeongju Bus Terminal to Banwolseong Fortress.

② Archery fun
This fun activity offers an introductory class in English which runs about 5 minutes. Following the class, you are given about 10 arrows and the chance to try on your own. This activity lasts for approximately 10 minutes.

Place: Banwolseong Fortress (near Seokbinggo Ice Storage house in the eastern portion of Banwolseong Fortress), Inwang-dong, Gyeongju City, Gyeongbok Province
Time: 9:00 a.m. - sunset
Closings: Closed on rainy days.
Admission fees: 12 years old and under: 2,000won; 13years old and up: 3,000
Information number: +82-54- 1330(Korean/English/Japanese/Chinese)
Transportation: By taxi, it takes about 10~15 minutes from either Gyeongju Train Station or Gyeongju Bus Terminal to Banwolseong Fortress.

③ Traditional games
Ssireum (Traditional Korean style wrestling), yutnori (a traditional Korean board game played with wooden sticks), tuho (arrow throwing), neoldduigi (seesaw jumping) and jegicha (traditional Korean style hackisack) are among some of the traditional games on the program here. There are instructors on hand to help you. The instructors only speak Korean, but you can get an understanding of the games by just watching. Allocate about 20 minutes for this activity.

Place: Banwolseong Fortress(located near Seokbinggo Ice Storage House), Inwang-dong, Gyeongju City, Gyeongbok Province
Time: 9:00~21:00
Closings: Closed on rainy days.
Admission fees: 12 years old and under: 2,000 won; 13 years and up: 3,000 won
Information number: +82- 54-1330(Korean/English/Japanese/Chinese)
Transportation: By taxi, it takes about 10~15 minutes from either Gyeongju Train Station or Gyeongju Bus Terminal to Banwolseong Fortress.

Ssireum
씨름

Yutnori
윷놀이

Neoldduigi
널뛰기

Jegichagi
제기차기

Tuho
투호

SSireum (씨름): This is a form of traditional Korean style wrestling which is fun and exciting to watch. This style of wrestling involves 2 people, wearing very wide cloth belts, using both strength and strategy in order to be the first to throw the other to the ground.
Yutnori (윷놀이): This traditional style board game is played by dividing up 2 teams of people and then tossing wooden sticks in order to determine where to move on the board. This game is fun for all ages!
Neoldduigi (널뛰기) : Two people stand on opposite ends of a Heavy wooden seesaw. As one person jumps onto the board the other is propelled up into the air.
Jegichagi (제기차기) : A light object is wrapped in some kind of paper or cloth, and then kicked in a hackisack manner.
Tuho(투호) : This game involves tossing an arrow into a narrow jug. It was often played by the royal family and nobility.

④ Outdoor theater
This theater, at Bomun Lake Resort, hosts a variety of events ranging from traditional dance performances and plays to traditional musical concerts. The theater is situated in front of the Bomun Pagoda. Performances typically run about 1 hour long and there is NO ADMISSION FEE. Please note that the performances are cancelled in the case of rain.

Place: Bomun Lake Resort, in front of the Bomun Pagoda at the outdoor theater
Hours:
April- Everyday at 14:30(closed on Mondays)
May- Everyday at 20:30(closed on Mondays)
June- Saturday, Sunday and National holidays 20:30
July, August- Everyday at 20:30(closed on Mondays)
September- Saturday, Sunday and National holidays 20:30
October- Everyday at 14:30(closed on Mondays)
November- Saturday, Sunday and National holidays at 14:30.

Admission fees: FREE
Additional Information: +82-54-1330(Korean/English/Japanese/ Chinese)
Transportation: By taxi, it takes about 15~20 minutes from either Gyeongju Train Station or Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal.

5. Gyeongju's famous foods

① Hwangnam-ppang (red-beab bread)
This bread originated in the Hwangnam-dong area of Gyeongju. Thus the name of this small red-bean filled bread is referred to as hwangnam-ppang. Hwangnam-ppang was first made in 1939. These tasty treats are all-natural and are always hand-made which make for a savory snack.

② Ssambap (rice and meat wrapped in lettuce)
This traditional meal is enjoyed by all. Rice and meat are wrapped in either cabbage or lettuce leaves. Gyeongju's ssambap restaurants are mostly located in the Daereungwon Royal Burial Grounds region.

6. Tourist information center

You can find many helpful tools at Gyeongju's Tourist Information Offices, including brochures and maps. The Gyeongju locations offer materials in English, Japanese, Chinese, French and German. There are also agents available at the offices to answer your questions in English, Japanese, and Chinese. These are great places to stop off before you begin your Gyeongju trip.

Gyeongju Train Station Information Center: +82-54-772-3843(English, Japanese, Chinese) / Location: Situated in front of Gyeongju station
Gyeongju Bus Terminal Information Center: +82-54-772-9289(English, Japanese, Chinese) / Location: Situated in front of Gyeongju Bus Terminal
Bulguksa Temple Tourist Information Center: +82-54-746-4747(English, Japanese, Chinese) / Location: Situated in front of the Bulguksa Temple parking lot.
Gyeongbok Tourist Center: +82-54-745-0753(English, Japanese, Chinese) / Location: Next to Bomun Lake Resort's Wellich Chosun Hotel
*All of the above are open year-round, from 8:30 to 18:00

7. Transportation

If you are departing from Seoul, you can click on the link below and access train and express bus information. If you are departing from another city, all you have to do is input the city in which you are departing and click for more information. This page is easy to use and will be of much assistance when planning your trip.

>> For more information

Date   07/14/2008



 

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