A Relaxing Day Tour to Gyeongju, an Ancient Korean City

Although Seoul boasts over six centuries of history, it is safe to say that Gyeongju, with a millennium of history as the capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty, is where the archetype of Korean culture was formed. Gyeongju is dubbed a “museum without a roof” because the entire city is strewn with numerous historical remains, and the city offers visitors a unique charm distinguished from that of Seoul. Let’s go ahead and discover an easy and comfortable way to take in the attractive city Gyeongju in a single day!

Gyeongju City Tour World Cultural Heritage Course:
Let’s uncover the main historical remains of Gyeongju!

It takes about two hours from Seoul Station to Singyeongju Station by KTX train. At the station, you can take the Gyeongju City Tour bus and start your convenient day tour around Gyeongju. Among the several courses offered by the Gyeongju City Tour, the World Cultural Heritage Course is especially popular among foreign visitors as it takes you to the city’s representative historical remains that are inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The bus tour starts at 10:30 a.m. every
day at Singyeongju Station, and offers narration in English, Japanese, and Chinese. What’s more, tablet PCs containing tour guide videos for each course with translated narration are available for rent, providing foreign visitors with extra convenience.

Royal Tomb of King Muyeol:
The Only Tomb in Gyeongju Whose Owner Has Been Identified

The Royal Tomb of King Muyeol, 29th  king of Silla, is significant because it’s the only tomb whose owner has been identified from among the countless tombs scattered all over Gyeongju. Together with General Kim Yu-sin, King Muyeol laid the foundation for the unification of three ancient Korean kingdoms, and the king frequently appears in TV dramas about Silla as he is considered to have been a king characterized by wisdom and noble personality

Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong Tomb):
Home to Gorgeous Trees

Gyeongju is known as a city where the present and the past coexist as the city is scattered with more than 150 Silla tombs Among these, the Daereungwon Tomb Complex, which was probably built around 5-6 century CE, is historically significant because many precious artifacts, including an extravagant golden crown, were found there that revealed glimpses of life at that time. In particular, Cheonmachong Tomb, home to the famous ‘Cheonmado’ (Painting of the Heavenly Horse), is a must-see attraction for visitors since it’s the only tomb in the Complex whose interior space is open to the public.

Bunhwangsa Temple: the Representative Temple of Silla

One of the major temples of Silla, Bunhwangsa Temple is well-known as a place where Great Monk Wonhyo, a prominent figure in the history of Korean Buddhism, once stayed. Most of the temple was burned to ashes as it suffered through several wars, and the only structure that survived is its uniquely shaped pagoda which was built by stacking stones like bricks. The oldest remaining stone pagoda from Silla, this structure is impressive in its plain yet elegant form. We recommend visitors come and examine it thoroughly for a genuine appreciation.

Seokguram Grotto:
the Only Artificial Grotto Inscribed as
a UNESCO World Heritage site

A representative historical artifact of the ancient city of Gyeongju, Seokguram Grotto is the only artificial grotto inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Presumed to have been built during the mid-8th century CE, the grotto was created by stacking hard granite pieces to build a beautiful dome and locating the dome above an underground stream to scientifically prevent moisture from accumulating inside. As such, Seokguram is regarded as the quintessential piece of art and technology produced during the Silla period. Moreover, the realistic yet mysterious main Buddha and surrounding sculptures are truly awe-inspiring. Visit and discover the artistic spirit of the Silla people. You won’t be disappointed!

Bulguksa Temple: the Most Beautiful Temple from Silla

Considered the most gorgeous Buddhist temple from Silla, Bulguksa Temple features plain yet harmonious aesthetics instead of extravagant decorations. In the front yard stands Dabotap Pagoda, an extremely popular historical artifact among Koreans. The pagoda even appears on the face of the 10 won coin. When it comes to construction techniques, the temple’s stone platform was uniquely created by seamlessly stacking and fitting stone pieces on top of each other while preserving their natural shapes. Based on scientific principles, the technique proved effective enough to ensure the temple survived a recent earthquake in Gyeongju. Dubbed the highlight of trip to Gyeongju, Bulguksa Temple is surrounded by blooming flowers in spring, and blessed with falling red maple leaves in autumn.

Hwangnidan-gil Road & Gyochon Traditional Village:
Home to Romantic Cafés, Restaurants,
And Elegant Traditional Houses

Hwangnidan-gil, referring to part of Hwangnam-dong near Daereungwon Tomb Complex, has as many stylish cafés and gourmet restaurants as the trendy Gyeongnidan-gil in Seoul. The area is filled with numerous attractive spaces for visitors. Pubs overlooking the stone walls of Daereungwon offer a place to sit and enjoy a pizza and beer, cozy family-style restaurants provide much needed rest, and rooftop cafés showcase the delicate roof tiles of traditional Gyeongju houses—there’s something for everyone.
A quick 10-minute walk down Hwangnidan-gil Road will take you to Gyochon Traditional Village, Gyeongju’s representative folk village. The gorgeous blending of elegantly shaped traditional houses and stone-walled alleys will make you feel as if you are traveling back in time! Notably, Hwangnidan-gil Road and Gyochon Traditional Village have many hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) rental shops. Wearing a beautiful hanbok to take special souvenir photos against the backdrop of Gyeongju’s mysterious scenery is a truly special experience you shouldn’t miss!
* This page was last updated on January 31, 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here!


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