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Namsan, located on the outskirts of Gyeonju has numerours interesting treks. During the Silla period, it held great importance serving as the "capital-of-the-capital". Many temples, Buddhist sculputures, tombs of royalties are scattered in the mountains.
Indeed, as you concentrate on your climb to the peak, there are many forked trails leading to that obscure temple or stone sculpture of lantern or Buddha statue craved into the rock. The silence and serenity of the track, occasionally broken by the Buddhist chants of that mountaintop temple (exemplified with loudspeakers - LOL) fills the trek with a sense of mysticism.
Atop the peak, you can get a good view of the farmlands at the foot of the mountain. Mine was the golden fields of Autumn with rice waiting to be harvested.
Note that there are 3 trailheads with different paths but most people would start with the one at the Oreung tombs. During my visit, I also tried to locate the trail behind the Poseokjeonji (the pleasure garden with the abalone shaped waterway), but there was some ongoing road repairs and infested with mosquitoes in late afternoon.
Written Nov 17, 2006
Not far away from the Bulguksa temple,there was a stream of water flowing.It was said that this was pure spring water from the mountain.You may want to bring a empty bottle along.The spring water is very cooling and refreshing.
I also saw other similar looking water collection area,but they are from taps,not sure if they are consumable.
Written Apr 29, 2006
Have a meal under a cherry tree . It's a wonderful experience if you don't mind a sprinkling of petals on your food each time the wind blows! I had mine near Bulguksa temple. Yes, there's a couple of shops there but only one has a giant cherry tree in front of it.
Updated Dec 26, 2005
This is definitely off the beaten path... and I mean, it's on its own path all together!
Yangdong Folk Village is about 20-30 minutes North of Gyongju. It is a national heritage site, home to over 20 traditional houses, several of which are considered national treasures.
This site is a little tricky for a few reasons. First, it is quite out of the way, and should be done as a full day trip on its own. The village is best explored on foot, but it is quite spread out, and takes a few hours to get around. Second, there is not very much information about the village available to visitors. Particularly unfortunate is the lack of maps indicating where all the houses are located, and whether or not the houses are open to the public. This makes the site a little hit or miss.
All this being said, the site is quite amazing. We went on a Saturday afternoon, and there were very few tourists about. We were the only foreigners visiting (and we were there on a long weekend). The houses themselves represent the best of the best when it comes to Korean architecture. The homes were mostly for Korean nobility, so they are quite magnificent in some cases. The people are also quite friendly. We were fortunate enough to be picked up by a local from the bus stop and driven the 1.5 km road to get to the village. We stopped in at a pottery shop and had tea with the artist herself. We were greeted by the local ajummas. If you take the time, you will likely find that the people who live here are quite welcoming.
To get to the village, take any bus between #200-208. The fare to Yangdong is 1650W per person.
Written Jun 8, 2005
Try going to Namsan and enjoy its beauty. But please be warned that you could easily get lost...I did go on my own and got lost several times ;0).
Most locals do not know how to speak English so it was really a big challenge for me to locate the attractions from my hand-drawn map. The feeling of uncertainty will leave you feeling nervous and excited at the same time.
Trying to look for the nice remote places will also give you a chance to interact with the locals which for me is very unforgettable. The people of Gyeongju are sooooo nice and I hope I could get back there soon.
If you are short on time (like I was), you can visit these attractions in a halfday tour....give or take some hours for times that you get lots :0):
Note: It took me 6 hours to see the first 4 attractions. I miss the Twin Pagoda as nobody seemed to know about it. It helps if someone could translate the names of attraction in Hangul. Remeber..Persistence is the key word!
Written Apr 27, 2005
Mt. Namsan comprises Mt. Geumo ( 468m high ), Mt.Gowi ( 494m high ), including over 40 mountain valleys. located to the south of Seorabeol, the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom. Namsan is often referred to as an open air museum, it has 122 temple sites, 57 stone Buddhas, 64 stone Pagodas, and 19 stone lamps. There are the ideal Buddhist land of the Silla people. Mt.Namsan was convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage by the UNESCO on December 2, 2000.
Written Apr 23, 2005
This little museum is a great place to get a close, detailed look at some of the great monuments around Gyongju. The museum is located in the Folkcraft Village near Bulguksa Temple.
Inside the museum, there are recreations of the Astronomy Tower in downtown Gyongju, as well as of Seokguram Grotto. The Grotto display is particularly extensive, with recreations of all parts of the Grotto so that you can see it from every angle. There are also some other great artifacts in the museum like a very old wood block printing press, one of the oldest in the world, as well as other neat things that the Koreans thought up or created.
The cost to enter is about $2.
Written Nov 30, 2004
Outside of the city, there is a nice resort area around Bomun Lake. There are several nice hotels, although most were out of our price range. Even so, you can go and walk around the lake on a really great walking/bike path. There are lots of bike rental shops, so you can go for a great ride, or you can just walk along the tree-lined path.
Bomun Lake is home to Gyongju World, as well as several restaurants, cafes and galleries. The whole area is easily accessed by the Gyongju bus system.
Written Nov 24, 2004
Between Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, there is a very well-marked mountain trail. The trail is just over 3 km in length and is quite a nice hike. The trail is clear, and there is a bathroom facility along the way.
We hiked down instead of up! For those fit souls who want a bit of a workout, uphill is good too, I'm sure.
To get to the trailhead, go to the southern ticket booth at Bulguksa or look for the sign just next to the ticket booth at Seokguram.
Written Nov 22, 2004
These are amongst the largest tumuli to be found. The Bonghwadea is some 22 m high and 250 m at it's circumference. These tombs date from the 4th and 5th centuries AD about the middle period of the Silla Dynasty.
Updated Jun 21, 2004