Kyongju Off The Beaten Path

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Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Kyongju

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    Cherry Picnic

    by bpacker Updated Dec 26, 2005

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    Hubby and moi, under a cherry tree

    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.

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    Story behind the Emille Bell

    by bpacker Updated May 3, 2004

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    Legend has it that a seer predicted that the perfect bell could be made if a child who was pure and free from this corrupt world was thrown into the molten metal in the furnace before casting. The king's ministers could not figure out how to find such a child. It so happened that a monk, who was collecting money for the bell, went to the house of a poor woman, asking for a donation.

    The woman said she was so poor that she had nothing to offer to the temple. What she had, she said, was only her little child. She joked that if the monk wanted the child, he could have her. The monk laughed at the joke and went away.

    The monk returned to his temple and recounted to his temple the story of the poor woman joking about giving her child as an offering. When this story reached the ears of the government officials, they couldn't believe their good fortune. That very night, they rode on horseback to the poor woman's house and demanded the child

    The woman protested that she was only joking when she told the monk that she would give her child as an offering. But the officials told her such an offer was not a joke. A promise is a promise, they said. They kidnapped the screaming child from the arms of her distraught mother and took the child to the palace.

    Now, everything was all set for the casting of the bell. When the officials tried to put the little girl into the hot liquid metal in the furnace, she kicked and screamed. But they threw that unfortunate little child into the red hot furnace. Her screams of terror shattered the air. And then silence fell as her little body melted.

    Finally, the bell was cast, and the time came to test the sound. The king, his ministers and the monks all waited with bated breath at Pongdok temple. When the bell was hit, a soft and clear sound filled the air. The sound swelled until something distinct could be heard. It was the unmistakable eerie wailing of a child calling her mother: "Emille, Emille, Emille."

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    Daereungwon (Tomb Park)

    by bpacker Written May 3, 2004

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    In observing Gyeongju from a distance, probably the most distinctive feature is the huge tombs that seem to pop up from between the houses. The tombs of those who lived over 1,000 years ago and contemporary citizens share the same space, as it where, giving city a mysterious aura of having conquered both time and space.

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    Ooh she bangs...Gyeongju Hwangnam bbang

    by bpacker Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Yummy Hwangnam Bbang!

    Now before you think I'm talking about the recent crap that the music industry is churning out, I'm not. "Bbang" is korean for bread and the Gyeongju Hwangnam Bbang is about the most delicious morsel of dough and red bean I've ever tasted in my life. Just a bite of this sweet bread is enough to make me sing Ricky Martin's song over and over again, even though I sound worse than William Hung.

    This small but fat cookie is a "must-try" when you're in Gyeongju. There are about 20 or more shops selling this little delicious things but go for the one that's called Hwangnam. You'll smell the shop even before you go there. Yes, let the sweet scent of eggs, dough and hot sweet red bean guide your directions.

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    Go for a hike

    by amambaw Written Nov 22, 2004

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    Jesse and Amanda

    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.

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    Bomun Lake

    by amambaw Written Nov 24, 2004

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    The walking path

    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.

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    • Family Travel
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Silla Arts and Science Museum

    by amambaw Written Nov 30, 2004

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    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.

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    Undersea Tomb of King Munmu-Wang & Gameunsa Temple

    by DSwede Updated Apr 21, 2009

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    Undersea Tomb

    King Munmu-Wan (660~680?) was the 30th ruler of the Shilla Kingdom.

    The story says that he was cremated in a Buddhist ritual and that his ashes were buried in the East Sea per his wishes. This allowed him to be reincarnated into a dragon to protect the Shilla.

    This is reportedly the only undersea burial site in the world. (Korean National treasure 158)

    The tomb is on the south east coast, near the Gameunsa Temple (Korean National treasure 112).

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    Ready to Get Lost?

    by i-s-a Written Apr 27, 2005

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    Hand-drawn map of Mt. Namsan

    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):

    Onyong Hermitage
    Deer Farm
    Bomisa Temple
    Seochulji Pond
    Twin Pagoda

    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!

    Enjoy hiking!

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    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Mt. Namsan

    by jckim Written Apr 23, 2005

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    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.

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    Gyerim Forest

    by jckim Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Gyerim(Chicken Forest), the legendary birthplace of Kim Al-ji, the founder of the Kim clan. According to the story, King Talhae heard the sound of a chicken in the forest, at that spot, a gold box was found hanging from the branch of a tree, with a white chicken under it. A baby, Kim Al-ji, was found in the box. This forest was located at the between Cheomseongdae and Wolseong fortress

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    Seokguram Grotto

    by Eurasian68 Written Jan 20, 2008

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    On the Path...
    1 more image

    The main reasons for building temples and Buddha statues in the Shilla Kingdom were to pray for national prosperity, reincarnation of royal family and realization of one's wishes. The Seokguram Grotto is a hermitage and part of the Bulguk-Sa temple complex. It lies four kilometers east of the main temple on Mount Toham-san. The Grotto overlooks the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and rests 750 meters above sea level.
    In 1962, it was designated the 24th national treasure of Korea. In 1995 Seokguram was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with Bulguk-sa temple, as it exemplifies some of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world.
    The Grotto is said to have been built by Kim Dae-Seong, and was originally called Seokbul-sa (Stone Buddha Temple). Construction began in 742 (or in 751), when Kim Dae-Seong resigned his position in the King's Court.
    This time period was the cultural peak of the Unified Shilla. The Grotto was completed by the Shilla Court in 774, shortly after Kim's death. An old legend relates that the Bulguk-sa temple was dedicated to Kim's parents in his present life, while the Seokguram Grotto was dedicated to Kim's parents from a previous life.

    NOTE: Picture Taking is NOT Allowed Inside the Grotto!!!

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    Bulguk-Sa Temple - Tabotap Pagoda

    by Eurasian68 Updated Jan 20, 2008

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    Tabotap Pagoda - National Treasure No. 20

    National Treasure No. 20

    Built in 751 during the reign of King Kyongdok in the Unified Shilla period, this pagoda is dedicated to Prabhutaratna Buddha, call Tabo Yorae in Korean. Standing 10.4 meters high, the pagaoda shows unusual design, excellent sculpture techniques and beautiful proportions, demonstrating the marvelous artistic talent of Shilla's artisans. It is said that a number of Buddhist relics inside the pagoda were lost in 1925 during the repair work done by Japanese colonialists. The first storey of the pogada is believed to have held four stone lions, each facing one of the four directions. One stone lion still stands on it. One is known to be on display in the Britisch Museum and the other two are missing.

    "A Tragic Legend About Sokkatap & Tabotap"
    Asadal, a mason who lived in the former Paehche area, came to Kyong-Ju to build the two pagodas. He first completed Tabotap and the Shilla people thought highly (of the newly built) pagoda. When Asadal was making an effort to construct Sokkatap, his wife, named Asanyo, came to the Capital of Shilla to meet her husband. Then a monk of the temple earnestly requested her not to meet him until the completion of the pagoda. She responded to the request and stayed by a pond called Yongji near the work site waiting for the completed pagoda to cast a reflection in the water. One night, the nervous woman saw a figure of Tabotap, not Sokkatap, in the water and threw herself in the pond. After completing Sokkatap, Asadal went to the place where his wife had stayed. As he found that she had been dead, Asadal also threw himself into the water, saying " I lost my love because of my art. Art and life would be useless without you. I will never leave you again." Hence, Sokkatap, which had not cast a reflection in the water, earned the nickname: Muyongtap (Pagoda Wihtout Reflection).

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    Namsan treks

    by akikonomu Written Nov 17, 2006

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    Pine grove at Oreung tombs

    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.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Mountain Climbing
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    Noseo-dong Tombs Pt 1.

    by Intrepidduck Updated Jun 21, 2004

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    Bonghwadae tumuli

    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.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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