81 일째 – Gyeongju 경주 – Bulguksa Temple & Seokguram Grotto 석굴암

Just a day after visiting the old capital of the Daegaya in Goryeong, I was out visiting the capital of old Silla – Gyeongju.  Gyeongju was only 1 hour away from my current residence in Gyeongsan.

On the other hand, my friend came from Jeonju and that was 3.5 hours away while his other friend came from Seoul, which came to almost 4.5 hours away.  In any case …. we met up at the bus terminal to have lunch first before exploring the historical city.

I arrived first so I walked around close to the bus terminal.  I realized there were a lot of stores selling GyeongjuBang … their specialty bread.  It is actually known as Hwangnam Bread (황남빵) and was created in Gyeongju in 1939 by one of the well-known Gyeongju Choi family.  It is made from red bean paste!

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After devouring our first Hwangnam Bread (황남빵), we went to pick up our last friend and took a bus to the Seongdong market (성동시장) ,which is famous for their Kimbap.  Since we had three people, we ate ordered another soup … I think it is some sort of wedding soup :S

A full stomach later, we walked out to take bus number 10 to Bulguksa Temple from the market.  It was almost an hour long ride!  There were a lot of tourists … mostly locals though.

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Admission fee was 5000 won per person.  My friend’s friend didn’t bring his solider’s ID, other wise he would have gotten a discount.  The temple was originally built in 528 during the Silla dynasty but it was rebuilt numerous times over its lifetime.

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This is the main entrance at the Bulguksa!  I tried to take a new profile pic but it wasn’t that great so it made it here! wooo.  You can’t see it from here, but the stairs leading up to the gate is an original but it is blocked from entry.

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I’ve never studied architecture but the roof and colors seem to be distinctively Korean. It is found in many posters and pamphlet books about Korea.   There is also the bell and the drums that make these temples ..  complete LOL

The roof top is also quite colorful

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The jewel of this temple is the pagoda!  It can be found on the Korean 10 won.  It is called the Dabotap and it was built in 751.  It is ranked 20 in the national treasure of Korea.

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There are many buildings in Bulguksa, housing different statues, and deities.  I didn’t really study them to know but I do love the architecture!

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The Seokguram Grotto is located just 4 km from the temple but the winding roads mean it is about a 30 minutes ride.  There is a connecting number 12 bus but it doesn’t come very often and the last one is around 530 PM.

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Entrance fee is also 5000 won but unlike the temple, there isn’t much to see aside from the Seokguram.

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The walk was a good 15 minutes or so … and then we were here.  The grotto is in the back and we cannot take pictures, but there are a lot of postcards for sale 🙂

It is said that it was built by Gim Daeseon in memory of his parents of a previous life (whereas Bulguksa is in memory the parents of his current life).

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The grotto is also next to the sea so there is also a wonderful view of the sunrise.

My friend also searched for a nearby place for dinner and found this delicious bbq pork place with tofu soup.  I can’t upload photos at the moment but it was really cheap for the food we ate.

… when we left the restaurant, google map actually says that the buses were finished for the day (at 8 pm?!!) We tried calling a taxi but ran out of batteries.  In the end, Google was wrong! There were still buses running in Gyeongju at 8 PM!!!

Anyways … onto the night view in Gyeongju 🙂

 

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