82 일째 – Gyeongju 경주 – National Museum

Day 2 in Gyeongju …  the guys decided to go to Daegu for the second day  … and since it takes them half a day to get back to their homes, we got up and left early.

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However, my friend wanted to eat Kimbap…. this kimbap was apparently quite famous because it has eggs inside!  It also costs 5000 won for one roll but it included a noodle soup!  It was near the Gyerim Forest so we just decided to take a taxi because with the three of us, it is actually economically more sound to do so than the bus. We also walked by the Wolseong Fortress, which was under excavation!  A long time ago, it was a grand palace but now it is just an empty lot …

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Since we didn’t have any plans for Gyeongju on day 2, we just went to the National Museum, which was free!

Right outside was a huge bell 🙂

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There are also lots of potteries at the museums!

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… and this is a natural treasure!

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Other exhibitions at the museum …

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There is also a museum about the Donggung Palace.  This was what it used to look like … there are also excavated items that are on display 🙂

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… and that was the end of the Gyeongju Trip!  We go back to Daegu!

January 20, 2017

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81 일째 – Gyeongju 경주 Night view 야경 Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, Cheomseongdae Observatory (경주 첨성대)

It started to rain a little but that didn’t stop us from going to see the night views in Gyeongju!  Our first stop was the Donggung Palace, which was once the secondary home of the Crown Prince.

img_20170219_201519793It also houses many important events during the time as well.  It might have also housed some exotic birds and such here as well.

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After the fall of Silla, the palace might have been dismantled or because the original size looks much bigger than the one we see now.  They also found lots of items beneath the pond, and are currently on display throughout the palace.

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The stroll around the pond was quite nice .. if it wasn’t for the rain.  There was also music playing all around and the atmosphere was generally quite romantic.  It is possible that there are more people in the night time than in the morning.  Admission was 2000 won.

Nearby is the Cheomseongdae Observatory, which is the oldest in all of Asia, having been built in during the reign of Queen Seon-deok in the 7th century.  It was used to observe the stars and predict the weather:)  There are 362 blocks to represent to the 362 days in the lunar calendar.

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It started to rain a lot so it was more of a photo dash and go.

On the way, we also saw the Five Royal Tombs.  It was nicely lit up at night and it even looks green! (Hint: everything is prettier in Spring …)

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We wandered a bit after the rain slowed down and made our way to the Woljeong Bridge, which was unfortunately under construction.

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Closeby however, is the Gyerim Forest (계림).  The forest is quite sparse (and this is because I am comparing it to Canada) but it composes of ancient zelkova and willow trees, which makes the setting … like ancient Korea …

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Part of the forest is lightened up at night too so it looks really nice … The mystical story behind this forest is that this is the birthplace of the Gyeongju Kim founder – Kim Alji.

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It is a little dark at night but this is Korea!

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… and because we are too cheap to get a hotel, night was spent in a jjimjilbang!  It was a difficult experience … people snoring etc 😦

January 19, 2017.

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 🙂