Trip to Gyeongju

Before the Joseon dynasty, there was once an ancient kingdom referred to as Silla. It was composed of three kingdoms that unified the Korean peninsula. Gyeongju was its capital and it became one of the prosperous and wealthy city of its era. Political instability had contributed to its decline until it was succeeded by the Goryeo dynasty.

There were two options on travelling from Busan to Gyeongju, it is a choice between bus or train. You can easily catch the train from the Busan Train Station and the bus from the Bus station one subway stop from Beomeosa. If you ask me, it is better to take the bus since the bus station in Gyeongju is in the middle of town compared to the train station which is located on the outskirts. If you count local traffic, it is another 45 minutes of travel time.

After we got off the bus station, we are all hungry and would like to start our second leg of our trip with a full belly before heading back to Seoul. We chose this non-descript place that serve the usual Korean food. We ordered a simple Seafood Pancake and Tofu Stew. But while we are waiting for our main meal, here is the ban chan (side dishes) spread they provided us. This is local food at its best.

Our plan was to go to Bulguksa Temple and head over to Seokguram Grotto to see the seated Buddha under the hill. Since we only have an afternoon to spare, we decided to see the Seokguram Grotto.

After a 45 minute bus ride from Busan Intercity Bus Terminal to Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal, we have to do a transfer to a local bus (Bus #10) to drop us off to Bulguksa Temple and do another transfer to Seokguram Grotto. There is a tourist information booth (and restrooms as well!) on the Bulguksa stop so you have easy access to information. Bus pick up times are posted on the bus stop. It is also a major tourist destination that there were a lot of people waiting for the transfer bus to the bus or train station.

We saw that the last bus to drop us off back to Bolguksa is coming in 2 hours. We have to rush and walk our way to the grotto.

There is a giant bell inside and for a small fee, you are allowed to ring the bell for luck and prosperity.

I can't help and admire the eaves on these roofs. They are found mostly on palaces and temples.

We start our (long) walk to the grotto. We were lucky that we had a good day, it is still spring cold but with the sun, it was a mild day. I could imagine that these road could be slippery on rainy days. I only wish that we had a lot of time to enjoy this place longer. Maybe one day we could stay here a full day and bring picnic food and the kids to run through these winding roads.

This was the entrance to see the Seated Buddha. No photographs allowed. I don't think photography is enough to describe its beauty in person. Sometimes, I ask why do I travel and most of the time the answers were the reward of seeing and experiencing such beauty in person. Of which in my opinion, is priceless.

I took a picture of the brochure we got from the tourist center.

I noticed a lot of rocks stacked on the pathways, my guess this is something of a form of worship.

After climbing significant amount of stairs, we came on this view.

Then we see a whole bus full of students on a field trip. Notice on the mound behind the small temple is the Seokguram Grotto.

Me and hubby on our way back.

One of the regrets on not having enough time to explore was missing out on beautiful parks like these. We are heading straight to the train station for our last leg of our South Korea trip. Days like these came so fast. I do wish to go back and do this all over again.

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