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7 Things to Do in Gyeongju, South Korea

Posted on Wed, May 01, 2013 @ 04:06 PM

On my second visit to Gyeongju last weekend, I was thoroughly impressed.  To say that Gyeongju is beautiful, is a bit of an understatement.  Still, it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s gorgeous!  Although I missed the bloom of the cherry blossoms by a few days due to heavy rainfall, I was still incredibly impressed by how much there is to do in Gyeongju, a city about 40 minutes outside of Pohang.  I hope to visit Gyeongju again and again before I head back to the United States.

California Beach/Gyeonju World. Gyeonju World is an amusement park and California Beach is a water park.  Entrance fees are 53,000 for adults, but does include a free pass to the next-door Gyeongju World amusement park. Gyeonju World on it's own is about 25,000 KRW.  

ATV’s.  It’s possible to rent ATV’s in Gyeongju for relatively low prices.  Depending on the size, a one hour rental is about 20,000 KRW.  It can be a little more or less depending on the size of the ATV.  While there are many modes of transportation for getting around different areas in Gyeongju, renting an ATV is definitely a way to add more adventure to the ride.  To ride an ATV, you will need to show some sort of license (driver’s, motorcycle or other).

Riding ATVs in Gyeongju Korea

(photo credit: David)

Gyeongju National Park.  Hiking seems to be a favored past time among Koreans.  Quite often on my solo hiking adventures while teaching English in Korea, I encounter (mostly middle age) Korean men and women dressed for a days hike.  I've come to enjoy this as well.  If you want to get some hiking done while in Gyeonju, consider hiking at Gyeonju National Park.  Once there, hiking trails lead up into the mountains. At first the signs are in both Korean and English but soon they become Korean only. Make sure you take a map or even better a Korean!

Bulguksa Temple.  Possibly the most impressive temple in Korea. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Buddhist art, and was built in the 8th century during the Silla Kingdom period. 

In front of the main prayer hall, there stand two famous stone pagodas. They are both National Treasures. Dabotap means the pagoda of many treasures. Standing on the right of the courtyard facing the main hall, it shows the artistic beauty of Silla culture. In comparison to the simple Seokgatap, it is highly decorative. It was so delicately carved that they say ‘Silla masons managed stones like clay.’

Seokgatap means the pagoda of Buddha. It stands on the left of the courtyard facing the main hall. This three story pagoda is admired for its simple and dignified design. It is considered Korea’s most typical stone pagoda.

Hike Namsan Mountain This historically and spiritually significant mountain only 5min south of the central city is littered with historical Buddha reliefs carved into its rocks and boulders as well as dotted with ancient pagodas and temples. A hike up the mountain (466m) through its western valley from the Samneung tomb site is recommended.  

Gyeongju National Museum. A museum full of the treasures of the Silla Kingdom. Free admission makes this attraction a great place to visit for English teachers in Korea looking to save money. 

Golgulsa Temple is located 20 km east of the ancient Silla Dynasty capital city of Gyeongju in Southeastern Korea. In the Golgulsa temple area can be found the oldest historical Buddhist ruins on Mt. Hamwol and the only cave temple in Korea. The original temple was built out of solid rock during the 6th century by Saint Kwang Yoo and his companions, Buddhist monks from India. I enjoyed the temple stay experience in November 2012 with other foreigners and English teachers from Pohang.

friends in Gyeongju Korea
(photo credit: Nicole)


Teach in South Korea!


Nailah Rivers was born in Trinidad and Tobago.  She moved to the United States with her family at the age of seven.  She graduated Rutgers University in 2011 with a degree in psychology.   Her sophomore year in college, she knew for sure that she would pursue a teaching career with a focus on elementary school.  After a risky move to Miami, Florida in 2011, Nailah decided to take a chance and apply to teach English in South Korea with Chungdahm Learning.  She is currently teaching in Pohang, South Korea and is having a good time teaching and learning.  Follow her blog to get the inside scoop on teaching abroad.Follow Nailah on Pintrest!

Tags: teaching in Korea, things to do on the weekend, Buddhist Temples, Activities to do in Korea, tourist attractions, Korean museums

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