It may be true; Gyeongju doesn’t really have the night life or contemporary culture of bigger cities in Korea, like Seoul or Busan. But I’ve lived here over five years and I love this city.  If you’re into history, traditional culture or outdoor sports, you couldn’t find a more perfect place in Korea.

Gyeongju’s already a major Korean tourist destination and most Koreans have been here at least once already.  But over the years, I’ve noticed that a lot of the English tourist info only really focuses on the big tourist sites, like Bulguksa Temple or Anapji Pond.  It glosses over a lot of the little gems scattered around Gyeongju or skips the stories and legends behind them.

Really, there’s enough stuff around Gyeongju to keep you busy for weeks, especially if you’re into hiking or cycling. The problem is knowing where to go and what to see.  I’ve started this blog to try to help fill in some of these gaps, with posts on ancient relics, hidden temples and hiking routes.   Just so it doesn’t get too boring, I’m mixing things up with restaurant reviews, local events, myths and legends, cultural features and an occasional video or two.

That said, I’m afraid you won’t find here my humble musings on K-pop, swine flu or the ethics of eating dog soup. There are already enough witty commentators on contemporary Korean culture out there in the blog-o-sphere, so I don’t really feel the need to put in my 2 cents.  If you’re itching for more stimulating K- blogs reading, check out the links in my “blog roll” or website reviews I’ve posted.

I’ll also be posting pieces from guest writers now and then.  If you live around Gyeongju or you’ve just done a temple stay, eaten in a good restaurant or climbed a mountain and want to write about it, please let me know.  Just leave me a message in the comments sections below or contact me by email (ivgotamouse -at- yahoo.com).  Send me an idea of what you’d like to write about and we’ll take it from there.

Thanks for reading,

Sherwin ;->

Me & Yi Sun-shin

Me & Yi Sun-shin

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  • 04/15/2010 - 23:45 | Permalink

    Enjoyed the colorful photo’s, especially the botanicals. The cherry flowers with all of the reproductive parts would guide a watercolor class. Keep up the good work.
    Blessings and good photographing!

  • 05/17/2010 - 01:16 | Permalink

    Hey Sherwin, I love your blog! Been getting obsessed wi’ bloggin’ meself so I’ve been checkin’ out how you’ve laid yours out. Great info, well-maintained, and very well-written.

    How’s the kiddo?????


  • Sherwin
    05/17/2010 - 08:38 | Permalink

    Thanks man. Spencer’s doing awesome. His pudgy baby cheeks are starting to come in. I see your blog’s coming along well. I’ll definitely give you some link love. How’s life in Andong these days?

  • 05/17/2010 - 10:00 | Permalink

    Just reposted this on your comments thread so yer get it:
    Oh and dude – hope your lovin’, life as a father!

    Hey dude,
    if you check out the Hanja page on Wikipedia (you probably already have) there’s some info on hyangchal (향찰; 鄕札), gugyeol (구결; 口訣), and idu (이두; 吏讀). Really gonna have a good look at this myself! Cheers bro.


  • 06/23/2010 - 21:25 | Permalink

    I just dropped by to say hi.I`m Dongguk University archaeology student.

  • Sherwin
    06/23/2010 - 23:54 | Permalink

    Hi Mr. An. I hope you like the blog. Maybe sometime soon we can go see the Seokjang-dong rock carvings together.

  • Paul
    07/30/2010 - 11:25 | Permalink

    Hey, I’m from that temple-stay group that you accompanied while we toured Gyeongju for a day in early July. Thanks for showing us around!

  • 08/17/2010 - 16:02 | Permalink

    Hey, really enjoyed your pictures and the blog in general, some of the pictures are pretty special. I’ve only been in Korea a year – Ulsan and now Haeundae, Busan – but Gyeongju is without doubt my favourite place, as soon as I get in by train I just feel comfortable and at home. It’s a great atmosphere and beautiful part of Korea and you have captured it well in your blog. Keep up the hard work.
    If you get time, please have a look at my blog @ http://jdbrownlie.wordpress.com/

  • 09/19/2010 - 02:30 | Permalink

    I’m one of the guys who runs Ulsan Online just down the road.
    Your site is brilliant. I’d love to do a links exchange with you, and more if possible.
    It would be great if we could bring even more information about the two cities together and help the English speakers sort their way through the mazes of life in Korea.

  • Andre
    09/20/2010 - 10:40 | Permalink

    We stayed for 3 nights in Gyeongju and checked your blog often. Very useful information! Thanks for the good tips and nice blog!

  • Sherwin
    09/24/2010 - 21:11 | Permalink

    Great to hear it Andre. I’m glad it was helpful ;-)

  • 10/19/2010 - 14:21 | Permalink

    Hi, very nice blog with great pics! Thanks for sharing your information about Gyeongju.

  • Sherwin
    10/19/2010 - 22:36 | Permalink

    Thanks MiKa. I can’t read German very well, but it looks like you had fun at the marathon last weekend ;-)

  • Lily
    11/19/2010 - 12:39 | Permalink


    I’ve been in Gyeongju on an unexpected long-term visit, and your site has helped me feel a little less ‘lost’ in Korea. Thank you for spending the time to lay things out so clearly for others to enjoy. The many, many times that I’ve googled for items or locations, your blog always provided what I wanted! The effort you put into providing such valuable info is both needed and appreciated by both newcomers and locals… & BONUS – IT’S IN ENGLISH!!

    I plan on attending the concert next Wed. at Dong Guk Univ…if you’re there and I can recognize you, maybe I’ll introduce myself?

    Thanks for the great info & keep up the great work! :)

  • Sherwin
    11/20/2010 - 08:52 | Permalink

    Thanks a lot Lilly. I’m really glad it’s been helpful ;-) Hope to see you at the concert (It’s actually on Tuesday btw).

  • Dianna Kriegh
    01/16/2011 - 21:22 | Permalink

    This may not be the best place to ask, but I don’t know where the proper place would be. I teach at Gyeongju’s Seondeok Girls’ Highschool. One of my second year students is wanting to hire an English tutor to help her prepare for entrance into Busan University. Because I (and everybody else I know) am in Korea on a grant basis, I can’t accept another paying job of any type. Do you know of anyone who would be interested in tutoring my student? I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me.


  • Sherwin
    01/17/2011 - 09:34 | Permalink

    Hey Dianna, if you are on Facebook, you might have better luck posting this on the “Gyeongju Foreigners Association” page there. Honestly, I’m not sure how much traffic I get here as I never ceck my stats. Good luck ;-)

  • 01/21/2011 - 22:20 | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip. I had no clue that such a group existed. Also, thanks for the warning about the red light district you left on my blog. Knowing me, I could decide to explore one day and walk right into it without even noticing–I’m bad about that. :)

  • Sarah
    02/23/2011 - 14:40 | Permalink

    Hi Sherwin,

    Thanks for sharing so much information about Gyeongju.

    I am planning my trip to Korea during month of April, and Gyeongju is one of the place I would love to visit badly. You website really help me to save lots of time on research more information about Gyeongju.

    If possible, any chance we can meet up while I visit Gyeongju?


  • Sherwin
    02/26/2011 - 20:53 | Permalink

    Thanks Sarah. I’m glad the blog has been helpful. I’ll be quite busy this spring as I’m starting both a new job and my masters studies (that, on top of the usually responsibilities of fatherhood). Still, we’d definitely be up for grabbing dinner at the least, if not a little bit of tour guiding. Give me a shout close to when you’re visiting and we can workout somewhere to meet. Btw, I hope you can make through in time for the Cherry Blossoms in early April. It’s a great time to visit Gyeongju ;-)

  • Sarah
    03/02/2011 - 03:21 | Permalink

    Hi Sherwin,

    I can’t wait to fly to Korea as soon as possible! In fact, I will reach Korea on 30 March, and reaching Gyeongju on 31 March, see I really can’t wait to get to Gyeongju after reading your blog. You did a better job than Korea Tourism Board, AWESOME!

    Ops, you are father by now, and still maintain a website so well like this. I believe I am just in time for the Cherry Blossoms, if the global warming didn’t affect the weather too much.

    Is Bulguksa Temple is the best place to enjoy Cherry Blossoms peacefully without crowd?

    It is alright that if you are busy during my visit, I have enough information about Gyeongju from your website, I can be on my own without guide. The reason for meeting up … I am curious about the person behind this awesome website:p

  • mark
    06/11/2011 - 16:07 | Permalink

    hi, i appreciate all the info and help. i didnt know Gyeongju had a red light district. where is it? i have been here 3 weeks and havent seen anything like that.

  • Sherwin
    06/11/2011 - 23:51 | Permalink

    No worries Mark. If you go wandering the back alleys across form the trains station after dark, it’s hard to miss.

  • KSunny
    08/24/2011 - 19:21 | Permalink

    Hello, Sherwin.
    Nice to see you as a Gyeongju resident. You have a nice blog for letting people know about Gyeongju in more familiar way. I upload some routine Gyeongju photos for my foreign friends in Facebook, too. I have taught foreigners korean language about 2 years. If you want, I may correct some korean names in your blog. Hope to help you a little bit. Good luck to your blog!

  • Nirali
    10/04/2011 - 02:12 | Permalink

    Hi Sherwin,
    Just wanted to thank you so much for blog, as it has helped me so much in planning my upcoming trip to Gyeongju (Oct 8-10). And because I’m vegetarian, your restaurant reviews have helped me plan out where I should eat during my visit. I wish so much there was a pocket-book of your blog so I can reference your posts during my trip! Anyway, thanks again.

  • Sherwin
    10/05/2011 - 08:37 | Permalink

    Thanks Nirali. I hope you have a fun visit and enjoy the restaurants ;-)

  • 11/26/2011 - 22:38 | Permalink

    Great stuff you are doing here…

    Would like to run some of your content in Haps. drop me a line, lets talk more


  • Hong
    01/14/2012 - 13:37 | Permalink

    Hello. Sherwin.
    I am Hong and work for Gyeongju National Park Office.
    I am in charge of interpretation programs for the public.
    What I am most interested in for this year is to establish guiding service for foreigners visiting Gyeongju. While searching for the ways, I found out your blog.
    I hope that I could have a chance to meet you up and you might be able to help me out to set up good service for foreigners.
    I am looking forward to hearing from you.
    My contact is below.

  • Sherwin
    01/15/2012 - 18:13 | Permalink

    Hi Hong. I am on semester break right now, so I have a little more free time. I am researching my Masters thesis these days at Dongguk University. Maybe we can meet at the coffee shop there in the next week or two? I will email you soon.


  • Alawiyah
    02/28/2012 - 23:57 | Permalink

    Hello! I came across your blog while searching for info on Gyeongju and you have a whole lot of useful info here. I plan to go on April 2 – my first trip to S.Korea and I’m really keen to at least have a sense of the city over 2-3 days. I haven’t confirmed anything though because I’ve been searching around for accommodation. Is there any other accommodation you can recommend other than what you have listed here? I’m looking for one in the downtown area preferably, with attached bathroom and internet if possible – sounds like too much to ask for – but because I will be travelling alone, I’m quite hesitant to check into a love motel for safety reasons. I’m also not sure how to get around to the main sites – I read that there is a city bus tour by Cheonma Tours but their website is in Korean. Is the city bus tour a good option? Appreciate your advice!

  • Sherwin
    02/29/2012 - 10:24 | Permalink

    Hey, Alawiyah. The newer “Love Motels” near the bus station are actually quite nice, with big screen tvs, internet and jacuzzi bathtubs, and are some of best accommodation in town for the price. However, if you are not comfortable with the idea of staying in one, there are also a few decent tourist hotels in the same area. Aside form Sarangchae Guesthouse, the only one I know much about is Han-jin Youth Hostel. A friend stayed there a few weeks back and quite enjoyed it. Their webpage is: http://hanjinkorea.wo.to and email is: hanjinhostel@gmail.com or kwon4097@kornet.net

    As for the bus tours, I haven’t had any personal experience with them either. From what I’ve heard though, you do see a lot, but the tours can rushed and are mostly in Korean. In town, you can get to most tourist sites by foot, rental bike or cab and a good map: http://www.sherwinvjones.com/gyeongjublog/maps/ Otherwise, you can catch bus #10 or #11 across form the Intercity Bus Terminal out to Bulguksa Temple. Both buses run on the same circular route in opposite directions, but Bulguksa’s about 30 minutes from the city on either bus.

    Hope that helps. Have a good stay in Gyeongju!

  • Grace Kim
    08/28/2012 - 16:43 | Permalink

    Hi, it’s very nice to meet you. I live in Gyeongju and like histories in this town. I dropped by your blog and surprised because of your interest. I’m a student studying cultural content and creative industry. Especially, I want to be a specialist who can make this sight seeing city more vivid and attractive. I want to share interesting cultural stories in this town with many people in the world by visualizing and materializing them.(I’m not sure I wrote adequate English words……ㅠㅠ) These days I’m searching for controversies about real function of Cheomseongdae; mysterious but interesting, and several types of doorknobs in historical buildings. Anyway, I’m very happy to know a person who knows worth of this town. I’ll often drop by!~

  • Sherwin
    09/26/2012 - 09:53 | Permalink

    Hi Grace, I apologize for taking so long to reply. I’m afraid my blog writing has taken a back seat to my masters studies these days. I am busy writing my thesis, which involves the Buddhist history of the Silla Dynasty, especially under the Silla kings Beopheung, Jinheung and Jinpyeong. I will be happy to share it with you when I am finished. I am also very interested in your research about the function of Cheomseongdae. Could you share more?

  • Andrew
    10/01/2012 - 00:07 | Permalink


    I just visited Gyeongju with my family and used your blog as our guide, particularly for the restaurants. Thanks for putting all of this together, we had a great trip.


  • Sherwin
    10/03/2012 - 19:56 | Permalink

    Glad to hear you had a good time, Andrew. Nice to know the blog’s useful too ;-)

  • Andrew Rundle
    10/11/2012 - 22:54 | Permalink


    BTW we stayed at the Hyundai Hotel at Bomun Resort, it was really good. Great for tourists, I highly recommend it.


  • Eugene
    10/18/2012 - 15:10 | Permalink

    You’re the man.

  • Sherwin
    10/20/2012 - 17:13 | Permalink

    Thanks :-)

  • 02/18/2013 - 01:17 | Permalink

    Hello. I’m Hosik and english name is Jason. Nice to meet you!

    Actually, I was awosome when I see your website. So I want to see you if you want to talk about culture&history in Gyeongju.

    If you have some time for search website, see it http://www.gj114.kr. It is my website and I’m doing work for Gyeongju Culture and history. So I’m Culture Maker

    Have a good time and thank you..

    From Jason

  • Pingback: About Gyeongju & South Korea - Tasmanian U12 South Korea Tour 2013

  • Stewart
    10/31/2013 - 13:21 | Permalink

    Hi there Sherwin – this is Stewart from your MA course. Pity you only joined late this year as we were in your neck of the woods last year. My partner is half Korean (with family in Pusan) so we often pop over the water though next time will be for New Year for two days in Seoul.

  • Sherwin
    10/31/2013 - 20:06 | Permalink

    Hey, Stewart. It’s nice to run into you off-campus, so to speak. Alas, with two young kids our days of heading up to Hongdae or Itaewon for the New Year are long gone. However, Gyeongju is only 2 hours south of Seoul by KTX and an hour up from Busan by bus, so if you ever plan on dropping by Gyeongju to check out some of the local Buddhist temples and historical sights, let me know. :-)

  • balu tanedo
    12/07/2013 - 22:35 | Permalink

    we are 5 adults ages 26-50 yrs fr MANILA planning to catch cherry blossom in seoul Apr 2 till 7 2014 BUT was told to see gyeong ju 2 nights by bullet train…we arrive seoul icheon 5am can we take KTX from there dierctly? where do you suggest we stay to move around by foot easily those 2 n in gyeong ju THANKS!!

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