Free English Gyeongju Guidebook

Free English Gyeongju Guidebook

A lot of general tourist information on Gyeongju is repeated else ware, so I’m going to try and keep this short by giving links for more detailed information.  But before I get into it, every expat and foreign tourist in Korea needs to tattoo this phone number on the back of their hands: 1330

1330 is the number for English tourist info in Korea and I’m amazed how many foreigners here don’t know about it. I ring them up on a regular basis for everything from bus and train times, to restaurant reservations and movie showings. The trick is, if you’re calling from a cell phone, you’ve got to dial the local area code + 1330. Seoul is 02+1330 and Gyeongju is 054+1330. Learn it and love it.

Like I said, there’s already a lot of handy information on Gyeongju already online. The Korean government’s tourism website has a lot of very good background and historical information on the big tourist sights, as does the Gyeongju City Government’s English website.

The official E-guide to Gyeongju also provides a lot of detailed English info including hotels, restaurants, sites and history. Just remember, even though the phone numbers are listed, most of the hotel and restaurant proprietors here don’t speak much English

For more travel tips and recommendations, you might want to check out the Virtual Tourist page on Gyeongju.  It’s got posts from past visitors, though it seems most folks posting there haven’t gotten too far off the beaten path.

If you’re coming into Gyeongju by train or bus, you first thing you want to do is stop off at the tourist info centers just out side both the bus and train station.  They look like little cement pagodas and are right next to the humungo tourist maps.

Here you can pick up an English map of the area, but don’t forget to ask for the free English guide book called “Gyeongju: the evergreen spirit of Silla that has been alive for a thousand years.” Don’t let the title put you off.  This thing is amazingly thorough and has a lot of cool info, like maps, historical anecdotes and admission prices.

Also, if you plan on doing any hiking or biking, ask for the Korean map of Mt. Namsan. They’ve got a brand new map of Namsan in English, but through some oversight they forgot to actually put any of the hiking trails on the map.  Believe me, even if you can’t read a lick of Korean, you’re better off  hiking with a map that actually has trails on it.

Gyeongju: a Field Guide to History (cover image)

Gyeongju: a Field Guide to History (cover image)

UPDATE (06-20-10): I’ve just posted reviews of a several great guidebooks Gyeongju, but the best of the best is Gyeongju: A Field Guide to History published by the Korea Cultural and Historical Survey Society.  If you’re planing on spending any time at all in Gyeongju, I highly recommend buying this book.  It’s available from the Gyeongju National Museum bookstore or you can purchase it online here.  It’s about 27,000 won and it’s chock full of photos, maps, legends plus lots of detailed historical and archeological info.   I promise it’ll make any visit to Gyeongju a lot more rewarding.

UPDATE (10-02-10): Here’s a list of blog posts I written that provide practical information for  both tourists and long-term visitors to Gyeongju.  I’m listing and linking them here by topic and I’ll try to update it when I get other posts written:

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  • Anna Pollock
    11/09/2011 - 22:51 | Permalink

    The information you have amassed here is amazing, and it will be quite useful to me. Right now, however, I find myself urgently in need of a dentist. Do you have any information about any dentists in Gyeongju who can communicate in English?

  • Cocibe
    11/23/2011 - 22:59 | Permalink


    I am a single female traveller on mid Dec 2011 and plan to Busan and will arrange 1 nite stay at Gyeongju…..

    I am now searching for the hotel nearby the train station.

    My budget is not over 90000krw….
    1. clean room
    2. private toilet and bath
    3. food nearby
    4. safe and okay for single traveller
    5. internet connection….

    Have tried to find on web for booking, but most are located at Bomun Lake which i dun think is convenient….Some small hotel/motels website doesn’t reply me (maybe they know i am NOT korean) :(

    Any hotel you can recommend to me? hope to hearing from you soon



    (ur website is great with many Gyeongju info that help me a lot!)

  • Sherwin
    11/23/2011 - 23:47 | Permalink

    Hey Cocibe, I’m afraid there are not many hotels near the train stations and I would really recommend the ones that are. However, there are about 30 in the neighborhood behind the bus stations. There are a variety of youth hostels, tourist hotels and “Love” Hotels. Don’t let the name scare you off though. The so-called “Love” hotels are some of the best bargains, with big screen TVs and jacuzi bath tubs. They are all very close together, so my best advice is to just walk from hotel to hotel and compare prices and rooms until you find one you like. 90,000 won should be more than enough for one night.

  • Sherwin
    11/24/2011 - 00:02 | Permalink

    Hey Anna, I’m sorry for the late reply. My coursework for my masters has been piling up, so I’ve let the blog slip for the last month or so. If it’s not too late to be helpful, the only English speaking dentist I know of is Dr. An, who’s office is a few blocks down from the train station. It’s been a few years since I’ve been, so I’m afraid I can’t be more specific. His English was good (though I can’t say the same about his assistants) and I got a cavity filled for about 70,000 won.

  • Gerard Villarreal
    01/11/2012 - 18:49 | Permalink

    Gr8 website. Looking for an authority on juryeonggu dice. This is one amazing shape! I’ve seen pictures at ( gyeongju world cultural expo. I would like to find outthe dimensions of this human size example. Thanks

  • Sherwin
    01/15/2012 - 19:16 | Permalink

    Hey Gerard. Sorry for the late reply. Here’s a link to an article a post on the Juryeonggu Dice by my friends over at the Gyeongju Love blog: Hope it’s helpful. They could probably help answer anymore questions you have too. Good luck!

  • Elisa
    06/10/2013 - 09:34 | Permalink

    Hi Sherwin,
    What an amazing website you’ve created! I am going to be in Gyeongju for only two days. I thought I would have one day to explore on my own and then one day to do a guided tour of various sites. I am an avid hiker and cyclist and enjoy walking as well. I see that the Sa Rang Chae Guest House is near Tumuli Park and a temple. Is this a good location from which to explore on my own? If not, can you recommend a better area to use as a home base.

  • Sherwin
    07/23/2013 - 22:11 | Permalink

    Sorry for the late reply Elisa. Sa Rang Chae is actually in a great location for exploring the city on your own. You’ll be in good hands there.

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