Tag Archives: Gyeongju

Hotels and housing Noseo-dong tips for tourists

Housing: Love Hotels (러브호텔) in Noseo-dong

Hotel Show, Noseo-dong, Gyeongju

Hotel Show, Noseo-dong, Gyeongju

I think the question I get asked most often on this blog is where to find good hotels in Gyeongju and people usually act like I’m joking or crazy when I point them to the dozens of “Love Hotels” in Noseo-dong, the neighborhood just behind hind the Inter-city and Express Bus Terminals.  Now it’s true that “Love Hotels” (러브호텔) get their name for  hosting secret trysts between unmarried college students and cheating spouses from out of town.  And if you’ve never stayed in one before, you might think they’re nothing more than seedy dives with peeling wall paper, cigarette-stained sheets and broken head-boards.  But really, the rooms at the newest “Love Hotels” in Gyeongju can sometimes rival the accommodations at local pensions and the hotels at Bomun Resort, for only a fraction of the cost. read more »

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Bomun Resort East Sea Gyeongju tips for tourists Wierd Gyeongju

Wierd Gyeongju: Dinosaur Village Herb Land (허브랜드공룡마을) and Gyeongju Herb Land (경주허브랜드)

Dinosaur Village Herb Land, Gyeongju

Dinosaur Village Herb Land, Gyeongju

Just like Teddy Bear Museums, “Herb Lands” have been of popping up around Korea lately in all the tourist hotspots.  And somehow, also just like Teddy Bear Museums, Gyeongju is blessed with not just one but two of these so-called Herb Lands. If you aren’t quite sure what a Herb Land is, its kind of like a cross between your local garden center and a miniature golf course. Or better yet, try imagining an amusement park without any actual roller coasters or rides. If that sounds kind of lame, then you’ve probably already guessed that Gyeongju’s Herb Lands are not really on my list of must-see local highlights and I wouldn’t really recommend them to anyone visiting just for a short weekend. However, for visitors who possess a warped appreciation of cheesy tourist traps, or have children under 10 years old, Gyeongju’s Herb Lands are a perfect fit.  Luckily for me, I have both, so it was only natural that we would eventually pay them a visit. read more »

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Gyeongju Hotels and housing Korean culture tips for tourists

Housing: Stay Overnight in One of Gyeongju’s “Goteak” Traditional Houses (경주 고턕체험)

Seoak Seowon, Seondo-dong, Gyeongju

Seoak Seowon, Seondo-dong, Gyeongju

If you’re one of those intrepid travelers who enjoy staying in unique or unusual accommodations, then I definitely recommend spending the night in one of the “Gyeongju Goteak” traditional houses during your visit.  The Gyeonjgu Goteak program was established a few years ago by the Ministry of Employment and Labor as a creative effort to help pay for the upkeep of a number of local historical buildings by renting them out as housing for visiting tourists.   Currently run by the Silla Cultural Institute (신라문화원), Gyeognju Goteak offers housing at five or six different historical “hanuk” style houses in the Gyeongju area, most of which are several hundred years old.  Although, I’ve not actually stayed in any of these places myself, I visit a number of them frequently as they’re quite scenic and are worth visiting even if you’re not staying the night.  In addition to providing unique and photogenic lodgings, a stay in one of the Gyeognju Goteak also includes complementary cultural activities, such as a tea ceremony and traditional arts and crafts. read more »

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Downtown East Sea Geumcheok-ri Gyeongju history Hwangnam-dong Korean culture photography Ruins & remains Stories, legends & people tombs

“From Fusan to Wonsan by Pack-pony” by Rev. H. O. T. Burkwall: A Turn of the Century Missionary’s Travelogue of Gyeongju

Old Photo of Silla-era Royal Tombs, Gyeongju

Old Photo of Silla-era Royal Tombs, Gyeongju

In the course of my Masters research, I’ve sometimes run across interesting tidbits of Gyeognju history that are completely off-topic which I file away for future blog posts.  Here is one such tidbit: a brief  travelogue written by perhaps one of the earliest westerners to visit Gyeongju; the awesomely-named missionary Rev. H. O. T. Burkwall.  Rev. Burkwall’s account was printed in the January 1903 edition of the “Korea Review” (pp. 18 – 22).  The “Korea Review” appears to be one of the earliest English-language academic journals devoted to Korean culture, history, religion and literature and was published between 1901 and 1905 by the Methodist Publishing House in Seoul.  For those interested, .pdf files of the whole 5 year run of the “Korea Review” are currently hosted online by Royal Asiatic Society of Korea. read more »

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Gyeongju tips for tourists

Gyeongju Google Maps Finally Go High-Resolution


View Larger Map

I may be the only person in Korea to get excited over this, but as I was finishing up my last post, I noticed that Google Maps has finally upgraded the quality of their maps and satellite images of Gyeongju.    For years I have been muttering curses over Google’s pitifully lousy low-resolution satellite images of Gyeongju and I’d like to think that somebody in the offices of Google Korea finally realized that a major tourist destination like Gyeongju deserved better.  But in reality, it looks like the improvements are part of a broader, and long overdue, overhaul of Google Maps.    Google’s satellite views of Gyeongju are now way sharper than before and you can actually make out the details of important historical landmarks, like Cheongmacheong Observatory and Anapji Pond.  It also looks like Google has given their actual maps an upgrade and now lists street names in both Hangul and Romanized Korean, which is handy.  These upgrades should be a huge help to foreign visitors as well as Google’s lagging market-share in S. Korea….. maybe. read more »

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Arts & crafts Gyeongju history Ruins & remains tombs

The Tou (토우): Mysterious Burial Figurines of the Early Silla Dynasty

Tou Figurines (image from heritagechannel.tv)

Tou Figurines (image from heritagechannel.tv)

If you take a stroll down the Bonhwang-ro street of traditional crafts and culture in downtown Gyeongju, you’ll probably notice a series of odd-looking stone sculptures depicting amorphous animals and lumpy  people with exceedingly large genitalia.  You’d probably be forgiven for assuming the city government has wasted the local taxpayers’ money on some abstract and tasteless public art.  In reality, these odd sculptures are actually enlargements of several “Tou” (토우); miniature clay figurines made during the Silla peoples in the 4th and 5th centuries.  These figures actually served funerary vessels and were unearthed from early Silla tombs by the hundreds and they now make up one of the more interesting permanent exhibitions at the Gyeongju National Museum. read more »

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Downtown Food & drink restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #23: Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (평양냉면)

Pyeongyang Naengmyeon Restaurant, Downtown Gyeongju

Pyeongyang Naengmyeon Restaurant, Downtown Gyeongju

I’ve probably use the phrase “hidden gem” on this blog way more often than any decent writer should.  However with Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (평양냉면) the phrase doesn’t fit any better, as I’ve literally walked by the place for years without realizing it was even there. The restaurant sits at the end of long, narrow corridor leading into the courtyard of a traditional “Hanuk” style traditional house; a hidden oasis in the middle of one of downtown Gyeongju’s busiest blocks.  But just because it’s is hard to find doesn’t mean that Pyeongyang Naengmyeon isn’t popular.  In fact the restaurant’s been open for over 65 years, which is probably a record in these parts, and is actually quite famous among locals and Korean tourists alike. read more »

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Blog News Downtown East Sea Gyeongju Gyo-dong News Ruins & remains Temples & shrines

Blog Reboot Summer 2013

Gyo-dong Folk Village, Gyeongju

Gyo-dong Folk Village, Gyeongju

To start off my first post in almost a year, I’d like to apologize to all those folks who’ve posted comments and questions to this blog over the last several months.  I’ve basically been busy as hell this last year, so I hope to breath a second wind into the blog here over the next few months (time willing).  Over this last year, I’ve written the first draft of my thesis for my Masters in Buddhist Studies which, incidentally, involves research into the Silla  Kings Beopheung and Jinheung.  Also, I’ve coauthored a three part series on Gyeognju’s Mt. Namsan (click here to read part 2 and part 3) for the Jogye Order’s English language quarterly, Buddhism and Culture, plus an academic article surveying the life and work of the famed Silla monk, Ven. Wonhyo.  As of last February I changed both my job and  MA program.  Most importantly, however, this last March our second son was born, so everything non-essential has gotten pushed to the side since then.  I hope all the commentors that I’m just now getting back to would be so kind as to forgive this weary grad student, teacher and father for the late reply. read more »

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Bomun Resort Museums Sites to see tips for tourists videos Wierd Gyeongju

Wierd Gyeongju: The Teddy Bear Museum (테디베어박물관) and Teseum (테지움) of Bomun Resort

Entrance to the Teddy Bear Museum, Bomun Resort, Gyeongju

Entrance to the Teddy Bear Museum, Bomun Resort, Gyeongju

After spending an afternoon at Bomun Resort recently, I had an epiphany: teddy bear museums are to Korea what wax museums are to the U.S.  Both are cheesy as hell, prey on bored tourists and are not places you’d want to accidentally get locked in overnight.  Not to mention, both spring up around resorts and tourist traps like mushrooms in a Virginia cow pasture after the rain.   From Jeju Island to Mt. Seoraksan, teddy bear museums are currently the rage at all the major tourist destinations in South Korea. Of course Gyeongju’s Bomun Resort, being possibly the biggest tourist trap in the whole country, is blessed with not one, but two teddy bear museums, and they so happen to be just down the block from each other. read more »

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Buddhist culture East Sea Gyeongju hiking history Stories, legends & people Temples & shrines tips for tourists

Going to the River: Girimsa Temple (기림사) and Yongyeonpokpo Waterfalls (용연폭포)

Yongyeonpokpo Waterfalls, Girimsa Temple, Gyeongju

Yongyeonpokpo Waterfalls, Girimsa Temple, Gyeongju

About a month ago a friend on on Facebook asked where around Gyeongju you can “go to the river.”  Unfortunately I’ve been a bit distracted with writing my Master’s thesis over the last month, but I hope to post on a few places to “go to the river” around here while there’s still some of the summer left. There are actually a number of nice swimming holes and lovely picnicking spots by the rivers around Gyeongju which we go to almost every weekend, if the weather’s nice. read more »

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