Tag Archives: Seokkuram

Bulguk-dong East Sea hiking Hotels and housing tips for tourists

Camping and Cabins in the Mt. Tohamsan Recreational Forest (토함산 자연휴양림)

Camping at Mt. Tohamsan Recreational Forest

Camping at Mt. Tohamsan Recreational Forest

This post is coming a little too late for the summer, but  I’m posting it anyhow for those who might be interested in doing some camping this fall or are already kicking around ideas for their next vacation.  For years I’ve heard that there there’s a campground at the Mt. Tohamsan at the Recreational Forest (토함산 자연휴양림), but I’ve never been up there to check it.  Growing up in  Virginia, I used to go camping at least a couple times a year, so I’ve been curious about it for a while now. read more »

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Gyeongju history Stories, legends & people

A Pictorial Timeline of Gyeongju History

Photo of 3-Tiered Pagoda of Bunhwangsa Temple (from www.gjucc.co.kr)

Photo of 3-Tiered Pagoda of Bunhwangsa Temple (from www.gjucc.co.kr)

As part of another project I’ve got in the works at the moment, I put together a brief timeline of the history of Gyeongju which I’m posting it here with some photos. I hope that clearly and concisely portrays the dramatic thousand year rise and fall of the Shilla Dynasty and is subsequent rediscovery and preservation in the 20th century. It’s far from complete, but I’ve tried to include links to posts that flesh out the details a bit more. Heck, if folks think it’s good enough, I might even include it as a permanent page to be updated as I post more links. In the mean time, let’s start way back at the beginning: read more »

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Gyeongju history Korean culture links Sites to see tips for tourists Top 10 videos

Top 10 YouTube Videos on Gyeongju and the Shilla Dynasty

It’s been a while since I’ve done any “Top 10″ and since I’ve been busy with final exams and grades, I don’t have any proper articles ready to go this week.  Instead, I figured I’d post on the 10 best YouTube videos I could find about Gyeongju. Believe me, it was a lot harder than it sounds. For all the time I spent fast forwarding through dozens vacation slideshows of Bulguksa and boring A.P. History projects, I might as well have written an article. In any case, I did in fact find 10 YouTube videos that are well worth watching (in spite of their occasional flaws). So, in no particular order, first up is the official UNESCO World Heritage promotional video on Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto. It’s pretty:

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East Sea Gyeongju Hotels and housing tips for tourists

Ja-yeon Pension (자연 향기): A Refreshing Mountain Getaway

Ja-yeon Pension, Mt. Tohamsan, Gyeongju

Ja-yeon Pension, Mt. Tohamsan, Gyeongju

After months of slaving away at the computer, my wife finally completed the monumental task of writing her Master’s thesis the other week. We decided to celebrate by heading up into the mountains east of Gyeognju for a little family “r and r” at Ja-yeon Pension (자연 향기). Living in Gyeongju, it’s rare that I actually get firsthand experience of the dozens (if not hundreds) of accommodation options in the area. However, I’d stumbled on Ja-yeon Pension last fall while exploring a little valley near the Baek-nyeon (100 year) Tea House on Mt. Tohamsan and I couldn’t think of a better place to take a break and get away from it all. read more »

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Events Festivals Food & drink Gyeongju holidays Music & dance tips for tourists

2011 Spring Events: Cherry Blossoms, Marathon, Liquor Festival, Martial Arts and More

Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms

Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms

It’s finally beginning to feel a bit like spring around Gyeongju, which means we’re just days away from that magical season when the cherry trees begin to bud and then blossom.  Entire streets in Gyeongju turn into marshmallow wonderlands and romantic couples stroll through flurries of pink petals.  I already posted last spring on some of the best places in town to check out the cherry blossoms, like at Kim Yu-shin’s tomb and the ruins of Banwolseong fortress, so I won’t repeat myself here.  Korea’s wizards of meteorology have gazed into their crystal balls and have predicted Gyeongju’s cherry flowers (벚꽃)  will begin blossoming between now and April 8th and that the peak season this year should be April 6th – 15th. read more »

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Buddhist culture Gyeongju history Statues & carvings tips for tourists

Ancient Buddhas of the Shilla Dynasty: Part 2

Continued from Part 1…

Avalokitesvara Relief, Mt. Namsan, Gyeongju

Avalokitesvara Relief, Mt. Namsan, Gyeongju

Avalokitesvara: The Bodhisattva of Mercy

One of the key differences that evolved between Mahayana (Northern School) and Theravada (Southern School) Buddhism is the former’s belief in Bodhisattvas, or “Bosal” (보살) in Korean.  These are highly enlightened beings who have vowed to postpone their final enlightenment until all sentient beings on earth have been awakened.  Most Bodhisattvas are simply humans who’ve taken the Bodhisattva vow.  However, some are considered to be god-like spiritual beings with great compassion and power, who Buddhists can petition for aid and refuge in times of suffering. read more »

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Buddhist culture Gyeongju history Statues & carvings tips for tourists

Ancient Buddhas of the Shilla Dynasty: Part 1

Sakyamuni Buddha, Golgulsa Temple, Gyeongju

Sakyamuni Buddha, Golgulsa Temple, Gyeongju

Looking at the history of Gyeongju, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of Buddhism to the ancient Shilla Dynasty.  The acceptance of Buddhism by the Shilla in the 5th century C.E. brought an increased cultural exchange with China.  This coincided with the military rise of the Shilla Empire which ushered in the “Golden Age” of the Shilla Dynasty.  This cultural renaissance saw the construction of many architectural marvels, like Bulguksa Temple (불국사) and the nine-story Golden Dragon Pagoda of Hwannyeongsa Temple (황룡사), and creation of great artistic masterpieces, such as Seokkuram Grotto (석굴암). read more »

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Buddhist culture Gyeongju Hotels and housing links Sites to see tips for tourists websites

Tips for Tourists: Housing Links and Other Websites

Sarangchae Guesthouse (image from kjstay.com)

Sarangchae Guesthouse (image from kjstay.com)

I was online this afternoon checking out local pensions for Chuseok when it dawned on me that I’ve been seriously delinquent in updating the “Links” section of this blog over the summer.  In fact, for a blog that targets tourists, I hadn’t really posted that many websites for hotels and what not around Gyeongju.  After several hours rectifying this oversight, I’ve compiled a formidable (if not definitive) list of local links.  Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve found:

Hotels and Housing

Down around the bus station are scads of love hotels and tourist motels.  As they’re already pretty easy to find, I’ll link to the Gyeongju Tourist Hotel as a typical example of the whole lot.  Instead, there are a few more traditional guesthouses around town that’d give you a more unique experience, like the Sundo Sanbang Guesthouse or the Shillabang Gueshouse.  And of course there’s the classic Sarangchae Guesthouse tucked away next to Daereungwon Tombs Park. read more »

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Itinerary: 10 Days in Gyeongju

Tongdosa Temple, South of Gyeongju

Tongdosa Temple, South of Gyeongju

Not to become a broken record or anything, but most tourists just bounce down to Gyeongju for a long weekend, hit up the big tourist sites, and head home Sunday night. It’s a shame really. You can barely even scratch the surface of what Gyeonju has to offer in 2 days. To finally prove what I’ve been harping on so long, I’ve cooked up a 10 day itinerary for visitors to Gyeongju. That’s right: over a week and a half of things to see and do in the area.  If you don’t have 10 days, feel free to pick and choose what suites your liking.  But here are some ideas for exploring a deeper side of Gyeongju and Korea as a whole. read more »

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East Sea Gyeongju restaurants Sites to see tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #12: 100 Years Tea House (백년찻집)

100 Years Tea House, Mt. Tohamsan, Gyeongju

100 Years Tea House, Mt. Tohamsan, Gyeongju

Perched on the ridge of Mt. Tohamsan (토함산) , looking East over the Churyeong (추령) Pass is one of the best kept secrets of Gyeongju:  the Beak Nyeon Cha Jip (백년찻집) or “100 Years Tea House”.  Whether you’re a dedicated  tea aficionado or you need a break on the trip over to the East Sea and King Munmu’s tomb (문무대왕릉), Beak Nyeon Cha Jip is well worth the 30 minute drive from Gyeongju. read more »

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