999 Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju, South Korea
Seokguram Gyeongju Reviews
An exhilarating hike up to the Buddha! Nov 20, 2013
The Seokguram grotto is another UNESCO world heritage site that Gyeongju is famous for. It is often viewed as a package deal with Bulguksa Temple due to their proximity to one another, but they are very different experiences. Seokguram is more labor-intensive to reach, and the site itself is a much smaller scale.
Seokguram is a carved granite cave on the top of a mountain above the Bulguksa temple. Inside, the featured attraction is the carved Buddha among other, lesser beings, who faces the east. The granite in which it was carved came from farther away (I don't know where) and was hauled up the mountain.
The site can be reached by car or by bus #12 in front of Bulguksa, but it's a much more enjoyable experience to reach the grotto by hiking up the mountain. The hike starts near Bulguksa, to the right of the entrance gate. It takes one hour and it's all uphill, but it's not a murderous incline and there is a bathroom halfway up (and refreshments at the summit as well!).
It costs 4000 won to get in. At the top there is a gift shop (with heavy markups) and vending machines. Take cash because your plastic is no good that far out of town. The grotto does not allow any photos taken at all inside the cave, otherwise I would have been happy to share what I saw up there. However, you can google image "Seokguram Buddha" and get an idea of what it looks like.
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