old city of Gyeongju with a new look

Gyeongju Travel Blog

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checked into the hotel
We arrived at the Gyeongju train station, and were faced with a flight of stairs down to go under the track to the exit. There were no elevator or esalators and my parents' luggage were pretty heavy 45 lbs or more? although my dad pulls my micky mouse luggage at under 20 lbs, it's still a task for me and my mom to handle their heavier ones. We were trying to figure out if the handicapped automatic stairs would work since they had them along the stairs, when a family of young father carrying a baby on his back, mother holding one child came to our aid. The young father carried the heavy suitcase down the stairs, while the baby on his baby started to cry. Then he came back and carried the other one, and then he also carried them upstairs on the other side.
hotel room
He was a very kind and nice person for sure, and so was his wife, who helped.
We were kind of worried that when we leave Gyeongju in a couple of days, we would have to do the same stairs at the station!

So we got out of the station and found a taxi to the hotel, which turned out to be farther than I thought. Put another way, Gyeongju is bigger than I imagined. After checking in and taking a little break, we asked the hotel to find us a way to tour some nearby sights. They had packaged rates for seeing 2 nearby sights together, with waiting by the taxi for 50000, which is a lot cheaper than the taxi we took to Mt Aso! It turned out to the same taxi driver who took us from the train station. Anyway, off we went to Seokguam Grotto. Which again was a lot farther than I thought from looking at the map.
big bell at Seokguram Grotto entrance area
It went up hill for a long ways, and the driver wasn't driving a snails 30km/hr like they were in Japan. At the Grotto, we had to walk a long way to actually be at the grotto, it was a nice walk, in the shade of many trees, the packed sand was easy to walk on, so very pleasant. However, after getting to the grotto site, the steps leading up were too high and uneven, so dad opted to just skip the climb, while mom and I climbed up to view the buddha. It was a very graceful and beautiful buddha, card in white granite and had some red remaining on his lips, eyes closed, slanted up as if smiling. He sat in the grotto, well lit, left palm facing up on his lap, right hand pointing down toward the earth. We are only allowed to view from behind a glass partition at the antechamber of the grotto.
Gate at Seokguram Grotto, ticket booth to the left

Seokguram Grotto is a national treasure of Korea, first constructed in the year 751. The main chamber is round with the dome shaped like a parisol over the buddha, around him the wall were carved in high relief with 4 heavenly guardians, and the antechamber also had carved guardian Gods.
Afterwards, we visited Bulguksa, a sprawling restored temple from also the year 751. It was the center of Silla Buddhism and of prayer. The entire temple was burned by Japanese invaders in 1593,, and it was not until 1969-1973 that it was complete restored. The two stone pagodas, the 2 bridges (really stone steps), the middle Anyangmum gate, the Amitabha buddha statue in the very back hall of the temple complex and the Varocana buddha in the main hall were culture relics. This and Seokguam were both UNESCO world cultural heritage sites.
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checked into the hotel
checked into the hotel
hotel room
hotel room
big bell at Seokguram Grotto entra…
big bell at Seokguram Grotto entr…
Gate at Seokguram Grotto, ticket b…
Gate at Seokguram Grotto, ticket …
Its a nice somewhat long walk to …
It's a nice somewhat long walk to…
The grotto itself, with the protec…
The grotto itself, with the prote…
sign at Seokguram grotto, they hav…
sign at Seokguram grotto, they ha…
ruins of the grotto
ruins of the grotto
view from in front of the grotto, …
view from in front of the grotto,…
door of protective structure in fr…
door of protective structure in f…
balloons near the grotto
balloons near the grotto
Entrance to Bulguksa temple
Entrance to Bulguksa temple
pond at Bulguksa temple
pond at Bulguksa temple
the first gate leading to Bulguksa
the first gate leading to Bulguksa
The stone bridge in front of the…
The stone "bridge" in front of th…
the wooden fish and gong on one si…
the wooden fish and gong on one s…
Gyeongju
photo by: Deats