Located on the southeast coast of South Korea, Gyeongju was historically the ancient capital city of the Silla dynasty. Today the beloved city is regarded as a museum without walls and holds some of Korea’s most historical and beautiful artifacts. The ancient charm of the city draws thousands of tourists each year as people come to enjoy and learn about Korea’s colorful history.
Easily accessible by train or bus, Gyeongju makes for a fabulous weekend trip from Daegu. Take the time to visit and enjoy what this small and charming city has to offer!
Visit Bulguksa Temple
The Bulguksa Temple, built during the Silla dynasty, is revered as one of the most beautiful temples in the country. For only 5,000 won to enter, it’s an essential for any Korean bucket list.
Admire the Donggung Palace + Wolji (Anapji) Pond
Both the Donggung Palace and Anapji Pond were originally part of an ancient palace complex for the Silla dynasty. They are best admired during the nighttime hours when lit up, making for a stunning view.
See the Seokguram Grotto
The Seokguram Grotto lies 4 km east of Bulguksa Temple and is world-renowned for being one of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world. Admission is also 5,000 won. If you’re a history buff, I recommend making the trip while you’re there.
Admire the Cherry Blossoms (In Spring)
Gyeongju is also well known for its cherry blossom display during springtime. While the blossoms in Gyeongju aren’t as grand as the display in Jinhae or Hwagae, the blossoms are still quite a sight to behold.
Unleash your inner child and ride motorized scooters around Bomun Lake!
Frolic Through the Lotus Flower Fields (In Summer)
Gyeongju has multiple spots that flourish with lotus flowers in July/August; Anapji Pond, Yangdong Village, and most notably the fields near the Cheomseongdae Observatory. Lotus flower season typically falls between mid-July to early August, so be sure to plan accordingly if seeing the lotuses are a priority for you. They sure are lovely!
Check out the Cheomseongdae Observatory
The Cheomseongdae Observatory was constructed during the 7th century and is the oldest known astrological tower still standing in Asia, and may even be the oldest in the world! You can’t go inside of it, but you can marvel at its history from the outside.
Rent Scooters and Ride Around Bomun Lake
Unleash your inner child and ride motorized scooters around Bomun Lake! We had a blast racing one another and zooming around the area for an hour. Between nine people and five scooters, we paid 10,000 won each for the hour – not too shabby. The scooters we rented were in the same parking lot as the McDonald’s across from the lake.
Yangdong Folk Village is the largest traditional village in South Korea.
Explore Yangdong Folk Village
Yangdong Folk Village is the largest traditional village in South Korea. Many of the thatched roof cottages are hundreds of years old and offer a valuable look into the traditional culture of the Joseon dynasty.
Wander the Downtown Shopping Area
If you’re a shopper, downtown Gyeongju actually has a lot to offer for being a small city. Popular name brands, cute little boutiques, and fashion shops all line the main streets. Don’t forget to bring your shopping shoes!
See the Cheonmachong Tomb
For only 2,000 won, enjoy wandering around the 23 large burial mounds from the Silla Kingdom constructed in honor of nobles and kings from that time. Valuable historical artifacts and remains have been discovered at the Cheonmachong Tomb dating over 1,000 years old!
Gyeongju is such a sweet and charming city in Korea. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of Daegu, Gyeongju is the perfect place for you. Enjoy!
Written by Brittany Varano via Life of Brit | Photographs by Brittany Varano and Ivan Zarezkij