Gyeongju In Four Seasons
QUICK FACTS ABOUT GYEONGJU
- Gyeongju used to be the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom (57BC to 935AD), during this period 56 kings or queens ruled.
- The Silla capital, Gyeongju, was once the 4th biggest city in the world.
- Gyeongju is often referred to as the “museum without walls” or the “city of ancients”.
- The entire city is considered as a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO in the year 2000.
- The original names of Gyeongju used to be Gyerim or Seorabeol, in 935AD the name Gyeongju was established.
Visit the official website for more information.
Gyeongju or Kyongju is located in the southeast of South Korea and has over 2000 years worth of history as it used to be the capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty. Silla used to be the wealthiest country in Korea; with many architectural sites still remaining. After almost 1000 years of ruling, Gyeongju suffered from terrible destruction under multiple invasions. Currently many buildings have been excavated and proudly stand to tell the tale Silla’s magnificent history.
It is not a surprise that Gyeongju is a MUST visit city when travelling to and in Korea; both for foreign and Korean tourists. It is an amazing city throughout the yeah, with a different kind of beauty each season! But what is now really the best time to visit Gyeongju?
Bulguksa Temple & rice fields
BEST TIME TO VISIT GYEONGJU
Similar to the rest of Korea, Gyeongju has it’s four seasons; long summer and winters and sadly enough, short spring and autumns. The best time to visit Gyeongju is from March to June and September to October; this is no different for the rest of Korea. It is better to avoid travelling in summer and winter as temperatures can get quite extreme from 0°C in winter to 40°C in summer; not to mention the wind!
Summer In Gyeongju
Summer, the season the whole nation is dreading. If you do end up travelling in this season; like I did, the unaware tourist, the first time I came to Korea – make sure to carry enough water, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
Autumn In Gyeongju
Personally, autumn is my absolute favourite season in Korea, the sun is shining and temperatures are soft, around 20°C, which is quite warm for a northern European. Towards the end of October, beginning of November the leaves will start to turn golden – it’s like nothing you have ever seen before, I promise you!
Winter In Gyeongju
Uhh winter, I definitely not classify myself as a winter person, most obsolete season ever! As Gyeongju is a coastal city, the winds are really strong. Luckily it’s not as cold as Seoul. I’m sure there are those kind of people, that love the “Strum und Drang” of winter. The one benefit of visiting Gyeongju during winter is that you will be the only tourist on the street; which will make accommodation much cheaper than during the other seasons.
Hwangsangdong Park & Gyeochon Village & Namsan Park
Spring In Gyeongju
The most exciting season for the general public; the cherry blossom season. Starting most years at the end of March, beginning of April. The cherry blossoms are only blooming for one week, which is also the only week all the accommodations in the city are sold out! Floads of people will be coming from all over the world to see the Silla Capital in full bloom. Gyeongju is hosting a yearly one week cherry blossom festival with markets and concerts on different locations all over the city.
Cherry Blossom Festival & YangdongTraditional Folk Village
Gyeongju is located in the southeast of the Korean Peninsula between Daegu, Busan, Ulsan and Pohang. From each of these cities you can easily take the express bus which will take between 40 minutes to an hour. From each of these cities there are busses every 15-20 minutes. You can just buy your ticket 10 minutes before departure at the ticket office, no need for making a reservation in advance. The ticket price will be no more that 5000 won.
From Seoul you can take the KTX, there are direct trains from Incheon Airport and Seoul Station once an hour. Depending on the train this will take around 2-2h30 and should cost 50 000 won for a normal ticket and 41 000 for a standing ticket. The KTX station in Gyeongju is located 20km from the city center, so you’ll have to take a taxi or bus to downtown. The bus will take around 40 minutes and should cost around 1200won. If you’re arriving after 21h30, there is no other option that the taxi. To the downtown this will take approximately 20 minutes as should cost around 15 000 won (depending on where you are going in downtown).
TIP! When I’m visiting Gyeongju, I take the KTX from Seoul station to Daegu (1u45min) and switch in Daegu to the express bus to Gyeongju (50 minutes). I do this for two reasons; first, the trains Seoul – Daegu run more frequently; second: the express bus from Daegu to Gyeongju will bring you to Gyeongju downtown, instead of the Singyeongju KTX station 40 minutes outside Gyeongju. It save time and it saves money!
RECOMMENDED LENGTH OF STAY
There are so many things to visit in Gyeongju, so you can easily spend a week in the city. But if this is your first time visiting it is recommended to stay 2 days. The first day you can focus on visiting everything in downtown, the second day visit the main sites out of Gyeongju.
2 DAY ITINERARY
The Unknown Tomb in downtown
Tumuli Tomb Park
National Museum of Gyeongju (FREE; closed on Mondays)
Bulguksa Temple (do the 2 hour hike to the Seokguram Grotto)
Hwangnyongsanji Temple Museum
- Hire a bicycle! Close to the express bus terminal you will be able to find many bike rental shops; they rent out bicycles for a day or just for a couple of hours.
- Want to visit the main sites and more without any hassle? Book tickets for the city bus tour, which runs daily.
- Visit Cheomseongdae? Buy a kite from one of the street vendors. It’s a typical thing Koreans do when having a relaxing day in Gyeongju.
Happy Village Syeobul – the best Hanok stay with an amazing breakfast in Gyeongju. Located next to the touristic hot spots, 10 minutes walk from the express bus terminal and only 5 minutes from the “the up and coming” restaurant street.
Hilton Hotel – located outside Gyeongju, at the beautiful Bomun lake is the perfect luxury accommodation. The hotel is located between Bulguksa temple, Golgulsa Temple, Gyeongju Beach and Gyeongju city center; so the perfect location to visit all these touristic hot spots.
Good Dream Guest House – perfect budget guesthouse located 5 minutes walking from the express bus terminal and only 5 minutes to the entrance of the Tumuli park. You’ll easily find many restaurants in this area.
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