Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weekend in Gyeongju

I spent the weekend in Gyeongju, a coastal city located 370 km (230 miles) southeast of Seoul. I travelled with a group organized through Meetup.com which was great, because the organizer bought the train tickets and booked the accommodation in advance. We took the KTX (Korea Train Express) to Gyeongju, which took just over 2 hours. It could have been 2 and a half... I wasn't really paying attention. The nice thing about travelling in a group is that you always have someone to talk to, making it feel like you're not on a train at all. We sat around the table seats in the train that are found in the center of each train car. So, really, it was like chatting with friends in a cafe or something. Note to discount hunters: these middle table seats are available at a 30 percent discount. However, you do need to buy the seats in groups of four... one of the reasons our group had 12 people in it-- a multiple of 4!

There are many sites to see in and around Gyeongju. Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, two of the must sees in the area, are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Anapji Pond and the oldest observatory in southeast Asia are also worth seeing. While visiting the Confucian School, our group had the privilege of witnessing a real, traditional Korean wedding. The school does host a wedding festival in the afternoons to showcase Korean weddings. However, one of the Koreans in our group confirmed that the wedding we observed was, in fact, real. I'm glad the wedding party weren't offended by us wedding crashers. I guess it's to be expected when getting married in a public venue that isn't closed to the public.
At Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, Korea

A bell you can ring at Seokguram Grotto

Wedding Party at Confucian School in Gyeongju

Stairs at Bulguksa Temple

1 comment:

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