Getting round in Gyeongju – Lonely Planet


At first sight, Gyeongju appears so huge as to require a guided tour. But the numerous sights on this historic, gracious metropolis are remarkably simple to navigate by yourself.

A visitor-friendly bus offers a ready-made hop-on, hop-off itinerary. And most points of interest are clustered collectively, permitting you to walk, cycle and meander round traffic-free zones on this “museum with out partitions.” Listed below are our ideas for the way to get round Gyeongju.

Take it simple with room to find by taking a loop bus

Two buses ply one round route that connects the key sights in central Gyeongju, making this a fuss-free approach to see every thing with out the burden of an excessive amount of planning. It additionally leaves room for spontaneity: hop off when one thing grabs your consideration – say, a very picturesque group of tumuli burial mounds, or autumn maples in an interesting shade of purple.

Each buses 10 (the clockwise loop) and 11 (counterclockwise) run from Gyeongju’s adjoining bus terminals (Gyeongju Specific Bus Terminal and Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal) and Gyeongju prepare station to the lofty stone temple Bulguk-sa. Rides price ₩1650 ($1.38) no matter distance; sadly, there are not any switch reductions for a similar route. Every cease (with its adjoining sights) is introduced in Korean and English, though the route map on board is just in Korean. Buses run each 20 minutes from 6am to 9:40pm.

Bus 10 offers probably the most direct path to the astronomical observatory Cheomseongdae and Lake Bomun Resort. Bus 11 is the quicker alternative for attending to Donggung and Wolji Pond (also referred to as Anapji Pond), Gyeongju Nationwide Museum and northeastern Namsan. From Bulguk-sa, the quickest bus to the sights will likely be vice versa, so bus 11 will move by way of Lake Bolmun Resort, and so forth.

From Bulguk-sa bus 12 takes you as much as Seokguram. If you wish to see all of it, plan the timing of your itinerary primarily based on the route taken by bus 10 or 11. Take into account that routes 10 and 11 will be standing-room-only on busy weekends, so it is likely to be helpful to hunt alternate native bus routes if that is your most well-liked mode of transit.

A bus ticket whisks you round Gyeongju and allows you to hop off at such websites because the bell pavilion at Seokguram Grotto © nunawwoofy / Getty

Tailor your go to utilizing native buses

You may take an area bus to most of Gyeongju’s different sights with out a information or tour. From the middle of city, native buses 61 and 60 can get you to close by Tumuli Gongwon; buses 500 and 506 head west towards Namsan; and vacationer bus 100 departs towards the east. Bus 203 takes you to Yangdong Folks Village from Gyeongju station (and, sometimes, Singyeongju station) in 45 minutes. Bus 700 runs instantly between the bullet-train station at Singyeongju (with KTX trains from Seoul) and Bulguk-sa in 55 minutes, stopping alongside the way in which at sights like Wolji Pond and Lake Bomun Resort. A map on board lists every cease in English. One bus journey prices ₩1250 to ₩1650 ($1.05-$1.38), no matter distance.

In South Korea, Naver and Kakao Maps are the perfect for digital-routing choices. Kakao reveals the perfect bus to catch and will be navigated utilizing English names; acquainted icons make route choices legible to non-Korean audio system. Web entry is required.

Get a transport move

You may pay your fare on Gyeongju buses all through the community utilizing both of two rechargeable IC e-cards. The extra in style possibility is T-money (additionally utilized in Seoul and throughout South Korea); Mybi (from Busan; it additionally works in Seoul) can also be accepted. Although you possibly can recharge the playing cards at comfort shops just like the CU retailer at Gyeongju Station, we suggest topping up the cardboard earlier than you arrive so you possibly can hop proper on the bus.

Whereas the playing cards solely supply slight reductions on journey for many guests (paper tickets price ₩50 on high of the costs listed right here), they make journey extra handy by avoiding the trouble of getting to purchase paper tickets. The playing cards are additionally helpful for purchasing meals and drinks from the identical comfort shops that provide preloaded credit score.

Maximize your time with a taxi by the journey or the half-day

Taxis in Gyeongju are metered, inexpensive and straightforward to hail from the road. They’re helpful for brief journeys while you simply wish to get there, in addition to for teams. A taxi journey additionally works properly if you wish to see locations not coated by buses 10 and 11.

The 5-minute journey between Gyeongju Station and Gyeongju Nationwide Museum will price about ₩3500 ($2.93, solely a little bit greater than two tickets on bus 11). A one-way journey between Lake Bomun Resort and the town middle runs about ₩10,000 ($8.38). You will notice taxis exterior prepare and bus stations touting their companies for half a day – you possibly can take into account this a non-public tour, although one with out a information. You may haggle with a smile, however nonetheless count on to pay about ₩150,000/200,000 ($125.71/$167.61) for five/7 hours.

Stroll by way of an open-air museum

It must be no shock that strolling within the open air is among the finest issues to do in a “museum with out partitions.” Certainly, the Tumuli Gongwon historic space that covers 23 burial mounds, former royal gardens and an historical astronomical observatory is solely a pleasure to find on foot. Excessive-rises are banned right here, so if you’re coming from a metropolis, you’ll discover it refreshing to have the ability to gaze into the space. If you happen to keep within the middle of city, you possibly can actually burn some energy by strolling to this close by space, after which to the hip cafes of Hwangridan-gil afterward, with out having to set foot in a car.

For the reason that Lake Bomun Resort is geared in the direction of home guests, and since Koreans prefer to stroll, you’ll discover loads of fellow strollers across the lake, within the theme park and buying areas, and below the cherry blossoms.

A community of trails hint the mountainsides of Namsan and the pagodas, Buddha statues and extra make this stroll a pleasant scavenger hunt set in nature.

The incline between Bulguk-sa and the Buddha at Seokguram takes solely 20 minutes on a (often late) bus – however it’s an invigorating 1.5-hour hike within the contemporary air, with smells of pines and blossoming flowers. Bulguk-sa was designed to include terraces made for strolling, and it was believed that you may enter the world of Buddha by passing by way of its wood gates. On the finish of a forested path, an enormous Buddha effigy is sheltered within the cave of Seokguram. Maybe counterintuitively, we suggest strolling uphill to let your pleasure construct, adopted by a bus journey down.

Discover Gyeongju by bicycle

Gyeongju is right for exploring on two wheels. The historic space across the royal tombs of Tumuli Gongwon is very nice and straightforward to get round. The distances are pretty important, however they’re not strenuous and there may be little site visitors. You may hire bikes nearly wherever, particularly exterior bus and prepare terminals; count on to pay about ₩4000/15,000 ($3.35/$12.57) per hour/day for an everyday bicycle. In South Korea, electric-assisted bicycles have been allowed to make use of bike paths from mid-2018, and they’re beginning to trickle into Gyeongju alongside electrical scooters.

The Kakao Maps app reveals you what share of a route is on cycle paths, what number of intersections and bridges should be crossed, and the way steep the route is. The biking estimate for the 14.8km (9 miles) from the town middle to Bulguk-sa is about 1 hour throughout 11 intersections.

Pedal by way of fields of Gyeongju’s signature pink muhly grass © Julien Viry / Getty Pictures

Why biking is my favourite approach to journey in Gyeongju

Freedom. A bus and taxi would possibly get me to the historic areas, however as a bicycle owner, I can spot a patch of pink muhly grass within the distance then head straight there with some vigorous pedaling. Greater than mere transport, a motorbike journey is a part of the expertise of exploring the extensive areas of Gyeongju – and an particularly simple one, in the event you select central lodging that features free bike rent.

Gyeongju has loads of flat biking paths by way of blossoming fields and village rice paddies that may make one really feel like an area wheeling between errands. Sooner or later I’d even get to reside out my Ok-drama fantasies of pedaling between the rolling inexperienced tumuli on a tandem bicycle with my sweetheart and an enormous map. Within the meantime, I’m satisfied that one afternoon of biking round Gyeongju makes up for snacking on a dozen servings of candy red-bean Gyeongju bread alongside the way in which. It’s what the Silla royalty would have needed.

Drive round by automobile

Even in the event you arrive in Gyeongju in a rental automobile, you’ll probably discover that it’s extra handy to stroll between the primary sights within the middle of city. (Notice that rental vehicles may need GPS solely in Korean, and there’s no have to hire a automobile when you’ve arrived.) There are public parking heaps round Namsan and the key sights.

An identical and extra economical possibility is to rent a taxi for the day. If you happen to do wish to rent a automobile, ask at your lodge or across the bus and prepare terminals.

Accessible transportation in Gyeongju

Although Gyeongju could sprawl, most clusters of sights are comparatively wheelchair accessible. The most important problem will probably be getting there: native buses don’t “kneel” or have house for a wheelchair, whereas wheelchair-accessible taxis cater principally to residents. That limits choices to excursions geared towards accessibility, akin to Korea Wheelchair Tour.

As soon as on the main sights, you’ll discover paths for wheelchairs and child strollers; the historic space round Tumuli Gongwon an particularly pretty community of paths. Even Bolguk-sa is wheelchair- and baby-stroller-accessible (with free leases, too), although you can be restricted to the decrease degree.

Regrettably, Gyeongju gives few services for guests with imaginative and prescient impairment.

Discover out extra on Lonely Planet’s accessible journey useful resource web page.

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