EXPLORE: GYEONGJU, SOUTH KOREA
- August 09, 2016
- Denise Lee
Today we will be exploring another city in South Korea that is a little less known to tourists. Gyeongju is a historical city and was the capital of ancient Silla before King Sejong moved all administrations to Seoul. It’s teeming with local tourists and you will need to know some basic Korean to get around because English is not widely spoken here. Just take note!
Milk (우유) and Banana Milk (바나나 우유)
Anyone who knows me well would know that I love milk. LOVE. I have been enjoying milk since forever and when I moved to the UK, I was ruined. Tesco’s £1 British Whole Milk was my obsession. I am a firm believer in drinking milk full fat or it will lose all of its glorious flavours. When I got back to Malaysia, my nightmares became a reality. Milk here is horrible. I looked forward to my Tokyo trip last December partly because I could have Meiji and Hokkaido milk. When I first visited Korea in 2014, I had their milk too, and by golly it was delicious. It might seem absurd and stupid that I have a milk obsession but I don’t care. I had fresh full cream full-fat milk every chance I got. And one cannot go to Korea and not have banana milk. I had milk coma every day. HAHAHAH!
Took a train from Busan to Gyeongju for the day and stopped by the convenience store for food. Of course, I went straight to the milk section and got myself a box of milk.
Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju (불국사, 경주시)
Okay, this is not a temple but it was the walkway up to the temple. It was very crowded because they were celebrating Buddha’s birthday. Free food was involved so you know – human beings and free food is a recipe for crowded areas. Just did a quick tour and left before it got insane.
Tangsuyuk (탕수육) and Jajangmyeong (짜장면)
Had jjajangmyeon (짜장면) again – this time from a small mom n pop shop – because I was on a mission to find the best one. HAHAHA! It wasn’t mindblowing. Just good enough to keep our bellies full. Moving on!
Rent a Scooter
Public transport is not very accessible in Gyeongju. Rented a scooter from Scooter Factory because that’s the best way to get around in Gyeongju. The area is huge so if you plan to only walk, then I suggest staying for at least one night because there is no way you are able to finish walking the whole city. Since I don’t know how to ride a scooter (also not good with bicycles, the first time I rode a two-wheeler was last year in London when Shin and Sandra forced me to learn), my friend took the wheel. Terrifying at first but you get used to it after a while.
For lack of better memory, here’s a bunch of pictures from around Gyeongju. Those big round hills are, in fact, tombs. If you’ve watched enough Korean dramas and Korean culture shows, you’d know that they build little hills on top of the graves but these ones are extra huge because they belong to noble people – kings, queens, prime ministers, members of the court etc. And then there’s the Cheomseongdae Observatory (경주 첨성대), which is a watchtower where couples held selfie sticks and took a lot of selca (셀카) – selfies, in layman’s terms – with everything. Also, it was pretty cold considering that it was spring. So that’s something to take note of if you’re visiting Gyeongju in Springtime.
Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond – Anapji (경주 동궁과 월지, 안압지)
Anapji (안압지) reminded me a lot of Gyeongbukgong (경복궁) in Seoul but smaller. Went in towards sunset so to do a timelapse of the lights. I think it’s worth a visit and we only had to pay ₩2000. This was favourite part in Gyeongju. The lights are eerily gorgeous. And to think that people used to actually live here and stuff. A lot of the palace actually got destroyed during the war no thanks to the Japanese army but at least these parts remained. Good to explore if you’re visiting.
Fried Chicken from Mom’s Touch
Had a train to catch to Busan in the evening so fried chicken was the fastest choice. KFC has nothing on the wonderful chicken from Mom’s Touch. They have shops everywhere in Korea and their chicken is crispy and juicy all at once. That’s how fried chicken should be.
The train ride back to Busan was uneventful until three little girls came on board with their mum and played with me. How are Korean children so damn cute? Because the youngest one was adorable.
Anyway, I highly recommend visiting Gyeongju if you have a chance. It’s a history buff’s dream but also a great experience if you’re new to Korean culture.