Gyeongju: A Deeper Look to Korean Ancient Dynasty

Maybe the term ‘Three Kingdoms’ sounds familiar to you—yes, those are the famous, powerful kingdoms in China.

But, are you aware that a Three Kingdoms period also existed in Korea? The Three Kingdoms of Korea refer to Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla.

Silla, one of the world’s longest-sustained dynasties, chose Gyeongju as its capital, which then became the center of Korean political and cultural life.

If you’re around Busan, make sure to visit Gyeongju to learn about this ancient kingdom.

From Busan to Gyeongju

It’s possible to do a day trip to Gyeongju from Busan.

  • Bus from Busan Central Bus Terminal (metro stop: Nopo Station). Price 4,800 won. 1 hour journey
  • KTX – 30 minutes – 12,000 won, a great option if you have a Korea Rail Pass.
  • Alternatively, you can join one-day tour from Busan for a hassle-free experience, including guided visits to Gyeongju’s historical sites.

What to do in Gyeongju

Bulguksa Temple

Gyeongju is a treasure trove of relics, art, temples, and pagodas, deeply influenced by Buddhist beliefs.

Among these, Bulguksa Temple stands out as Gyeongju’s most renowned temple, housing seven national treasures.

This makes the temple an unmissable site for anyone visiting Gyeongju.

Getting there is easy; buses number 10 and 11 run every 15 – 30 minutes to the temple.

The temple also provides free guided tours multiple times a day, with guides proficient in English, offering insightful narratives about the temple’s history and significance.

pond gyeongju travel blog

Bulguksa Temple Gyeongju Travel Blog

bulguksa temple gyeongju travel blog

There are several rooms within the temple, each serving a different purpose, including a prayer hall and housing for monks.

As I explored the temple, I stumbled upon an intriguing sight: an area filled with stones stacked one on top of another.

This is a traditional Korean way of making wishes—by placing a stone on top of another.

If the stone stays in place without falling, it’s believed that your wish will come true.

Another fascinating feature of the temple is a golden pig believed to bring luck.

Touching it and then placing your hand in your pocket is said to bring fortune.

Entrance fee: 6,000 won (adults)

korean stone gyeongju travel blog

gyeongju travel blog

Seokguram Grotto

After spending enough time at Bulguksa Temple, I proceeded to Seokguram Grotto, another national treasure.

I could have taken the bus, but I chose to walk the 2 kilometers to enjoy the scenery along the way.

What you’ll primarily see is a large granite Buddha statue inside a small chamber.

I don’t know why, but I felt a sense of peace while inside.

During the Japanese occupation of South Korea, they attempted to destroy many historical artifacts.

That’s why they covered the top of the chamber with concrete, resulting in humidity and moss formation inside.

The chamber is separated by a glass wall and is only opened on Buddha’s birthday.

Entrance fee: 5,000 won (adults)

Gyeongju National Museum

Dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the Silla Dynasty, which ruled for nearly a millennium, the museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts that illuminate the dynasty’s sophisticated craftsmanship, religious practices, and daily life.

Highlights include precious metalwork, ceramics, and the Divine Bell of King Seongdeok, a masterpiece of Korean bronze casting.

Entrance fee: Free

Anapji Pond 

My final stop in Gyeongju, Korea, was Gyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond, also known historically as Anapji Pond during the Goryeo and Joseon periods.

Originally, Donggung Palace was the royal residence for the Silla Kingdom’s crown prince.

While the daytime scenery appears rather unremarkable, the true magic unfolds at night.

As darkness descends, the area around the pond is illuminated, casting mesmerizing reflections across the water’s surface, transforming the site into a breathtaking spectacle.

Entrance fee: 3,000 won (adults)

Anapji Pond Gyeongju Travel Blog

Daereungwon Tumuli Park

This burial area, known as tumuli, is very unique because of its shape, resembling small hills.

About 20 graves can be found here, especially the Cheonmachong Tomb, where wooden coffins were placed in a chamber and then covered with earth.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit Daereungwon Tumuli Park. So, if you have time, perhaps you could explore it as well.

Entrance fee: 3,000 won (adults)

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9 responses to “Gyeongju: A Deeper Look to Korean Ancient Dynasty”

  1. Imama Insani Avatar

    someday when i visit that place i wanna try to putting that stone too 😀

  2. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    What will be your wish? 🙂

  3. Imama Insani Avatar

    Hmm perhaps i wish a tons of opportunity to taste this wonderful world by traveling like you :))

  4. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    I wish that so. Hopefully both of our wishes come true

  5. Bama Avatar

    Never knew Gyeongju had such an interesting place to visit. It seems like when you went there were not that many people, were there?

  6. Vira Zoelfikar Avatar
    Vira Zoelfikar

    lucu ya susunan batunya, kayak mainan benteng jaman kecil dulu 😀 btw foto2nya cakepp!

  7. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Bama: Yes, it's interesting and not so many tourists.

    Vira: Haha, Iya lucu, banyak di Korea di gunung-gunung gitu juga. Thankss 🙂

  8. Surya Adhi Kuncoro Avatar

    wah…keren banget, unik juga asitekturnya 🙂

  9. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Iyaa memang disini tetap dilestarikan bangunan2 tradisional Koreanya

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