I know I say this many many times but I’ve really always wanted to visit Gyeongju for the longest time.
it is known for being the most ancient looking city in Korea and it is. I heard that they couldn’t build taller buildings because the country is trying to maintain Gyeongju’s ancient image.
there are a list of places to go to in Gyeongju which would require about 2-3 days to complete but since I only had one, and the weather was awful, I visited two of the most popular landmarks, Bulguksa 불국사 and Seok-gul-am 석굴암. they are located really close to each other but with snow piling so high, it is impossible to walk through the stairs from Bulguksa. I heard some people actually did walk up in the Summer but decided to take the taxi down because it is really such a walk. if you’re planning to take the cab, be reminded that it is actually very near, but far because the roads are winding. viewing the map through satellite is literally jaw dropping.
I actually arrived to Gyeongju from Busan at night and stayed for another night but left early in the morning. so I really only had one full day. the snow was crazy and the tragic case of the building collapsing in Gyeongju killing around 10 people with over a 100 injured was just a day before I was there. that building collapsed because the snow was too heavy apparently. but the constructor was definitely skimping in costs, too.
so back to my topic. my first destination was Bulguksa.
while everybody wore paddings and hoodies there I was wearing a mini skirt. I had no choice. because I forgot to bring winter clothings back to Malaysia. where I have nothing to bring back to Korea as I landed in Busan.
what’s so special about this Bulguksa temple is that it is made out of stone. well not entirely but half of it.
and it is the pride of Korea. you can see a picture of Bulguksa almost anywhere. in restaurants, magazines, postcards.. etc.
with my new selca toy.
hello, welcome to Bulguksa Temple =D.
with my tour guide of the day! Mr. Seong! he’s also the owner of the guesthouse I stayed at. very nice man.
and these spring water tastes really good.
those of you who had been to South Korea, do you remember this pagoda/whatever it is called/?
it’s the pagoda on the 10won coin!!!
Mr. Seongs idea. but I AM buddhist and I did pray. but I was posing for this one ahhaha. nobody really smile while praying I guess.
I fell in love with all the details of this temple =S.
it was snowing. really heavily.
can you see the snow!
more places to pray at.
because I’m silly like that.
why I never liked side angle pictures. I look horrendous in them. but this is my only one T______T. so basically you can stand by the balcony of Bulguksa, unlike many other places where you can’t.
who knows why there’s a golden wild boar statue here.
stepping on snow!
they say come to Gyeongju in Spring or Autumn, because there are much more to see. partly true. but Winters view is amazing too! but it also makes sight seeing very difficult as the sun sets very quickly and snow fills up every where plus that hell-like coldness.
here’s a selca picture of me with Bulguksa =D.
such a pretty view =3.
okay bye bye Bulguksa!
so we then headed on to Seokgulam which is located at the mountains. where there’s MORE SNOW. and it was bloody cold.
so basically we paid 4,000won to get into this place, walked 15minutes in the freezing cold weather where we couldn’t feel our ears and feet and hands to see that Cave Buddha made out of stone. also, we can’t take pictures of it. sigh. so taking pictures outside is all we can do. but trust me, this Buddha is pretty damn phenomenal. I’ve never seen any Buddha sculpted like that before. it was like.. some secret ancient thingy from the movies. but just that it is real.
seeing that much of snow, I just had to make a snow angel. I know, it was very crazy of me. I was wearing short skirt and no gloves. no beanie either. but it was fun heheheheh.
everywhere’s covered in snowwwww!!!
and driving around in Gyeongju, you’d see tombs around.
and traditional houses. it is really like as if you’ve traveled to the past. well these places are everywhere but not literally everywhere. if you get what I mean.
so the most famous snack here is this red bean pastry.
called the Hwang Nam Bbang. which is also known as Gyeongju Bbang at other places but apparently this is the pioneer.
and if you think sitting in the train for 3hours to get here just to see those boring sites is a waste of time and money, at least come here for the food. I had the most amazing Samgyupsal here. and also this place is pretty famous for their beef. andddd Kongnamul Kukbab/ bean sprouts soup with rice.
I mean, look at this Samgyupsal. I bet most of you had never had any that look like this. and this particular place we went to (forgot the name but it’s near Dongguk Univ. Gyeongju Campus. and the floor are filled with pebbles. very outdoor feel) served refillable Odeng and Sikhye (rice drink) for free!
the Samgyupsal comes with some amazing sauce where my friend calls it the Korean Belacan. but it doesn’t really taste like belacan. it has a slight.. mustard taste to it. its weird but tasty.
and the craziest part of my trip was.. I had all that good food already alright, but we had Mr.Seong prepare us supper. Spanish style. because he lived in Spain.
here’s our little party in the guesthouse!
and did I mention, I lived in a Hanok? I’m going to say it again but I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO LIVE IN ONE!!! they are so pretty. especially the remodeled ones where you have glass windows where you can see the sky.
and we also had gin and tonic with cucumber. ahhh. how refreshing.
don’t you wish your boyfriend can cook like that? well from what I heard Mr.Seong is single haha but too old for me =P.
such a smart idea. cherry tomatoes wrapped with bacon on a stick seasoned with a little herbs.
it is no doubt very messy but I like how his office is. oh did I mention? the owner of this place is an interior designer! a famous one too I think. judging by all those posters upon entry.
I have to confess. I do not like cats. but his 2 cats were lovely. they were so beautiful you just wanna brush your fingers over them =3.
the rooftop terrace! not for winter.. =(.
the sad thing about this guesthouse is that.. it only has a few rooms. like.. 4? they are all very comfortable. heaters super warm. I’d like to emphasize how generous the owner is in giving body baths, shampoo and conditioner. because he gives the brands that most Koreans actually use at home. the good ones. and my favourite ones too! so plus points!!! and everything a tourist needs (info etc etc) can be found here so just pack your bags, come here, and plan! you can also ask him about that awesome samgyupsal place. who knows, if you treat him to it, he might just bring you there! =D.
and the decorations of the place is also very pretty ^_^.
oh oh oh they also have like toy hammers, jenga and lots more in every room! so you can actually just have fun with your friends in the room itself! well there aren’t many things to do at night in Gyeongju.. so buy some Makgeolli, Soju and/or snacks and just chat till you feel sleepy =D. because that’s what we did.
I forgot what’s his name but it was something like Mojitto. other than the meaning of it was supposed to be beautiful in Spanish.
so on the 2nd night.. I made them Malaysian curry noodles and they gave me Hanwoo (Korean beef) in return!!! one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Korea T_T. 2nd to that Hanwoo I had while camping. all of them melted in my mouth ahhhhh.
medium rare. =3. thin slices of pure heaven. nyam nyam nyam.
they also introduced me to this dish that they thought I’d hate. called the Gwamaegi. it’s like.. dried fish wrapped in all sorts of things. what’s missing in the picture are the raw oysters! basically you wrap the dried fish, chili, garlic, spring onion in raw seaweed, dried seaweed and cabbage with some cho jang. there’s a lot in one wrap but it was SOOOOOOOOO GOOD.
they said I’ve transformed into a true Korean by simply just enjoying this dish. I guess the taste is pretty acquired.
have I ever mentioned that I am a hugeeeee fan of makgeolli? there was 4 of us and we had 8 bottles (2 in the bag T_T) of different makgeollis. basically every type of makgeolli we can find in Gyeongju which isn’t the normal ones we usually drink in Seoul. they all taste similar but different. they all have their own distinct taste to it. ahhhh. glorious Makgeolli. even older people laugh at me for liking it. it makes me sound old =S.
would love to blog more about Gyeongju (there’s a beautiful bed/field of flowers, the moon observatory, tombs tombs and more tombs) but I had too little time. and that bad snow storm stopped me for visiting more places. until next time!
the Guesthouse I lived in:
Sindal (it means Silla’s Moon) Guesthouse
PS : I look really fat because I gained some disgusting 6kgs from Malaysia. T_T. land of all good food.