Gyeongju is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in Korea. Tha name "museum without walls" is very befitting of the area, as there are beautiful, ancient monuments everywhere you go. It might have been because of the weather, but it had an eerie atmosphere that matched well with the tombs and temples.
We decided to stay in a hanok (traditional Korean house), so that my mum can experience it, as I have done such a stay before in Jeonju. In a traditional house, you will sleep on thick blanket on the ground, and take your shoes off before entering. It is quite similar to traditional Japanese ryokan.
Cherry blossoms are the most popular background for selca in Korea, so I couldn't resist to mimic what seemed like the national hobby of Korean girls at this time. Using a skin-smoothing, blush-exagerrating, eyes-enlarging, chin-reducing app is strongly recommended.
Tumuli are everywhere in Gyeongju. I think that they do not look nowhere near as depressing as European tombs, but it might be only because I'm not used to associating little hills with death.
Even Starbucks (which is horrible and you should never buy coffee there, just the tumblers) in Gyeongju is stylish!
Cheomseongdae is an astronomical observatory built during the reign of Silla queen - an amazing and very smart woman. Actually, the Silla kingdom appears to be an extremely interesting part of Korean history and I wish I will have time soon to read more about it.
Gyeongju is also a popular drama-shooting location, especially for fantasy and historical dramas.
Gyeongju, as it most likely looked like during the Silla kingdom. I wish more buildings were preserved, I would especially want to see the pagoda which is supposedly very challenging to reproduce even with modern construction technology.
Anapji Pond is very beautiful, and I am sure it is even more breathtaking at night. The opening hours are until 11 PM with last entrance at 9, so if one has enough time, it is possible to witness late afternoon, sunset and night time as well!
What proved to be difficult was finding a place to eat. We couldn't find any lively, nice-looking restaurant that would not be a barbecue (as we just had one in Jeju). I wanted my mum to try kongnamulgukbap, but we had no luck finding it. In the end, we ended up in a cafe, sharing strawberry bingsu for dinner, haha.
The next day, we went to Seokguram Grotto, which is a famous temple in the mountains near the city. You can get there by one of the city buses, which come about every ten minutes and the journey to Bulguksa takes less than an hour. There, you change to another bus (hourly), which takes you to the Grotto in about 15 minutes. The shuttles back also go every hour. You can also take a taxi, but not all of them are willing to go the 5 km between Bulguksa and the Grotto. If they do, it costs 5 000 KRW. There is a hiking trail, but it is very steep and takes 2 hours.
Bulguksa is an old temple dating back to the 8th century. It served as the center of Buddhism in Silla kingdom. It was, however, destroyed during one of Japanese invasions and it was only completely rebuilt in the 20th century.