We were supposed to go to Shilla Millennium Park, however it took us quite some time to get a bus out of Bulguksa so when we arrived at the Millennium Park it was almost dark already and we decided not to proceed as we would not be able to take good pictures due to the lighting.
After having an early dinner of Jajjangmyeon, we got on a bus back downtown to go and see two sites recommended best by our host that we visit during nighttime - Cheomseongdae Observatory and Anapji Pond.
We first visited the Observatory as I wanted to save Anapji pond for last. We walked from Gyeongju train station to Cheomseongdae and took us almost 30 minutes, but you can also take Bus 10 or 11 and get off at Wolseong-dong office. You can see the observatory without paying any fee, however the admission of 500 Won wouldn’t hurt since they use to money for the maintenance of the said structure.
Near Cheomseongdae, you could also see some tombs (that we did not visit anymore) and Seokbinggo (Stone Ice Storage). It wasn’t really that interesting however as we were already nearby, why not go there and see it, and hey, entrance is free. It was pretty unique that Seokbinggo was used as a freezer during ancient times.
It was a 5-minute walk from Seokbinggo to Anapji Pond. I was quite surprised that some Koreans were asking me, a foreigner, for directions! lol It must have seemed to them that I have lived in Gyeongju for some years as I know the directions already. But there was really no trick to that – there were signs everywhere telling you where the nearby historic site is and how far it is from where you are, how convenient! Those signs reminded me of Hong Kong and I think it’s only in Gyeongju and Seoul that you can find those kinds of signage.
It was already very cold when we arrived at Anapji Pond at around 9PM, however it was still nice to take a stroll around the gardens beside the pond. Admission here is only 1000 Won and is open until 10 in the evening.
Anapji Pond has been built during King Munmu’s reign and it was told that this place was used to hold banquets and parties for the emperor. For its construction – beautiful flower, rare animals, and exquisite architecture were planned for it to be fit for the royalty. Nowadays, the pond makes very good opportunities for picture taking, especially during the night when they open the floodlights that add drama to the scene.
|If only I took it on the right angle lol|
There were still lost of sites we were not able to go to – given that we only had one full day to explore this city. Our plans of going to Andong and Yangdong village were not fulfilled, also, we weren’t even able to see Wolseong Fortress! It would have been nice if we had three-four whole days for discovering Gyeonju but I guess that would be for next time.
Gyeongju has been a very fascinating city for me; not just it was very historic, but the nature that surrounds it was almost magical. I feel like I was transported to old times during the Silla Dynasty! The whole city was very peaceful but at the same time, there are some areas for night life too. The people living in Gyeongju seemed to have mastered the art of hospitality – I felt like I was royalty with the gestures and smiles everyone has given me during the short time that we have stayed. I definitely would be back to this place!
What did you think of Gyeongju? Did my posts convince you of visiting this place as well? Please feel free to share or comment on the Gyeonju posts. Next stop, Busan!