Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gyeongju’s nightscapes - Cheomseongdae Observatory and Anapji Pond, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do - Day 7 in South Korea

This is third installment from our tour around Gyeongju, the first two were at Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple.

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.

Cheomseongdae Observatory
Cheomseongdae Observatory
‘Cheomseongdae Observatory’is the oldest observatory in Asia that was constructed during Queen Seon-deok’s reign. It has been one of Gyeongju’s landmark icons similar to how people think of Eiffel Tower. During the old times, it was used for star observations for weather forecasting. It is said that the 362 stones used to build the Cheomseongdae represents the 362 days in one lunar year! How witty!

Cheomseongdae gyeongju

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.

Anapji Pond tree

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
Anapji Pond

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.

Anapji Pond
If only I took it on the right angle lol

Anapji Pond night

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.

Anapji Pond reflection

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!

Anapji Pond night
Anapji Pond

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!

Anapji Pond blogger

Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak


Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park


Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips

1 comment :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...