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Gyeongju-Busan-Seoul Vacation 2012 – Trip Overview

Having enjoyed our vacation in Jeju island in autumn of 2011, we had been looking forward to visiting Korea again. Having more confidence after our successful and enjoyable Jeju trip in spite of the language barrier, we were keen to visit some outlying areas of Korea (not just Seoul) in this trip.

A friend had visited Gyeongju during her year-end vacation and recommended this place for us to visit. I did some research and found that Gyeongju is indeed a very interesting, historical place to visit and was the ancient capital of the Silla kingdom. To add to that, I have just finished watching an entertaining K-drama called Queen Seondeok, whose story is based around the ancient Silla kingdom.  So Gyeongju, here we come.

Since Gyeongju is quite near to Busan, we will swing by  there for a couple of days and ending the trip with a few days in Seoul city before taking our flight back home.

This was my planned itinerary for the South Korea vacation from 3 to 12 May 2012. As we were fans of K-drama, we have added a few K-drama filming locations into our itinerary.

Day 1  (3 May 2012)

Travel from home to Seoul by air. Upon arrival at Seoul airport, travel to Seoul Station by AREX to board the high speed KTX train to SinGjeongju. Take a bus from the SinGyeongju Station to the Bomun Resort area to check in to our hotel.

Stay: Hyundai Hotel at Gyeongju.   This is one of the better hotels located around the Bomun Resort area. Offers good views of Bomun Lake.

 Trip report – Getting from Seoul airport to Gyeongju.

Day 2  (4 May 2012)

View the cherry trees lining Lake Bomun while walking to the Shilla Millenium Park.

Shilla Millenium Park is a theme park integrating both education and entertainment about the history and culture of the Silla Period and it is also a film set for K-drama Queen Seondeok.

Walk, take taxi or Bus #10 to Expo Park to see Gyeongju Tower (filming location for K-drama Athena). The plan is to view the Gyeongju Tower from outside as we have no intention to pay the entrance fee just to enter the Expo Park.

Take bus #11 to city bus terminal.
Visit Tourist Information Center to get maps for hike up Mount Namsam and walking tour of Gyeongju.

Do the walking tour of Gyeongju.

Cheomseongdae Observatory at Gyeongju. It is the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia.

Tour Daereung-won Tumuli Park (Cheonmachong Tomb) ~ Cheomseongdae Observatory ~ Gyerim  ~ Gyeongju National Museum (see Bell) ~ Seokbinggo (Stone Ice Storage) ~ Anapji (Imhae Jeonji). Daereung-won Tumuli Park, Cheomseongdae Observatory, Anapji, etc, have installed streetlights, making these sites even more beautiful after sunset. Time permitting, go see the Tomb of Queen Seondeok (may have to take taxi to/from National Musuem)

Tip: Begin your tour in the late afternoon around 4 pm, and enjoy the night view around 6 and 7 pm when the streetlights come on after sunset. The tour sites are open until 8 to 9 pm to allow visitors enough time to enjoy the night view of the locations (especially Anapji Pond).

Stay: Hyundai Hotel at Gyeongju. 

Trip report - Enjoy Spring flowers by Bomun Lake.

Trip report - Shilla Millenium Park

Trip report - Lunch at Sampo-Sambap restaurant

Trip report - Daereung-won Tumuli Park, Gyerim Forest, Cheomseongdae Observatory and Seokbinggo

Trip report – Anapji Pond

Day 3  (5 May 2012)

Take the Gyeongju City Tour Bus to see the outlying attractions outside of Gyeongju city. We planned to take the B Course (10:00~17:00, ₩18,000): Seokguram Grotto, Gameunsa Temple Site, Golgulsa (Stone Buddha) Temple, Underwater Tomb of King Munmu.

Stay: Hyundai Hotel at Gyeongju. 

Trip report - Gwaereung Tomb with the Gyeongju City Tour Bus

Trip report - Seokguram Grotto with the Gyeongju City Tour

Trip report - Undersea Tomb of King Munmu (Daewang-am) with the Gyeongju City Tour Bus

Trip report - Gameunsa Temple site and Silk Production Pavilion with the Gyeongju City Tour Bus

Trip report - Golgulsa (Stone BuddhaTemple) with the Gyeongju City Tour Bus

Day 4  (6 May 2012)

Day trip to hike up and down Mount Namsan. Namsan Mountain is a place where the scenic nature and long history of the Silla Kingdom coexist. Many tourists say, “You cannot say that you know Gyeongju without hiking up Namsan Mountain.”


Stay: Hyundai Hotel at Gyeongju. 

Trip report - Hiking Mount Namsan through the Samneung valley

Day 5  (7 May 2012)


See Bulguksa Temple (Bus no 10 and 11) in the morning. Temple opened at 7 AM. 4000 KWR/pax.  

Check out at noon and travel to Busan by express bus (2 hr). Take the Express (Gosok) Bus from the Gyeongju Express Bus terminal (not the Intercity Bus terminal). Destination is Busan Central Bus Terminal (not Seobu Bus Terminal) 3900 kwr/pax. Frequency: every 40 mins.

From the Busan Central Bus Terminal, take subway Line 1 from Nopo-dong Station to our hotel.

Visit Gwangalli Beach at night.

Stay: Busan Ibis Ambassador Hotel in Busan. This hotel is conveniently located on top of Bujeon Station (Busan Subway Line 1), Exit 1.

Trip report - Bulguksa Temple

Trip report - Exploring Gyeongju near Bulguksa Temple

Trip report - Gyeongju to Busan by Express Bus and Gwangalli Beach at nighthttps://igoiseeishoot.blogspot.sg/2012/11/gyeongju-busan-seoul-day-5-part-3-from.html

Day 6  (8 May 2012)

Take the Busan City Tour Bus from Busan Station, including visit to Taejongdae. 10,000 KWR/Pax. End tour at Jagalchi Fish Market to have lunch. Visit Harbour docks and watch the fishing boats being unloaded.

Visit BIFF Square and shopping around the Ch'ungmu-dong and Namp'o-dong.

Make a visit to Yongdusan Park at night.

Stay: Busan Ibis Ambassador Hotel in Busan. This hotel is conveniently located on top of Bujeon Station (Busan Subway Line 1), Exit 1.

Trip report - Taking the Busan City Tour bus

Trip report - Taejongdae Resort Park

Trip report - Jagalchi Fish Market

Trip report - BIFF Square and Nampo’ dong 

Trip report - Yongdusan Park at Night

Day 7  (9 May 2012)

Morning free and easy at Busan. 

Take KTX to Seoul.   Train 002 (non-stop) ETD 13.50 ETA 16.03 (57,700 Kwr).  Check into hotel near Myeongdong shopping area.

Visit Apgujeong area in the evening. Check out La Sfera (Buonasera) - fine Italian dining and filming location for K-drama Pasta.

Stay: Metro Hotel at Seoul. I chose this hotel for its prime location, just a 3-minute walk from Euljiro 1-ga Subway Station (Line 2) that provides easy access to landmarks and shopping areas in the heart of Seoul.

 Trip report - Busan to Seoul on the KTX and a visit to the Apgujeong district

Day 8  (10 May 2012)

Take subway to Hongik University Station Exit 4 and go to the film-set of K-drama Coffee Prince to have tea.

Filming location of K-drama Coffee Prince.

Then walk to Beef Bone Soup Restaurant (film location for K-drama Brilliant Legacy) near Hongik University Station Exit 9 for lunch. Followed by some shopping in Seoul.

Stay: Metro Hotel at Seoul.

Trip report – K-drama locations of Coffee Prince, Brilliant Legacy and 49 Days

Day 9  (11 May 2012)

Do a walking tour of Central Seoul. Start the walk at the Bukchon Hanok Village, followed by Insadong.

From Insadong, we would head for the Cheonyecheon.

Walk along the banks of Cheongyecheon to Gwanghwamun Square where we will end our walk. 

Stay: Metro Hotel at Seoul.

Trip report - Walking Tour of central Seoul

Trip report - K-drama filming locations in the Bukchon Hanok Village

Trip report - Exploring Insadong

Trip report - Cheongyecheon

Trip rerpot - Gwanhungmun Square

Day 10  (12 May 2012)

Last day in Korea. Do some last minute shopping near hotel in Myeongdong area before heading to airport by limousine bus for flight home.

Trip report – Last day in Seoul

Half the fun in going for a do-it-yourself vacation is in the planning. With the above plan, the 10 days trip through South Korea went without a hitch and was truly amazing and enjoyable. More details about the trip could be found in the trip journals.

Hope you find the above itinerary and trip overview useful.

Note: There are a few affiliate links in this post and blog, meaning that if you book/buy something through one of my links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.


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