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 – Travel 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 (Hyundai Hotel).
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 intend 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. 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).
Day 3 – 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.
Inquiries: Cheonma Tour 054-743-6001 (Korean, English) cmtour.co.kr (Korean)
Tour can be booked through our hotel and arranged for pickup from hotel in Bomun lake area. Tours ends at bus terminal in city center.
Day 5 – 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 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. Freq: every 40 mins.
Take subway Line 1 from Nopo-dong Station to Busan Ibis Ambassador hotel. Location: Bujeon Station (Busan Subway Line 1), Exit 1.
Visit Gwangalli Beach at night.
Day 6 – 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.
Day 7 – Morning free and easy. Take KTX to Seoul. Train 002 (non-stop) ETD 13.50 ETA 16.03 (57,700 Kwr). Check in hotel (Metro Hotel) at Seoul. Visit Apgujeong area in the evening. Check out La Sfera (Buonasera) - fine italian dining and filming location for K-drama Pasta.
Day 8 – Take subway to Hongik Univ Station Exit 4 and go to the film-set of K-drama Coffee Prince to have tea. Then walk to Beef Bone Soup Restaurant (film location for K-drama Brilliant Legacy) near Hongik Univ Station Exit 9 for lunch. Followed by shopping.
Day 9 – Do a walking tour of Central Seoul. Our walk starts at the Bukchon Hanok Village, followed by Insadong. From Insadong, we would head for the Cheonyecheon and walk along the banks of Cheongyecheon to Gwanghwamun Square where we will end our tour.
Day 10 – Last minute shopping near hotel in Meongdong area before heading to airport by limousine bus.