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Gyeongju City Tour

Sinseonam (top), Anapji Pond (left), Bomunjeong (right)

The City of Gyeongju has an important and rich history. For centuries, the city served as the capital of the Silla Dynasty (57-935 BC), the longest period of reign in the history of Korea. Even today, you'll find ancient landmarks blanketing the city, standing as proud testaments to a bygone era. These ancient relics are such an integral part of the landscape that the whole city has been designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage (known collectively as the "Gyeongju Historic Area") and the city is commonly known as the "museum without walls" thanks to the many artifacts found throughout the city.

Providing English, Japanese and Chinese language services through central monitors on their buses, the Gyeongju City Tour program offers 5 tour courses that allow riders to quickly and easily visit some of the area's top attractions including Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto and Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong)

Major Courses

Course 1: Silla History Course

• Course itinerary:
Singyeongju StationGyeongju Express TerminalBomun Lake ResortBulguksa Temple → Silla History Museum (Folk Craft Village) → Bunhwangsa TempleCheomseongdae ObservatoryDaereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong)Gyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji PondGyeongju National MuseumThe Tomb of General Kim YushinGyeongju Express TerminalSingyeongju StationBomun Lake Resort

• Hours of operation: 08:50-17:30 / Monday-Sunday
• Intervals / Duration of the tour: 1 time per week, operating once a day.
   / Approx. 7 hours 20 minutes
• Departure point: Singyeongju Station

Course 2: East Sea Course

• Course itinerary
Singyeongju StationGyeongju Express TerminalBomun Lake Resort → Bulguksa Temple Information Center → Seokguram Grotto → Gyeongju Traditional Silk Museum →Gameunsaji (Gameunsa Temple Site) → Yangnam Jusangjeoli Cliff (The roar of waves road) → Underwater Tomb of King MunmuGolgulsa TempleBomun Lake Resort

• Hours of operation: 10:00-18:00 / Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
• Intervals / Duration of the tour: 4 times per week, operating once a day.
   / Approx. 6 hours
• Departure point: Singyeongju Station

Course 3: World Heritage Course
Course 3-1: A half-day tour

• Course itinerary

The-K Gyeongju Hotel Bomun Lake ResortGyeongju StationGyeongju Express Terminal  → Singyeongju Station Royal Tomb of King Muyeol- Stele for King Taejong MuyeolDaereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong)  → Cheomseongdae ObservatoryGyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji PondSeokguram GrottoBulguksa TempleBomun Lake ResortGyeongju Express TerminalSingyeongju Station

• Hours of operation: 10:15-18:30 / Monday-Sunday
• Intervals / Duration of the tour: 1 time per week, operating once a day.
   / Approx. 7 hours
• Departure point: The-K Gyeongju Hotel
* Course 3-1 departs at the main entrance of Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong) at 14:00.

Course 4: Yangdong Folk Village and Namsan Mountain Course
Course 4-1: A half-day tour

• Course itinerary
The-K Gyeongju HotelBomun Lake Resort Gyeongju StationGyeongju Express TerminalSingyeongju StationYangdong VillageGyeongju Seongdong MarketGyeongju Gyochon Traditional VillageGyeongju SamneungGyeongju Express TerminalSingyeongju StationBomun Lake Resort

• Hours of operation: 10:10-17:50 / Saturday-Sunday
• Intervals / Duration of the tour: 2 times per week, operating once a day.
   / Approx. 6 hours
• Departure point: The-K Gyeongju Hotel
* For Course 4-1, a bus leaves The-K Gyeongju Hotel at 10:10.

Course 5: Night Course

• Course itinerary
Gyeongju Express TerminalBomun Lake Resort Gyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji PondCheomseongdae ObservatoryGyeongju Gyerim Forest Gyeongju Gyochon Traditional Village → Woljeonggyo Bridge → Gyeongju Express TerminalBomun Lake Resort

• Hours of operation: 18:30-22:00 / Monday-Sunday
• Intervals / Duration of the tour: 1 time per week, operating once a day.
   / Approx. 3.5 hours
• Departure point: In front of Cheonmagwangwang Tour Agency building next to Gyeongju Express Terminal.

* Schedules are subject to change. Tours may be cancelled if there are less than 5 people registered for Silla History, East Sea or World Heritage courses or 10 people registered for Yangdong Folk Village or Night courses for any given tour date. Please call to re-confirm your reservation one day prior to your scheduled date of departure.

Gyeongju City Tour
Visitor Information
☞ Fare:
Adults 20,000 won / Teenagers 18,000 won / Children 15,000 won
Night Course: Adults 15,000 won/ Teenagers 13,000 won/ Children 12,000 won
* Admission fees & meals are not included. For the night course, admission fees are included.
* Ticket reservations must be made at least one day before the tour by 16:00 via phone or online.
☞ Reservations & Inquiries: Cheonma Tour Agency +82-54-743-6001 (Korean, English, Japanese)
Tourist Information Center (Express Terminal): +82-54-772-9289 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ Website: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

☞ 1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

* Operating hours and tour itinerary are subject to change.

Major Destinations

Bulguksa Temple

Bulguksa Temple (불국사) has a unique design that is believed to reflect the ideal world of Buddhism. Known as one of Korea's most cherished remnants of the Silla Dynasty (57-935 BC), the temple embodies the mysticism and beauty of Buddhism, which served as the spiritual and cultural backbone of the Silla Dynasty. Along with its deeply significant cultural roots, Bulguksa Temple is also valued as the pinnacle of architecture and art of the 8th century. Together with Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple was officially designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1995.

Unlike most temples in Korea, Bulguksa sits upon a high stone platform. The platform, with a height of one hundred meters, is linked to the ground by a stone staircase that is said to connect the temporal world (ground level) and the spiritual world of Buddhism (the raised area of the temple). In addition to the architecture itself, the temple has gained acclamation for its national treasures, namely the Dabotap and Seokgatap pagodas located in front of Daeungjeon Hall. Both pagodas are made out of stone and exemplify the outstanding craftsmanship of the Silla period.

Seokguram Grotto

Carved into the stone of the mountainside and covered with sod, the outside of Seokguram Grotto hides an impressive inside. In the middle of the granite sanctuary you'll find a seated Buddha statue, which is regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of the latter part of the Silla Dynasty. Delicately sculpted to look like rough granite woven into silk, the Seokgamoni Buddha captures the spirit of ultimate enlightenment—a spirit of peace which seems to come alive through the craftsmen's superior handling of the Buddha's peaceful facial expression and elegant posture.

Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong)

Of all the clusters of tumuli (burial mounds) scattered throughout Gyeongju, Daereungwon (대릉원) is the largest, with an impressive 23 burial mounds from the Silla Dynasty. Given the tombs' 1,000-year-old history, it is difficult to identify the occupants of each tomb. The only burial site that has been identified so far is Michuwangneung Tomb, the final resting place of King Michu, the 13th ruler of the Silla Dynasty (262-284).

The most famous burial site in the complex, however, is a site called "Cheonmachong" (천마총) whose name comes from the Cheonmado painting (Painting of a Heavenly Horse) that was excavated from the tomb in 1973. Since visitors can actually walk inside and take a peek into the interior of the inner-tomb, Cheonmachong allows for a closer look at both the construction of ancient tombs and the kinds of items typically buried inside. The tomb also held the largest and most magnificent of the Silla gold crowns found to date. The crown is widely recognized as a symbol of the Silla Kingdom and is now on display at the Gyeongju National Museum.

Gyeongju National Museum

The Gyeongju National Museum displays a permanent collection of some of the Silla Kingdom's most valuable treasures. Divided into the Archeology Hall, Art Hall, Wolji Hall, and Special Exhibition Hall, the museum displays over 3,000 pieces. Some must-sees include the The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great (Seongdeokdaewangsinjong , National Treasure No. 29) and the 2nd floor Art Hall, which contains Buddhist art from the Silla Period as well as an intricate model of the nine-story wooden pagoda of Hwangnyongsa Temple.

Golgulsa Temple

Golgulsa Temple (골굴사) is prized for 'Maaeyeoraejwasang' (마애여래좌상), a 4-meter-high relief carving that graces the steep cliffs near the temple. Estimated to date back to the 9th century, the lower portion of the seated Buddha has weathered away, leaving only the upper half of this benevolent Buddha intact after nearly a thousand years of being exposed to the wind and rain. To prevent further damage to the Buddha carving, a glass roof has been installed above the rock face. Visitors can get a closer look at the sculpture by climbing the small staircase that winds along the rock face. Not only beloved for its relief carving, Golgulsa Temple is also popular for its temple stay program where participants can learn the practice of Seonmudo, a type of Zen martial arts.

* This column was last updated in September 2015, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.

<Last updated on September 2, 2015>

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