Seoul? Been there. Busan? Check. Daegu? Seen it. If this isn’t your first time in Korea, you may be wondering “What else is there for me to see?” Thanks to Korea’s extensive public transportation infrastructure, traveling outside of the big cities is as simple as booking a ticket and going! Head to the cities of Pohang and Gyeongju in Gyeongsangbuk-do to enjoy a culture-filled trip with lots of time for local treats!
Tip) Learning more on the Pohang City Tour & Gyeongju City Tour
If you’re looking to see a lot in a short amount of time, we recommend riding the Pohang City Tour Bus or Gyeongju City Tour Bus.
Pohang City Tour
☞ Courses: One-day course, themed course, half-day course, nightview course
* Must have 15 passengers to depart (20 people for themed course)
☞ Operating hours: Friday-Sunday, 09:00-18:00 (once daily)
* Subject to cancellation if minimum passenger requirement is not met
☞ Boarding point: Varies by course
- One-day course: Adults 6,000 won / Children 4,000 won
- Themed course: Adults 6,000 won / Children 4,000 won
- Half-day course: Adults 4,000 won / Children 3,000 won
- Nightview course: Adults 4,000 won / Children 3,000 won
* Admission to attractions, meals, traveler’s insurance, cruise fare, etc. charged separately
☞ Inquiries: +82-54-278-8500~1 (Korean only),
* Advanced reservation required by 17:00 on Thursday.
* Reservations accepted via phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org / Korean, English)
* Email name, number of group and course to reserve.
☞ Website: www.hdair.kr (Korean only)
Gyeongju City Tour
☞ Detailed info
Pohang Station serves trains on the Donghae Line. The station moved to its current location out of the city center in 2015 in order to facilitate more trains, including the KTX. This change has allowed even more people to visit a city that they may have passed on because of how difficult it was to reach.
Singyeongju Station began operations on November 1, 2010, allowing people to travel to Gyeongju via KTX trains. The station itself has received much praise for its artistic design. The building re-envisions traditional architectural elements with modern-day techniques. The station also has shops selling local specialty products, making it easy for visitors to pick up last-minute gifts before heading home.
The most famous attraction in Pohang is undoubtedly the hand statue rising from the sea at Homigot Sunrise Plaza. However, its location makes it a bit of a chore to visit. For something newer and much more accessible, we recommend Pohang Canal. The canal is a restoration of an old water path that connects the Hyeongsangang River with Dongbin inner harbor area. It is the nation’s first canal and has been celebrated for its eco-friendly construction. The walking paths on both sides of the canal are lined with unique and interesting sculptures in a variety of styles. You can see them by walking or by boarding a canal cruise. The Pohang Canal Hall, a PR center promoting the history and future of the canal, is located at the point where the canal meets the river.
Jokdo Market is the largest traditional market on the eastern coast of Gyeongsangbuk-do. It is famous for selling household essentials at cheap prices. It is also the location of the largest fish market in the area. There are over 200 hoe (sliced raw fish) restaurants in the area, all competing for customers. That means you’re sure to get the freshest fish at great prices! The snow crab is delicious, but if you visit in winter, be sure to try the gwamaegi, a local specialty of herring semi-dried in the sea breeze!
Visit Guryeongpo Modern Culture & History Street to see another unique historical face of Pohang. The street brings history to life with a row of houses over 100 years old, built by Japanese settlers during the early 20th century. The city of Pohang has invested in the area in order to turn what could be a sad mark of history into a unique tourist attraction. The most famous building in the area is the Guryongpo Modern History Museum. The building was originally the house of Hashimoto Jenkichi, who immigrated to Korea in the 1920’s from the Kagawa Prefecture in Japan.
Gyeongju is a city rich in history and culture, evidenced by the many Silla era structures and relics filling the area, including Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and Cheomseongdae Observatory. Perhaps the most beautiful attraction is Donggung Palace & Wolji Pond. This site was a royal villa for the Silla royalty, and was often used as a banquet venue. The grounds feature a lot of turns and angles so that Wolji Pond cannot completely be seen at any location. While the pond is actually quite small, the creativity and craftsmanship of the Silla people makes it appear as large as the sea. The water reflects the buildings like a perfect mirror; it is especially beautiful at night when they walls are lit up.
Traveling isn’t just about what you see; what you eat is just as important! In Gyeongju, you have to try the barley bread and Hwangnam bread! The two items have become synonymous with Gyeongju, and visitors can easily find shops selling them near tourist attractions. Hwangnam bread started in the late 1930’s in the Hwangnam-dong neighborhood. It has become increasingly popular over the years and was recognized as a traditional folk food in 1994. It is also registered as the second representative item of the region. Barley bread, made of locally grown barley and oats, is more similar to small pancakes than bread. The slightly chewy texture is what makes them famous.
Gyeongju has a number of themed food districts, from Bomun Maeuntang District to Mohwa Bulgogi Town and Summeori Food District. However, most of those dishes can be found throughout the nation. When in Gyeongju, you must try ureongi ssambap (rice wraps with freshwater snails)! Wellbeing Folk Food Ureongi Ssambap in particular is quite popular among locals and travelers alike for the many healthy vegetables in each meal.
The pathways and alleys of Gyeongju Jungang Market are filled with stalls and shops selling tasty treats. The marketplace stands out for its hanok design, helping it to fit in with the overall architectural style of Gyeongju. The alleys are protected from the elements, making it convenient to visit in any weather. The market also operates a night market, and offers a Big 4 Certificate, redeemable for four items at just 10,000 won.
Gyeongju Yangdong Village is a hanok village designated as Important Folklore Cultural Heritage No. 189. The village is located north of the main city area, and served as a neighborhood for yangban, the aristocrats of the Joseon era. The buildings here, some over 500 years old, are some of the oldest traditional houses in the country. The must-see spots include Seobaekdang and Mucheomdang Houses. Seobaekdang House was the head family household for the Gyeongju Son family. The house is special for the shrine and 500-year-old juniper tree located high on the hill behind the main building. Mucheomdang House features a large sarangchae (room for meeting guests) where scholars would relax and study.
Ancient Tombs in Geumseongsan Mountain lies in an area where the capital of Jomunguk, an ancient country from approximately 2,000 years ago, was located (around the areas of Daeri-ri, Tamni-ri, and Hangmi-ri.) Relics excavated in this area are speculated to be from the 5th and 6th century. Due to its large area, following the sign “Jomunguk Historical Site” is a must to find the right location. The highlight of the Ancient Tombs Historical Site is the Jomunguk Ancient Tomb Exhibition Hall, which showcases a replica of an ancient tomb that was unearthed from May 2009 to September 30, 2010. Visitors can see excavated remains and artifacts related to Jomunguk’s culture, including the ancient funeral custom of burying the living with the dead. During May, the sight of peony flowers among the ancient tombs brings many visitors to the area. Other attractions nearby include Five-story Stone Pagoda in Tamni-ri, Sansuyu Village, and Binggyegyegok Valley.
* This column was last updated in September 2019, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.