Gyeongju was the capital of Korea’s ancient Silla Kingdom, which lasted for almost 1,000 years. The historic kingdom left the city with valuable buildings and artifacts scattered all around the region. As such, the city gained a reputation as a historical tourist destination that allowed visitors to closely observe and feel the rise and fall of the great Silla. However, not all trips to Gyeongju are a field trip for history lessons. The city is a great destination to admire the beauty of nature, and a place where the traditional beauty of hanok buildings and streets of trending youthful energy coexist. Read on to capture the colors of fall in the historical city of Gyeongju.
The UNESCO-registered Cheomseongdae Observatory is known to be surrounded by seasonal flowers such as canola flowers in spring and zinnias in summer. In fall, the area radiates with waves of pink. Colonies of pink muhly were planted in 2017, and have now grown to represent Gyeongju’s autumn color.
Pink muhly grass is characterized by a vivid pink color, which slowly fades and turns into a lighter tone once the flowers are in full bloom. We recommend taking a photo among the pink muhly grass with the observatory in the background as a memoir of your time in Gyeongju.
Pink Muhly Field by Cheomseongdae Observatory
To pick one temple that best represents Gyeongju would be none other than Bulguksa Temple, a historic temple that was the first in Korea to be registered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. The temple’s historic value and architectural beauty are both excellent to appreciate, but fall in Bulguksa is dotted with colorful picturesque beauty.
Bulguksa temple’s grandeur does not fall short of its reputation as the symbol of Silla Kingdom’s golden age. The tranquil atmosphere of the temple allows one to look around and admire the fall beauty in peace. One of the most mesmerizing viewpoints can be seen by the Haetalgyo Bridge, a stone bridge over a small pond located on the way to Daeungjeon Hall from the temple’s entrance. Cross the bridge and turn around to capture the scenic view of autumn foliage decorating the pond.
Dori Village Ginkgo Forest was once a hidden gem that was known only among the few. Now a popular attraction, the forest has become one of the most representative fall attractions of Gyeongju. The forest is privately owned and the trees were planted closely in align with each other for the purpose of exhibiting and selling the trees. This allowed the trees to grow tall and straight, portraying an exotic appearance in contrast to naturally formed ginkgo forests.
The autumn scenery of sky-high trees and yellow leaves carpeting the ground at Dori Village Ginkgo Forest is a must-see and definitely worth the time to stop by when traveling in Gyeongju. While touring the village and the forest, visitors are advised to keep the noise level down in respect of the residents in the neighborhood.
Dori Village Ginkgo Forest
Hill of Hwarang is a plateau at the top of Danseoksan Mountain. According to records, this is where the young warriors of Silla Kingdom called “hwarang” trained their mind and body. The wide open view from the hilltop gives a refreshing sensation. Look around to enjoy the fantastic panoramic view of the mountain’s surroundings, and look down to see the golden yellow rice paddy fields below your feet. The Hill of Hwarang became famous after appearing in JTBC show “Camping Club.”
In addition to its popularity as a tourist attraction, the site of Hill of Hwarang is also used as a youth training center and a recreational golf range park. There’s also a family-friendly ranch with sheep, mini pigs, and ponies where you can interact with animals. Moreover, finding the photo zones and decorations placed around the area makes the place even more interesting.
Hill of Hwarang
Hwangnidan-gil Street is the Seoul’s Gyeongnidan-gil of Gyeongju. Hwangnidan-gil Street is located in Hwangnam-dong and lined with old buildings that were given a new look with modern and hip interior that appeals to the younger generation. The street has a blend of the past and present, entertaining visitors with hanok-style restaurants, fancy cafes, and a variety of stores. Moreover, you can take photos from anywhere along the street for Instagram worthy results. Hwangnidan-gil Street is located near some of Gyeongju’s most noteworthy tourist attractions for you to add into your itinerary such as Daereungwon Tomb Complex, Cheomseongdae Observatory, and Gyeongju Gyerim Forest.
Gyeongju becomes even more beautiful in the evening. In particular, the alleys of Hwangnidan-gil Street brighten with lighting decorations and streetlights, creating a cozy and calm atmosphere. After fully enjoying your evening on the street, wrap up your trip by gazing the nightlights from a rooftop café to fully absorb the autumn evening ambience of Gyeongju.
* This column was last updated in October 2021, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.
* Column content provided by TRAVELHOLIC writer HARU (최보윤)