Friday, June 30, 2017

Korea - Itinerary 9 Days 8 Nights, Day 5 Gyeongju


Day 5:
  • Gyeongju: Bulguksa Temple and  Seokguram Grotto (UNESCO World Heritage)
  • Breakfast at hotel, Tea break with Gyeonju red bean bread, Dinner at Bonjeon Dwaeji Gugbap near Busan station
To do:
Bulguksa Temple (UNESCO)
385, Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Admission fee: KRW 5,000

This place is outside of Busan but its a very short KTX ride about 30 - 40 mins to Singyeongju Station. 
We are glad we got the KTX pass as we are able to change our train rides at short notice. 

Singyeongju station is near to the bus stop where we waited for Bus 700 to Bulguksa Temple. There are other places of interest to visit if you're keen. 

  The above shows the route of Bus. The bus timings are shown below. 
 We didn't have to wait long for the bus to arrive but the bus ride took some time to get to the temple. 

Bulguksa Temple holds 6 of the country's national treasures:. Dabo-tap and Seokga-tap pagodas, Yeonhwa-go and Chibolgyo, Cheongun-gyo and Baegungyo, Gilt-bronze seated vairocan buddha and gilt bronze seated  amitabha Buddha, Sairira Pagoda

The main entrance of the temple, housed 2 of the national treasures, a double-sectioned staircase and bridge that leads to the inside of the temple compound. The stairway represents 33 steps to enlightenment

The lower portion, Cheongun-gyo blue cloud bridge is 6.3 m long and has 17 steps. The upper portion, Baegungyo, white cloud bride is 5.4 m and has 16 steps. The stairway leads to Mauve Mist Gate. 

With the Buddha birthday less than a month away, most of the temples we visited during this time is decorated with multi-coloured  lanterns. Some of the lanterns is tagged with the prayers and wishes of the worshippers. 

 The Dabotap pagoda one of the national treasures of the temple.
 That's us on the top of the temple. 
 The grounds of the temple.
The stacking of stones are a common sight throughout the temple. Korean worshipers has a habit of making wishes and stacking them up with stones. 
The most popular ornament in the temple will be this golden pig. This is the only place we need to wait for our turn with this golden pig. 
 A last look at the beautiful temple grounds of Bulguksa temple. 

The temple is huge with the main building and multiple auxiliary smaller buildings so be prepared to spend about 3 hours here at least. 

Seokguram Grotto (UNESCO)
873-243, Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Admission fee: KRW 5,000
A short distance away from Bulguksa temple is the Seokguram Grotto. Hence, the 2 attractions are frequently visited together.  

Bus timings between the 2 places are fixed at hourly frequency so timing is very crucial here. Refer to the bus timings between Bulguksa and Seokguram Grotto above. 

Right next to the bus stop at the Grotto is a huge bell pavilion and you can ring the bell for a price. 
Its a 5 - 10 minutes walk from the grounds to the Grotto. There is not much to see around here and the main highlight is the round shaped main hall with Buddha and his disciples. The Buddha statue is very serene and beautiful. 
But the viewing area is very small, access to the buddha is blocked by a glass partition and there are many people who came here just to see this. 

Unfortunately, photography is not allowed here. So we can just admire the statue. 

Here's the temple that houses the buddha and the grotto. The grotto is built into a cave. It was constructed during the Unified Silla period. According to local legends, the Bulguksa Temple is built by Chief Minister Kim Daeseong for his parents in his current while Seokguram Grotto is built for is parents in former life. 

Here's a picture of the grotto overlooking the hillside. 

Most of the scenery is kind of blocked by the trees and there is nothing much to explore except for the buddha statue so well if you're fast you can catch the next hour bus very quickly. 

To eat:
Roadside opposite Bulguksa temple2.5 stars, budget
Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

Hubby is not too happy with the food selection and we really have no idea where else to eat. So we just have this signature bread called the red bean bread. 
 It actually more like a Kueh to me than a bread. The red bean filling is sweet and its ok just to buy a few to try. 
There is also another local signature bread called the barley bread which i didn't make buy as all the bread here has to purchase a minimum of 5 pieces. i hit my quota with 5 red bean bread.

Bonjeon Dwaeji Gugbap 본전돼지국밥- 2.5 stars, budget
1200-6 Choryang-dong, Dong-gu, Busan, South Korea

This place is known for their pork soup. Its crowded when we arrive and after we sat down and ordered the queue just got longer. Apparently, this place is extremely popular with locals.

The sides before the mains. I wondered for a moment what is the green chilli for. Apparently the local, eat the green chilli like that! 
This time i ordered something or measly pork soup while hubs ordered pork soup. I think i regretted it the moment the soup is served. My order has lots of the korean sausage that i dislike. >_<|||

Koreans like to pour all the rice and eat with the soup. To appear korean, i try to follow this way of eating but i think i am still more used to eat my soup and rice in between bites. 

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