We stayed over at Daegu 大邱 대구 in order to go to Bisulsan to see the beautiful wild Azalea 杜鵑花. The Azalea blossom from April to early May and that’s why we took this side trip from Busan. We took a local bus from Daegu to Hyunpung 玄風 현풍 and it was a long ride (over an hour) since it made so many stops in between. We tried to find buses going up to Yugasa 유가사 瑜伽寺 but since it was a weekday there was no bus going up to the country park. We were lucky to met 3 ahjuma, who were also going to hike up Bisulsan, and they shared a taxi with us to go up Sojeasa 소재사 逍災寺. They also told us to meet at the park entrance in 4 hours so that we could go back to Hyunpung bus station with them. So we just did the same route up and down. I believe it was 3.7km one way but the hike was quite steep at times so it took us about 2 hours getting up to the field of Azalea.
This is the route we took.
The 3 ahjum, who shared the taxi with us, getting ready to start hiking.
The route was basically non stop going up. Thus we got a really nice view of the down below when we were almost at the top.
After some steep hike, we reached this stone tower 大見寺址 대견사지.
And the sea of Azalea was over the hilltop.
A signature cake of Gyeongju. It has a very sweet red bean paste filling. The most famous store is the one across the Royal Tombs 大陵苑 대릉원. We tried to buy from them but they told us we had to wait for an hour… so we just decided to buy it from another store. We saw people buying bulk of them.
There were two kinds of packing: No. 1 – 20 pieces a box 14000won; No.2 – 30 pieces a box 21000won.
It’s about 10min walk from Gyeongju train station.
This is a park that contains over 20 royal tombs. Each tomb was built into a small round hill.
In the middle of the park, there is a bigger tomb which has its own gate. It is the tomb of King Michu of Silla era.
There is also a tomb that is open for the public to see what is the inside of a tomb.
Admission fee: 1500won
We walked from Cheomseongdae 瞻星台 첨성대 to the Royal Tombs and entered through the back entrance.
An ancient astronomical observatory constructed during the reign of Queen Seon-deok (632-647).
You cannot go up to the observatory. So it’s better just to take photos of it outside the restricted area to avoid paying the admission fees…
Admission fee: 500won
A fridge made with stone. In the Silla era, ice was actually stored here and consumed in the summer for the nobles. When you get to the entrance of the storage, you can really feel the coolness.
It’s located on the top of the Wolsong 月城 right across the Anapji Pond 雁鴨池.
Then we headed towards cheomseongdae observatory 瞻星台 첨성대 and walked through this field of rapeseed flowers. These kind of flower was scattered around the city. We went at the end of April and I believe there would be cherry blossom plus rapeseed flowers if we went in early to mid April.
A pond built by King Munmu. The mud taken out was used to build a mountain where he raised different kinds of animals.
Admission fee: 1000won
We took the bus from Bulguksa 佛國寺 불국사 heading back to Gyeongju city and got off at Gyeongju National Museum 국립경주박물관.
A very famous Buddhist temple in Korea, it has made the UNESCO World Heritage.
Take bus 10, 11 from Gyeongju Station (about 15 min ride).
There is a gas station nearby with a traditional look.
This is the best sticky rice pancake (ho-tteok) 찹쌀 호떡 I have ever had. This is different from the regular ho-tteok in which there is only a cinnamon flavored syrup. The seller here would actually cut open a cooked ho-tteok and add a spoonful of nuts to it.
It is located at the middle of PIFF Square. There is usually a long line waiting for the freshly made ho-tteok, so you can’t miss it. A funny thing about this store: customers are requested to put their money into a container and make changes on their own if necessary. The ho-tteok was 900won each.
Haeundae Amso Kalbi Jib 해운대암소갈비집
This is a famous old store for having Kalbi 갈비, beef ribs. The whole restaurant is made up of a few old houses which gives a sense of authenticity and a feeling of nostalgia.
We ordered marinated ribs for 2 persons, and the side dishes and a pot of hot charcoal came first. The charcoal was placed on the floor and right underneath the hole of the table.
The kalbi was cooked using the charcoal. The beef was really tasty, but I think it was a bit overpriced given its quality (around 30,000won per person).
We also ordered a side of potato noodle 감자 사리 (1000won). But I think it was too soft and it didn’t taste that good…
부산 해운대구 중1동 1225-1번지
After a red-eye flight we wanted to get some hot for breakfast, and bumped into this restaurant after leaving our luggage at the hotel 2 blocks away. It is a place to have 국밥 soup with rice and 해장국 解酲湯 hangover soup.
돼지 국밥 Pork soup: it was okay.
뼈다귀해장국 Bone hangover soup: it was very tasty. The meat around the bones were really tender and the soup has an intense flavor.
부산 해운대구 우동 543-1번지
This is a walkway beyond Haeundae Beach along the shore. The walkway begins from the Haeundae residential area and the road beside the walkway could be quite busy so it wasn’t that relaxing.
But as you walk up the hill, you would get a nice view of Haeundae and the Gwangalli 廣安里 광안리 bridge.
As you walk further up the walkway, there is an entrance to a dirt road surrounded by pine trees. And there is a viewing point along the path where you can see the outlying islands of Busan.
We didn’t go all the way but there should be some really nice restaurants and resting area further up the hill.