I was very sad to leave Seoul early Saturday morning for a 5 hour bus ride, but Gyeongju, a smaller city on the other side of the country, seemed promising. Gyeongju was the capital city of the ancient Silla kingdom. It is almost the opposite of Seoul; the buildings are not tall nor are they compacted into tight spaces around each other. The city actually has an area three times greater than that of Seoul, but has a population of around 270,000 versus Seoul’s 11 million (not counting the greater city regions). There is a lot of green space, and buildings are in the old traditional tiled roof style. Once we reached our hotel, however, the buildings became more modern looking and there is even a large amusement park, Gyeongju World.
After traveling all day and settling in, we had free time, so we decided to check out the theme park. On the walk there, we passed a lot of beautiful scenery, a reoccurring theme in Korea. The park was wizard/medieval/fairy tale themed which was shown to be very consistent throughout. It was a crowded day, so the lines were long, but they were worth the wait. We stayed until closing time and looked at the restaurants in the area. It was a fun and relaxing day.
Gyeongju feels more like a resort than a city. Walking back to the hotel, you can’t help but take pictures. The trees are lit up in different colors, there are wooden and stone bridges that go across the river, and we even passed two singers performing in the square in front of the lake which I enjoyed.