Walking up the hill from a neighborhood of seedy hotels to the steps of Gyeongju’s Bulguksa Temple only took a moment. We get inside this hugely popular temple as early as possible. Even a 9am arrival doesn’t spare us from the people and tour groups that are swarming to begin their day here. Elusive shots of monks provide a momentary challenge as they all emerge and head to work at the same moment on this bright and sunny morning. These men’s ceremonious lives are something that most of us will never know and getting a look at them casually walking through the chaos marks a brief jumpstart to our morning. Where are they going and can we join them? They disappear and indicate the answer is likely a big No before a new wave of people cover up the trails of these men’s presence. Hopefully I can watch them walk again in less-crowded circumstances but that won’t happen again today.
Do you like Korean temples? We mentioned quite a few of them in our Spring Things to Do in South Korea.
Gyeongju Bulguksa Temple
Directions to Bulguksa
Courtesy of Korea Tourism, Last Updated on Nov. 11, 2015
Train travelers can reach Bulguksa Temple from Seoul but Busan is a closer option. More info on Train timetables can be found here. From Gyeongju Station, follow Hwarang-ro Street (화랑로) and take Buses 10 or 11 from the stop in front of the post office. The bus will take about an hour but will stop at Bulguksa Temple (불국사). Those traveling by Bus will start from Gyeongju’s Intercity/Express Bus Terminal. Buses 10 and 11 stop there as well and you should catch it across the street from the terminal. That trip is also about an hour to Bulguksa.
Crowded, Still Beautiful and Quiet-Enough
We walk around snapping shots wherever the crowds are not while admiring the beauty as much as one can on this day. The perfectly blue sky is going to bring tons of people here and we’ve got some more stuff to see in Gyeongju. I look back before moving on because of these fond memories strolling around Bulguksa. Crowds never take away from beautiful scenes like those in and around the main halls. Bulguksa temple is a wonderful representation of Korean Buddhism, a religion I admire and will never properly understand. This is a place worth visiting if not for people-watching because there are tons of daily visitors both foreign and Korean. This site gives a glimpse at yet another version of Korea far away from the skyscrapers and craziness found just a stone’s throw away.
Final Thoughts and Yours, Too!
Still quiet enough for this peace-seeking traveler.
Do you have a favorite quiet place that you like to visit?
This travel guide is part of our series on South Korea Travel and East Asia Travel. It was originally created on October 13, 2014. It has been maintained and updated (as of December 28, 2018) to reflect current viewpoints and travel trends.