13 Jun - 16 Jun 2013 Gyeongju

East Asia
Republic of Korea aka South Korea
232 Hwango-Dong
Comfortable and clean a/c dorm bed for KRW 17,000.- or US$ 15.- per night in a 3rd-floor hostel apartment; continental breakfast included. Free but agricultural wifi in all areas. Fully-equipped communal kitchen/lounge with fridge.
Laundry: KRW 3,000.- per load (washed and dried).
Central location and a relaxed international backpacker atmosphere.
Friendly and helpful host, sufficient English.
Beer: 500-ml bottles of unchilled Korean Hite Prime Max All Malt Beer (4.5 % alc./vol.), rich and full-bodied, for KRW 1,250.- or US$ 1.10 per bottle from the well-stocked Top Mart.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Guesthouse Santa in Gyeongju, which we would recommend, and for directions:


Matt: Twigging the fact that the East Asian monsoon, commonly called the plum rains aka jangma, has finally arrived on the Korean peninsula and deciding that the Gyeongju National Museum (free admission, +82547407518), arguably the finest history museum in Korea, is the best place to appreciate the significance of this ancient city in one fell swoop and learning that Gyeongju became the capital of the Shilla dynasty in 57 BCE and remained so for nearly 1000 years - one of the world’s longest sustained dynasties.

Matt: Rambling through Tumuli Park and Wolseong Park, getting lost in the maze of round grassy tombs aka tumuli of generations of Shilla kings and queens and admiring the 7th-century CE Cheomseongdae (admission: KRW 1,000.- per person), constructed between 632 and 646 CE during the reign of the supposedly very beautiful Shilla queen Seondeok and the Far East's oldest surviving astronomical/astrological observatory.

“Millionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do.”

Matt: Visiting the large 8th-century CE Bulguk-sa Temple (entrance: KRW 4,000.- per person, city bus no. 11 from a nearby bus stop for KRW 1,500.- per person), an ambitious architectural work through which Shilla revealed the world of Buddhism to the terrestrial world and at that time the spiritual centre of Shilla Buddhism but these days a busy UNESCO World Heritage Site and restored tourist attraction for pilgrims from all over Asia.

Matt: Taking an extremely punctual express bus from Gyeongju’s intercity-bus terminal straight to Seoul’s busy Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (c. 350 km, exactly 4 hours, KRW 21,100.- or US$ 18.70 per person) and thereafter Seoul’s efficient subway (line 2, fare: KRW 1,350.-) from the bus terminal straight to the reliable and lively Kimchee Hongdae Guesthouse, a place where the independent traveller arrives as a guest, but leaves as family.

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to watch TV;
It’s good to improve the internet.
Keep your bearings!