We focused our second day in Gyeongju to visit two UNESCO sites around 30 minutes away from the city. The first one is the Bulguksa Temple, this temple is of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and encompasses seven National treasures of South Korea. It is considered the most beautiful temple from the Silla Kingdom.
It took us around 2 hours of walking around the beautiful temple grounds.
Around one of the buildings there were these wishing towers, there are stacked rock pagodas where each rock represents a wish. We learned and heard this cool fact from Joseph Rosendo, who was filming his show Travelscope right there and the only person speaking English.
We were able to play on of this gigantic bell of mercy for 1000 Won (about 1 dollar), the Bell guard was very nice and he was very excited to know that we were from the U.S. and Mexico and even hugged us at the end.
After this temple, we had 2 options: Either take the bus or walk to the Seokguram Grotto, another UNESCO world heritage site. We asked the tourist information guy who didn’t really speak English what is the best way and he said that the hike up was “easy”. I really think he wanted to say deadly, but forgot the word, so he just went with “easy”. The hike up Mt. Tohan has a million stairs, it was beautiful but more difficult that climbing Everest blindfolded (I like to exaggerate).
When we got to the top we rewarded ourselves with some weird drinks from the vending machine. This one tasted like if you just bit a forest… sweet pine.
We got to the the grotto to see this beautiful Buddha. They dont let you take photos, so I did very discretely.
On the way back we needed to get money and after trying a bank without success we went to ask tourist information why no ATM was taking our cards. They told us that there is only one ATM that takes foreign cards and its in the other side of the city. We walked until we found it and now we can eat again!!
While we were there, we found this amazing local market where they had all kinds of foods.
Hanging octopuses which we decided we would hold off on eating so Sarah could live to be 30 tomorrow.
On the way back to the hostel and quest to find a restaurant (not a bakery), we walked by this amazing library. There were also many stores where you can buy traditional Korean dresses.
We truly tried to not succumb to our American stereotype of eating American food in a foreign country and searched for a place for over an hour but there basically was no restaurant that offered any ability for us to order a meal, so we ended up at a Pizza Hut sit down restaurant. But due to our need to still try something Korean we ordered the Bulgogi pizza and it was amazing.
Bonus Pic: Their translations are hilarious and dont make sense. Here are some examples: