Once the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty, which ruled much of southern Korea for close to a thousand years, the southeastern city of Gyeongju is one of South Korea's lesser-known attractions. Under Silla, Gyeongju became a cosmopolitan, prosperous enclave of almost one million. While Gyeongju later fell from prominence, the city continued to remain regionally significant - particularly for its rich repository of relics, a testament to the deep, nuanced past of South Korea.

Today, Gyeongju is rich with history, and offers well-preserved examples of Silla-era architecture, as well as the site of fierce battles and resistance to Imperial Japanese forces in the early twentieth century. Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Seokguram grotto and the historic Bulguksa Temple, as well as Anapji, a Silla-era pleasure garden that is a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.


Visit Anapji, site of a pleasure garden and lotus pond built in 674 AD, where thousands of Silla Dynasty artifacts have been recovered.

Ancient Royal Tombs

Gyeongju is sometimes called "the museum without walls" because of the many hundreds of ancient tombs of Silla Empire royalty and aristocracy located all over town. The tombs are large dome-shaped mounds of earth covered with grass. Only a few have been excavated, and inside are treasures buried with the bodies.

Andong Hahoe Folk Village

Explore the Andong Hahoe Folk Village, a living community of more than 100 traditional country houses of thatched roofs, mud walls and centuries of history, which your expert guide will relate. This can be slightly touristy but is an interesting experience for young people.

Buddhist Temples

Explore two of Gyeongju’s most renowned sites: Bulguksa Temple and nearby Seokguram, a Buddhist grotto with terrific views from its cliffside position. Bulguksa dates to 528 AD, when Gyeongju was capital of the nearly 1,000-year-long Silla Dynasty, and both sites are among the city’s UNESCO World Heritage properties.

Haeinsa Temple

Visit Haeinsa Temple in Daegu (approximately 90-minute drive), a famous 9th-century Buddhist temple best known for housing the Tripitaka Koreana, a collection of more than 80,000 woodblock carvings of the complete Buddhist scriptures.

Namsan Park

Hike the gorgeous mountain trails of Namsan Park, whose terrain has regularly yielded Silla-era treasures.

National Museum

Have a privately guided tour of the adjacent National Museum, where artifacts recovered from nearby Anapji are now on display. The National Museum also features fun activities for children, such as 3D puzzles and interactive exhibits.

Tae Kwon Do Lesson

Have a martial arts lesson in tae kwon do and meet black belts in the official sport of South Korea.

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