This is post seven of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:
- Back for One Last Score: Intro to our Korean Babymoon
- 4 Nights at the Stylish Park Hyatt Seoul
- Checking Out Seoul’s Spirits
- Eating Our Way Through Seoul
- Seoul’s Other Palaces
- Staying at the Hilton Gyeongju
- Visiting the Silla Kingdom: 1 Day in Gyeongju
- 4 Nights is Not Enough at the Park Hyatt Busan
- Temple Time in Busan
- Tricked out Again: The Busan Trick Eye Museum
- Busan BBQ: A Mixed Bag
- 14 Hours in Hong Kong: Protests, Dim Sum & Giant Buddhas
Gyeongju is one of the oldest cities in South Korea, dating back 57 BCE. It was also the capital of the Shilla Kingdom, the dominant group that ruled Korea for three centuries starting in the 7th century. Which meant one thing to me: ruins!
I love ruins, temples, and anything ancient. Mrs. Selfish and I spent an amazing 23 days in Kyoto during our Selfish Year, partially because I am obsessed with shrines and temples and that city has literally hundreds of them. So I was kind of expecting it to be something like that.
Unfortunately, while Geyongju has some truly beautiful sites, it’s also home to some of the most insidious tourist traps I’ve ever seen and is populated with crappy theme parks, golf courses, hot air balloon rides and super-kitsch attractions like the “Teddy Bear Museum.”
Actually, I kind of regret not going here now. Look at all ‘dem bears!
Normally I’m all over that kind of stuff, but we were looking for bona fide, authentic slices of history here.
Gyeongju may be overrun by kitschy tourist attractions, giant coffee chains, and massive hotel complexes, but there is still something very beautiful about it – you just have to know where to look.
Not a bear in sight!