On Saturday Paul and I decided, that as we had a non eventful day on Friday, that we should go do something. We went to Seoul on the subway, using our new bank cards to pay for everything. However, this was not the case for Paul as his card did not work on any transportation, which meant having to queue up only for the subway for a ticket. Which when you buy a ticket, it’s a card and you pay a 500 won (about 29p) deposit. After your journey, you put your travel card into a machine where you get your deposit back.
The subway is very well organised, and I wasn’t expecting it to be as clean as it was - probably because I only have the London underground to compare it to. However the subway stations have no characteristics like some of London’s stations, like Baker Street’s for example. The Subway map is also in English, which helps very much when trying to work out what station you need to get off at, there is also a handy app for the Korean subway’s called ‘Jihachul’.
We were heading towards Changdeokgung Palace, which was only a few minutes away from the subway station we got off at. We went for lunch in a small traditional Korean café, Paul had bibimbap (rice and vegetables with an egg) and I had stir-fried pork with rice which was succulent, warm and filling. Both of these meals together cost under £7.
Silla Tomb - Central Gyeonju
On Saturday morning, Paul and I got up early and got ready for a little break (as we had a long weekend). We took the bus into Seoul and then got the KTX (fastest train in the world!) to Gyeongju. When we found our hostel, called ‘Hanjin’ we were greeted by a friendly woman who spoke amazing English! She showed us to our room and then told us that when we are ready to go explore, she will tell us where the main attractions were. We get ourselves organised and the woman points out attractions on the map and helps us with what buses we need and where to get food etc. Once we knew where we we’re going, Paul and I set off to go get lunch and visit some King’s tombs. These tombs are just massive hills, built during the Silla period, between the 4th and 5th century. One of the tombs (Cheonmachong) was open to visitors. We saw how they built these amazing tombs, and what the Kings were buried with - gold crowns, jewellery etc.
We then visited the oldest astrological observatory in the Far East (Cheomseongdae) built in the 7th century. It was too hot walking around, so we sat in Gaerim forest where I saw a chipmunk!
We walked to the National Museum, which had relics from the area. It had artefacts from Anapji pond, which was and still is a pleasure garden, in the 10th century the Silla buildings burned down and the relics were only found in 1975 when the pond was undergoing repair work. These artefacts are found in this museum, along with statues of Buddha’s and artwork.