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Bulguksa Temple: An Unexpected Journey- Gyeongju,South Korea

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Bulguksa is a temple outside the city of Gyeongju in South Korea. Gyeongju is a place with lots of history. When you enter the city you are welcomed by huge hills, these are ancient tombs. As you move through the city you see that there are many active archaeological digs active in and around the city. But one of the attractions that bring people to this little ancient town is Bulguksa temple, located 15 km from Gyeongju. I decided that it would be a good idea to bike to this destination. In this journey not everyone made it. Did I know how far this destination really was? Did I know that the whole trip was uphill? Certainly not!

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The morning before our departure, I talked with our guest house as best as I could as they did not speak english. But we were ready! Mat and I then picked out bikes and then began our journey towards this temple. We biked and biked what seemed forever. Mat then passed me and biked way ahead of me. Slow and steady wins the race don’t ya know? As I turned a corner I saw Mats bike on the road and him sitting on a bench. He had wiped out, when he hit a tree stump that he had not seen. I went and picked up his bike off of the road and asked if he was all good to continue, he said he was. We continued with Mat now tailing behind me. We got to a spot to rest and grab some water. Mats leg was still hurting but we decided to keep going. It was then when it had swelled up really big! We then decided that he needed to go to the hospital. So we then got him a taxi to the hospital, we had biked about 12km that day together. I then locked his bike up at the train station, then biked to see him in the hospital. The doctors checked him out and ensured he was all good. Bruised up and needing a cane for a couple days but overall healthy. Mat got back to the hostel to rest, I then took the train picked up his bike and proceeded to ride back to Gyeongju. Bulguksa had avoided me at least for the day.

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Mats knee was to sore and swollen to try another attempt at getting to the temple. I then began my bike ride over to the temple. After a few mishaps with my bicycle, Chain kept popping off and my shoe laces getting caught in the chain. I pressed on I got as far as Mat and I had previously and stopped for lunch and water. I then began the much steeper ride to the base of the temple. It was then I discovered that the rear axel on the bike was broken and that was causing me issues with climbing the hill. I had gone to far to many times I had to get to this place! I walked up most of the way till I arrived. Found a spot to lock my bike. Of course it was another hill to walk up to get to the temple but that was fine because I had finally made it.

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The temples grounds were beautiful full of life and colour. It was a Saturday and filled with mostly Korean tourist visiting it. The temple dates back to 500AD although like many ancient things in Korea it has been rebuilt and destroyed over time due to Koreas history. The temple its self is surrounded by beauty. Submersed in beautiful trees and ponds. I highly suggest the visit. But don’t worry you don’t have to bike up the hill. In fact I believe most people take the local bus that goes from Gyeongju that take right up to the temples stairs. But the bike ride took me though the country side where I got to see rice fields and daily life of locals happen. I really enjoyed my journey to Bulguksa.

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With many archaeological digs happening in the area it is neat to explore the area. Some other notable spots are Donggung Palace and Wolji pond were very beautiful at night. As well as exploring the tombs that have been excavated was really neat as well.

 

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Kings Tomb
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Inside the kings tombs.

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I hope you enjoyed my post about my journey to Bulguksa. Mat seems to be healing quickly and we will be continuing this last leg of our journey together.

Hope this was helpful, and hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

– Jesse

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