Explore wonders of Korea's Gyeongju City during cherry blossom season

Bomunjeong Pavilion by Korea Tourism Organization
Bomunjeong Pavilion by Korea Tourism Organization

Explore wonders of Korea's Gyeongju City during cherry blossom season

by Hyemin Lee
Stripes Korea

If you’re planning a special trip during cherry blossom season, you should check out Gyeongju City, the ancient capital of Silla Kingdom, as it’s one of the most beloved destinations to see the blooms.

There were three kingdoms in ancient Korea, and Silla unified the three kingdoms. From the beginning to the end of Silla, Gyeongju, previously called “Seorabeol,” was the capital for a thousand years.

Today, this historical city preserves the glorious history of Silla and is referred as “a museum without walls.” Here you’ll find the most of Korea’s UNESCO World Heritages sites concentrated in one city. Gyeongju is one of the oldest cities on the Peninsula and is home to so much history that relics are still being discovered to this day.

The city attracts visitors year-round, but its historical buildings and streets are transformed when the cherry blossoms make their yearly appearance. Exploring Gyeongju at this time will be one of the most enchanting experiences you can have in Korea! 

Blossoms in Gyeongju

Top 6 cultural sites for cherry blossom viewing

March 25 – April 15 (Peak: beginning of April)

Gyeongju is famous for its numerous cherry blossom spots. The most popular are where visitors can simultaneously enjoy the city’s cultural assets and the season’s pale pink beauty.

1. Cheomseongdae (첨성대)

The symbolic landmark of Gyeongju, Cheomseongdae was constructed in 633 during the reign of Queen Seondeok for star observation to forecast the weather. Cheomseongdae is the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia, preserving its original appearance for 1,400 years. Both daytime and evening are great to take a trip around the flower garden of this scientific stone building.

✿ Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Open all year)

✿ Entrance Fee: Free

Photo courtesy of  Korea Tourism Organization


2. Daereungwon (대릉원)

These giant tumuli are placed through downtown Gyeongju, marking the city’s past and present. Make sure to take your time to wander the 23 ancient tombs belonging to the kings of the Silla era. Don’t miss the photo zone for a pic with the beautiful, majestic magnolia tree nestled among the royal tombs.

✿ Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Open all year)

✿ Entrance Fee : Adults 3,000 won / Youth 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won

Photo courtesy of  Korea Tourism Organization

Photo courtesy of  Korea Tourism Organization

3. Donggung & Wolji (동궁과 월지)

Donggung Palace and its adjacent Wolji Pond were originally part of the royal grounds and banquet venues for princes of the Silla era. The palace and the pond are a must-visit, especially in the evening, to see the spectacular scene of illuminated palaces and trees reflected in the water.

✿ Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Open all year)

✿ Entrance Fee: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won

Photo courtesy of  Korea Tourism Organization


4.Woljeonggyo Bridge (월정교) & Gyochon Hanok Village (교촌한옥마을)

The bridge is built over the Namcheon Stream and located right next to Gyochon Traditional Hanok Village. In the daytime, walking from the bridge through the village is a great way to enjoy viewing canola flowers and cherry blossoms along the stream. In the evening, don’t miss the stunning night view of the bridge and stream.

✿ Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.         (Open all year)

✿ Entrance Fee: Free

Woljeonggyo by Hyemin Lee

Woljeonggyo by Hyemin Lee


5. Bomunjeong (보문정)

This park was named by CNN as one of the “Beautiful scenic locations in Korea.” When you visit, you’ll see why. Bomunjeong’s ponds and pavilion are stunning, but especially in the spring with cherry blossoms and fall for its amazing autumn leaves. This place is open anytime without an entrance fee.

Photo courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization


6. Bulguksa (불국사) & Seokguram (석굴암)

The foremost Buddhist heritage sites of Korea, Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto are both located on Tohamsan Mountain. These two cultural sites are within eight kilometers from each other, making them easy to explore on the same trip. Bulguksa Temple is especially a famous spot for the double-layer type of cherry blossoms that usually flower two weeks later than regular ones.

✿Hours (Bulguksa): 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Open all year)

✿Hours (Seokguram): 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. / 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Open all year)

✿Entrance Fee : Adults 6,000 won / Youth 4,000 won / Children 3,000 won

Photo courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization


Trip tips!

1. Plan ahead

Gyeongju is not only a historical city with numberless cultural assets from the Silla era and Joseon Dynasty, but also a coastal city with a variety amusement parks and resorts. Plan ahead so you can prioritize the spots you really want to see.

Photo courtesy of Gyeongju Tourguide

2. Choose from the city’s important districts

With a plenty of destinations, here are the top districts in Gyeongju to check out.

Downtown Gyeongju: The most important attractions of Gyeongju are located within walking distance here.

Cheomseongdae, Woljeonggyo Bridge, Daereungwon, Donggung and Wolji, Gyeongju National Museum, Hwangridan-gil Street (food & dessert street) and more.

Bomun Tourist Complex: Gyeongju World (amusement park), Bomunjeong, Bomun Lake, Gyeongju Expo Park, and more.

Coastal area: Tomb of King Munmu, Jeonchon Pine Beach, Gampo Port, Songdaemal Lighthouse and more.

Photo courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization

3. Try to stay at a special accommodation

Staying at a traditional house (hanok) hotel is very affordable in Gyeongju. They are usually located near the mountains but not far from downtown. It’s absolutely a must-try experience to spend a night at a traditional house surrounded by peaceful forests and mountains. Also, Gyeongju is a famous glamping (glamorous camping) spot in the summer and fall because of its beautiful nature. 

Hanok Hotel by Hyemin Lee


Tips for viewing cherry blossoms

1. Check the time and weather

Check the flowering and peak time of the area you’re planning to view cherry blossoms in full bloom. Make sure to go on a trip before a heavy rain comes.

2. Prepare picnic items

Bring a picnic mat, blanket, Bluetooth speaker and bunch of food and drink to chill under cherry blossom trees. You can prepare or simply buy them near the viewing areas.

3. Expect crowds

During cherry blossom season, most of the best viewing spots will be crowded and there will be limited parking. Bring comfortable shoes because you’ll likely be walking a lot.

4. Take photos

Blink and cherry blossom season will be over. Don’t hesitate to take photos and selfies with the beautiful blossoms while they’re around!

Bomunjeong by Hyemin Lee


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