Gyeongju gives off a different feel when the sun sets, where the landmarks are illuminated with lights that adds mystery to the city.
I took up a night tour which sets off at 6:30pm in the evening. The entire trip was done in Korean, but I was lucky to have someone who knows chinese well enough to translate what the guide told everyone.
Our first stop was Anapji Pond. The sky was still pretty bright when we reached Anapji Pond but after looking around for awhile, they turned on the lights, and you see humans around the pond’s perimeter hogging the sides and railings to get the best pictures and selfies.
Anapji Pond (or now called Wolji) was built during King Minmu, and it was built to signify the unification of the Three Kingdoms (Shilla, Baekje, and Goguryeo). The pond was built in such a way you cannot see the entire pond in one view and it looks like you are looking at an ocean. The amount of people standing was so crazy I had difficulty getting a picture with the pond, I could only get a picture of the pond and the pavilions.
We then took a short ride to Cheomseongdae, which was built during Queen Seondeok reign and serves as an astronomical observatory, as well as the tomb which we didn’t managed to get near.
We were explained (which I could understand a little from his actions) about how the bricks were placed to form the observatory, like slightly cupping both hands, palm facing palm, fingers interlocking with each other. The tower is built out of 362 pieces of cut granite which represent the 362 days of the lunar year. It has 27 layers of stones which some associate it with the fact that Queen Seondeok was considered to be the 27th ruler of Shilla. 12 of the layers are below the window level and 12 are above. These sets of 12 may symbolise the months of the year. (Sources from wiki)
Located behind Cheomseongdae was Gyerim forest. We walked through the forest and eventually came to Gyochon Hanok Village. Around that area, Gyeongju Hyanggyo Confucian School and Choi’s old house can be seen too. Just a brief, Choi was a richman in Gyeongju and his family dates back to 300 years ago. & the reason why he and his family was able to last so long in the society was because they believe in making money and giving it back to the society by providing education for the citizens, as well as helping the poor.
The entire took about 3 hours to complete. Since the tour is made for Koreans, non-korean speaking tourist could ride to one of the landmarks and walk to the rest as they are all within walking distance, and by that I mean across the road.
To get there: Bus 10, or 70. (PS: I’m pretty sure bus 10 will pass by Anapji Pond though the web doesn’t mention it.)