Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Weekend
This weekend I took a trip to Gyeongju to see the cherry blossoms! I mentioned in my March update post that last weekend in Seoul was really bad for whatever reason. So this little get away was exactly the refreshing trip that I needed.
I had been wanting to visit Gyeongju again since going once a few summers ago and absolutely loving it. And this particular weekend one of my friends was going to be there for a Frisbee tournament plus a Korean friend of mine was free to show me around plus the cherry blossoms were in bloom. All of which meant that now was the time to go!
I left Daejeon around 9:30 Saturday morning and arrived around 12:00. There were a few places I wanted to go to see the cherry blossoms and I decided it would be best to go to the farthest away first and work my way back.
So after walking out of Gyeongju station to shockingly cold and windy weather, I walked over to the nearest bus stop to wait for the bus out to 경주보문관광단지. I had to wait for a while and I was just about to give up, because of the wind that was ripping through my too thin jacket, when the bus arrived.
I almost gave up again when it turned out to be the most packed bus I have ever seen in Korea, but I decided it was better than standing in the cold anyway.
What should have been about a 35 minute bus ride ended up being about an hour and I was standing with my feet on either side of the stairs at the exit of the bus, clutching on to the railing the whole time.
But when I did eventually get off, I knew immediately that it was worth it.
The first place I wandered into was a little park.
All the fallen pink petals floating in the water were incredible!
No matter where you go to see cherry blossoms there are going to be a ton of people taking pictures. But compared to what I’ve seen in photos of Jinhae or from what I remember of the festival in Yeoiedo last yest, this wasn’t nearly as bad.
It’s possible that was because I wasn’t there on the peak weekend, but to me at least it was still just as breathtaking.
After I’d seen all I wanted to in the park I ducked into a Starbucks because my phone was about to die, and I needed to charge it a bit before going to walk by the lake.
Once I’d gotten a bit of coffee in my system and my phone charged up I wandered off in what I thought might be the right direction.
To be perfectly honest I hadn’t done too much research before coming and my friend had just told me, “the cherry blossom road starts from the Starbucks,” so that about all I was going off of.
The first road I walked through was this one and here you could clearly see how many of the cherry blossoms had fallen since they peaked last weekend. But the deeper pinkish red is pretty in its own way as well!
The end of that road led out onto a bridge that overlooked a dry river bed type area.
Across the bridge started the path the led around the side of the large lake. The combination of the pink cherry blossoms with the blue water and sky were absolutely incredible.
The wind was ripping across the water and so even as I was walking through the path many of the petals continued to fall.
But that made the whole scene even more magical.
I walked all the way along the lake and eventually made it up to another park by the road.
With very very tired legs and my phone about to die again I figured it’d be best to taxi back to where I was staying in town.
The taxi driver was very chatty but I forgot to take into account the regional accent that people use here so I basically understood about five words he said the entire time. But he seemed to be enjoying the amazing view as well.
I checked into my guesthouse and got to lay down for about 45 minutes before I went to meet my Korean friend for coffee and dinner.
I had booked a place to stay in Gyeongju for this weekend a long time ago but then, about a week beforehand, they emailed me canceling my reservation because they overbooked the property. By that time practically everything was sold out so when I booked this place my expectations were pretty low.
However I was really pleasantly surprised at how nice it was! I was in a six person women’s dorm, but each bunk was sectioned off with curtains and had its own outlet, light, and heated blanket. And our room had its own bathroom so I only had to share with the other people in my room.
The whole place was really clean, efficiently run, and right in the center of town, so if you’re looking for a place to stay in Gyeongju I highly recommend 경주 청춘게스트하우스. The staff person asked me off the bat if Korean was okay and I said yes, so I’m not sure if they speak English or not. But the way the place works is not hard to understand.
From 청춘 게스트하우스 I walked over to the cafe to meet my friend.
For all the practice I have taking pictures of cafe’s I don’t know why I only got this one picture there. But the cafe was called We Need More and the coffee/vibes were solid.
From there we walked through a park towards 경주첨성대 Cheomsongdae, an old astrological observatory that is quite famous.
Last time I was in Gyeongju I came to this park around sunset and thought that it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, and it didn’t disappoint this time either.
After that we wandered around the hanok village looking for a place to eat dinner.
We ended up at a pizza place that was really good.
We talked there for a long time before driving over to one more spot to see a street where they have the cherry blossom trees light up at night.
After that I said goodbye to my Korean friend and went to meet up with my other friend who’d finished up her Frisbee tournament.
The guest house said they lock the front door at midnight so I had a pretty early night. I slept well and woke up feeling good again the next morning.
My train left at 11:20 so all I had time for was a little stroll and a quick brunch.
From there I walked back to Gyeongju station and joined all the other people on the platform enjoying the amazingly clean air, and little bit of sun, as we waited for the train to arrive.
When the train arrived I took my seat next to a sleeping ajumma and enjoyed the passing scenery as we headed back north.
When it was all said and done I finally got back to my apartment at about 2:00.
While short, it was such a lovely and refreshing weekend for me. We don’t have cherry blossoms, or a change of seasons for that matter, in my hometown so I’m still not over how beautiful and interesting they are.
If you don’t have cherry blossoms where you’re from either, I hope these photos can give you a little feeling of spring.
And for anyone living in Korea let me know if you went anywhere to see them!
Thanks for reading!