Day 6, Saturday March 16

Given it was the weekend, rather than schedule company visits, today we decided to provide more of a tourist view of Busan.  We started on the Tohamsan Mountain and took a stroll up to the Seok Gur An grotto, this was in the Gyeongju Park.  We then entered the Bulguksa Temple.  Can you believe how many dishes and bowls we left behind in the Jungsugasung Restaurant!  In the afternoon we walked around the Daereungwon Tombs, Chomsungdae Observatory and Kyochon Village.  So, in all of that, we struck you the most in terms of the experience and as related to what you learned about Korea?


30 Responses to “Day 6, Saturday March 16”

  1. Leili Says:

    I love the Kyochon Village. You could truly feel the local culture through the food and goods sold throughout. One of my favorite parts of the trip.

  2. Sneha Says:

    It was a really serene experience up at the mountain, you could experience how culturally similar and at the same time different it was from America and India. The locals were quiet, in their prayers and prayed for their ancestors and loved ones who passed away. We learned about Korean faith a lot during this trip – we learned that S. Koreans believed in everything.

  3. Chase Says:

    I enjoyed the full day of soaking in Korean culture, architecture, and food. I particularly enjoyed the Kyochon Village, specifically the view of the bridge from the stepping stones crossing the stream. It was lovely to be outside, strolling though the village and enjoying the sun,

  4. Chandler Moody Says:

    Gyeongju Village was a quaint escape from the busy city. I loved all of the architecture we got to see. It was great to spend this day walking around and exploring. I was surprised to see so many people still using the temples to pray, as I did not know they were still in use.

  5. Nicholas Says:

    Over the course of our two week trip, we visited a number of impressive historical sites. I was most struck by the fact that nearly every tourist attraction was a modern reproduction rather than a preserved historic site. It’s sad to reflect on how much history was destroyed during Korea’s civil war.

  6. Jackie Margol Lewis Says:

    I loved learning about the Temple and pagodas, the architecture was amazing and it was a beautiful day to be outside. There was a lot in Helen’s descriptions that pointed to the tension between Japan and Korea. A highlight for me was the delicious lunch at the Jungsugasung Restaurant. The bulgogi soup and side dishes were incredible and I loved trying the raw crab, which I discovered I liked a lot!

  7. Margaret Mauel Says:

    The Seok Gur An grotto was one of my favorite visits of the trip! The walk was beautiful and serene, and a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of streets and cities. The beautiful, colorful paper lanterns added a great contrast to the natural beauty of the park.

  8. Rachel Compton Says:

    The peacefulness of the Seok Gur An grotto was a much needed reprieve after a few days of business visits. When I asked Helen about the individuals praying inside the temple, I was surprised to learn the individuals had to sign up months in advance for the opportunity to worship inside this temple.

    In each temple and park, I also loved seeing all the young adults in their traditional Korean Hanbok taking photos for their social media accounts. It was eye-opening to see the prominent role social media plays halfway across the world with young girls renting outfits, putting on a full face of makeup, and then setting up tripods to capture their perfect shot.

  9. Emma Blumstein Says:

    Spending the day walking around in nature and experiencing the beautiful temples, tombs, and architecture was a wonderful break from the business visits and bus drives! Despite it being a Saturday, I felt like none of the places we visited were overly crowded — except, perhaps, when we were inside the Daereungwon tombs fighting to see into the glass exhibits.

  10. Paula M Says:

    Loved loved the lunch. I agree – so many dishes! The soup with the bulgogi beef had so many flavors. I like that most of the dining experience encourage community and sharing. I got to know a lot of my classmates through these meals and figure out who is the most adventurous foodie.

    The tomb hills were SO big. Some cultures bury the living servants with royalty upon passing…hoping that wasn’t the case here. I did find walking around very calming and peaceful.

    The village was cool to walk around. I thought that they should add live actors or showcase what industries occured in the village. It was hard to get a sense how the village operated in the past.

  11. Anna Edelman Says:

    The temple we visited was so serene. It was amazing to see an actual service happening and hearing about how people make reservations to attend months in advance.

    This was my favorite day in Busan. I was fascinated by the tombs and how preserved they were. The village was beautiful to walk around and left me feeling very zen!

  12. Anika Urfi Says:

    I really enjoyed the scenery from the mountain and visiting the Buddhist Temple. We had great weather that day. I also enjoyed the village and thought the demonstration of making rice cakes the traditional way was fun!

  13. Laura Greissing Says:

    The kyochen village was adorable. I loved the architecture of some of the buildings. A few of us escaped to go find ice cream and coffee and we were not disappointed! Such an adorable place.

  14. Cecile Cosby Says:

    What a beautiful day!! This was one of my favorite cultural days because we got to see so much. I loved walking through the park and seeing the Daereungwon Tombs. It was really interesting to learn about the burials, it kind of reminded me of Egyptian Tombs.

    Also, our lunch was one of my favorites. It was interesting to try all the new dishes (e.g. those crabs and the tiny dried fish), I really enjoyed it!

  15. Amanda Wilson Says:

    The bulgogi lunch on this day was my favorite meal of the trip!

    Food aside, I really enjoyed seeing the Daereungwon Tombs. I have always found that learning how a culture treats their ancestors can be very insightful, so seeing these burial sites was eye opening. Beautiful day!

  16. Bryant Buraruk Says:

    I found the Daereungwon Tombs to be one of the biggest takeaways from the day. It was really interesting how the people who lived around these ancient tombs did not know what they were until the late 60s/early 70s. In comparison to U.S. history, it is hard to fathom finding historical sites that can be so old.

  17. Molly Pfister Says:

    This culturally-packed day was full of historical temples and tombs. Every Korean city is overflowing with culture, so it was nice to have a day without company visits. I knew very little about Busan before this trip, but it ended up being my favorite city in Korea. The heritage you see and feel, such as the religion, architecture, and artwork raise so much historical significance that it’s hard to not be left with the chills

  18. Grace Ferguson Says:

    Up to this day I had no idea that Buddhism was such a big part of Korean’s history and lives. I had never been to a Buddhist temple so it was fascinating to see one and see how large they can be. I loved the colors and the prayer flags with scripts flying. I loved seeing people worshipping and hearing that songs that they played in the temple. It was great learning about the cleansing rituals of cleaning one’s mouth and hands before entering the temple as well as taking off one’s shoes. It was nice to see that they had taped off areas that we couldn’t go into or take pictures of in order to preserve the areas as religious sites. This was a beautiful day and getting out of a big city with the chance to explore history and culture through walking outside was awesome.

  19. Jeffrey Ochfeld Says:

    You noted this in your post, but it was interesting to see how many plates are used in Korean meals! Seems like a lot to clean up. I really enjoyed this day – walking around the village was a fun cultural experience, and the weather was conducive to strolling. A few in our group tried some finely aged soy sauce, which was certainly a memorable taste. The tombs were fascinating – – it was very neat to see all the treasures buried inside the tombs, and the restraint shown by the Korean people to not pillage the other hill-tombs is very impressive.

  20. Waldo Arreola Says:

    I really enjoyed the serenity of the temple atop the mountain. It was interesting how we, as tourists and outsiders, were observing people practice something so intimate to them.
    The lunch was so bomb! Food is usually my priority when I travel and the attention to detail as far as food and service was on point. Our table liked the soup so much that we asked for seconds.

  21. Blake Schwartz Says:

    At the Bulguksa Temple museum, there was a model of the entire mountain highlighting all the Buddhist historical locations. I was amazed at the vastness of the historical sites on the mountain. While we only visited a handful of locations, there were dozens of additional sites that we did get a chance to visit. I thought the locations we did visit did a beautiful job of articulating the art and rituals of Korean Buddhism.

  22. Kat Robinson Says:

    The walk to the grotto was beautiful, and I appreciated the insight that Helen provided here. There was a small group praying inside one of the areas and I asked her if these were tourists or locals – she said that locals come here to pray (but often have to ‘book’ the time in advance as it’s very popular, if I understood that correctly)- she said that just like here in the US, parents are praying that their students do well on their SAT scores!

    The bulgogi lunch at Jungsugasung Restaurant was just another moment that I was struck by the generosity and welcoming nature of people we encountered everywhere. The men and women at this restaurant were incredibly kind and just bringing us food nonstop (now that I’m back in the US I’m struggling to adjust to not having tiny sampling plates everywhere). There’s a level of generosity toward foreigners that just feels so above and beyond that of the US.

  23. Ramon Cordova Says:

    The Seok Gur An grotto visit was one of the highlights of the trip for me. After a dizzying bus ride winding up hairpin turns to the top of the mountain, I loved being able to walk up the mountainside trail in the cool, fresh air to the summit, where the Buddhist temple awaited. I was mesmerized and touched by the Buddhist prayer ritual that was in progress behind the glass partition. It was so serene and so spiritual that it made me want to learn more about Buddhism and its history in South Korea. I enjoyed it so much that I bought a little Buddhist bracelet at the tiny shop just below the temple, where the colorful decorations for the recently passed hung.

  24. Clare Lanaux Says:

    This was one of my favorite days of the trip. I loved learning about the different religions practiced in Korea. I was unaware that the majority of Koreans are Christian. Sol told me that temples are normally found far from major cities making it harder to practice which made seeing Buddhists praying in the temples tucked in the mountains so much more touching. Visiting these sites made me want to dig into the history of Buddhism and the teachings because of the serene and spiritual feeling that emanated from these sites.

  25. M. Ku Says:

    We had such beautiful weather at the Daereungwon Tombs– the trees were beginning to bloom, and there were so many young couples out taking photos together! A lot of fun people-watching.

    I was struck by how many tombs have been left untouched. My impulse would be to excavate and catalog and study everything inside to better understand this part of history. But perhaps it’s precisely the total devastation of the war and how new the cities are that the South Koreans have left these ancient funeral mounds as they are– a piece of history left to exist in whole.

  26. Jaey Li Says:

    I enjoyed the short hike to see the temple in Gyongju. Again it reminds me of things I’ve seen in China but on a much smaller scale. The meal at noon was wonderful as we tried many traditional food. The marinated crabs were my favorite that day. It was raw but delicious at the same time. While it’s not something that most westerners found appetizing (at least in concept), those who tried it at my table actually enjoyed it. I also bought some Gyongju bread, which was a local specialty and recommended to me by my other Korean friends. It had red bean paste fillings and were really delicious.

    We tried out the Hanbok in the afternoon, something that I wanted to try since day 1. There were fewer pieces to each set of costumes than I had expected (in comparison to Japanese yukata), but each piece complements the other and gave me quite a good final look. I think it embodies a lot about the Korean culture, where everything works together in a harmonious way to achieve a better result.

  27. Garrett Arras Says:

    The grotto was one of my favorite parts of the trip! It was a great walk on a semi-cold but beautiful day. The number of Korean visitors at each of the stops today really stressed how important these areas are to Korean culture. The tombs and temples were nothing like anything I had seen before! I really enjoyed being in awe of the exhibits alongside other Korean visitors, who were just as inspired as we were.

  28. jolene wang Says:

    Food was great during lunch. The highlight of the day would be the village visit. I finally got to try on the traditional Korean dress. East Asia shared a lot of similarities in culture and particularly in clothing and written language, influenced by China.

  29. Blair Madole Says:

    This was one of my favorite days on the trip. Visiting the temples and exploring the mountains was beautiful, and the warmer weather made it memorable. I never realized Korea had geography like that! Definitely some of my best pictures came from the visit to the Bulguksa Temple and the surrounding area.

  30. Neomi S Says:

    Having grown up in India and learned a lot about Buddhism, I found the temple visits to be lovely. I enjoyed breaking off from the group at the temple and exploring the beautiful setting in silence and taking memorable photos.

    All day (expect the snow in the morning!) we enjoyed a beautiful glimpse of spring flowers, and a number of couples taking photos in traditional garb.

    At the village, Nick and I encountered the kindest old man/tour guide who shared the history of the bridge with us. We were shocked that he left without demanding any money from us tourists! He simply wanted us to know the history.

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