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On the Shores of Gyeongju

한국관광의 메카 “Beautiful Gyeongju”가 여러분을 초대합니다.

Gyeongju and its Coastline – A Full Guide: Travel and Relax
Even when you’re in downtown Gyeongju, you’ll notice the warm and inviting sea breeze blowing in from beaches near Gyeongju beckoning you towards the sea. You might start imagining the sound of ocean waves drawing you closer. If you’re longing for the sea, it’s time to leave the hustle and bustle of Gyeongju behind for a trip to the beautiful seaside. Gyeongju may have many things to see but its coastline provides a carefree breath of fresh air. Of course, there are many cultural heritage sites and geological attractions to enjoy while you here as well. But the sea just feels particularly special. Learn about Gameunsa Temple Site and the Tomb of King Munmu, appreciate the natural beauty of Jusangjeolli or sit back and relax at a pool villa nestled in a cozy spot where the land meets the sea. This is a full guide for your trip to the sea. Enjoy your travels and relax!

#1Gameunsa Temple Site

멀리서 바라본 감은사지

Gameunsa Temple Site was built by King Shinmun for his father King Munmu. Originally, however, King Munmu started building the temple as a deterrent against Japanese pirates. But, just one year into its construction, the king passed away, so his son took over and completed the project. King Munmu, who had unified the Kingdom of Silla was concerned about protecting the country even as he lay in his death bed. His desire was to become the “Dragon of the East Sea” and protect the country from Japanese invaders. To honor his father’s legacy and dying wish, King Shinmun built King Munmu’s grave off the coast of Gyeongju. According to the history books, Gameunsa Temple Site had a special feature under one of its main halls. First recorded in the Samguk Yusa (History of the Three Kingdoms), apparently water channel was dug under the temple all the way to the sea to let King Munmu (reincarnated as a Dragon) could enter and leave the temple at any time. Even at a distance, the magnificent three-story stone pagoda in front of the main temple building is eye-catching. Standing roughly four stories high, the twin pagodas are a prime example of this new architectural style for pagoda towers during the Unified Silla Dynasty period (previously most pagodas were singular structures).

  • 감은사지 금당터 지하석조유구
  • 감은사지삼층석탑 야경
Gameunsa Temple Site Information
  • Location : 1248 Donghaean-ro, Gyeongju-si
  • Opening Hours : No fixed time
  • Entrance fee : Free
  • Note : Cultural Tourism Guide (Guided explanations: 10:10-16:30, peak season until 17:00)

#2Tomb of King Munmu

경주 문무대왕릉(경상북도제공)

In his essay "A Journey to Gyeongju," Korean art historian Go Yu-seop wrote, "If you go to Gyeongju, you must visit the Royal Tomb of King Munmu."
"When you go to Gyeongju, find the tomb of King Munmu. "Don't go around Gyeongju looking for sights, but try to remember the spirit of King Munmu… (skip)… Find the legacy and great mind of King Munmu in the ruins of Gyeongju. If you go to Gyeongju, find the tomb of King Munmu."- Excerpt from A Journey to Gyeongju
Perhaps the reason why Go Yu-seop asked us to visit the Royal Tomb of King Munmu so adamantly may be because of the patriotic inclinations of his master and mentor, who had a strong anti-Japanese sentiment similar to that of King Munmu who wanted to protect his country even after his death. Working from the foundation laid by his father King Muyeol, King Munmu (30th monarch of Silla) unified the three kingdoms of Korea, and protected the country until his last breath. He desired to be cremated and buried at sea so that he could become an Ocean Dragon and keep the country safe. Respecting his wishes, the remains of King Munmu were cremated on land (presumed to be at Neungji tower), and spread over the Daewangam Rock off over an underwater tomb off the coast of Bonggil Beach in Yangnam-myeon. The Tomb of King Munmu was made using natural rock. If you look at Daewangam Rock from above, you’ll see the water entering the rock and spreading out in all directions (North, South, East, West). The special arrangement of rocks keep the inner section of Daewangam Rock calm at all times. Under the surface, there is a turtle-shaped boulder (3.7m long and 2.06m wide) that covers what is presumed to be the final resting place of King Munmu. If you get a chance, take in the serene view of the tomb of a King, who became an Ocean Dragon, and the beautiful seaside view of Bonggil Beach. The experience will fill your heart with pride and peacefulness at the same time.

  • 해변에서 바라본 문무대왕릉
  • 문무대왕릉 일출 (경상북도관광사진공모전 장려상 : 김학수 일출)
Tomb of King Munmu Information
  • Location : 26, Bongil-ri, Yangbuk-myeon, Gyeongju
  • Opening Hours : No fixed time
  • Entrance fee : Free

#3Eupcheonhang Port Mural Village

읍천항 벽화마을의 벽화

Although Eupcheon Port is well-known to anglers as the best spot for mackerel and mullet, it’s even better known among tourists for its Mural Village. Since Eupcheon is a modest port, the majority of the fishing vessels are small fishing boats. The port itself is beautiful, but the thing you’ll be most interested in would be the murals painted throughout the port-side village. Eupcheonhang Port Mural Village was established by the Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant after it held a mural contest in 2010. College students and artists from all over the country gathered to create murals filled with new ideas and messages. Afterwards, several mural contests were held to replace old paintings and add paintings to new walls. You can have fun finding new murals every time you visit. Eupcheonhang Port Mural Village is the starting point for the “Sound of Ocean Waves Road” in Yangnam Jusangjeolli. If you head over to the lighthouse or the small park near the village, you can access the coastal pathway to go for an extended walk.

  • 읍천항 조형물
  • 읍천항 벽화마을의 벽화
Eupcheonhang Port Mural Village Information
  • Location : 30, Eupcheonhanggu-gil, Yangnam-myeon, Gyeongju-si
  • Opening Hours : No fixed time
  • Entrance fee : Free

#4Yangnam Jusangjeolli (Columnar Joints) Ocean Wave Walk and Observatory

양남주상절리 - 부채꼴주상절리

In 2012, when the Army base in Eupcheon-ri, Yangnam-myeon relocated to a different area, a hidden treasure was discovered inside the former Army base. The Yangnam Jusangjeolli formation is a product of wind, waves, and rock. It was designated as Natural Monument No. 536 in September, 2012 due in large part to the sheer beauty and variety of its rock formations. Now, do you know what a columnar joint is? Columnar joints are geological features created by volcanic activity and are often found in the forms of towering hexagonal pillars made with volcanic rock. Yangnam Jusangjeolli has various forms of columnar joints, such as fan-shaped columnar joints, slanted columnar joints, and lying columnar joints. Among the different types of columnar joints, the most interesting is a fan-shaped columnar joint, which resembles a large Korean fan. It is a rare formation that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

  • 전망대에서 바라본 주상절리
  • 양남주상절리 파도소리길

Meanwhile, the Jusangjeolli “Sound of Ocean Waves Road” is 1.7km-long coastal route that stretches from Eupcheon Port to Haseo Port. It features well-maintained decked roads, gazebos, benches, and bridges. Also, in October 2017, an observatory was built to give visitors a chance to observe Yangnam Jusangjeolli from a whole new perspective. The Jusangjeolli Observation Deck is filled with exhibits on various geological resources, including Yangnam Jusangjeolli, and a commentator is always on site to provide more information on geological features to visitors.

Yangnam Jusangjeolli Ocean Wave Walk and Observatory Information
  • Location: Eupcheon-ri, Yangnam-myeon, Gyeongju-si
  • Opening Hours: 09: 30-18: 00
  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Inquiries : 054 775 6366

#5Gyeongju Coastal Pool Villa

Did you know you can spend a relaxing and luxurious day at a pool villa in Korea? Pool villas are not just for the tropics. There are several pool villas in Gyeongju that capture the beautiful scenery of the East Sea.

  • Sharp n’ Flat Pool Villa
    • 샵앤플랫의 인피니티 풀
    • 바다와 샵앤플랫이 보이는 항공사진
    • 샵앤플랫의 내부와 인피니티풀
    The Sharp n’ Flat Pool Villa features an eye-catching and unique cylindrical building, set right in front of the beach. Given the fact that it faces the ocean, the Sharp n’ Flat Pool Villa is guaranteed to give you a great ocean view. Each room has an infinity pool, designed to create the feeling that pool is actually spilling directly into the ocean.
    Sharp n’ Flat Information
  • The Marine Pool Villa
    • 더마린 풀빌라 항공사진
    • 더마린풀빌라 인피니티풀에서 보이는 노을
    The Marine Pool Villa has two types of rooms - the pool villa room with a private pool or the spa room which has a spa. The outdoor swimming pool and log sauna are available for all guests.
    The Marine Pool Villa Information
  • SG Villa and Hotel
    • SG빌라앤호텔 수영장과 건물
    • SG빌라앤호텔 인피니티풀
    The pool at the SG Villa and Hotel is filled with water sourced from a natural hot spring 800m underground. The Hotel is divided into penthouse rooms each with a separate infinity pool, general rooms, and deluxe rooms. In summer, guests can also use the outdoor swimming pool.
    SG Villa and Hotel Information
  • Route 94
    • 루트94 전경
    • 루트94 인피니티풀
    Route 94 is a newly-built pool villa located near Yangnam Jusangjeolli. Guest rooms with private pools and spa access are available. Route 94 is well-known as a good pool villa with a reasonable price tag.
    Route 94 Information
    • Location : 225-6, Yangnam-ro, Yangnam-myeon, Gyeongju-si
    • Inquiries : 010 3036 0094
    • Website : http://www.route94.kr/

#6Sunrise at the Songdaemal Lighthouse


Once you’ve seen Bonggil Beach and the Tomb of King Munmu, there’s one thing left to do near the Gampo Port area - visit Songdaemal Lighthouse. The name Songdaemal(松臺末) means “edged with pine trees.” Befitting its name, the lighthouse is surrounded by black pine forest with trees that are well over 200 to 300 years old. The lighthouse sitting on top of the breakwater in Gampohang featured carvings of the three-story stone pagoda in Gameunsa Temple. Similarly the Songdaemal Lighthouse was inspired by the three-story pagoda at Gameunsa Temple. In fact, the lighthouse itself sits on top of a Hanok-styled building, which adds to its unique look.
Songdaemal Lighthouse was built as an unmanned lighthouse in 1955 to ensure the safety of vessels passing nearby against several dangerous submerged rocks. A new lighthouse was built in 2001 in its Hanok style next to the existing structure. The building is now used as an exhibition hall for the lighthouse. In front of the lighthouse, there is a decked pathway that helps visitors enjoy the scenery more comfortably and safely. The Songdaemal Lighthouse is a particularly breathtaking place to watch the sun rise above the East Sea.

  • 송대말등대
  • 송대말등대
Songdaemal Lighthouse Information
  • Location : 18-94, Chucksa-gil, Gampo-eup, Gyeongju
  • Opening Hours : No fixed time (Lighthouse Exhibition Hall 09: 00-18: 00)
  • Entrance fee : Free

#7Gampo Port and Gampo Ocean Park Walk

감포항 앞바다

In 2020, the Gampo Port, the largest port near Gyeongju, celebrates its centennial birthday. The Port is always busy with fishing boats bringing in fresh catches of the day, and fishermen auctioning off fresh fish. If you stay in Gampo Port, you’ll feel revitalized and energized. It is well worth visiting Gampo Gongseol Market which opens on days ending in the number 3 and 8 to try the local delicacy - flounder sashimi.

Gampo Port and Eogwi Village also has a fantastic walking trail known as the “Gampo Kakkji Path.” Gampo Kakkji Path has a network of coastal trails (seven courses along Gampo Beach). If you start at Gampo Port, you can access section-4 of the walking trail through an adjacent alleyway. The trails give you a great opportunity to appreciate the past and present of Gampo Port existing in balance and harmony. The alleyway is also abound with Japanese-styled houses (敵産家屋) that were built during the Japanese occupation of Korea, when large numbers of Japanese people immigrated to Korea. On the trail, you’ll come across friendly locals at fishing villages as well. Meanwhile, the Artic Daisy street is famous for alley walls embellished with the light purple blossoms of daisies. It’s a lovely spot to take some nice photos.

  • 감포깍지길
  • 감포깍지길에 그려진 벽화
  • 감포해상공원

Apart from Gampo Port and Gampo Kakkji Trail, there is another thing you simply cannot miss. It’s the Gampo Ocean Park. Finished just last year, the Park is equipped with decked coastal trails, a pinwheel garden, Gampo harbor sculptures, benches, toilets, and a car park.

Gampo Port and Gampo Ocean Park Walk Information
  • Location : 115 Gimpo-ro, Gampo-eup, Gyeongju-si

#8Jeonchon Port


On the way to Gampo Port is another small port called Jeonchon Port. In 2004, Jeonchon was selected for the government's fishing village development project and soon became a hot spot for tourism. In 2009, a redevelopment project was launched and the area was fashioned with a parking lot, plaza, fountain, pergola, gazebo, decked trails, and an observation deck. Light fixtures were also installed on the breakwater, to make sure it glistens beautifully throughout the night. The peaceful harbor view from the observatory, in particular, is a must-have experience, so don’t miss out!
It is well worth having a look at the “Great Horse Statue (Geomasang)” at the entrance of Jeonchon Port. There are several folk tales about horses abound in this area, and there are many places named after horses such as the “Great Horse”. Jeonchon Port is home to the “Great Horse Stables Village,” and to the North, there is mountain called “Great Horse Mountain (Geomasan)” due to the fact that it resembles a horse laying down to rest. Also, during the Silla Dynasty, cavalry divisions were stationed in a place called “Great Horse Stables” (Geomajang) to prevent forays led by Japanese pirates. This is likely how the village in Jeonchon Port got its name. Not far from Jeonchon Port is Jeonchon Pine Beach, which features a Black Pine forest along the shoreline that makes the Beach the perfect place for a stroll.

  • 전촌항 전경
  • 전촌항 거마상
Jeonchon Port Information
  • Location: Jeonchon-ri, Gampo-eup, Gyeongju-si