Last weekend Blair and I decided to go to Namsan to go hiking. Gyeongju is a tourist-friendly city that I have always found easy to get around. We assumed Namsan, which is a mountain in Gyeongju, would be similar, but several failed bus attempts later, we realized we were wrong. The tourist information center at the train station along with the maps they gave out said that bus 11 went there, but it turns out that it does not. Here are some pictures to help you navigate your way there.
To hike in this area, take one of these buses (500, 505, 506, 507, 508). If you are standing at the bus terminal and looking at the main road that dead-ends into the bus terminal, you need to be on the left-hand side of that street.
Get off at Samnueng. From there, walk to the right. You will see a bathroom and an unmarked tourist information center. They were extremely helpful and even gave out trail maps and postcards! You'll cross the street and enter the trail.
The trail is surrounded by these awesome, twisty trees. Most of the trail was large rocks to climb over or in the shape of steps. It took a while, maybe 2.5 hours round trip, but mostly because there was so much to see on the way. The region is famous because there are over 100 Buddhist statues around the mountain. The biggest ones have signs posted on the trail - the statue's name and the distance from the path.
Carved pictures in the rock, I increased the contrast in the one below to make it more clear.
This giant Buddha is one of the coolest ones I've seen in Korea.
This is a "great view from a big rock."
This is the view from the summit. Literally, the entire top was surrounded by trees. I suggest stopping when the path runs around (on both sides) an oval of grass in front of a set of stairs. It's a steep walk to the top without much gratification.
After dinner, we went to Anapji Pond. You may remember this from my previous trips to Gyeongju. However, it is beautifully lit up at night, and I had only seen it during the day previously. This has been on my list for a long time, and I was thrilled to be able to finally see it.
We walked by the lotus ponds, too. Most blossoms already had burst and petals had fallen away... except for a few, just beginning to bloom.
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For those of you into hiking, this site is fantastic: 100 Noted Mountains in Korea (and it is all sorted by region).