Thursday, June 02, 2005

Korea 200505d: Bulguksa entrance

I duly pay my 4,000 won (US$4.00) entrance fee, but discover that there is no locker to leave my backpack. Bad news! Ah well, I have to take it slowly then.

The Bulguksa Temple started construction in 751 AD (part of the original temple was built in 535 AD), when the Silla citizens found that they needed to realize Buddha's ideal nation in the real world. Hence the complex was designed incorporating Buddha-approved architecture, geometry and mathematics. Buddhist orderliness and ideals are reflected in the design and architecture of structures and temple layout.

To an ignorant bloke like sounds like a damn pleasant place! But when I enter the gate, I find two pairs (one pair on each side) of mean-looking giants straddling four hapless chaps! What a start.

To enter Bulguksa, one has to cross a bridge and pass a gate. Posted by Hello

Two nasty-looking dudes at the gate. There's another pair behind me facing these two, equally mean-looking. Posted by Hello

Poor chap! Posted by Hello

Another poor chap. Posted by Hello

Korea 200505c: Ride to Bulguksa

After the morning ordeal at Gyeongju Market, I decide to make a trip to Bulguksa Temple, one of Korea's best-known, and a must for visitors. I hail bus no. 11 in the street and mutter 'Bulguksa' to the driver, and with the help of an English-speaking Korean passenger (lucky me!), I discover the fare is 1,300 won (US$1.30).

The Korean bus systems in the urban areas work totally on trust. You should know how much your fare is, and just dump any combo of coins and notes into a receptacle, which swallows the whole lot into a metallic box. If you need change, just tell the driver, and he will operate a button which causes the cash box to spew out the exact change...or something like that. The thing I notice is that people entering the bus just throw cash (or use some sort of e-cash card), and the driver is not bothered a single bit - except when somebody asks for change. It is a very simple and convenient system.

Thirty minutes later, I am deposited at the car park of Bulguksa Temple, and I make an uphill trek to the entrance of the complex. Quite a task, especially with a pack on the back! It is located in the scenic forest at the foot of Mt Tohamsan, southeast of Gyeongju town.

Bus ride to Bulguksa Temple Complex. Posted by Hello

Plaque commemorating Bulguksa's entry into World Heritage List.Posted by Hello