One of the most amazing things about Gyeongju are the magnificent tombs that seem to be everywhere. The main cluster of these are located in Tumuli Park or rather the Daereungwon Tomb Complex. This is a beautiful park that is a much needed green space in Korea. To be honest one of the things that I love about the area is that there is just so much green.
The tombs give an “other world” feel that I feel keeps your mind help interested in the surroundings. Located in Daereungwon are about 23 tombs and more located across the street near Cheongseongdae and behind the park next to the shopping area.
While the “flying horse” tomb gets all the press, I much prefer the double-humped tomb of Hwangnam Daechong as it sits next to a beautiful pond. Often the stopping point of many tour groups, this spot is great to sit and just relax. On the particular day that I went, it was really quiet and thus made for an enjoyable experience. If you want even more peace and quiet, go around the backside of Hwangnam Daechong and sit on the benches there. It is just far enough off the beaten path that you can truly relax.
If you go out the gates by Hwangnam Daechong, take a left and walk to the lights, then cross the street. From there you will see another set of tombs. These are free to explore and you can really get up close. The one that always stands out to me is the Bonghwangdae or Phoenix Tomb. I am always drawn to the trees growing out of it for some reason and the fact that it is next to a popular shopping area. It just feels like the meeting point of two different eras.
Finally, I just want to bring up the fact that I consider these sites as graves. Thus, despite some kids running up them when I was there, I feel that you as photographers in Korea, should treat them with respect. These sites are of great culture significance and so you should tread lightly.
[box type=”info”] Admission to the park is 1,500 won for adults, 700 won for teen, 600 won for kids under 13. Discounts for large groups as well. Parking is 4,000 for large cars and 2,000 won for compact cars.[/box]