Busan,a bustling city of approximately 3.6 million residents, is located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. The size of Busan is 769.82km² which is only 0.8% of the whole landmass of the Korean Peninsula. The natural environment of Busan is a harmonious relationship of mountains, rivers and sea. Its geography includes a coastline featuring superb beaches and scenic cliffs, mountains which provide excellent hiking and extraordinary views with hot springs scattered throughout the city. Busan enjoys four distinct seasons and a temperate climate that never gets too hot or too cold. Busan is the second largest city in Korea. Its deep harbor and gentle tides have allowed it to grow into the largest container handling port in the country and the fifth largest in the world. The city's natural endowments and rich history have resulted in Busan's increasing reputation as a world class city for tourism and culture, and it is also becoming renowned as a hot spot destination for international conventions.
Busan is located at the southeastern most tip of the Korean peninsula and in the mid-latitude temperate zone, which has seasonal winds. It has four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. The annual average temperature is 14.9°C. The annual average precipitation is 1,441.9mm. Busan has strong winds compared to other areas in Korea. Spring begins in March and ends in late June. Cherry blossom trees bloom in late March and the temperature is very comfortable from April to June. The rainy season at the end of June and July signals the beginning of the coming summer heat. The highest mean temperatures of around 32°C are at the end of July through mid-August. Fall is from early September through late-November. The weather is nice and cool at this time because of the continental high atmospheric pressure. Winter starts by the end of November and continues until February, but Busan rarely receives any snowfall. The average winter temperature is 3.8°C. Tourists can enjoy Busan throughout all seasons because of the nice weather and beautiful scenery. In summer, the city, particularly Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches are crowded with visitors who come to enjoy the beautiful and laidback lifestyle Busan residents have come to love.
Gyeongju, UNESCO Heritage
Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto – Cheomseongdae Observatory – Royal Tomb of King Muyeol – Gyeongju National Museum
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple are among the ancient Buddhist temples of Korea. They were established in the mid-8th century, during the golden era of the United Silla Dynasty and represent the highly developed architectural skills and creative craftsmanship of the Silla people. The magnificent and sublime beauty of Seokguram’s carvings and Bulguksa Temple’s stylobate and two stone pagodas makes them masterpiecese of Buddhist architecture, unparalleled in all of Northeast Asia.
Seokguram Grotto is an artificial cave made of granite. Inside the circular main hall is the statue of Bonjon Buddha, surrounded by this disciples on the walls. The majority of the stone statues, including the Bonjon figure, are high-value cultural patrimony as they have survived the passage of time, maintaining their original structure since the 8th century.
Bulguksa Temple, which literally translates to “Temple of the Land of Buddha,” was built to portry aspiration for Buddha’s utopia. The temple was damaged in 1592 during the Imjin War, when all is wooden structures burned down completely. The stone altars, bridges, pagodas, lanterns, and bronze statues of Buddha escaped the fire, and are well preserved to date. A partial restoration was conducted from 1969 to 1973, resulting in the current structure.
Cheomseongdae is the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. Constructed during the reign of Queen Seon-deok (632-647), it was used to observe the stars in order to forecast the weather. Cheomseongdae was built in a cylindrical shape using stones that measured 30cm in diameter. Three-hundred and sixty-two stones were piled up to make 27 levels. Roughly 4.16m up from the bottom, there is a 1㎡ square entrance with space to hang a ladder under it. The inside is filled with soil up to the 12th level, and the 19th, 20th, 25th, and 26th levels all have long rocks hanging on two areas, which are shaped like the Chinese letter ‘井’ (jeong).
This is the Royal Tomb of King Muyeol, the 29th monarch of the Silla Kingdom (654-661). He allied his forces with those of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and unified the Korean peninsula. This large tomb has a circumference of 114 meters and is 8.7 meters high. Natural stones were piled on the bottom of the tomb, and they remain buried underground. The monument stone is gone, leaving only the turtle-shaped base stone and the dragon-carved head stone. Carved in relief is the inscription, “Taejongmuyeolwangneungbi,” indicating who the owner of the monument was.
Gyeongju National Museum was founded in 1945, immediately after the Japanese occupation ended. Prior to that, Gyeongju had only one small museum facility, about the size of one of the current exhibition rooms. A major turning point for the museum came in 1975, when it moved into a new building at its current location in Inwang-dong. For the city and people of Gyeongju, the relocation of the museum was a huge event. Residents of Gyeongju turned out in droves to watch the Bell of King Seongdeok being moved. The new premises comprised the main building (today’s Archaeology Hall), the annex building (today’s Special Exhitition Hall), and a new belfry to house the Bell of King Seongdeok. Architect Lee Hui-tae (1925-1981) designed the buildings. The main building, surrounded by exterior pillars, recalls the style of a pavilion, particularly Gyeonghoeru Pavilion of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul.
The museum’s collection consists primarily of cultural relics discovered during excavations and surface surveys in the Gyeongju area. Close to 4,500 items are currently on display as the permanet exhibition. Archaeology Hall consists of Exhibition Rooms 1, 2 and 3, and Gukeun Memorial Room. This hall is home to the gold crowns of Silla and other classic artifacts of Silla. Art Hall consists of Buddhist Arts Rooms 1 and 2, the Inscriptions Room and Hwangnyongsa Room. Buddhist sculptures are also on display in the ground-floor lobby and at the mezzanine level.
Novotel Ambassador Hotel, Haeundae, Busan Korea traditional cuisine
Korean Traditional Performance