During my absence I did go on two trips worth mentioning, I met a friend in Gyeongju for the day and attended Holi Hai here in Busan! Gyeongju was once the capital of the Silla kingdom and houses a vast network of historical sites, two of which are World Heritage Sites. Gyeongju itself seemed pretty small, especially after Busan, though some of the sites worth seeing are outside the city proper. Though we went on a relatively nice day, I would suggest going in the fall or spring. Many of Gyeongju's historic sites, such as the burial mounds are outside and I am sure are much more attractive when covered in grass and there are leaves on the trees. We were able to walk to all of the historic sites within the city proper, including the museum, but would have had to take buses to the temple and lake resort. The museum is free and worth a visit. I would suggest getting an audio guide or getting their for one of the free English tours (I believe they are just on Saturday's) because the signage isn't great. Perhaps I never noticed it in the States because I know the history better, or perhaps we really do have better signage but in any case if you don't know Korean history well like myself the sites can lose some of their meaning. Whether or not you are a big history buff, it is a nice city to wander around, they have a great outdoor market and you can rent bikes and enjoy their vast park. My last tip would be to avoid Anapji pond. The model at the museum makes it seem a lot bigger than it is and all that is left of the palace is a few pagodas. For one of the few sites we had to pay to see, I don't think it is worth it.
A Buddha statue from the National History Museum
Please feel free to comment about your own experiences in Gyeongju or post suggestions for my future trips!
I'll save Holi Hai for next week.