About Gyeongju

1. About Gyeongju

Gyeongju, located in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula, was the capital of the Silla Kingdom (BC 57-AD 935) for almost a thousand years. The entire city was designated a National Park by the government in honor of the historic temples, ruins, monuments and artifacts that can be found throughout the area. Most prominently, it is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju Historic Areas, and the historic village of Yangdong.

Gyeongju can be divided into 7 distinct tourist zones - Downtown, Bomun, Bulguksa, Namsan, Donghae, Seoak, and Bukbu. Each zone has its own unique appeal which allows visitors to plan a wide variety of events to suit different themes and purposes.

The entire Namsan Mountain can almost be considered a cultural asset because of the many stone pagodas and Buddha statues that can be found here. The Bulguk district is home to many of Gyeongju’s most well-known attractions such as Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, Gyeongju Folk Village, Silla Arts and Science Museum, and Wangreung (Tomb)

In the Bomun district, there are plenty of recreation facilities surrounding Bomunho Lake. Other attractions in the area include Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park, Gyeongju World and Silla Millennium Park.

2. Climate

Due to its location close to the coast, Gyeongju has a slightly milder and nicer climate than the more inland regions of Korea. In general, however, the city’s climate is typical of South Korea. It has hot summers and cool winters, with a monsoon season between late June and early August. Autumn months (October and November) are the best time to visit Gyeongju, as the city experiences cozy and pleasant weather with cobalt blue skies and low humidity. Gyeongju is one of the best tourist destinations within Korea during the autumn season for its breath-taking foliage. There may be light showers throughout the day, and average temperatures are 24 degrees Celsius high, 10 degrees Celsius low.

3. Language

The official language is Korean. The city has a distinctive dialect that it shares with northern portions of Ulsan. This dialect is like the general Gyeongsang dialect but retains the distinctive characteristics of the Gyeongju dialect as vestiges of the Silla language. English is commonly spoken as a second language in large cities, especially in major hotels, restaurants and shops. Smaller businesses in Gyeongju may speak limited English. Simultaneous translation into Korean will be provided during the plenary sessions on Monday and Wednesday.

4. Airports

Gimhae International Airport in Busan (PUS) is the closest major international airport to the city, with 25 airlines serving more than 10 million passengers every year. It takes about 90 minutes by car from the airport to the Hilton Hotel Gyeongju.

Seoul Airport, known as Incheon International Airport (ICN) is the largest airport in South Korea and the primary airport serving Seoul, the largest city and the capital of South Korea. If you arrive in Incheon airport you may take a connection flight to Gimhae International airport (PUS) or book a KTX train, which brings you to Gyeongju’s closest station (Singyeongju) in 3,5 hours. From there it is another 30 minutes by car to the Hilton Hotel.

For more information on how to travel to Gyeongju, see the page "Your Way to Gyeongju".

5. Currency

The unit of currency is the Korean Won. Various notes and coins are used – notes include 1,000 Won, 5,000 Won, 10,000 Won and 50,000 Won denominations, while coins include 10 Won, 50 Won, 100 Won, and 500 Won denominations.

1,000 ₩ = € 0.801,000 ₩ = $ 0.89
2,000 ₩ = € 1.602,000 ₩ = $ 1.78
5,000 ₩ = € 4.005,000 ₩ = $ 4.45

*Please note that this exchange rate is subject to change. Please check www.xe.com for the most up-to-date rate.

6. Time Zone

Gyeongju is located within Korea Standard Time, which is UTC +9.

7. Tipping and Service Charges

Tipping is not required nor expected in Korea. However, most major hotels add a compulsory 10% service charge to bills. This is on top of the 10% VAT (which is usually included in prices at most stores in Korea, but not in some high-end restaurants). Taxi drivers will appreciate it if you tell them to "keep the change" (or jandon gajiseyo in Korean), but this is not expected, and they will have trouble understanding if you want to give them anything more than change (like "keep 1,500 won and return only 2,000 won to me".)

8. Electricity

The standard electricity supply is 220 volts AC/60 cycles. Most hotels may provide outlet converters for 110 and 220 volts.

Electrical sockets (outlets) in South Korea (the Republic of Korea/ROK) are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. If your appliance's plug does not match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it is crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all three types.

9. Smoking

In Korea, smoking is banned in indoor public spaces and workplaces (including restaurants, bars and casinos) by all territories and provinces, and by the federal government.