안녕Busan, 안녕Gyeongju

11-11-2013

It’s Pepero Day! If you’re unfamiliar with the day, here’s something to read about it: Pepero Day: Eight things you should know.

I was awoken at 6 AM by somebody banging on the door loudly. It’s a new guest.

The wind was howling the night before. By 7.30 AM, I left Kim’s house. The sky was cloudy and it was a cold day. Brrrrrr…… perhaps the sky was sad seeing me leaving Busan :p.wpid-20131111_072936.jpgI walked the short distance to subway station. At the station, I used the ticketing machine to buy a ticket. It’s easy. First, I chose the English language then I chose the subway line and the destination station. I chose the Busan Station because I had to take the KTX to Gyeongju. After that, I chose the number of ticket to buy and inserted the money. It’s KRW 1,400. Using the Bee Card, it’s only KRW 1,100. The ticket was small and must be inserted to open the gate. Most gates only have a tap area for the smart-card. Only a few gates had a hole to insert the ticket.

It was rush hour. The train was packed with people going to work or to their school.

At 8.20 AM I arrived at Busan Station, I exited through exit 4 and found a huge building that looked like a station on my right. It’s the train station.20131111_08192220131111_081934The sky looked pretty that morning, despite the wind and the cold.

I booked the KTX ticket before I left for Korea via its website. Now, at the station I had to exchange it. I entered the station through the 1st level. There’s an escalator to enter directly to 2nd level. I thought the ticketing office would be in the 1st level but I misread the sign. The ticketing office was in 2nd floor. I realized this after walking all the way to the end of 1st level and not founding any ticketing offices.

At the ticketing office, I presented the booking receipt and my passport. I was asked to signed to charged my credit card. I just realized that they didn’t charge my card when I booked the ticket via the website.

I still have time to have breakfast. There were several restaurants inside the station. Since it’s a cold day, I chose to eat something spicy. I went to a small canteen at the corner and ordered a bowl of ramyeon (KRW 4,000).20131111_084106 20131111_084055It was 9 AM when I finished my yummy breakfast. I went to find the train platforms. Btw, the interior of the station was clean and bright. It sparkled.20131111_083136 20131111_082953 20131111_082742The train platforms were at the 1st floor. My trip was at 9.20 AM but the train was already at the platform at 9.05 AM.20131111_090430 20131111_090500I went to the platform no 11 and found the car no 6. Inside the car, I went to my seat (11A) near the window. 20131111_091506The KTX was the fast / bullet train. The TV monitor inside the train showed how fast it ran. I noticed that morning, it ran at 270 KM/hour.

It was sunny and the view was pleasant. Near Gyeongju, I saw hills and valleys. The train arrived in Singyeonju station at 9.46 AM. The trip was only 26 minutes from Busan.I took my time to go out from the train platform. I enjoyed the view so much and while I was taking picture, I heard a loud booming sound. I think it’s the sound of the train passing through the tunnel near the station. The train moved so fast that it created a loud sound when it exited a tunnel……well at least that how I theorized based on what’s left of the physics lessons I had in my brain. 20131111_095517IMG_8236 IMG_8238 IMG_8239IMG_8240IMG_8241IMG_8242I left the platform using an elevator because the escalator was only for going up to the platform level. Going down, you have to use the stairs. So, since I was hauling my baggage, I chose the elevator.

The train station was new and sparkling clean. On my way out of the station, I stopped by at the tourist information, asking for the location of the bus stop. A pregnant lady officer showed me the way, she even went out of the office to show me the exit door.

She told me to exit via Exit 1 and turned right to find the bus stop. I should took bus no 50 to get me to Gyeongju city.

Outside the station, the sky and the view was gorgeous but it was a cold day.20131111_100333 20131111_100344

This is the bus routes from the train station:20131111_100321I only waited for about 2 minutes and the bus no 50 came. I was the only passenger. I paid KRW 1,200 to the bus driver.

Gyeongju was not a big city but I was amazed to see that it has a university. The road was well maintained and wide. It’s a nice city.

I got off from the bus at Jung Ang Market. Following the direction given by the hostel, I arrived at Nahbi (means: butterfly) Guest House.20131111_103636There were stairs to climb to get to the guest-house’s entrance:20131111_103604The reception area was deserted but there’s a phone number posted on the entrance door. I called that number and a short while a man came and helped me carry my baggage to ascend another flight of stairs. He told me that the rooms were being cleaned. We finished the check-in in no time and he showed me the information of the places to visit in Gyeongju posted on the wall of the reception area.20131111_103317 20131111_103331 20131111_103342 20131111_103411Okay, it’s time to explore Gyeongju!

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