After leaving Jinhae we headed to Gyeongju. I was a bit nervous. Last time I got on a bike, when I first got to Korea I nearly took out an entire biking team and I wasn’t particularly excited to ride a bike again. But I did want to continue to hang out with Gina and see what was around, but Gyeongju tends to be crowded which I knew wouldn’t be easy to navigate on a bike. Gina suggested that we get electric scooters so we could go faster and wouldn’t get as exhausted. Which was a good idea, in theory…but I had the same problem with scooters as I did with bikes. My balance is awful, I get too much in my head and when you add other people, pedestrians, cars and buses into the mix I freeze up. I tried driving one around in their back testing lot but I couldn’t get enough courage to leave the lot.
What ended up happening ended up being for the best. The bike I was testing out had two seats. So Gina turned in her keys, pointed to my bike and got some money back. Turns out my bike with two seats was cheaper and by splitting the coast it was a much better choice. She drove and I held on for dear life as she yelled “BEEP BEEP!” at anyone in our way and headed off into the road.
We were able to drive past the tombs to stop for lunch and then along the river and out towards the lake before we realized it was probably time to head back. But we had the most delightful time. We saw so many beautiful cherry blossoms along the way and while I’m sure getting to the lake itself would’ve been stunning the fact we got as far as we did was so impressive. Plus with our one bike we were able to park it almost anywhere, we did not have to worry about loosing the other person at a light or behind a crowd, and Gina could drive while I navigated.
By 5pm, when we had finally returned (and found my flower crown which had flown off and was still where I’d lost it at the start of the afternoon) our bike finally died but we’d had such a good time just driving around. We also weren’t nearly as tired as everyone who’d biked around all day.
We boarded the bus and headed to the hostel, which was much nicer than the one I’d stayed at last time I was in Gyeongju and everyone promptly passed out to take a nap. I stayed up knowing I’d feel awful if I took a nap, already feeling a little worse due to my cold and running on fumes. We ate dinner at the hostel, our group joined two other tour groups all from Wink and they bbq’d various food for us, telling us to be ready by 6:30. We didn’t get in until 6, so it wasn’t nearly enough time to get dinner ready and led to everyone filling up with the first things finished and way too much food left over. They also had beer kegs. It was fun to sit with everyone and eat, made it feel a lot like summer camp. Then after dinner those of us with enough energy headed out to the palace. We were suppose to also visit the observatory but for some reason that got scrapped. I regretted going almost immediately. I was exhausted, I’d already been there, all I wanted to do was shower in a real shower and go to bed.
But overall I did have a good time in Gyeongju this time. I think one of the things that bothered me a lot last time was how difficult it was to get around and how long it took. Being on the back of a scooter gave us the freedom to go wherever we wanted and at whatever pace we wished. I think it’s a great way to get around, and there’s so many bike rental and scooter rental shops in Gyeongju that I’m sure you’ll find something perfect for you.
For the previous post about my WinK trip tour you can read it here: Jinhae Cherry Blossom Tour 진해국항제
The next post about where we went for lunch in Gyeongju can be found here.