Korea’s cultural warehouse, Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도) is a region resplendent in both natural beauty and heritage sites, including enchanting temples, ancient pagodas, rock-carved Buddhas and sublime tombs. Gyeongju is often called ‘the museum without walls’ for its historical treasures, many of which are outdoors. The rounded tumuli (burial mounds) hillocks in the centre of town are beautiful and serene pyramids – stately reminders of the dead they still honour.
The region’s major city, Daegu, has a historic centre peppered with heritage churches and an excellent medicinal-herb market, with nearby streets drenched in neon, superb restaurants and craft beer bars. Elsewhere, Haein-sa is a must-see temple-library amid gorgeous mountain scenery that contains the Tripitaka Koreana, 1000-year-old wooden tablets inscribed with sacred Buddhist texts and ingeniously preserved. The ancient town of Andong offers multiple exploration options, while off the coast sits the rugged island of Ulleungdo, with endless opportunities to enjoy spectacular coastal landscapes.