What to do in Gongju

What to Do in Gongju – All the Baekje Sites You Need To See

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Despite South Korea’s small size, the country has a long and vibrant history with various different kingdoms fighting for their territory on the Peninsula over hundreds of years. One of these warring states was the Kingdom of Baekje with the capital city named Ungjin from AD 475 to 538 before the capital was moved to Sabi (in modern-day Buyeo County). Here’s what to do in Gongju, including all the most important historic attractions!

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Why visit Gongju?

Before King Seong moved the Baekje capital to Buyeo in 538 AD, his father led the kingdom from Gongju (named Ungjin at the time). The Baekje-era lasted until 660 AD when the alliance between the Korean Shilla and Chinese Tang dynasties together overthrew it. Today, visitors can still explore several Baekje sites and relics in Gongju. The city is very compact and the Baekje sites are very close together, making it a very walkable city.

Tip: If you head to Gongju by car, I recommend first heading to the national museum, which has a large parking lot. From there, you can walk to the Muryeong Tombs passing by the Gongju Hanok Village. Magoksa Temple is further from the center.

These are the best things to do in Gongju.

What to do in Gongju

Gongju National Museum

This museum displays cultural treasures excavated from northern Chungcheongnam-do with special focus on the cultural treasures discovered at the Muryeong Royal Tomb in 1971. The museum spans over two floors and a small outdoor exhibition. Visitors can explore over 1000 relics, including the relics from the Muryeong tomb. There even is a full-scale model of the Muryeong tomb.

 

Address: 34, Gwangwangdanji-gil, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do
충청남도 공주시 관광단지길 34 (웅진동)

Inquiries: 1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Operating Hours: Weekdays 10:00-18:00, Weekends & Public holidays 10:00-19:00
– April-October 10:00-21:00 – November-March 10:00-19:00
– Nighttime opening (Saturdays, April-October) 10:00-21:00

Closed Mondays (The next weekday if Monday is a national holiday ), New Year’s Day, the Day of Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day)

 

what to do in Gongju
what to do in Gongju
what to do in Gongju
what to do in Gongju

What to do in Gongju

Pojeongsa Temple & Sammun Gate

From the museum, continue your way towards to Royal Tombs and you will pass the Pojeongsa Temple site and Sammun Gate along the way. This is the place where the officials of Chungcheong-do in the Joseon Dynasty were executing official duties. It was also designated as tangible cultural property No. 93 in 1980. Even though this historic site does not date back to the Baekje Dynasty, it’s still worth a visit while you’re there.

 

Address: 332-9 Ungjin-dong, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

what to do in Gongju

What to do in Gongju

Gongju Hanok Village

This hanok village is relatively new and was built in 2010 between the Muryeong Tombs and Gongju National Museum. It comprises a total of 19 hanok houses and 4 auto camping spaces, 9 outdoor kitchens, 1 multi-purpose room, and a small shopping center. At the village, you can travel back in time and engage in various cultural activities from the Baekje era, including traditional games, tea ceremonies, traditional paper making and even a traditional Korean wedding ceremony.

 

Address: 12 Tourist Complext Street (Woongjindong 337), Gongju

Operating Hours: AM 09:00 – PM 18:00

 

what to do in Gongju
what to do in Gongju

What to do in Gongju

Royal Tombs

Also referred to as the Ancient Tombs in Songsan-ri, these ancient sites retain the burial grounds of the royal family that ruled over Baekje during the Ungjin period (475-538). The whole area consists of seven tombs, including the Tomb of King Muryeong, the 25th king of Baekje and his queen. Interestingly, tombs 1 to 5 each feature a stone chamber with a tunnel entrance, as was common in Baekje, while tomb no. 1 and the Tomb of King Muryeong were built as brick chambers, which were popular in China at the time.

The king’s tomb was actually discovered by accident in 1971 during drainage works on tombs no. 5 and 6, around 1,500 years after it was originally constructed. It was also the only tomb that had not been looted and all Baekje treasures remained as they were left after the king’s burial.

The tomb site also has a small museum with replicas of each tomb that you can enter and explore. Visitors cannot enter the actual tombs but walk around the tomb site and see them from outside.

 

Address: 57 Ungjin-dong, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Operating Hours: AM 09:00 – PM 18:00

what to do in Gongju
What to do in Gongju
What to do in Gongju

What to do in Gongju

Gongsanseong Fortress

Gongju also has its very own fortress! Gongsanseong Fortress was built as a defensive facility for the royal palace (that sadly does not exist anymore). The total length of the fortress amounts for 2,660m (stone walls: 1,925m; earthen walls: 735m). After the downfall of Baekje, the fortress ramparts were reconstructed and rebuilt as stone walls.

Today, there are daily changing of the guards performances at the fortress at every full hour from 10 AM to 4 PM (except noon).

 

Address: 280 Ungjin-ro, Ungjin-dong, Gongju-si

Operating Hours: AM 09:00 – PM 18:00

What to do in Gongju
What to do in Gongju

What to do in Gongju

Coffee Break at Hanok Café Edge

If you’re in need of a break and/or some caffeine, make a stop at Hanok Café Edge near Gongsanseong. The café is absolutely gorgeous. It consists of two hanok buildings divided by a green courtyard with outdoor seating. The drinks and desserts are delicious and you can try a special Gongju chestnut latte, which was truly divine.

 

Address: Chungcheongnam-do, Gongju-si, Geumseong-dong, 197-12번지

What to do in Gongju
What to do in Gongju

What to do in Gongju

Magoksa Temple

Magoksa Temple is the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. According to historical records, the temple was built in the 9th century when Buddhism began to spread throughout Korea. It’s about 25 minutes by car from Gongju city center.

Together with six other temples, Magoksa is part of Sansa, or Buddhist mountain monasteries, that have been registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Korea. All of these sansa monasteries are characterized by a unique layout specific to Korea – the ‘madang’ (open courtyard) flanked by four buildings (Buddha Hall, pavilion, lecture hall and dormitory).

What’s even more unique about Magoksa is the fact that the complex is divided by a stream. The northern compound contains the main hall and a five-story stone pagoda with a Tibetan-style top story from the 14th century. The southern compound features a small yard and contains Yeongsanjeon Hall and a place to practice meditation with a Buddha statue and a painting of Buddha’s life (The Eight Great Events).

 

Address: 966 magoksa-ro, Sagok-myeon, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

What to do in Gongju
What to do in Gongju
What to do in Gongju

Where to stay in Gongju

Great Hotels in Gongju

If you are planning to stay overnight in Gongju, there are a couple of great options to choose from.

Sosoa Hanok

This beautiful designer hanok cluster is ideal for those wanting to experience traditional Korean accommodation with modern amenities. Comprised of five individual hanok buildings created by a group up of architects, designers, curators, and chefs, who wanted to have a place to relax and escape from their busy lives. All rooms are missing purposely missing a TV in order to fully let go and relax in a neutral environment.

 

Address: 81-2, Jemincheon 1-gil, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Book now

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Ein Haus 2

Another great place to stay in Gongju is Gongju Ein Haus 2. This hotel has a shared lounge and kitchen, a vast garden and rooftop terrace with great views of the city. Gongju Ein Haus 2 is located close to Gongsanseong Mountain Fortress. All rooms are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. American breakfast is served in the morning.

 

 

Address: 5, Meokja 1-gil, 32547 Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Book now

 

Explore Gongju!

Gongju is the perfect destination for a day trip from Seoul and other parts in in South Korea. It’s a nice little town to enjoy nature and learn something about the history of Korea’s Baekje era.

Don’t forget to follow Linda Goes East on Instagram for more Korea and Asia adventures!

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Linda

Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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