Gimhae in South Gyeongsang Province is rich in cultural relics, providing a rare glimpse into the history of Gaya, an ancient confederacy of territorial polities in the southern part of Korea.
City tour buses are a convenient way to see major tourist attractions on a shoestring budget. They depart at 10 a.m. daily provided that 15 or more people make reservations in advance through the city's tourist information center.
Five tour programs are available, ranging from one- to two-day courses. The most popular course takes in historic relics like ancient tombs as well as museums.
The tour begins with visits to the royal tombs and Gujibong, a peak that is believed to be the birthplace of King Suro, the legendary founder of Gaya.
The next destination is Gimhae National Museum, built in 1998. The three-story main building displays over 1,300 artifacts in several exhibition halls.
One of the most popular halls focuses on how steel played a critical role in the growth of the confederacy. Steel is believed to have served as money and a medium of exchange at the time, thereby boosting development through commercial trade.
Next to the main building sits an annex where children can have hands-on experience of this ancient culture and take pictures at photo zones to remember their visit.
Tourists are next taken to see a village of traditional Korean homes serving authentic meals from the period as well as traditional performances.
Visitors can also learn tea-drinking etiquette from bygone millennia and how to make traditional arts and crafts.
Tourists also can visit the birthplace of late President Roh Moo-hyun, who died in 2009.
For more information visit the city's website at tour.gimhae.go.kr, or call (055) 333-6300.
If groups of 20 or more people from nearby areas like Busan or Changwon make reservations, the operator will send buses to pick them up.