With some very notable exceptions, it often feels like if you’ve seen one Buddhist Temple in Korea, you’ve seen them all. That’s not a knock on the temples here, it’s just pointing out the obvious. They’re seemingly at the foot of every mountain. They have similar layouts. They’re all the same colors. I still love them. I find them to be very peaceful places to walk around and take some photos and feel relaxed, but a little variety is always nice.
Busan is fortunate to have one of the more unique temples in Korea in Haedong Yongungsa. As opposed to being at the foot of a mountain, it’s set on the rocky coast of the East Sea. It’s easily got to be one of the most picturesque spots in Busan. Unfortunately this is no secret, as crowds of people seem to flock there every weekend. At least the three times I’ve been there it’s been pretty packed with people, taking away most of the dream-like serenity an ocean front temple in East Asia might bring about to western minds.
Still, it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s a nice way to kill a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. An added bonus is the coin launching bridge, where you attempt to throw coins into a bucket being held by a statue. Despite my prowess at quarters, I’ve failed so far. Next time my gatorade jar of change is coming along.
Good trip idea: Once it gets warm enough to camp, go to Songjeong beach, get drunk, camp out, wake up early (or more likely stay up all night), and take your cameras for some sunrise photos at the temple, minus the massive crowds.
Directions: The fastest way is to take the green line metro to Jangsan, then take a taxi. Otherwise take one of the buses that goes to Songjeong (1003, 100-1, 181, maybe some others) then transfer to the 180 bus. I’ve always had trouble finding a taxi out, so if you’ve got some Hanguel skills, you might wanna plan on calling a taxi for the ride back.
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