Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of the only seaside temples in South Korea and is by far one of the most beautiful temples I have seen since arriving to Busan.
The temple itself can be a bit tricky to find but if you make your way to Haeundae subway station, exit through exit 5/7 and hop on the 181 bus from the bus stop right beside exit 5/7, it shouldn’t be too hard to find! The bus will stop at Haedong Yonggungsa bus stop and the entrance to the temple is a 10 minute walk up the hill!
Upon first entering the temple area you will be greeted with a small street market filled with beautiful souvenirs and delicious street food! I recommend spending some time walking through here and having a look at each stall. If you are looking for some authentic souvenirs to take back home, this is the place!
Past the market stalls you will find a number of animal statues; these represent the animals of the zodiac! People will often place coins on the statue that represents their zodiac and pray for good luck. So I suggest finding out your zodiac animal before you go.
After entering the gates of the temple and following the windy staircase (108 stairs, to be exact! Which represents “108 sacred prayers of Buddhism”) down the mountain there is a viewing platform off to the left. Here you will get the most beautiful and iconic view of the temple. This view alone is worth the trip.
Back in the main area of the temple you will notice a large bridge which overlooks these statues. Here you will see people throwing 100won coins into the water for good luck!
There are so many hidden things to see in Haedong Yonggungsa, like these tiny statues placed all over the temple, that I suggest you spend as much time here as possible. It is definitely a place I will be coming back to again and again.
After exploring the temple for a while I highly recommend walking back towards the bus stop at the bottom of the hill and grabbing some lunch from the restaurant there. I was told by a friend of mine that it’s common for visitors to Haedong Yonggungsa to eat Jajangmyeon (black bean noodles) and Jjamppong (spicy seafood noodles.) A serving of both in the restaurant will cost about 13,000won and is definitely enough to feed 3 or 4 people!
*The posting was written on 6th November 2017
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