This is post nine of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:
- Back for One Last Score: Intro to our Korean Babymoon
- 4 Nights at the Stylish Park Hyatt Seoul
- Checking Out Seoul’s Spirits
- Eating Our Way Through Seoul
- Seoul’s Other Palaces
- Staying at the Hilton Gyeongju
- Visiting the Silla Kingdom: 1 Day in Gyeongju
- 4 Nights is Not Enough at the Park Hyatt Busan
- Temple Time in Busan
- Tricked out Again: The Busan Trick Eye Museum
- Busan BBQ: A Mixed Bag
- 14 Hours in Hong Kong: Protests, Dim Sum & Giant Buddhas
After a restful sleep at the Park Hyatt Busan, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to hit the road and visit some of Busan’s major attractions. Since we weren’t (yet) templed out, we decided to visit two of Busan’s major Buddhist temples: the Yonggungsa Temple, and the Beomeosa Temple
The Yonggungsa Temple
Only a 20 minute ride from the from the Park Hyatt Busan, the Yonggungsa Temple is located North East of the center of Busan and is situated directly on the Ocean.
This was the first Buddhist temple I’ve ever seen on the ocean, and man was it stunning. The temple was originally built in 1376 during the Goryeo Dynasty, but was reconstructed in the 1970s to match the traditional colors.
The temple is a major tourist attraction in the area, as you can tell from the number of stalls lining the entrance.
From there, just follow the path. You’ll pass humanoid statues of the zodiac characters shortly, before finding the path that leads down to the temple itself.
In addition to the normal Happy Buddha, there’s also a Seawater Great Goddess Buddha. Both were gold-colored.
Lastly, toward the top of the complex is a third Buddha, though I’m not sure which one this was. Sadly, I am not up to date on my Eastern deities.
All in all a remarkably beautiful complex, highlighted by the natural beauty of the sea. It’s hard to imagine something like this is so close to a city of 3.6 million people!
Where the Yonggungsa Temple dazzled me with its natural beauty, the Beomeosa Temple was a major letdown. Set on the northern outskirts of Busan (about an hour and half away by metro and bus), the Beomeosa Temple was originally constructed in 678 and has been burned to the ground on numerous occasions by Japanese invaders.
It’s also famous for its fighting monks, who famously repelled the Japanese invaders in both instances (though maybe they left since the temple was burning?).
Unfortunately, neither fighting monks, Japanese invaders nor anyone else was really on premises at the time we visited. Unless you count construction workers. They were everywhere.
While it was kind of cool watching the workers reconstruct the temple, the overall feel of the place was kind of a let down. It was a nice tranquil temple, but having just come from Gyeongju I felt like the Bulguksa Temple was a much more impressive Korean Buddhist Temple.
That being said, amidst all the clattering and banging, there were some genuinely beautiful moments.
Overall if I had to do it all over again I would definitely revisit the Yonggungsa Temple, but would probably skip the Beomeosa Temple.
Join us tomorrow for something completely different, a visit to the ever wacky, ever entertaining Trick Eye Museum.