The Story of...

The Story Of…All Korean Temples Look the Same

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Just one of the scenic views at Tongdosa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone,

I thought I would finally write an opinion piece about Korean temples. In particular, I’d like to address a statement that has often been leveled at temples by expats in Korea. So without further ado, here it goes.

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The Story of…Donghaksa Temple

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The main hall and courtyard at Donghaksa Temple in Gonju, Chungcheongnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

I had first visited Donghaksa Temple, just outside Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, back in 2004. Ever since quickly visiting the temple in the spring of 2004, on a late afternoon day with a friend, I had wanted to go back. The opportunity to revisit this beautifully situated temple came during the summer of 2011.

Unlike the previous time I had visited Donghaksa Temple, the sky was overcast and starting to rain. I was feeling a bit unwell, and the weather certainly wasn’t helping.


The Story of…Sujeongsa Temple

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 Inside the elaborate and colourful main hall at Sujeongsa Temple in Ulsan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Sujeongsa Temple was recommended to me by a friend. He glowingly spoke about the temple and its double Samseong-gak (a shrine hall inside a shrine hall). It only took us a couple drive-bys and misses to finally spot the unmarked turn-off to the temple. Up a long and narrow one lane road, we finally arrived at the end of the road and the temple at the same time.


The Story Of…Baekyangsa Temple

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The icy Baekyangsa Temple in Jeollanam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

The beautiful Baekyangsa Temple is located in scenic Naejangsan National Park. With the jagged mountains looming overhead and the rolling streams running down its ridges, Baekyangsa Temple is situated in the centre of this beauty. With a handful of temple halls and stone monuments, I took my time and soaked it all in. After seeing the fifth temple of the day in Jeollanam-do, I decided to call it a day and retire to a neighbouring hotel.


The Story Of…Bulguksa Temple

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Korea’s most famed temple: Bulguksa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!


The Story Of…Tongdosa Temple

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The famed Geumgang Gyedan Altar with the lotus shaped stone that houses the Buddhas partial remains behind the main hall at Tongdosa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

I’m often asked what my favourite temple in all of Korea is, which makes sense because I run a website on Korean temples. For me, the answer is quite simple: Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. There are so many reasons why Tongdosa Temple is my favourite temple in Korea; so many of those reasons revolve around fond memories.


The Story Of…Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

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The beautiful view at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone and Merry Christmas!!


The Story of…Cheontaesa Temple

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The view from the mouth of the waterfall at Cheontaesa Temple

Hello Again Everyone!!

So often, you’ll go to a temple and it’s packed with people like at Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju or Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. For some people, like me, this takes a little bit away from the zen-like feeling I kind of expect at a Korean Buddhist temple. However, expectations aren’t always met by reality.


The Story Of…Samneung Valley in Gyeongju

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 The Large Seated Statue of Mireuk-bul up Samneung Valley.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Sometimes, a temple adventure isn’t always amazing, or adventurous for that matter. However, Samneung Valley on Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju was both amazing and adventurous; but it was also something else: embarrassing.

I had been enjoying all the sites along the Samneung-gol Valley like the Headless Mireuk-bul Statue, the Gwanseeum-bosal Image on a Rock Face, the Two Lined-Carved Buddha Triads, the Seated Stone Buddha, and Sangseonam Hermitage, where I was able to take a bit of a rest and enjoy the amazing views that Mt. Namsan offers.


The Story of…Beopcheonsa Temple

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 The temple courtyard at Beopcheonsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

The very last major temple I had yet to visit in Yangsan was Beopcheonsa Temple. The first time I attempted to visit this nunnery in the mountains of Mt. Geumjeongsan, which borders on Busan to the south, I thought I was going the wrong way down a dirt road. The road simply seemed to be headed to nowhere. I hadn’t brought a map with me, and the prospect didn’t look all that promising, so I turned around.


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