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Temple Stay: Magoksa Temple (Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do)

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The sun shining on the main hall at Magoksa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Introduction to the Temple:

Magoksa Temple is situated on the beautiful Mt. Taehwasan in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do. Magoksa Temple was first established in 640 A.D. by the famed monk, Jajang-yulsa. Having fallen into a bit of disrepair, the temple was reconstructed in 1172 by Bojo-guksa. The name of the temple has a bit of an interesting story behind it. After a believer looked at the temple and said it looked like a flax stack in a flax field while Bocheol, from the Silla Dynasty, was preaching. So Magoksa Temple, in English, means “Flax Valley Temple.” Uniquely, and unlike almost all other temples on the Korean peninsula, Magoksa Temple was spared any damage during the destructive Imjin War (1592-98). In fact, during the entire Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the temple suffered no wartime damage.

There are two Temple Stay programs that Magoksa Temple offers a visitor. The first is called the Magoksa Experiential Templestay. This program focuses on experiencing various activities that a monk would participate in like prayer and meditation. The other program, the Recharging Templestay, focuses on a more restive stay with less activities and more free time for participants. The schedule is a little more open than the latter program.

For more information on Magoksa Temple.


The beautiful stream that flows next to Magoksa Temple.


From the Gongju Intercity Bus Terminal, you can get local Bus #770 that will take you directly to Magoksa Temple. The ride lasts about 40 minutes. The first bus leaves at 6:10 in the morning, and the last bus departs at 20:30. In total, the bus leaves 15 times a day.

General Schedule:

Magoksa Temple runs two different programs for their Temple Stay program.

A: Magoksa Experiential Templestay: This program is a scheduled program that runs one night and two days.

Day 1:

4:00-14:30: Arrival and registration in the Yeonhwa-dang

14:30-15:00: Orientation in the Yeonhwa-dang

15:00-16:00: A temple tour

16:00-17:00: Making 108 beads in the Yeonhwa-dang

17:30-18:30: Supper

18:30-19:00: Ringing the Dharma bell at the bell pavilion; and in the evening Yebul (Chanting) in the Dharma Hall

18:30-20:00: Tea with a monk in the tea room

22:00: Bed-time


Day 2

03:00-03:30: Wake up

03:30-04:00: Dawn Yebul (Chanting) in th Dharma Hall

04:00-05:00: Individual practice or rest

05:00-06:00: Seon meditation in the Yeonhwa-dang

06:00-08:00: Breakfast (a traditional temple meal) in the Yeonhwa-dang

08:00-09:00: Team work

09:00-10:30: A guided walking meditation

10:30-11:00: Feedback and group photo in the Yeonhwa-dang

11:00-11:30: Cleaning-up and packing

11:30: Closing



(Courtesy of the Korean Temple Stay website).

B: Recharging Templestay: This program is a scheduled program that runs one night and two days.

Day 1:

15:00-17:00: Registration and a temple tour

18:00-18:30: Dinner

19:00-19:30: Evening Buddhist chanting ceremony

19:30: Free time and sleeping.


Day 2:

03:00: Morning Buddhist chanting ceremony

06:00-07:00: Breakfast

07:00-12:00: A free schedule

12:00~12:30: Lunch and check out



(Courtesy of the Korean Temple Stay website).

Magoksa Temple Information:

Address : 567, Unam-ri, Sagok-myeon Gongju-si Chungcheongnam-do

Tel : +82-41-841-6221 / Fax :

homepage :

E-mail :



Adults: 70,000 won; Teens: 60,000 won; Under 13: 40,000 won (Magoksa Experiential Templestay)

Adults: 50,000 won; Teens: 40,000 won (Recharging Templestay)


Reservations for the Magoksa Experiential Templestay at Magoksa Temple.

Reservations for the Recharging Templestay at Magoksa Temple.


The Sanshin-gak on Mt. Taehwasan.

The post Temple Stay: Magoksa Temple (Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do) appeared first on Dale's Korean Temple Adventures.

Another summer, another Korea Burn. Last years’ was...

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Another summer, another Korea Burn. Last years’ was actually just ten months prior. This year’s was over a longer period of time (Thursday, July 3rd to Sunday, July 6th), was more expensive (60,000₩ early-bird and 90,000₩ at the door), and had more people —but less theme camps. The space was littered with many more tents and bodies, but the art and interaction areas felt sparse.

For the second year in the a row, my friends and I created, set up, and executed the Hula Girls’ Phobooth theme camp, where we took photos of and with people (with props!) and then later uploaded them to a website for people to download. It’s a fun treat for people who want to have a picture to look back at, but don’t want to carry a camera themselves.

Speaking as an attendee and also as a theme camp leader, Korea Burn has increasingly become more frustrating and questionable over its span of three years. I have such a great time every year, and am also impressed by the love and creativity of the people around me. Still, I want to share some thoughts.

For the first year of Korea Burn, in 2012, the event was free. People came and openly shared with each other. I have heard that this was the best year. Of course, it’s easy to look back at the past with only fond memories. It was in a different location, was smaller, and more intimate.

For the second year of Korea Burn, in 2013, the organizers said they had to charge for the event. I don’t remember the early-bird price, but the price at the door was 50,000₩. Apparently there were unexpected costs from the prior year that had to be paid for. Also, they provided some artists with grant funds from the money collected from ticket sales. As a theme leader, I had a surprise ticket reimbursement for myself. Our theme camp was seemingly simple: take photos of people and upload them to the internet afterwards. Still, it took time and money to buy and create our costumes and props. Also, it takes me hours to upload hundreds of photos, edit them, and host them on a website that I pay for. Our theme camp received no further reimbursement. Attendees asked for transparency in regards to funds, but none was provided.

For the third year of Korea Burn, this year, costs drastically increased. it was again for the second year in a row located at the Cheongpo Island Camping Site (청포아일랜드 캠핑장) near Taean. To keep costs low, they asked attendees to sign up for three hours of volunteering, with tasks which included helping to sign-in individuals or pick-up garbage.

This year, there were two rounds of early-bird tickets. If you purchased tickets by April 30th, the price was 60,000₩ each. If you purchased tickets by June 25th, the price was 80,000₩ each. After that, tickets were 90,000₩. People endlessly complained about the soaring ticket prices and lack of transparency in regards to funds. Still no information has been released about what costs were or were funds were allocated. As a theme leader, I received absolutely no compensation this year for my camp. If one posted on the Facebook group page asking questions, they were asked to remove their post. A friend told me that they were threatened with being denied to the event and not having their ticket price refunded if they did not remove their post.

After the event, several people were sick from mosquito and sand flea/tick bites. Again, another friend of mine was told to remove their Facebook post on the Korea Burn group page.

At Korea Burn, just as with Burning Man events all over the world, we are supposed to be at “home.” One is supposed to feel open to free expression while also being accepting to all those around them. Walking around this year felt much different than the year prior. People felt duped due to increased ticket prices with no sense of where the revenue was going to. To me it felt that people were less prone to share what they brought, especially with strangers, and seemed less friendly to the idea of making new friends. I felt like many people were walking around, not really understanding what the event was about or how they fit in there.

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll go to another Korea Burn. But maybe I will. Let’s see if those ticket prices go up again and if any further details are shared with the public.

About the girl

Hi, I'm Stacy. I am from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living and teaching ESL in Busan, South Korea. Busy getting into lots of adventures, challenging myself, and loving people. Something more than an ethereal will-o-wisp.

Thank you so much for visiting and reading.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, LastfmFlickr, and FacebookAsk me anything


Park Won-soon's Apology

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It looks like Occupy City Hall has been successful. Mayor Park Won-soon released this apology on Facebook (TKQ translation).

In the recent process of enacting a Seoul Human Rights Charter and the issues that were raised by Seoul citizens and the 'Seoul Human Rights Charter' Enactment Committee, I bow my head and apologize for the anxiety I have caused.

Furthermore, with a pained heart I think of how I wasn't able to work with the Citizen Committee through to the end of the process. 

Even though I should have been more prudent and engaged myself with more responsibility, I wasn't able to act in that way, and as such I feel that the scandalous things that occurred during the discussion process are my responsibility. 

I confess that throughout my entire life, this wholly improper situation was a difficult and harsh time. 

But, on the other hand, it was a time to look at myself. Looking at my life as a citizen activist, human rights lawyer, and my current position dealing with harsh realities as the Seoul mayor, I found myself mediating between senses of duty, sleeping fitfully, and for a while not knowing what to say. 

I thought that it was important to use a consensus process to voluntary commit to a social promise, unlike other laws. 

I was unable to be in a place to announce Seoul's Human Rights Charter with the rest of the city.

I know well the dedicated process that was brought forth by the Citizen Committee to derive a consensus. However, even with this effort, I thought we needed more time and needed to have a deeper discussion as a society when looking at the harshness of reality.

I will take full responsibility for this choice.

And here right now, I promise I will make efforts to get rid of existing discrimination. 

In opposition to all forms of discrimination, there is no change in the sentiment of  'beginning with a heart' to make 'a Seoul without discrimination.' 

In the spirit of the charter's words, "Every citizen as a human being is endowed with dignity and value and should not be discriminated against", I promise to work harder.

From this point forward, it may be more difficult and more time will be needed, but Seoul will continue to be a place where discussions and arguments have the principles of open trust and communication.

For your interests and worries, I want to once more thank you deeply. 

Now, Mayor Park, it is time to ask what about an announcement for the charter? How long do we have to wait? Is this just an apology, or will it be followed with actions? Seoul's citizens are still waiting.

Hey! If you have a few seconds, would you please vote for me at...

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Hey! If you have a few seconds, would you please vote for me at the K-Blog Awards? Also, if you’re free on December 20th and in Seoul, you should go to the charity event. Thank you.

The sign of the V

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Nobody can miss the V signs that people in Korea make when posing for a picture here in Korea. All people young or old, male or female can be seen flaunting the sign of the V. Though many Koreans whom I talk to did not know why they did the V sign when they pose for the camera, I heard that the V may stand for victory, for the peace sign or (possibly in the olden times) the symbol of chopsticks to indicate that they were going for a meal presently.

V sign
The V sign :) V for Victory/Peace/chopstick/just a quiky pose?
Though the above below is the typical example of the V sign, with many variations in various levels of cuteness involving both the hands as well.

V makes the picture complete!
V makes the picture complete!
Typical poses made with fingers for the camera

 < ^^ > V signs made with both hands close to the eyes. 
<3 The index and thumbs of both the hands are curled to make the heart sign. (sarang he 사랑 해)
Thumbs up for wishing the best of luck or as the Koreans say it, Fighting!

I have not seen any Korean keeping the V behind anyone's head to form a horn, which was the main way to pose when I am with friends :)

Animal Themes, Hello Kitty Themes… And Study Themes- Cafes in Korea

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Last week I was reading about a new cafe which is opening in London- a ‘cereal cafe’, with hundreds of flavours of cereal, many of which have been discontinued or are foreign imports. Lucky Charms, Barbie Cereal, Star Wars Cereal- you name it, they’ve got it. They’ve even got cereal cakes, cereal memorabilia (yes, I would like a Kellogg’s Frosties lip-balm), and cereal artwork on the walls. As a cereal lover, it sounds like my dream cafe. Needless to say I was pretty jealous I wouldn’t be able to visit.

Then, I began to think about Korean cafes, and I began to feel a little better. Because if there’s one thing which Korea does well, it’s a cafe. First of all, they’re everywhere. You never need to worry about getting your coffee-fix, that’s for sure. And even better, there are just so many cool cafes. You can forget about boring old Starbucks or Caffe Bene, and go to one of the many exciting cafes instead. Here are just a few of the cafes in Korea that are worth a visit:

Dog Cafes


Never a more fun, or crazy, cafe will you find. Happy, excitable dogs ready and eager to play and entertain you whilst you drink your drink.

They’re chaotic, loud, and sometimes, you might have to watch dogs ‘do their business’ in the middle of the cafe. But, you will also be able to enjoy the company of many lovable dogs.

It might not be the most dignified cafe in the world, but it’s a happy one. (Just beware of dogs dribbling all over you…)


Cat Cafes


For a more peaceful animal cafe, cat cafes are the best option. A lot calmer, but you still get to play with loads of cute animals. Cats in these cafes might be slightly less sociable than dogs (we’ve been to a couple where the cats prefer to sleep than play), but they’re still happy for your attention.

Plus, you’re clothes aren’t as much at risk from paw prints and dribble, which is always a positive.

Sheep Cafe

Thanks Nature Cafe, Facebook
Thanks Nature Cafe, Facebook

If dogs and cats aren’t exciting enough for you, check out a sheep cafe instead. ‘Thanks Nature Cafe’ in Hongdae lets you enjoy your drinks in the company of sheep. The sheep might not be as playful as dogs or cats (and you definitely wouldn’t want them to try and sit on your lap), but it’s pretty cool to be able to pet sheep whilst drinking your coffee. Top marks for originality.

Hello Kitty Cafe


We always thought the Koreans were pretty obsessed with Hello Kitty, something which was proved when we saw that they have actual Hello Kitty Cafes. Girly-girls and Hello Kitty fans will be in heaven in these totally cute, totally pink cafes. And luckily, the drinks are quite good too!


Charlie Brown Cafe

The more masculine alternative to a Hello Kitty Cafe. Nice models of Charlie Brown and Snoopy decorate the cafes dedicated to the popular cartoon. If you’re a fan of Charlie, where better to reminisce and buy a cup of coffee in a special Charlie Brown mug, or to buy lots of Charlie merchandise?

Princess Diary Cafe 


This isn’t a cafe named after the movie, it’s a dress-up cafe in Seoul, perfect for anyone who loves trying on outfits and posing. Go along and choose from a variety of outfits- fancy wedding dresses, traditional Korean clothes, mini-dresses, and more. Then, you can pose to your hearts content with many different props. It’s cheesy, girly, unique and fun. In fact, you’ll probably be so distracted by taking photos you’ll forget to drink your drink.

(Near Ewha Women’s University, 26 Ewhayeodae-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea)

Book Study Cafe

This is taking studying to a new extreme- having a cafe actually dedicated to it. Still, this cafe definitely has a better atmosphere than a library, and you can enjoy nice drinks at the same time! Let’s just hope people abide by the rules and stay quiet, or you won’t be able to get any work done…

(In Gangnam, Yeoksam-dong 816-6, Yongin Building)

Photography Cafe

Photography lovers will love this cafe in Incheon. You can either take along your own DSLR camera and choose a lense from the cafe to use, or you can rent both camera and lense. Then, enjoy playing with different lenses to your heart’s content (while enjoying your drink of course).

(Incheon-si, Yeonsu-gu, Songdo-dong 18-1)

There are so many more cafes around Korea- cute cafes, theme cafes, and many cafes which just sell delicious food and drinks. My favourite have to be the animal cafes, where I would happily go every day. But whether you simply want a cup of coffee, to eat some cake, or to try on wedding dresses, there is probably a cafe for you. 

But if anyone would like to open a cereal cafe too, that would be totally amazing…




Filed under: Expat, Korea, Living, Uncategorized


Kathryn's Living

Over the summer I became an “expert” on glamping in...

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Over the summer I became an “expert” on glamping in Korea. Below is my article originally published in Busan Haps Magazine's September issue.

What’s better than camping? Glamorous camping. All you do is show up, settle in and everything else is taken care of. Enjoy the great outdoors like a truly civilized human.

If you haven’t already experienced Korean glamping, you are missing out. Big time. Glamping – aka glamorous camping – is a growing international trend that combines camping with the luxury and convenience of a hotel. In South Korea, more and more ‘glampsites’ are popping up all over the country.

Honestly, when I first heard the word glamping, I thought it was kind of ridiculous. But experiencing the Korean countryside without the hassle of finding camp space, carrying all my own gear, feeding myself, and erecting and taking down my own tent sounded too awesome to pass up. I asked my boyfriend and another couple to check out Tentaus, a glampsite just outside of Gyeongju.

After a 50-minute bus ride to Gyeongju, followed by a 30-minute (25,000 won) taxi ride, we arrived.

The place houses 37 teepee-shaped tent structures that are occupied mainly by couples. There is a family campsite nearby, so you will frequently see young children during the day. What you won’t see are your usual hiking adjummas and adjussis with their brightly colored and beautifully matching jackets.

Upon arriving, we checked out our sweet digs and then quickly jumped into the swimming pool. Tentaus immediately fulfilled all my glamping desires by giving me a dose of the great outdoors without me having to give up any creature comforts. I became one with nature while enjoying electricity, Wi-Fi, heating and cooling, opulent bedding, comfortable camping chairs and bean bags, nearby washrooms and showers with hot water, and two meals served daily on a nice wooden deck.

As the sun began to set on our first night, Tentaus employees brought us dinner, aptly named ‘the magic barbecue set.’ It’s approximately 700 grams of pork belly, per couple, cooked to perfection on a Weber charcoal grill. A plethora of edibles accompany the meal, including three homemade sausages, 10 shrimp, a whole sweet potato, kimchi, five kinds of special sauce, sliced onions, mushrooms, pumpkin, microwavable rice and pastel Technicolor ’mallows. There is a free garden nearby to pick as many peppers, lettuce and perilla leaves as you’d like.

After dinner, enjoy playing table tennis, renting a fire pit to burn firewood, or setting up a projector with a laptop or USB to watch a movie in the convenience of your own tent. If you feel cold, there’s even an electric blanket to warm you up. In the morning, breakfast is your typical Korean camping fare of ramen.

Sure, glamping hardly qualifies as roughing it, but as air travel prices increase, the alternative idea of camping without the usual annoyances may appeal to even the fussiest non-camper. It really is like regular camping – but with nicer things, better food and more comfort.

Tents are available to rent, year-round, ranging from 150,000-220,000 won a night. These prices are based on two adults and include breakfast and dinner. Check-in begins at 3 p.m., and check-out time is around 11 a.m.

You can visit Tentaus on the web: Call them 010-4388-1518 or drop them an email:

Queer Activists Occupy City Hall: Day 4

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City Hall was occupied once again today in response to Mayor Park Won-soon cowing to pressure from Christian groups and indefinitely postponing the implementation of a Human Rights Charter in Seoul. On my way home from work, I stopped by to snap a few pictures and show my support. If only I could just spend my day being an activist...

As you can see from the picture (purposefully blurry and from an awkward angle to ensure nobody was captured that didn't want to be seen) there were hundreds of peaceful activists. I noticed Kim Jho Gwang Su was in attendance, and I imagine other top gays have been in and out. Posted around the space were messages of solidarity as well as demands for Mayor Park to apologize and implement the human rights charter.

In another part of City Hall there was a counter protest going on by a Christian group (I heard some choruses about hallelujahs), but for the most part everything was peaceful and positive.

As I wasn't able to stay long, I decided to try to piece together some of the evening's highlights through three Twitter hashtags: #무지개농성단 (Rainbow Sit-in) #응답하라박원순 (Reply Park Won-soon) and #서울시민인권헌장 (Seoul Human Rights Charter). Note that times are from tweets, not necessarily real time.

At 7:58 pm, the Seoul LGBT Film Festival quoted a speaker who declared that 'This event is not a problem just about sexual minorities. This is something every citizen needs to get angry about.'

At 8:55 pm, Pilgrimage Church stated 'Remember that love is conquering hatred. Blessings conquering curses.'

Around 9 pm, a group called the Nakwon Sisters performed. (Nakwon Dong [Jongno 3 Ga] is one of Korea's gay areas).

Another speaker told the crowd that 'We do not need to step back an inch for love. That is a human right. Everyone, love!'

Soon after, feminist singer Ji Hyeon-nim performed, and stated that though she has lived with her companion of 14 years she came because she now feels that her existence in Seoul has been threatened.

Tomorrow, occupy City Hall will continue at 7:30 pm. 

Finally, check out a great Huffpost blog piece that was penned yesterday: Don't Let Seoul's Mayor Buckle to Homophobia and Transphobia. Gives you a clear image of where Park Won-soon was when he started his political career and how far he has drifted. 

Singapore to Seoul with Vietnam Airlines

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Vietnam Airlines was fine. Decent service, decent food, cheapest flight available (paid about SGD600 for a December ticket).. But worst transit experience ever. The airport at Ho Chi Minh City was probably the worst I've ever been to. Unclear directions/signage, messy layout - everything you fear about when taking a transit flight. At least the transfer counter staff was helpful. Don't think I will ever use Vietnam airlines again unless it is really REALLY cheap. 

My two meals from SIN to SGN, then SGN to ICN. 

Anyway, I made it to Korea safely! Here are some pictures of my first few days in Korea:

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