The most beautiful temple in Korea

I was leaving Busan today and had booked my bus ticket for late afternoon so that I could spend a bit more time here.

High on the list of places to visit in Busan is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. It was about a 50-minute bus journey from my hostel.

When you get to the temple, there’s a sign at one of its gates declaring, “The most beautiful temple in Korea”.

Other temples would disagree! In fact, the monk I met a few days ago showed me his temple and it looked pretty good to me.

That said, Haedong Yonggungsa is a fine temple. According to a board describing its history, the temple was “totally burned down during the Japanese invasion in late 16th century. It was restored in good shape in the 1930s”.

The sun brought out the temple’s colours. There’s also something magical about being on the coast, hearing and seeing the sea.

You know a place is popular when there are lots of stalls on the way to the entrance, selling you everything from food to souvenirs. The good day brought many visitors.

I hung around for a while, sometimes just sitting on the rocks, watching the sea. I had time before returning to Haeundae for my bus.

I returned to my hostel to pick up my rucksack, which I’d left after checking out. I walked to the bus for the 75-minute journey to Gyeongju – the city that’s a “museum without walls”.

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