temple and monastery in Busan

Busan, South Korea’s bustling port city, is not only known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife but also for its serene temples and monasteries. These spiritual sanctuaries offer a unique blend of history, culture, and tranquility, making them perfect destinations for those seeking inner peace and spiritual growth. This article explores some of the most remarkable temples and monasteries in Busan, providing insights into their significance, architecture, and the meditative experiences they offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Busan’s temples and monasteries offer a unique blend of history, culture, and tranquility.
  • Beomeosa Temple is renowned for its historical significance and architectural marvels.
  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, located by the sea, provides a serene and picturesque setting.
  • Seokbulsa Temple, accessible via a scenic hike, is known for its stone carvings and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Participating in temple stay programs offers a profound experience of monastic life and meditation.

Exploring Beomeosa Temple

Beomeosa Temple in Busan, South Korea, with monks meditating or praying, surrounded by nature, capturing a serene and spiritual atmosphere

Beomeosa Temple, nestled on the slopes of Geumjeongsan Mountain, is one of Busan’s most important temples. Founded in 678 AD, it has a rich history that spans over a millennium. The temple was established by the great monk Uisang during the reign of King Munmu of the Silla Dynasty. It has been a spiritual haven for countless monks and visitors over the centuries.

The temple complex is a stunning example of traditional Korean architecture. From the intricate designs of the main hall to the serene beauty of the pagodas, every structure tells a story. The Iljumun Gate, the first gate you encounter, symbolizes the entrance to a sacred space. The Daeungjeon Hall, the main hall, houses a magnificent statue of Buddha and is a place for prayer and meditation.

Beomeosa Temple offers various meditation sessions for visitors. These sessions are designed to help individuals find inner peace and connect with their spiritual selves. The temple’s tranquil environment provides the perfect backdrop for meditation. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, you’ll find the sessions both relaxing and enlightening.

The hike starts from Beomeosa Temple which is about 300m from sea level. It takes about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes (2.2 km = 1.36 mile) to reach the highest peak of Busan.

The Serenity of Haedong Yonggungsa

Haedong Yonggungsa temple in Busan, South Korea, with serene and peaceful atmosphere, spiritual journey, inner peace, coastal temple, sunrise or sunset, traditional Korean architecture, meditation, tranquility

Temple by the Sea

Haedong Yonggungsa is a beautiful temple located right by the sea. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks adds to the peaceful atmosphere. It’s a perfect place to relax and find inner peace. The temple is especially stunning during sunrise and sunset.

Unique Rituals

At Haedong Yonggungsa, you can participate in unique rituals. One of the most popular rituals is making a wish and tossing a coin into the sea. Many visitors believe that their wishes will come true if the coin lands in the water. Another interesting ritual is ringing the temple bell for good luck.

Best Times to Visit

The best times to visit Haedong Yonggungsa are early in the morning or late in the afternoon. During these times, the temple is less crowded, and you can enjoy the serene environment. Also, visiting during the spring or fall offers the most pleasant weather.

Haedong Yonggungsa is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the tranquility of a temple by the sea. The combination of natural beauty and spiritual ambiance makes it a unique destination.

Seokbulsa: The Hidden Gem

Seokbulsa temple in Busan, South Korea, with serene and peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by nature, capturing the essence of spirituality and tranquility

Hiking to Seokbulsa

Hiking to Seokbulsa is an adventure in itself. The trail can be challenging, especially for those not used to hiking. Busan oppa was great! We had done the 4 hr hike up to the temple and it was awesome. Now for an American, the hike can be challenging, you are walking up steep paths, but the views are worth it.

Stone Carvings and Sculptures

Once you reach Seokbulsa, you’ll be amazed by the intricate stone carvings and sculptures. These artworks are carved directly into the rock face and depict various Buddhist deities and scenes. It’s a sight to behold and makes the hike totally worth it.

Peaceful Atmosphere

The peaceful atmosphere at Seokbulsa is unmatched. The temple is less crowded than other popular sites, making it a perfect spot for quiet reflection. The serenity of the place allows you to connect with your inner self and find a sense of calm that is hard to find in urban life.

The gentleness of his ways, the calmness that he exuded left me wondering if I would ever be able to feel like that in my urban life. Or is that kind of inner stillness possible only if we move away from external disturbances?

Experiencing Tongdosa Monastery

Tongdosa Monastery in Busan, spiritual journey, inner peace, temple, monastery, serene landscape, meditation, tranquility

Buddhist Relics

Tongdosa Monastery is famous for its Buddhist relics. These relics are believed to be parts of Buddha’s body, like his bones or teeth. People come from all over to see them and feel a connection to Buddha.

Monastic Life

The monks at Tongdosa live a simple and peaceful life. They spend their days meditating, chanting, and taking care of the temple. Visitors can learn a lot about this way of life and even join in some of the activities.

Visitor Tips

If you’re planning to visit Tongdosa, here are some tips:

  • Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking a lot.
  • Be respectful and quiet inside the temple.
  • Don’t forget to try the temple food; it’s delicious and healthy!

The calmness of the monks and the serene environment of Tongdosa Monastery can make you wonder if such inner peace is possible in our busy urban lives.

Temple Stay Programs

temple stay program in Busan

What to Expect

Staying at a temple is a unique experience where you can learn about Buddhist culture and find peace. You’ll get to live like a monk for a few days, which means waking up early, meditating, and eating simple meals. It’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Daily Activities

During your stay, you’ll participate in various activities:

  • Meditation sessions: Learn how to meditate and find inner peace.
  • Tea ceremonies: Experience traditional tea-making rituals.
  • Chanting: Join the monks in their daily prayers.
  • Community work: Help with chores around the temple.

Booking Your Stay

Booking a temple stay is easy. Many temples have websites where you can sign up. Prices are usually affordable, and some even offer discounts for longer stays. For example, you can find budget-friendly stays with facilities like common area, laundry service, and private/shared rooms starting at ₩18,000. Book now!

Cultural Etiquette in Temples

When visiting temples in Busan, it’s important to follow certain cultural etiquettes to show respect. Temples are sacred places, and maintaining proper behavior is crucial.

Dress Code

Visitors should dress modestly. This means covering your shoulders and knees. Wearing white is often encouraged, as it symbolizes purity. Avoid flashy or noisy accessories.

Behavioral Norms

Inside the temple, keep noise to a minimum. No smoking, drinking, or flirting is allowed. Always walk, don’t run, and keep your phone on silent. It’s also important to keep things tidy and clean.

Offering and Prayers

When making offerings, do so with both hands. Bowing is a common practice to show respect. You can also join in the prayers, but make sure to follow the lead of the monks or locals.

Remember, visiting a temple is not just about sightseeing; it’s about experiencing a part of Korean culture and spirituality. Enjoy your time and be respectful!

Seasonal Festivals and Events

temple festival in Busan

Buddha’s Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday is one of the most important festivals in Busan. The temples are beautifully decorated with colorful lanterns, and there are various ceremonies and rituals to participate in. It’s a great time to visit and experience the local culture.

Lantern Festivals

The Lantern Festivals in Busan are a sight to behold. Thousands of lanterns light up the night sky, creating a magical atmosphere. You can even make your own lantern and join the parade. It’s a fun and memorable experience for all ages.

Local Celebrations

Busan has many local celebrations throughout the year. From traditional music and dance performances to food festivals, there’s always something happening. These events are a great way to learn more about the local culture and traditions.

Visiting Busan during these festivals is a unique experience that you won’t want to miss. The city comes alive with color, music, and joy, making it a perfect time for a spiritual sojourn.

Finding Inner Peace Through Meditation

Guided Meditation Sessions

Guided meditation sessions are a great way to start your journey towards inner peace. These sessions are often led by experienced practitioners who help you focus and relax. Public meditations have a powerful effect on the minds of the temple’s practitioners. You can join these sessions at various temples in Busan.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation can help improve your health and the quality of your life. It has been compared to the Vipassanā Movement of S.N Goenka. Here are some benefits of meditation:

  • Reduces stress
  • Improves concentration
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Promotes emotional health

Personal Experiences

Many people find inner peace and joy through meditation. They often begin with short meditation sessions (5–10 minutes) and gradually increase as they become more comfortable. Some even say that meditating in a group helps them feel more connected and focused.

Meditation is not just about sitting quietly; it’s about finding a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you.


Busan’s temples and monasteries offer a unique blend of tranquility and cultural richness that can truly rejuvenate the soul. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a deeper spiritual connection, these sacred spaces provide the perfect backdrop for introspection and growth. So next time you find yourself in Busan, take a break from the hustle and bustle, and embark on a spiritual sojourn that promises inner peace and lasting memories.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Beomeosa Temple?

The best time to visit Beomeosa Temple is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and the temple grounds are particularly beautiful.

Are there any entrance fees for Haedong Yonggungsa?

No, there are no entrance fees to visit Haedong Yonggungsa. However, donations are appreciated to help with temple maintenance.

How difficult is the hike to Seokbulsa?

The hike to Seokbulsa is moderately challenging and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. It is advisable to wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring water.

Can I participate in meditation sessions at Tongdosa Monastery?

Yes, Tongdosa Monastery offers meditation sessions for visitors. It is recommended to check the schedule in advance and arrive early to secure a spot.

What should I wear when visiting temples in Busan?

Visitors should dress modestly when visiting temples. This means covering shoulders and knees, and wearing respectful and non-revealing clothing.

How can I book a temple stay program in Busan?

You can book a temple stay program online through the official Temple Stay website or contact the temple directly for availability and reservations.

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