Asia, Blog, Expat, South Korea

Bongeunsa Temple | Seoul, South Korea

If you are a newcomer or just visiting Seoul, you will want to put Bongeunsa Temple on your must see places in Seoul list.  When I first moved to Seoul in 2014, my neighbors invited me along on a visit to this temple and I fell in love.

travel photographer, bondgirlphotos, flowers, Bongeunsa, Temple, Gangnam, Seoul, Korea
Beautiful Bongeunsa Temple entrance

My first impression was seeing all of these yellow mums lining the walkway leading up the entrance way.  Next, I noticed a number of statues. Then quickly, realization set in that these weren’t just any statues but representations of the year you are born.  A tiger, a mouse, a snake, and many more!  I’m a tiger.  How cool.

On your right before you enter, pick up a brochure/map outside at the information center. The brochure will tell you what each building and temple stands for and will enhance your experience with much more meaning.  As you wander the grounds to see the multiple temples and pavilion houses, you may smell the aroma of incense, hear the beat of a drum from a ceremony, see worshipers at prayer, and feel the genuine peaceful, calming atmosphere of nature all around you. It is not uncommon to see monks wandering about the grounds.

Every September 9th of the lunar calendar, the Buddhist ceremony is held, where monks march carrying the scriptures on their heads and recite the Buddhist rites (Beopseongge).

A little history…Bongeunsa Temple (originally known as Gyeonseongsa Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Gangnam, Seoul. Built in 794, during the reign of King Wonseong of Silla, Bongeunsa became the head temple during the Seon sect of the Joseon Dynasty when the government supported Confucianism while oppressing Buddhism.

Around 1550, Bongeunsa was expanded and became the head monastery of national Jogye Seon Order and was the main Buddhist Zen temple from 1551 to 1936.

In 1939, and again during the Korean War (1950-1953), fire heavily damaged or destroyed most of the temple buildings.  Between 1941-1982, repairs and renovations were made to restore the buildings.  The oldest standing building is the library which was constructed in 1856.  The library contains over 3,400 Buddhist scriptures and contains Flower Garland Sutra woodblock carvings.

The temple’s highlight is the 28 meter (91 foot) stone statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, and is one of the tallest stone statues in South Korea.

This temple was the birthplace of the Buddhist youth movement.  Today, Bongeunsa has established itself as the center of Buddhist practice, a place of peace and tranquility in the center of one of the wealthiest and busiest places in the heart of Seoul.  This makes Bongeunsa Temple an interesting cultural mix of both traditional and modern Seoul.

Bongeunsa, temple, prayers, monk

Bongeunsa, temple, prayers

Bongeunsa, temple, prayers

If you are new to the area or just visiting, put this 1,200+ year old temple in the heart of a modern Seoul on your bucket list of places to visit. If you desire to experience a taste of both the Korean and Buddhist culture, Bongeunsa can provide a two-day and one night Templestay program on the premises.  You can experience the unique opportunity of the daily monastic way of life at a traditional temple, enjoy the peaceful sound of wind chimes in the fresh air, taste the fragrance of their tea all while spending time with a local monk.  A place to soothe your mind and your body.

Bongeunsa, temple, tea, Korea

travel photographer, bondgirlphotos, Bongeunsa, Temple, Temple Stay, Gangnam, Seoul
Bongeunsa Temple Stay

For more information about Bongeunsa or their Templestay, please call or email the temple directly.  Reservations for a Templestay should be made three weeks in advance. Grounds are open daily to visitors and admission is free.  Interpretation services are offered in English and Japanese.  Pets are not permitted.

82-2-3218-4895 [English]
82-2-3218-4826 [Korean]

Email:  bongeunsa@templestay.com or Bongeunsa Templestay

How to Get There:
Subway – Line 2 Samsung (Exit 6)
– Line 7 Cheongdam (Exit 2)

Parking facilities are available.  Free first 30 minutes.  3,000 won for every one additional hour after.

*There are no programs during the New Year and Chuseok holidays.

Bongeunsa, Buddhist, temple, templestay

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

Seoul Must-Dos – Palaces, Secret Gardens and River Cruises

See the transformation of Seoul from medieval city to modern metropolis.   Here are the Seoul Must-Do’s:

Seoul Must-Dos — Ultimate City Guides.

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, shopping, South Korea, Wordpress

Dapsimni Antiques Market

Dapsimni Antiques Market is located just one block away from Dapsimni Station, Seoul.

The antique shops are located in many buildings in the area but nearly all of them are concentrated into three main buildings called 2-Dong Town, 5-Dong Town and 6-Dong Town. Here you can pick up a variety of unique and interesting antique and vintage items with prices ranging on average from 10,000 Won for smaller items to the most expensive in the millions of Won. Like other markets, Dapsimni has a lot to offer.   Inside the buildings are dozens of stores and you can easily wander from one shop to another. The hallways are packed with overflowing merchandise.  Some of the shops sold true antiques, while others had reproductions or refurbished furniture. Some shops specialized in ceramics, while others mainly had trunks and baskets. We saw old locks, drums, statues, rice stamps, and bound manuscripts, just to name a few.  If you’re looking for something specific, it’s probably there.  The antiques are mainly from South Korea, North Korea, China or Japan but items from all around the world can be found. There are more than 150 antique and thrift stores in the area located near Dapsimni station with more than 300,000 items for sale.

The shopkeepers were all older and friendly.  They were open to talking and explaining what things were for and shared information of when and where  everything came from. Most spoke a little English and the language barrier was not much of an issue.  It’s helpful if you know your Korean numbers in denominations of 10’s and most shopkeepers were open to some friendly minimal bartering on their prices.  Even if you aren’t looking to buy any Korean antiques, the shopkeepers will add to your cultural experience here.   Some shopkeepers accept only local currency while others take credit cards.  So it’s best to bring both.

If you’re hungry or thirsty, next to the Dapsimni Station are two coffee shops, Ediya and Starbucks, several local Korean restaurants, and my favorite, Pho102, a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant on the 2nd floor just a couple of doors down from Starbucks.   Pho102 Vietnamese Thai Cuisine

 

Opening Hours

10:00 am – 19:00 pm. Closed on Sundays and Holidays.

How to get to Dapsimni Antique Shopping Market:

Subway:

Take line 5 to Dapsimni Station and leave exit 1 or 2.  Main stores are located in 3 buildings just one block off the main street.

Bus: 121, 130, 145, 262, 303, 370, 420, 463, 720, 721, 1218, 1227, 2015, 2112, 2221, 2233, 3216, 3220

Address:  동대문구 답십리동 530
530 Dapsimni-dong Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea

Dapsimni – Google Maps

Dapsimni Station – Naver

 

 

Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, The Korea Observer, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

Memorial Day | Seoul National Cemetery

 

Every June 6, Korea’s Memorial Day is designated to honor fallen Soldiers and civilians of South Korea who have given their lives for their country. Ceremonies are held throughout the country with the largest ceremony being held at the Seoul National Cemetery, an impressive, immaculately landscaped and maintained cemetery and park.

Seoul National Cemetery, est. 1956, is one of two national cemeteries in South Korea. The other one is located in Daejeon.

The Seoul National Cemetery is near Dongjak Station on Subway Line 4 or Line 9 and is accessible to the public.

Asia, Asiana Airlines, Blog, South Korea, Tour and Travel

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Jeju Island in March! | Official Korea Tourism

Korea Tourism Organization Official website provides various information on all things about Korea. Take your time to get correct guide on each.

Source: Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Jeju Island in March! | Official Korea Tourism Organization

seoul, tower, autumn, Namsan
Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel

Spectacular Seoul

October is peak fall foliage season, which means there is plenty of beauty happening all over Seoul and the peninsula.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Asia, Blog, Expat, South Korea, Wordpress

The Best American BBQ in South Korea (No, Seriously) – Condé Nast Traveler

The owner of Seoul’s Linus’ Bama Style Barbecue brings Southern cooking across the Pacific.

Source: The Best American BBQ in South Korea (No, Seriously) – Condé Nast Traveler

Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, Wordpress

Enjoy Spring Blossom Roads in Seoul | Official Korea Tourism Organization

Korea Tourism Organization Official website provides various information on all things about Korea. Take your time to get correct guide each.

Source: Enjoy Spring Blossom Roads in Seoul | Official Korea Tourism Organization

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

5 Reasons Why You Must Visit South Korea in February

Trazy.com

In terms of weather, the most favorable times to visit South Korea are March ~May and September~November. However, February can be a fabulous time for travelers to visit South Korea. Here are 5 great reasons why:

1. Save Your Travel Expenses

incheon-international-airport-680402_1920.jpgWant to save travel expenses? We strongly recommend you visit South Korea in February if you’re considering a budget travel because during the winter season, hotels prices and airfare drop as temperature drops! 😉

2. Awe-inspiring Winter Landscapes

allowto_freedownload_snap_1531.jpgThough the cold winter season has kicked off a little bit late than last year, you can still enjoy the amazing landscapes of snow-capped mountains and frozen rivers as well as a winter hike at beautiful national parks around South Korea. allowto_freedownload_landscape_1521For instance, Seoraksan Mountain (Seoraksan National Park), located in Sokcho, which is the eastern part of South Korea, boasts magnificent natural scenery in winter. It is where you can enjoy both winter hiking and the beautiful East Sea situated nearby.속초 (1).jpgFor free…

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