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: 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

Animals, Blog, Couples, Expat, Helpful Tips, Photography, Portrait, The Korea Observer, Weddings, Wordpress

New Year. New Resolutions.


It’s the start of a New Year and a great time to reflect on the progress you’ve made over the past year as you make your new resolutions.  It’s easy to fall into a creative rut-but there’s no time like the present to challenge yourself to try new techniques in the coming year.  Perhaps you got a new camera over the holidays or some new gear you can’t wait to try.  Get started here with these 5 resolutions I can recommend all photographers make for 2017:

  1. Travel– You don’t have to spend a ton of money or time in order to explore somewhere completely new to you.  What about that interesting local landmark or a nearby nature reserve you’ve been meaning to see.  Go ahead and set aside yourself a day in which you’ll actually pack up your gear, hit the road and capture some photos of somewhere you’ve never been before. There’s nothing like a change of scenery to stir the creativity that might’ve been otherwise lying dormant over the past few months.
  2. Go Manual– If you’ve gotten into the habit of allowing your camera to do most of the work for you, challenge yourself to switch into manual mode. Not only does this keep you more in touch with the scenes you’re working on, it allows you more compositional and creative freedom.
  3. Leave Your Comfort Zone– Do you consider yourself strictly a wedding photographer? Or maybe heading outside and shooting landscapes is more of your thing?  This year, challenge yourself to shoot in a genre that is not your style. Whether it is a portrait of your family or action shots at a local sporting event, make it a point to include a new niche into your routine.
  4. Take Better Care of Your Gear– Make some time to browse the internet and learn to clean and prepare your gear properly for the weather and work you will be doing. If you live in an environment that’s severely effected by winter weather, it’s even more important to treat and protect your equipment with the appropriate seasonal care it deserves.
  5. Put Yourself Out There– If you haven’t already done so, take the time to create some new social media pages.  If you have, then now is a great time to look them over and see if they need updating. Are the links working correctly?  Do you need to update your profile photos? Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and 500px are extremely user-friendly and easy to get used to.  When it comes to promoting your work professionally, you’ll have already have developed an easily accessible archive of your images to share with anyone who’s looking to check out your style.

I hope you all have enjoyed these tips.  Hope you have a great year and I would love to know what your favorite genre of photography is.  Hope to hear from you soon!

~ Lisa

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, Asiana Airlines, Blog, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Expat, France, Indonesia, MOFA, Mongolia, National Museum of Korea, North America | U.S., Photography, The Korea Observer, Theater YONG, Varioso Choir

Delightful International Folk Music & Dance Concert | Seoul Korea

I was very much delighted to be invited to the International Folk Music and Dance Concert held at the Theater YONG at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, Korea on September 6, 2015.  Approximately 800 patrons were in attendance at this special concert.

Ha-kyung Choi, President of the Senior Public Diplomacy Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with 37 senior citizen members appointed by the MOFA of the Korean Government, wishes to enhance and improve mutual relationships between and among foreign nationals through art and culture, thereby ultimately contributing to global peace.

Phenomenal performances from nations around the world included those from Korea, France, Mongolia, Cambodia, Canada, Cuba, Indonesia, China, the international Varioso Choir, and an American Cheerleader Dancing Team.

During the Intermission and Awards Ceremony, the three top winners of the 2015 K-Bloggers Photo Contest with the theme of Korea’s Cultural Heritage through the Eyes of Foreigners, was announced and awards were presented. Photos were displayed in the front lobby for viewing and a slideshow was played for all during the intermission period. After the awards, more performances continued to entertain.

After the concert, two lucky patrons were awarded by random seat drawing round-trip airline tickets compliments of Asiana Airlines.

This extraordinary event couldn’t have been possible without the generous support and sponsorship of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asiana Airlines, and The Korea Observer.

Please support these local cultural events by getting out and enjoying all Korea has to offer and contributing to peace of the world.

Asia, Blog, Expat, Military, Photography, South Korea

War and Love – The War Memorial of Korea

Opened in 1994, The War Memorial is located on the former site of the Army’s Headquarters in Yongsan, central Seoul. The War Memorial of Korea consists of over 13,000 items on display in 7 indoor exhibits, including the Memorial Hall, War History Room, Korean War Room, Expeditionary Forces Room, ROK Armed Forces Room, and the Exhibition Hall of Donated Relics, and an outdoor exhibition area that features over 100 fighter jets, tanks and artillery batteries.  A must see in Seoul.  

In addition, there’s a Children’s Museum located on the east side of War Memorial complex, with an exhibition hall and children’s plaza.  Exhibits are presented at eye-level to children viewers including experiential learning facilities, video rooms, creative corners, and outdoor play area / more information at

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Visitor Information

Exhibition Hours 09:00 ~ 18:00 [Closed Mondays.  If Monday is a public holiday, museum will be closed following day.]


Free       (*excluding special and planned exhibitions with a nominal fee)

Parking fees

Small vehicles 2,000 won for 2 hours (1,000 won for every extra 30 minutes)
Large vehicles 10,000 won for 2 hours (3,000 won for every extra 30 minutes)

Please refer to the website for more information /

Asia, Blog, Expat, South Korea

Surviving Your First Year in Korea

#Korea #guards #SeoulAhnyeong haseo!  Welcome to Korea!

The article below is from an Irish expat and should prove helpful if you are a newbie, like me.

Have you ever lived in Korea?

Do you have any helpful tips or tidbits of information to add to the list?  Check back often as I will update this post with more helpful tips!

Surviving your first year in Korea | A Long Way from Tipperary.


#Korea #palace

#TMoney card #Korea