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.

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, 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…

View original post 351 more words

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 http://www.kidswarmemo.or.kr

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Visitor Information

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

Admission

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 /  http://www.warmemo.or.kr
02.709.3139

Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea

Snapshot Sunday: Bukchon’s most photographed street

Bukchon’s most photographed street with Namsan Tower/Seoul Tower in the background.

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

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TR/TR_EN_5_4.jsp#tmoney

#TMoney card #Korea

Asia, Blog, South Korea

21 reasons you should drop everything and move to Seoul

Never been to Seoul, South Korea?   Check out below the reasons you should move here (or at least visit this incredible city)!

21 reasons you should drop everything and move to Seoul | GlobalPost.