Is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple worth visiting? What is the story of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple? How do I get to Yonggungsa Temple from Busan Station?
If there is one temple to visit in Busan, it is without a doubt Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동용궁사). Its location right by the sea makes it unique in Korea. For many Haedong Yonggungsa is considered the most beautiful temple in South Korea.
Haedong Yonggungsa is considered to be the most beautiful temple in Korea
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is located on the northeastern coast of Busan near the famous Haeundae Beach.
READ ALSO: 30 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BUSAN
What this amazing video for a teaser about Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan:
What is the story of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple?
The great monk Naong built Haedong Yonggungsa in 1376 during the reign of King U of the Goryeo dynasty.
The mantra of the temple is “At least one of your wishes will be fulfilled through your sincere prayers”. This temple is located by the sea, while Buddhist temples are generally remote inland. It is said that the Great Buddhist Goddess of Mercy lived alone in the sea. She then appeared on the back of a dragon. This is why this temple was built near the ocean.
Unfortunately, Haedong Yonggungsa was partly destroyed during the Imjin War but was rebuilt in 1930.
Main Part of the Temple:
- Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (great Buddhist goddess of the sea) who faces the sea
- The main shrine of Daeung-jeon
- The shrine of Yongwangdang,
- The Buddhist shrine of Gulbeop
- The three-story pagoda with its four lions
How to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple?
Take the subway to Jangsan station and take exit 7. Right in front of the exit, go to the Jangsan bus stop. Take bus 해운대 9 and get off at Yonggungsa station.
Arriving at the Yonggungsa bus stop, a large stone marks the entrance to the temple. Follow the arrow and walk for about 15min (be careful, the path is uphill, so remember to take a hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water if you go there in summer).
Before arriving at the temple, you will pass through a market where you can eat or buy some souvenirs.
The temple is located not far from Haeundae, so if you decide to book a hotel there, it will be very convenient for you to visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.
Best time to visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple?
Even though the temple is open to the public all year round, there are certain times that will make your visit even more spectacular.
The sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa temple is really impressive. You might want to go early in the morning to watch the red sun rising over the horizon. The temple is accessible from 5 a.m.
For those who want a little more mystery, heading to the temple early in the morning to wander through the fog is a great experience. It will make you feel like you are in a dream.
If you visit Korea in spring, you can admire the cherry blossoms along the way to the temple. The birth of Buddha is also celebrated in April (depending on the lunar calendar), the temple is then fully lit with lanterns and offers a spectacular view at night.
Access to the temple is free.
What to see in Haedong Yonggungsa Temple?
1. The Entrance
At the entrance to the temple, you are greeted by a small festive market, where you can find street food and souvenir stalls. Once past the market, the statutes of the protective spirits of Buddhist astrology welcome you. Before going through a portal, and finally being able to begin a small descent to the entrance of the first altars.
2. Buddhist astrology
Before arriving at the temple, there are around twelve statues bearing the effigy of the Chinese zodiac signs.
3. The pagoda
A little further on you can contemplate an immense and sumptuous seven-storey pagoda with details of rare finesse. The pagoda is decorated with four lions each symbolizing a different emotion: joy, anger, sadness, happiness.
4. 108 steps
Then descend very precisely 108 steps which symbolize in Buddhism, the 108 illusions proper to the mind.
The view is breathtaking, after passing through a small bamboo tunnel, we find ourselves facing the sea. It is large and majestic, imposes itself on us, and frees us from all negative thoughts. You can see the main temple in the middle of the cliffs, and on the other side, a golden Buddha with its back to the sea.
5. The golden statue of Buddha
After going down the stairs head left to a small path leading to another cliff where stands a magnificent golden Buddha. This is the sumptuous statue of the Great Goddess Buddha Gwaneum Daebul. On the way to the Buddha, you can get the best view of Haedong Yonggungsa temple. The panorama is perfect, with the temple, the sea, the rugged coastline, and the forest all around.
Among the various statues of this temple, note Yaksayore-bul (Buddha of medicine), of the smiles Jigang-bosal (Bodhisvatta after death), and very close to the sea,
The atmosphere of the place is light and joyful, you immediately feel calm and peaceful. We took the time to observe everything and really enjoyed the scenery.
6. The main temple
After crossing a wonderful stone bridge, you will arrive at the main temple. At the door it says “The Most Beautiful Temple in Korea”. Here you have several buildings and various Buddha Statues.
On the right, you can see the gorgeous lying Buddha in its separate room.
Continue your visit and you will see the main smiling Buddha Statue.
7. The Observatory
To catch the best view, take a few stairs after passing the big Buddha Statue. You will cross a little bamboo forest that leads to a platform where you can see Haedong Yonggungsa temple from above with the perfect sea view.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple holds annual meetings and prayer events. Winter Solstice Prayer, All-night Prayer for Sunrise, New Year’s DayJoint Sacrifice, New Year’s Eve 7-day Prayer, Dragon King’s Great Festival, Buddha’s Birthday, Baekjung Spiritual Heavenly Father’s Festival, Chuseok Joint Sacrifice etc.
9. Secret Bamboo forest
On your way back, make sure to go through the Healing Bamboo walk which leads you back to the parking lot. This short stretch of forest is the perfect way to end your visit to Haedong Yonggungsa temple, the most beautiful temple in Korea…
Other attractions near Haedong Yonggungsa temple
Songjeong Beach, the best spot for surfing in Busan
Songjeong is a lovely beach located near Haeundae. You can access it by taking the Beach Train or Sky Capsule (+20min walk along the coast) or by a short taxi or bus ride.
Songjeong is the surfer paradise in Busan. There are many surf shops along the beach, and is one of the most popular place for surfing in Korea. We wrote a full guide about surfing in Korea here.
Cheongsapo Daritdol Skywalk
After your journey on the Sky Capsule you will get off at Cheongsapo station. From there continue your journey on foot along the coast and you will be able to reach Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory.
This skywalk opened in August 2017 and is located at the end of the beautiful Cheongsapo fishing village in Haeundae. This is a great place to observe the sea and it’s free 🙂
Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) is Busan‘s most popular beach along with Gwangali and Songjeong Beach. It is about 1.5 km long and almost 30 to 50m wide. It is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in South Korea.
Its blue waters perfect for a swim and white sand make Haeundae the perfect location to spend the hot summer days in South Korea. Every year Haeundae Beach in Busan welcomes thousands of visitors. At nightfall, it is a festive atmosphere that animates the beach and its surroundings as many artists (singers, magicians, stuntmen) come to perform to the delight of its visitors.
Where to stay in Busan?
If you travel to Busan we highly recommend a stay in Haeundae. Not only you can enjoy the best beach in South Korea, you will also be located near some of the main attractions in Busan.
Here are our favorite hotel in Haeundae:
Shilla Stay Haeunda
In terms of location, value for money and quality of the facilities, our favorite hotel in Busan is Shilla Stay located in Haeundae.
Overall we highly recommend staying here if you go to Busan. You can book here directly.
Paradise Hotel Haeundae
For the ultimate luxury experience by the beach, we love the Paradise Hotel in Haeundae. This hotel is pricier than Shilla Stay, but it’s a really gorgeous place. We especially love the pool, directly facing the sea. We felt just like in Bali for a moment 🙂
For more details on Paradise Hotel Busan, you can check out this link.
In conclusion about Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is located in a unique spot facing the sea. As such we highly recommend a visit to when you are in Busan
It is actually one of the best things to do in Busan and absolutely worth it!
We enjoyed our visit to this temple, we took our time to relax and wonder how the monks’ life could have looked like here a few hundred years ago.
If you are planning to visit Busan in the near future and have any questions that this post does not answer, please send them to us by adding a comment below. We respond quickly to the various comments posted on the blog!
For more posts related to South Korea, check out this link here.
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