Sunday, September 15, 2013

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple - Busan Sep 2013

One of the most popular and famous temple in Busan, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is THE temple by the sea.  THE temple you always see on brochures and travel agencies advertising Busan.  It is really breathtaking - Well the scenery not the temple itself.

One a fine Saturday morning, I set off to visit first Dalmaji Hill then onwards to Yonggungsa Temple.  Dalmaji Hill is nothing to brag about.  About 10min taxi ride from Haeundae Temple, it is a small hill.  Once you arrive at the pavilion, you might think that is it, but walking past, you will discover the hidden trail that snakes behind the pavilion rounding off the coast line.  The entire trail is about 5km long, and I'm not sure exactly where it ends as everything was in Korean.  So I started hiking along the trail.  It is an easy trail with a picture stop near the pavilion.  Walking on and on, I hit the main road which was the end of the trail.  From there I hopped onto a taxi to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.  

At Dalmaji Hill
15mins later, I arrived.  There is a public bus right outside the road leading to the temple too.  Entering the temple, you will walk past the 12 Chinese Zodiac.  At the end, where the Buddha statue is, turn left to head towards the seaside and the temple.  The right trail leads to a really nice coastal walk, but more on that later.

Entering the temple area, you will be greeted with the coast, and the temple sits just by the coast.  The view is really amazing!  Temple as I said, is nothing to brag about but apparently you can have your fortunes told or something.  But in Korean, they don't really mean anything much to me.  The temple itself is pretty small.  There is a really big and tall Goddess of Mercy Statue right at the top.

After visiting the temple, I headed for the forest walk.  Remember the right trail I mentioned in the second paragraph?  Yup, there are signboards pointing to "Forest Walk" or something like that.  A tip - Once you hit the start of the trail, turn left at the first turnoff where you will see a sign in Korean.  That will lead you directly to the coastal walk from the temple to Songjeong, which is really a great walk.  Well, being not well-versed in Korean, of course that sign meant nothing to me.  I walked straight ahead and hit the parking lot.  But there was a sign (in English) that pointed to Songjeong via a coastal walk, so I followed.
So this is the gated walkway.  The sign with red slashes

If you squint hard, you can see the uncle fishing

5mins into the walk, I reallly hit unmanned grass patch, and even ventured past the gated walkway which has a sign on it, which probably meant "Do Not Enter" but I claimed ignorance and squeezed through the gap by the side.  Hey, the trail carried on past the gate! I have to follow through.  Not long after, I arrived at the coast and took a short break.  There I spotted a Korean uncle fishing.  He motioned for me to approach him and I did.  Thinking I was Korean, he started spouting Korean and I immediately stopped him.  We chatted sparingly and he told me to go back and round the other way for the nice coastal route towards Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.  I had originally intended to walk towards Songjeong (opposite direction) but this new information took me by surprise and of course I had to do it!  And I have so grateful for the uncle for pointing it out to me!

Menacing clouds in the sky

The walk was great!  Views of the coast and rock formations, and not crowded at all!  Probably only a handful of hikers along the trail and I had fun posing for pictures.  The trail led me back exactly where I started - Yonggungsa, the "forest walk" trail about 30mins or so later.  And I exited exactly where I said visitors should start.  That was when I realized I could have done the coastal walk from the start and walk to Songjeong.  Well well, at least I did the walk!

All these I did in flip flops.  All 3H of walking.  Yea I hadn't expected the walk cos I thought it was going to rain but the weather turned out great!  Highly recommend visiting Yonggungsa Temple!  Worth the time and do the hike along the coast!


Nazirah Rahim said...

hey you remember how much it cost you to yonggungsa temple from dalmaji road?
Thanx a bunch!

DianShan said...

I can't remember exactly, might have been about 6000won? I remember it not being too expensive