Friday, January 4, 2013

The temple by the ocean – Haedong Yonggungsa, Busan – Day 10 in South Korea

We overslept the next day due to our “hangover” with the fireworks festival last night, we were supposed to leave for the temple by 9AM but apparently were not able to, so we started our adventure by mid-noon. Our only plan for the day was to visit Haedong Yonggungsa as it was also quite far from where we are staying and our flight to Jeju was 7PM, so we had to go back early. We took a train to Haeundae station and from there, Bus 181 will be able to take you to the temple.

Haedong Yonggungsa is one of the famous temples in Busan located at the north-eastern part of the city. The name translates to “Korean Dragon Palace Temple” in English. One of the most unique points of this temple is that it is situated near the ocean, which is quite rare in South Korea as most temples in the country are found in the mountains.

busan temple beach
Haedong Yonggungsa
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was first built in 1376 by the monk called Naong who was advisor to the king during Goryeo Dynasty. It was said that the Divine Sea god of the East Sea appeared in his dream telling him to construct the temple.

Upon arriving at the bus stop for the temple, you have to walk uphill for about 10-15 minutes. You will then see a government building and also a flock of street vendors. At first, I was quite surprised seeing as how there is a market near the temples even with loud music blaring from a sound system. However, upon making my way through them, it somehow got serene and the atmosphere became calming. It seems that we are about to reach the temple.

The road leading to the temple that are also flocked with street vendors which was also a pretty sight to see
As we entered the courtyard, we say the statue of twelve zodiac signs. There were also some interesting sculptures that have amused me.

zodiac korea
12 statues of the Chinese Zodiac
korea travel blog
me and my sign - for good luck? nah
a unique chair near the entrance
i want this cute bench!

After passing these statues, you’ll be able to see a pagoda standing just outside the gold dragon entrance gate.  One point I was only able to notice while making this post is the black tire beside the pagoda, I have read that this are for people praying for safe journey while driving.

korea blogger
The pagoda with a black tire
haedong yonggungsa entrance
The gold dragon entrance gate
As you continue inside, you will pass by a man-made tunnel and start hearing the waves from the nearby ocean. I was starting to get excited.

tunnel to the temple
little buddha
little Buddha statues near entrance
Paving your way to the temple, you would be able to see stone lanterns down your way to the 108 steps of stairs that is said to symbolize the 108 sufferings of Buddhism.

Haedong Yonggungsa

Once here, there are two paths that will either let you explore the temple or pray at the golden statue of Buddha. We tried first to explore the latter trail.

gold buddha

This site would also enable you to take a full picture of the temple within the rocky shoreline.

Haedong Yonggungsa

Haedong Yonggungsa busan
the close up view of the temple and Bodhisattva

haedong yonggungsa

While crossing the bridge, you can also find “wishing statues”. Why not try your luck here? I ran out of coins though.

busan travel blog

You’ll be greeted by different statues and buildings once you have passed by the bridge. You can see the main hall, shrine hall, pagodas, and a statue of a dragon.

A beautiful pagoda wherein you can also have majestic view of the sea

the main hall
There is a shrine hall next to the main hall though I did not try to go in as there was no one inside.

busan travel blog

Around the main hall, you can also see some beautiful paintings illustrating Buddha’s life and the monk who has built the temple.

Nearby the main hall and a prayer hall, you can see a very large golden dharma.

busan gold buddha

Ascending these steep stairs is the location of the massive statue of Bodhisattva, Goddess of Mercy.

busan buddha

From here, you can take brilliant pictures of the temple and the sea as well.

busan travel

haedong yonggungsa blog

Surrounding the temple, you can find tons of Buddha statues in different sizes and colors. I thought these were really cute and interesting.

busan travel

busan blog

Nearby the main hall, you can also find a statue of the dragon that represents the Divine god of the East Sea. He is surrounded with mini-Buddha figurines.

busan blogger

busan travel

Aside from the Bulguksa temple in Gyeongju, Haedong Yonggungsa has to be one of my favorites as well. The location was superb and has provided us with magnificent views of the ocean. I thought the presentation of the temple was very artistic, and to top it off, there is no admission fee, which is a plus for frugal travelers.

I felt a bit sad that we are leaving Busan already, as I think we have not yet explored the city as much as we wanted to. However, the two whole days I have stayed in Busan was very memorable as I have seen the normal life of its people, and somehow I felt like I belonged.

For more posts about Busan, please also see posts on our Day 8 and Day 9 part 1 and part 2 activities.

안녕히 가십시오 - Annyonghi kashipsio. Here’s a monk saying Goodbye and take care for now.

Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak


Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park


Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips


  1. Replies
    1. Hey Ian, thanks for visiting! Lots of things to do and see in Busan which I did not expect at first.

  2. Hey thanks for sharing! Busan is real nice place! <3


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