While searching for places to hike in Busan, I ended up with Seokbulsa Temple, so Sunday morning i put on my hiking boots and set out to find this Buddhist temple.
As for most things in Korea it is difficult to find any info on how to get to the different places so after trying to search online not finding much of what i was looking for I checked at the hotel lobby and got them to write the name of the temple down in Korean for me. It usually comes in handy when you need to ask people for direction and I was sure I would need to ask along the way.
Starting at Geumgang Park I took the cable car up the mountain and found my way to the Fortress South Gate. It was a cloudy day and still cold in the air but quite a lot of hikers out on the trails.
From the south gate I turned left and headed downhill passing through a mountain Village.
At this point i had to ask for the direction as there were different paths leading in different directions. The locals are friendly and always willing to help so they pointed out the direction and I continued downhill.
Entering the paved road I was not to sure what direction to go as the road was leading in both directions so I had to choose to go uphill or downhill. I choose to head uphill as I assumed the temple would be somewhere up in the mountain and along the way i meet some people that confirmed i was heading in the right direction and about 20 min later I reached the gate of the temple.
Carved into rock, Seokbulsa includes massive etched Buddhist images and is a truly powerful experience. It must be one of Korea’s best kept secrets.
While other temples such as Beomeosa that is over crowded with visitors this temple only had a few visitors at the time I was there. Seokbulsa literally means “Stone Buddha Temple”. From the front it looks like a typical Korean temple, but as soon as you head behind the front row of buildings, you will find one of the most majestic sights.
As you walk between the buildings, the sight before you is simple breathtaking as tall carvings tower over you in the u-shaped crevice in front of you. The carvings, which are several hundred years old, are impressive.
Climbing up the stairs between the mountains you get a stunning view overlooking Busan city.
I spent some time at the temple watching the few people visiting it and I really enjoyed the peace and quietness.
I decided to head back the same way as I came so I followed the paved road until I reached the same sign as when I entered the road and hiked up the side of Geumjeongsan back to the South Gate.
Passing the village again it started to be quite crowded with people stopping for lunch, some playing games and others just passing by like myself on the way up or down the mountain.
Back at the South Gate I stopped for a rest and some snack before I found my way back to the cable car.
It was well worth the hike finding the temple and I enjoyed my Sunday to the fullest.
I visited the temple in March 2016.