Haedong Yonggungsa, Busan, South Korea

South Korea’s southernmost temple spreads across rocky outcrops in the Sea of Japan like a spider delicately perched on strands of its web. Built in 1376 it has survived suppression by Confucianism and outright destruction by the Japanese, and remains an important centre of Korean Buddhism to this day. The approach is lined with statues,…

Bulguksa, Gyeongju, South Korea

Bulguksa is about 40 minutes out of Gyeongju by bus, and well worth every minute of the incredibly bumpy, bone-rattling drive. Built between 751 and 774 AD, the temple has had a spotty history. It began as an important Silla-period temple, mainly focusing on prayer to protect the country from invasion. Japanese invaders burned it…

Golgulsa, Gyeongju, South Korea

Golgulsa is a Zen Buddhist temple approximately 25km from Gyeongju. Famous as the modern home of Sunmudo, a wholly-Korean Zen martial art, the temple also offers demonstrations of Sunmudo, as well as templestays for Koreans and foreigners alike. Finding the temple is a test of your adventuring skills. Starting in Gyeongju, either at the Bus…

Tumuli Park, Gyeongju, South Korea

Gyeongju is a tiny town which packs a heck of a lot of value. Once the seat of the Silla Kingdom, the area around it is now littered with sites of tremendous historical significance, including the tombs of an unknown number of members of the royal family and their court officials. In the centre of…

Dosan Seowon, Andong, South Korea.

Half an hour by bus from the small town of Andong sits Dosan Seowon, a Confucian Academy founded in 1549. No longer serving as a place of education, it is open to the public, and still hosts commemorative ceremonies bi-annually. I was fortunate enough to bump into one of the site’s volunteers while waiting for…