If you find yourself in Busan and are wanting to see something really unique and interesting, get ready to make the trek out to visit the Seokbulsa Temple (otherwise known as the “Stone Buddha Temple”). I had read and heard about how beautiful this temple was and I’m so glad I listened! Though the hike up to this Buddhist temple might be long and confusing, the trip was well worth the end result: the Seokbulsa Temple was unlike any other temple I have seen on my travels throughout Asia.
How to get there:
You can take the Metro to Oncheonjang Station (the Orange line,) and go out Exit 1. From here, you will want to head towards the Cable Car that will take you up Mt. Geumjeongsan. I read some blogs that suggested taking a cab to Geumgang Park (where you take the cable car up), but it’s not a very long walk. I’ve also read that some people hike up the mountain, but since the temple is still quite a distance from the top, it’s not worth your time to hike up. As long as you have a map or GPS, you’ll be fine – just follow the signs that lead to the park!
Once you get off the cable car, you will be making your way towards the South Gate of Geumjeongsanseong Fortress – again, just follow the signs. You’ll know you’ve made it to the South Gate when you see this…
From the South Gate, keep following the path you came from for a few more minutes (don’t back-track, just follow the path), which will then lead you to Namman Village. Here you’ll see some restaurants and badminton courts. Keep walking along the path and follow the arrows on the blue sign to your right (see photo below).
Continue heading down the path until you see this sign – finally in English, it’ll point you in the direction of “Seok Bul Sa”, a mere 0.8 km away. At this point, if you haven’t got lost at least once, congratulations!
Eventually you will come across a metal staircase with bright green paint and more stone stairs afterwards. Go down these and keep going a bit further until you reach a paved road.
From this point on, it’s easy-peasy (unless you do not have a good relationship with your cardiovascular system)! Just follow the rather steep paved road all the way up to the Seokbulsa Temple!
What to expect:
Once you’re at the top, you can take in the stunning views of the scenery and the beauty of the temple. The temple goes up and into the mountain and has intricate Buddha carvings on the sides. It’s likely you will see a few local people praying at the temple, and other tourists either cautiously exploring the area or taking a few moments to sit down and take everything in. If you take the time to walk around, you’ll find some small pathways and caves, and rooms with hundreds of Buddhas and candles.
Seokbulsa Temple is the perfect spot if you want to get away from the busy Busan city life below. This was definitely a highlight of my trip to Busan, along with visiting the Gamcheon Culture Village, that I would highly encourage anyone to visit!