This impressive temple offers travelers an up close look at traditional religious architecture amid the stuffing backdrop of mountains and shoreline. Built in 1376 by a famed Buddhist teacher, Yonggungsa Temple is a rare gem in the landscape of South Korea.
Travelers can wander the grounds and explore its structures—which include a sanctuary that was reconstructed in the 1970s. Brilliant colors and a three-story pagoda decorated with hand-carved lions are hallmarks of this traditional sanctum. A tower of 108 stairs and several stone lanterns guide visitors to remarkable views and the meditative sound of waves. Though a popular destination for travelers and locals most any time of year, Yonggungsa Temple attracts more visitors on New Year’s Day, when people gather at sunrise to make wishes for the coming year.
The temple is located in Gijang-gun in the northeaster area of Busan. It is open daily from 4 a.m. until 7 p.m. The temple is free to enter but travelers in private cars must pay a parking fee. It is accessible via public transport by taking Bus 181 and getting off at the temple stop.