Haedong Yonggung Temple was built in 1376 next to the ocean about 5km east of Songjeong beach in Busan. It’s right out of town and it overlooks the endless ocean towards Japan.
We were told that the name means heavenly dragon temple and the complex includes several dragons all made out of different materials.
The main shrine is beautifully painted in blues, and reds.
The site is situated on many levels of the cliff side, when you first arrive you have to walk past rock carved statues of the Chinese zodiac characters, we did this just as the golden evening light came through.
We were both born in the year of the dragon, one interesting fact is that in eastern Asia you are one when you are born as it is your first year. This means that you are one year older than your western age.
You then walk down the steps cut into the cliff side and through a cave, it’s all people friendly though. When you come out of the cave you can see all of the buildings, statues and rock formations in front of you perfectly framed by the sea lapping against the shore. It’s spectacular.
The different levels on the site give it a real exploration feel and there are so many little things of interest everywhere. Like these cute pigs. I love that it’s ok to do this in Asia.
Tiny monk statues
We weren’t sure what these rock piles were for but they’re quite atmospheric on top of the cliff, next to the sea.
Who does this remind you of?
You can’t reach this temple on the Busan subway, the nearest station is Jangsan which is about a 25 minute taxi ride from the temple, It is walking distance from Songjeong beach although it will take you at least half an hour to follow the coast around. The sun was low on our walk back.
It is well worth a visit.