Thursday, 23 August 2012

Haedong Yonggungsa Water Temple

With the weather being as hot as it is recently we've found it pretty hard to tear ourselves away from the beach where you can take a dip in the sea whenever it got a little too warm, but we finally managed to organise ourselves last weekend for a long over due trip to Haedong Yonggungsa Water Temple.

I'd heard that it was one of the more unique temples in Korea, and due to some guides and sites saying that you could hike there, I imagined a tiny remote temple right on the cliff edge. When we arrived, there was a coach park filled with cars, lots of touristy stalls set up selling little buddhas and incense and alot more people than I'd expected to be milling about.

Even though it was busy, I loved the temple and the grounds it was set in. It was nice to sit on the rocks, dipping our feet into the sea and watching the people in the distance wandering around the rocky temple. Although it was very touristy and there were restaurants and cafes there, it was nice that it was still done in a very Korean way and wasn't quite as polished as a major tourist destination in the UK might be.

We walked around the temple, threw coins into the wishing pot, although no one had good enough aim to get them in, and poured what I presume to be holy water over the buddha's head. Afterwards we sat on little wooden stools, bought some icecream from the little buddhist cafe and sat and looked out to sea while the ice creams melted all over our faces. I think a new year's resolution for me this year should be to learn how to eat a cone without making a mess...

After a while we followed the signs for the forest trail, which ended rather unceremoniously at a gate with a clear no entry sign. Yet being the trepid explorers that we are, we headed past the gate, walked down through a few tiny allotments and came out at the sea shore.

Randomly there was an amazing outside terrace cafe with big comfy chairs to sit in, so we drank Asahi and took in the view. I think the highlight for Tasha was seeing the Great Dane that was skulking around the cafe- definitely the biggest dog that we've seen since we've been in Korea.

We ended the night watching the sun go down on a wooden pagoda near to Songjeong beach, as I watched the tiny people cling desperately onto the banana boats in the ocean below, and realised how idiotic I must have looked last weekend.

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