5 Fascinating Temples You Need to Visit Before Leaving Korea

Korea is full of great temples that reflect a slice of the peninsula’s long, rich history. Seeing them all would take forever, so we narrowed it down to five “must-sees” to get you started.

Buddhism was first introduced on the Korean Peninsula to the Goguryeo Dynasty in 372 C.E. by Sundo, a Chinese monk. Through state support, the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism took deeper roots during the Unified Silla (668-935) and Goryeo (918-1392) dynasties.

It wasn’t until the Confucian-influenced Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) that Buddhism began its slow decline. Finally, once Korea emerged from the oppression of Japanese colonialism in 1945, Korean Buddhism once again entered a golden era.

Now, with thousands of Buddhist temples spread throughout the country, there certainly is no shortage of richly historic locations of the ancient philosophy. Haps has put together a collection of some great locations to get you started.

#01: Haeinsa Temple – Hapcheon

Yet another of Korea’s remarkable temples is Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, which also just so happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Haeinsa Temple’s claim to fame is the collection of over 81,000 wooden blocks that comprise the Tripitaka Koreana, a set of Buddhist scriptures that date back to the mid-13th century. The temple itself dates back to 802 C.E., and the name ‘Haeinsa’ means ‘Temple of the Ocean Mudra.’ www.haeinsa.or.kr

Images by Scott Rotzoll

#02: Bulguksa Temple – Gyeongju

Located in the historic city of Gyeongju, Bulguksa Temple is Korea’s most iconic temple. Originally established to placate the spirits of Prime Minister Kim Daeseong in 751 C.E., Bulguksa Temple now possesses a remarkable six national treasures. The beautiful front façade and the towering Dabo-tap and Seokga-tap pagodas make Bulguksa Temple the most recognizable temple in all of Korea to foreign visitors. www.bulguksa.or.kr

Images by Macbeth Omega

#03: Tongdosa Temple – Yangsan

Originally constructed in 643 C.E. by Jajang-yulsa, Tongdosa Temple was built to house the partial earthly remains of the historic Buddha Seokgamoni-bul, which Jajang-yulsa received during his studies in China. With the support of Queen Seondeok, Jajang-yulsa built Tongdosa Temple to help spread Buddhism throughout the Silla Kingdom. Now, nearly 1500 years later, and with visitors still being able to view the Buddha’s remains, it’s no wonder why Tongdosa Temple remains one of Korea’s most popular temples, as well as its largest. www.tongdosa.or.kr

Images by Joseph Bengivenni

#04: Beopjusa Temple – Songnisan National Park

Founded in 553 C.E., Beopjusa Temple is one of the most beautifully situated temples in Korea. In addition to the surrounding beauty, Beopjusa Temple also has a massive 33-meter-tall bronze statue dedicated to Mireuk-bul (the Future Buddha). But it’s probably National Treasure #55, the five-story wooden pagoda known as Palsang-jeon, which dates back to 1624, that truly makes Beopjusa Temple something special. www.beopjusa.or.kr

Images by Joseph Bengivenni

#05: Beomeosa Temple – Busan

First established in 678 C.E. by the famed monk Uisang-daesa, Beomeosa Temple offers a dozen shrine halls for visitors to explore. Having passed through the 9th century Iljumun Gate at the entry, you’ll be welcomed by the unassuming main hall, which houses wall-to-wall historical murals. Another highlight of this temple, which is nestled on the eastern slopes of Geumjeongsan, is the highly unique, three-sectioned shrine hall to the rear of the main hall. www.beomeo.kr

Images by Joseph Bengivenni & Macbeth Omega

You can read more about Korean temples at Dale’s blog, www.koreantemples.com, or check out his book, “Korean Temples: From Korea’s Southeast Corner.”


Read print version here:

Haps CoverCover photo by Scott Rotzoll (You can see more of his work here)

The Latest Haps


Underground Highway From Haeundae to Gimhae Airport in the Works

The construction of a 22.8 kilometer underground highway from Gimhae Airport to Haeundae will be promoted to coincide with the opening of Gimhae New Airport in 2026.


Four Injured When Car Smashes into Hanyang Mart in Yeonje-gu

A vehicle smashed into a Hanyang Mart yesterday afternoon next to an apartment complex in Yeonje-gu.


China Threatens US B-1 Bomber Flying 70 Miles off of Jeju Island

The US supersonic bomber was in the controversial Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone.


Ha Ha Hole Returns Friday With a New Theme

The monthly Ha Ha Hole returns this Friday night and it’s looking for female comics to take center stage.


New Zealand’s ‘Moses’ to Perform at Basement this Friday

Psychedelic shoegaze from New Zealand, Moses, will be performing in Busan Friday, March 10, on the Busan leg of their Whareama album release tour.


Up to 2,000 People Expected to be Involved in “Black Panther” Shooting

Around 2,000 people are expected to be involved in Marvel Comics “Black Panther” shooting in Busan.


Nearly Half of Korean Men Suffer Hair Loss in Their 20s

Nearly half of Korean men begin losing their hair in their 20s according to a recent survey.


4th Busan International Boat Show Begins Today

The nation’s favorite boat festival sets sail for the fourth year.


10 Second Korean: ~ 가주세요 [ gajuseyo ]

Easy and quick Korean expressions!


Lunch Special at Nongshim Hotel’s Naedong Restaurant

The Nongshim Hotel is offering a special lunch menu set at its signature Korean restaurant, Naedong.


BIWA to Host Mardi Gras Ball in April

The Busan International Women’s Association is hosting a “Mardi Gras Ball” on Saturday, April 22nd at the Haeundae Grand Hotel.


Paradise Hotel’s ‘Nampoong’ Presents New Dim Sum Course

The Paradise Hotel’s third floor Chinese restaurant ‘Nampoong’ has introduced a new dim sum course meal for spring.


Guam Preferred Travel Choice for Korean Families

A recent survey by Expedia Korea has shown that Guam is the preferred choice for Korean family vacations.


Princess Cruises Announces Voyages Focusing on Japanese Festivals and Heritage Sites

The voyages are designed to offer opportunities to explore the wonders of UNESCO World Heritage sites and to participate in some of Japan’s largest and most celebrated cultural festivals and special events.


Jeju Air to Offer Big Promo on all its Flights From Gimhae

Jeju Air will hold a big promotional event with great prices on domestic and international tickets from the 23rd of March through the 5th of April.


Sajik Stadium to Charge Parking From this Year

Drivers will have to pay for their parking at the attached parking area of Sajik Stadium starting from the next month.


Giants to Have Two Lee Dae-ho ‘Cheering Zone’ Home Games

The Lotte Giants, will have a special “Lee Dae Ho Cheering Zone” at the opening home game on April 4th and the first weekend home game on April 8th.


Guide to Trekking in Seoraksan National Park

What is the perfect season in the Korean peninsula to hike and camp in Seoraksan National Park?


 Interested in Advertising with Haps? No problem. Click here





HQ bar