Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crossing off items on my Bucket List - Part 1

I got a little bit tipsy on Saturday night and wrote a Korean Bucket List for myself. We've only got 3 months left here and time feels like it is flying by. That and I'm ridiculously disorganised but who doesn't like writing lists?!

Two of the items fell within my 10,000 won budget and were a doable day-trip from Buan - Geumsan Temple and Moak Mountain.

To get to Geumsansa (sa/사 is the Korean for temple, if you call it Geumsansa Temple I will cut you) we took a bus from Buan to Gimje, and then from Gimje we caught the number 5 bus to the temple. The 5 leaves every 25-30 minutes and the easiest stop to reach is across the road from the Gimje bus terminal and up about 20 metres, in front of Pizza Maru. It cost 2,800 won return ($3.25) and is a 40-minute journey each way.

Geumsansa is the last stop on the route, and it's about 500m from the bus stop to the temple grounds. There's a HUGE amount of parking and a bunch of restaurants, marts, a small fairground and people selling wood carvings, including this one:

Entrance to the grounds costs 3,000 won per person, something that was not mentioned to me in any of the websites I looked at so TAKE NOTE PEOPLE. Nearly blew my budget. The temple grounds include a beautiful stream, a flat and grassy picnic area (rare in Korea) and a camping ground. 

OMG GRASSY AREA. Took a lot of self restraint to not roll in it.

After walking another 500m from the gate, you'll reach the temple. I've visited several temples in Korea and Geumsansa is easily the most beautiful. It's nestled in the hills at the bottom of Moak Mountain and it's surrounded by lush forest and if it's quiet enough you can hear the stream burbling nearby. Although there were a number of people visiting on Sunday, it still felt peaceful and I lost a lot of the antipathy I've felt towards temples lately. 

When we first entered we were approached by a Korean man who asked if he could speak English with us. He was lovely and friendly and teaches English in the Adult Welfare centre in Gimje, but unfortunately the only thing I'm going to remember about him was the giant fart he did, mid-sentence without stopping and without mentioning it afterwards. It was an interesting (and, okay, hilarious) interruption to the tranquility of the temple. And on that note, here's some pictures:

This building contains three huge statues of Buddha.

Monk says no.

Farting Korean Man

Post-hike prayer.
See the next entry for our adventures with Moak Mountain. 

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