On day 2 of their adventure, the foursome awoke early and was (miraculously) ready to go by 9am. In true beach city style, most restaurants were closed due to the early hour so the party settled for some Starbucks bagels and sandwiches to satisfy the breakfast urge. After a quick stop at the tourist information booth on the beach, they began the journey to visit what was rumored to be one of the most beautiful temples in Korea. No not Beomeosa- they had to skip Beomeosa Temple, which is hailed as THE sight in Busan (but of course was also out of the way), because as a tourist information lady put it: “It’s just another temple. You’ll see dozens of these standard temples in Seoul or Gyeongju. It’s better to do things that you can only do in Busan, to get a feel for the place.” The lady had a point.
On their bus ride to the temple, they had to stand on the bus, and also encountered the worst bus driver yet. He alternated between slamming on the accelerator and slamming on the brakes and hooting at nearly every car on the road. It was almost comical, except for the fact that it was actually difficult to stand straight at every turn. Even the Korean people on the bus were shaking their heads about how unnecessary the jerkiness of the ride was. Aneesa wondered about implementing an anger management program for Korean bus drivers!
A 25 minute bus ride later, and after a 1km trek from the bus stop, the foursome reached Haedong Yonggungsa, which is a temple perched on a cliff above the sea.
Before reaching the gate of the temple, the travelers were welcomed by its guardians: the 12 life-size stone figures of the Chinese zodiac. Here, a lot of people take the opportunity to snap a shot with their birth animal. This was unbeknownst to any of the foursome at the time (typical) and they snapped pictures with any animal that took their fancy.
The gate to the temple was adorned with four golden lions, representing the four emotions: joy, anger, sadness and happiness. And to reach the temple, they had to go down 108 steps, every step said to represent freedom from the torments plaguing mortals, therefore bringing them closer to enlightenment.
As they emerged from the last steps of the bamboo-filled trail, Yonggungsa Temple finally revealed itself. Painted in traditional red and blue colours, the pagoda-style temple sat perfectly on the cliff. All were in agreement that it was amazing. Gorgeous. Faraaz considered that as far as Korean temples go it is fairly standard in its architecture and decoration and the like but its postcard perfect location couldn’t be beat.
Aneesa’s favourite spot was the pond under a bridge where she kept thinking about Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda, “Panda, we do not wash our pits in the Pool of Sacred Tears.”
The travelers wandered around the temple extensively and enjoyed sitting on the cliffs, soaking up the sun and listening to the waves- a rare opportunity in Korea. Despite the blistering heat, all had a good time.
The bus ride back to Haeundae Beach was much more pleasant and shorter. At this point, Aneesa and Faraaz had to bid a sad farewell to their travel companions in order to catch their train in time. Aneesa was delighted to get a parting gift from Kerissa, which included a pair of cupcake earrings (adorable!).
The foursome became a twosome again on the journey to the Busan KTX Station. They held hands amidst the heaps of backpacks and camera bags they were lugging and ordered their last meal in Busan which happened to be Vietnamese.
Once aboard the romance vehicle, Aneesa spent exactly 70 minutes curled up across the seats, fast asleep on Faraaz’s lap. When the train stopped at the most central place of Korea (Daegu), Aneesa somehow woke up and Faraaaz curled himself up and fell asleep on Aneesa all the way to Asan for the next 70 minutes.
As the pictures show, a good time was had by all; a lot was accomplished, and the weekend ended on a happy if tiring note. This post was sort of sappy, but it’s better than being crappy, so don’t get so snappy!
Feel free to comment if you have any questions about Busan or need any travel advice