the classic wanderer

One Day East Busan Itinerary (Part 1): Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

10 Mar 2018 · 12 min read

Table of Contents

    Other than Busan’s famous attractions located in city centre, there are many places further from the city centre worthy to explore. It became more interesting as Busan itself is not as popular for tourists like Seoul or Jeju Island. These destinations lies roughly around 40 minutes from the city centre, specifically on the east area of Busan. So I decided to allocate one day to explore the East of Busan.
    We started off the day at 11.00 AM from Busanjin-gu, which is located around the central area. Using a bus it roughly took one hour to get to our first stop, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Don’t forget to purchase T-Money card in mini market or subway station beforehand to help you get around public transportation (let it be bus or subway) with ease. 
    Here is what my itinerary throughout the day looked like—which covers what to see, do and eat; along with directions, price, and operating hours.

    Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)

    When most temples are located by the mountains, Hanggeok Yeonggusa Temple is located by the sea shore. It made the view of this temple spectacular!

    A panoramic shot of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple


    This gem is a rare finding, not to mention it’s free of ticket entrance fees. Haedong Yonggungsa is a Buddhist temple built in 1376, but was reconstructed in 1970 since it was once destroyed by Japanese invasion. The area consists of as Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Seawater Great Goddess Buddha), Daeungjeon Main Sanctuary, Yongwangdang Shrine, and a three-story pagoda with four lions can all be seen looking out over the ocean. These four lions symbolizes joy, anger, sadness, and happiness. 
    On the bridge, there are people trying to throw out coins. They say if you throw it right to the mug stone statues, your wish can come true.
    Me and my sisters just decided to threw some Indonesian coins, since it has less economic value than Korean coins! Too bad we didn’t succeeded even after more than three trials. Lol.

    The spot where people tried throw coins to the mug rock. It’s harder than it looks!

    The Annoying Tourist


    Don’t worry, the stairs is not that many


    Yongwangdang Shrine and the Golden Fat Buddha

    You will see Yongwangdang Shrine where like any other temples, the pattern details are just beautiful. Even though it’s a tourist destination, the shrine is not closed and people can still do a worship activity, so we may respect them.


    Details of Yongwangdang Shrine


    Written wishes from many years ago were hanged up here


    Posing with my sister

    Golden Fat Buddha Statue


    Panoramic View Point 1: Haesu Gwaneum Daebul

    There are several angles to enjoy the panoramic view of Haedong Yonggungsa. First, in front of Haesu Gwaneum Daebul temple. After the Golden Buddha statue, go upstairs, and you can see the view of the sea shore of Sirangdae that directly connects with the Japanese sea. 

    The view of Sirangdae


    Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Sea water Great Goddess Buddha)

    Isn’t it cute?


    Panoramic View Point 2: The Rocks

    This is the most famous angle where can see the full panoramic view of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and the sea. 
    You can also write some hopes and dreams for it to be hanged by paying 2,000₩. This temple is indeed a place of hope and believe, hence that’s why there’s a lot of spots in which believed that can help make your wish come true.


    My favorite part of the temple? The Iconic Golden Pig!

    This golden pig statue in the temple caught our attention. And no, I haven’t really find out about the philosophy behind these cute statues…

    Can you guess what pose this is?


    I cannot unsee the iconic golden pig “butt”!


    I was TBH shocked by the sight of this statue. I mean look at his eyes.



    Bonus pic: A guy photobombed our family picture we’ve took using tripod that’s worth the post. Lol.


    Eat: Street Food Stalls in front of Haedong Yonggusa

    Have I mentioned that before entering the temple, you will be greeted by many street food stalls? Although it’s more of a tourist price which is a bit expensive than usual, there is some food I encountered here for the first time and some tasted good. For me, the best one is the Grilled Squid!

    Grilled Squid (5,000₩ for big portion)


    The process of grilling the squid

    Another unique street food is silkworm! Blergh! My sister actually tried it and she said it tasted like chicken. We bought it only to find out later that day that my sister had allergies. Hahaha.

    Silk Worm (2,000₩) 


    Yes, she said it tasted like chicken


    Hotteok (1,000₩) 

    Hotteok is a famous Korean pancake with sweet red beans filling inside. You can practically find this anywhere. 



    Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is FREE of ticket entrance fees. 

    Opening hours

    05:00 AM – Sunset


    Best time to come

    Any time of the week is good to come. I came on Saturdays, so it was considered crowded although tolerable. But here are some suggestions I’ve heard about the best time to come here:
    • April – When it’s filled with cherry blossoms in full bloom.
    • The Birth of Buddha Day – The birth of Buddha is also celebrated in the fourth month of the lunar calendar, it offers a spectacular night view as the temple area glows with lit lanterns.
    • New Year’s Eve – make a wish for the new year as they watch the sun come up. But expect that it will indeed be crowded.

    Since it opens from 05:00 AM, coming during sunrise or sunset can also be an interesting. It’s also reported foggy in the morning if you want to experience a dreamy-like vibe on the temple. 


    How to get there

    – From Haeundae Station (line 2, exit 7). Walk 20 m to bus stop ahead and take Bus #181. Or from any origin point you start from, head to Yonggusa Temple National Fisheries Research & Development Institute bus stop. 
    – Once you arrive at the bus stop, you will see some signs redirecting you to Haedong Yonggung Temple.
    – From the sign, walk back for around 50m in the direction where your bus came from, turn left onto Yonggung-gil.
    – Walk straight along Yonggung-gil to reach the temple for around 10-15 minutes from you will pass over National Fisheries Research.
    – You will see some food stalls, and that’s the area for Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

    Next up – One Day East Busan Itinerary (Part 2): Haeundae Beach, Market & Best Sushi in Town!



    Sabrina Anggraini



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