Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a Buddhist temple north east of Busan, South Korea. This temple complex isn’t the biggest in the country but it is by far the most spectacularly situated: it sits on a rocky shore, sandwiched between a lush green hill and the immaculate blue sea.

The temple was built in 1376, during the Goryeo Dynasty. It was destroyed by fire when the Japanese invaded South Korea and the main temple was carefully and beautifully reconstructed in 1970.

During the Buddha’s birthday, which is celebrated in the fourth month of the lunar calendar, and other religious festivals, the temple is lit up with many red lanterns. It is also a popular spot for New Year’s Day, when locals come here to see the first sunrise of the year and to pray for a good year.

Haedong Yonggungsa TempleDue to its proximity to the ultra-touristy Haeundae beach, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple draws tourists like a magnet. Bus loads of tourists descend upon the temple everyday, polluting its serene atmosphere with loud chatter. The cluster of souvenir and food stalls at the entrance dilute its sacred ambiance.

To fully appreciate its beauty and enjoy its atmosphere, visit the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in the early morning or late afternoon. It opens around from 5am and closes at sunset.