FAVORITE PLACES: BONGEUNSA TEMPLE

As my time comes to an end in Korea, I wanted to share some of my favorite spots in Korea. The places that I have returned to again and again, the places I recommend everyone visit, the places that will always remind me of my favorite days in Korea.

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The first one is a place that I have somehow never written about on here. Bongeunsa Temple is in the heart of Gangnam, and I always refer to it as an oasis. I have shared pictures of the temple on How We See Korea and throughout my monthly photography challenges, yet I have somehow failed to ever write a post about it.

I’ve visited Bongeunsa at least four times, and I have dozens of photos from each visit. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it is south of the Han River. I live south of the river, and sometimes it seems to take forever to get to the palaces and sites in central Seoul. Convenience makes the heart grow fonder.

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The temple was originally constructed in 794 AD, though it moved to its current location in the 1500s. The temple has an impressive entrance with a large stone walkway leading to the main building. One of my first pictures for How We See Korea is of this walkway covered with colorful streamers. The walkway leads you up stairs and into an open area that has large banners and is covered with hundreds of lanterns. The lanterns change from season to season, and I love that the temple is always slightly different each time I visit. At the main prayer room, my sister in law and I met a kind Korean man, who walked around some of the temple grounds with us. He gave Stephanie a fan, and I practiced my broken Hanguel with him.

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I usually take the same route through the grounds and head up into the woods. Small buildings are scattered around. Some times they are surrounded by lanterns; some times you can place a wish in a bag. The trail through the woods brings you to the left side of a giant Buddha statue. I saw my first cherry blossoms in these woods in spring 2014.My favorite spot is here, and I always take a picture framing Buddha between the tree branches. Buddha faces Gangnam and looks over the COEX mall. I love how quiet this spot is, yet knowing that there are a million people within a two mile radius.

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I love this place so much that it was the very first thing I took my cousin to visit when she came to Korea. I can’t think of why I never wrote about it before, except that it is such a quiet place that there isn’t much to say about each visit. However, when I thought of all those visits combined I realized how much I adore this little slice of Korea.

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NOVEMBER 30 IN 30
A NEW PAGE: NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA

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