NOTE: We are not advocating mass travel during this time, but we do want to continue to support the incredible businesses and destinations that make this world so amazing. However, we do encourage you to virtually travel through our articles and plan your visits for when it is safe to do get out there.

Visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan

Affiliate links linking to products we love may be found within this article. For more info, please check our Disclosure page for more explanation of affiliates and sponsorships.

Busan is my favorite of the Big 2 cities in South Korea. Surely I haven’t visited them all but between Busan and that huge city to the north along the Han River (aka Seoul), I prefer this southeastern city hugging Korea’s coast and home to so many beautiful sights. Why? There are many reasons I love this city but Haedong Yonggungsa temple by the water ranks high on the list of our favorite things to do in Busan.

Do you like Korean temples? We mentioned quite a few of them in our Spring Things to Do in South Korea. Also, if you’re traveling to Busan, check here for the best prices availability on hotels in the area!

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Things to do in Busan South Korea Travel

Getting to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Courtesy of Naver Maps

Many people go there from Haeundae Station (Busan Subway Line 2) by taking a bus that you can find from Exit 7. Take Bus 181 and get off at the Yonggungsa Temple (용궁사) stop. The trip by bus should take about an hour and is the much cheaper route. If you want to get to Haedong Yonggungsa faster than that, grab a taxi and expect about a 20 minute and 8,000 won ride.

Our Story

First Impressions of Busan

Things to do in Busan South Korea Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Seoul is also dominated by a huge body of water but Busan just feels different to me. This city pokes out of Korea’s nearly 2,500 kilometer-long coastline into the vast ocean surrounding the peninsula. Many attractions come to mind and among the big players are Haeundae and Gwangan beaches. There’s also the amazing street food scene in Nampodong and the nearby Taejongdae, as well as Busan’s famed crowds roaring for their Lotte Giants. But personally, the best place worth visiting hosts something more sacred.

Haedong Yonggungsa Feelings

Things to do in Busan Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Koreans might not all identify with a religion but these places make me think that some of them do. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a lovely place even if it’s viewed as too touristy. The weekend crowds might also rub some the wrong way. Like Hyangiram near our home in Yeosu, Yonggungsa makes for a most peaceful getaway with views of the water accompanying sounds of monks reciting Buddhist sutras. Just like other places dominated by the ocean, the sea brings out the best in people and there’s a jovial nature that takes over when visiting. But why is it so special? Aren’t there plenty of other temples to visit, even in Busan?

Learn more about Korean Buddhism with this book by Frederick Starr!


Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Busan South Korea Travel

Yes, many people might refer to Beomeosa Temple as the spiritual heart of Busan and personal experience through a temple stay might lead me to rate it as the best. The buildings found within Yonggungsa are nice but might not elicit the emotions found at other temples throughout the country. The location helps create the shining star here. Korean temples usually linger among the clouds tucked away in mountains but this one finds itself right against the water.

Our Thoughts and Yours, Too!

Buddhism and nature are closely intertwined and Yonggungsa Temple’s watery scenes are much appreciated by those in love with outdoor scenes. The ocean helps give this place a more colorful appearance if the brightly painted buildings haven’t already accomplished that. Add in smells of seawater mixed with incense and a revisit to Haedong Yonggungsa almost becomes a requirement, if not just a wish.

This Busan travel guide is part of our series on South Korea Travel and East Asia Travel. It was originally created on July 3, 2014. It has been maintained and updated (as of December 28, 2018) to reflect current viewpoints and travel trends.

31 thoughts on “Visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan

  1. Taylor says:

    How long does it take to see all the sites at the temple that you want to see? Should I allow 1 hour for to tour the temple? 2 hours? More?

    • Carl Hedinger says:

      Hi Taylor! Thanks for stopping by. I think there’s quite a bit to see and since it’s so beautiful, too, you might want to give yourself at least a couple of hours. Considering it takes a while to get out there, I know it’s a tough thing to consider. Hope that helps.

  2. Meagan | says:

    I do love Beomeosa, but this is my favorite temple in Busan. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been here. We always try to remember our big jar of change that we accumulate from the toll roads, to make wishes on the bridge. I really love the first photo because I always go when the light is really harsh, but your shot is awesome and the colors really pop.

    • Duke Stewart says:

      Beomeosa was great during our temple stay a couple of years back. But you’re right. Yonggungsa is just one of those places that asks for revisits upon revisits. Thanks for your compliments and kind words.

  3. Danielle says:

    It really is so beautiful! I always love going to temples in Korea even though I always think they look the same, but I love how this one is right on the water. Before I leave Korea in August I’m gonna get down there to see this one. Great photos 🙂

  4. Scott Herder says:

    Nothing beats the ocean. Absolutely nothing. It was cool to see Haedong Yonggungsa again from the eyes of another person. Get to relive my experience and share yours.

  5. Evan and Rachel says:

    Great post! We love this temple too, and it’s one of the best places in Busan. We’ll be taking my aunt there soon when she visits for Chuseok! Surprisingly when we were there it wasn’t that crowded at all! I even got some alone time in the little underground cave with candles. 🙂

  6. Judith Villarreal says:

    I haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but those temples by the water are the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen! Great photos!

  7. Matt Inman says:

    This temple was also one of my favorite attractions in Busan. Despite the madness, I was still able to be very relaxed. There aren’t many times when that has happened for me which just tells you how awesome Yonggungsa is!

  8. Nadia says:

    I’m based in Busan and it was a treat to visit some of the surrounding temples. When I visited Yonggungsa, sadly it was swarming with tourists (us included), I was hoping to mostly hear the waves splash against the rocks and get my Zen on, but that didn’t really happen. It’s a beautiful place for sure, but I don’t think it’s a temple where you can find some peace and quiet. Maybe there are good times in the year to go? Great post otherwise 🙂

  9. Leah says:

    Lovely photos! I enjoyed visiting this temple, as well. Not many temples are built into the rocks on the sea: most are in the mountains, so it’s a nice change of scenery. Glad you enjoyed Busan!

  10. crystalzakrison says:

    I love the ocean and think it brings a calmness and peace to my mind. This place is beautiful. I also like done of the Buddhist s teachings. I like how they always stay in the present. 🙂

  11. Sha says:

    My visit to Busan left me wanting more. There was such a different change of tempo from Seoul that I couldn’t get enough of it. And I agree that the Haedong Yonggungsa is really beautiful too, it’s hard to find a temple right by the sea like this. I did wish that there wasn’t as many people trying to enjoy it when I was there though…:)

    • Duke Stewart says:

      It’s tough to visit on a weekday if you live here. I’d recommend trying to get there on a weekend if possible. That goes for most places here. Everyone is off at the same time. Hope you get another chance to visit!

      • Sha says:

        There are lesser people there on weekends? Hmm, will take note and see whether I can get to visit again…thanks for the tip! 🙂

        • Duke Stewart says:

          Ah, no. Meant to say less people there on weekdays. Weekends are madness in this country, because people are actually off work at that time (Sundays especially). Sorry for the confusion there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.