I look down at the temple below – with its gates, pagoda and main hall spread out along a central axis – and remember that it will be Buddha’s Birthday in a few weeks. Hundreds of visitors will descend, incense will fill the air and the sandy expanse will turn into a sea of lanterns: pink, yellow, green, blue and red.
After relaxing in the breeze for a few minutes, it’s time to head down. “We have fulfilled our task,” Bo-ri announces with a smile. “There’s only the birds and us.” Though the temple stay has been physically rigorous and emotionally intense, I can’t remember the last time I felt so calm and mentally grounded – truly free of Seoul’s daily urban grind. Nevertheless, I’m ready to return to the city, bringing back with me my own humble portion of deep-mountain solitude.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
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