In my last post, I told you a bit more about what Haeundae Beach is like during summer. My next summer time recommendation is Tongdosa Temple. It’s located in Yangsan, just between Busan and Ulsan.
There’s a stream near the entrance that is quite popular among the Koreans.
While it’s a beautiful tourist spot, it’s important to remember to be respectful because people do still come to this temple to pray. Tongdosa is one of Korea’s 3 Jewel Temples so it is highly regarded amongst the Buddhists.
The entrance fee for Tongdosa Temple is 3,000 per adult, 1,500 for teenagers and 1,000 for children. Kids under 7 are free. Parking is 2,000 won.
Here’s how to enjoy a perfect day at the temple:
Tongdosa is the perfect place to get your Korean food fix. The restaurant inside the temple is vegetarian friendly, which is great for us because Dave doesn’t eat meat.
Just slide open the doors and walk on in. There is a counter with a menu. You order and pay there first.
We ordered the bibimbap and naengmyeon (iced noodles).
Bibimbap is just rice, topped with an assortment of veggies. There’s also a spicy, red sauce provided on the table that you can mix in.
Naengmyeon is very popular in summers. Basically, It’s buckwheat noodles on ice. It sounds really strange, but it can actually be really tasty. It’s served with vinegar and spicy mustard on the side so you can flavor it yourself. They also provide scissors so you can cut the noodles. And, of course, no meal in Korea is complete without kimchi.
People watching is one of my favorite things to do in Korea so I always try to sit by the window.
Now that you have a full belly, it’s time to explore the temple grounds. Here are some of the highlights, but just know that this is only a fraction of the things you can see at Tongdosa:
So now that you’ve eaten some traditional Korean foods and explored one of the best temples in the country, it’s time to treat yourself to some dessert.
Right next to the restaurant is a dessert stand that sells patbingsu, a favorite dessert among Koreans to beat the heat in summer. Again, go through the doors, order and then take your ticket to the woman on the right who makes the patbingsu. Then, sit down and they will bring your patbingsu to the table.
This delicious dessert consists of shaved ice, condensed milk and sweetened red beans. The rest of the toppings vary by place. At Tongdosa, you can also enjoy strawberry syrup, almond slivers, and cornflakes on your patbingsu. Surprisingly, it tastes much better than it sounds (and looks). The cornflakes were my favorite part (and Dave was kind enough to let me eat most of them)!
I hope you take my advice and go visit Tongdosa. If you can’t make it for summer, I hear it’s also spectacular in the spring during plum blossom and cherry blossom seasons.
Address: 108, Tongdosa-ro, Habuk-myeon, Yangsan-si, Gyeongsangnam-do