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The Conquered – The Gaya Confederacy (42 – 562 A.D.)

Koreabridge - Mon, 2021-11-15 23:18
The Gaya Confederacy (Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Gaya Confederacy existed from 42 A.D. to 562 A.D. It was situated in the south-eastern corner of the Korean peninsula near the Nakdong River basin around present day Busan and the Gyeongsangnam-do area. The Gaya Confederacy was centred around Geungwan Gaya (present day Gimhae). It was a small confederacy of city-states that grew out of the Byeonhan Confederacy, which consisted of twelve states. In total, there were six loosely organized city-states in the Gaya Confederacy. The Gaya Confederacy gained its independence from the Byeonhan Confederacy sometime during the late 3rd century. And while there are very few written records that can point to a definitive transitional period in Gaya history, it was around the 3rd century that military activities increased and funeral rites changed for the confederacy. During its history, the Gaya Confederacy existed between the stronger Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.) to the north-west and the fast growing Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – 935 A.D.) to the north-east.

The economy of the Gaya Confederacy was centred around agriculture, fishing, and foreign trade. And with it being situated in the fertile Nakdong plains, as well as its proximity to the sea, it makes sense that these would be the core components to the Gaya Confederacy’s economy. Additionally, the Gaya Confederacy was situated on top of rich iron deposits, which it both used and exported to the Baekje Kingdom and the Wa of Japan. Also, archaeological evidence supports the idea that the Gaya Confederacy exported both culture and technology to the Kyushu area of Japan.

The tomb of King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do

The Gaya Confederacy has an interesting creation legend. As the legend goes, King Suro of Geumgwan Gaya (42? – 199 A.D.) was the first of six princes born from eggs. He had descended down from the sky in a golden bowl wrapped in red cloth. Being the first of the six born, he would go on to help form the Gaya Confederacy.

King Suro’s wife, Heo Hwang-ok (Yellow Jade), on the other hand, was from the Ayuta Kingdom. It’s unclear where Ayuta Kingdom is, as it is not identified in the Garakgukgi (The Record of Garak Kingdom), which is currently lost, or the Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) that cites the Garakgukgi. All that these sources cite is that the Ayuta Kingdom was a “distant kingdom.” There are a few theories as to where the Ayuta Kingdom might be like Ayodhya in India. However, there are no records of this legend in India. Another theory states that the Ayuta Kingdom is a transliteration of the Ay Kingdom in India. Either way, it’s unclear as to where Heo Hwang-ok was definitively from.

A painting of Queen Heo arriving on the Korean peninsula. Of note is the Pisa Seoktap at the back of the boat. The painting is from Haegwangsa Temple in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Either way, the legend of Heo Hwang-ok’s arrival on the Korean peninsula states that she arrived in 48 A.D. Upon her arrival, she told King Suro she was sixteen years old. She would go on to marry King Suro to become Queen Heo. And some six million people, especially the Gimhae Kim clan, Gimhae Heo clan, and Lee clan, in present day Korea, trace their lineage back to these legendary figures.

During her seaward journey, Heo Hwang-ok traveled with a five-story stone pagoda. The pagoda was used to help calm the potential stormy seas. This is also recorded in the Samguk Yusa. This pagoda is known as the Pisa Seoktap, which literally means “Pisa Stone Pagoda” in English. This pagoda is also called the Chimpungtap, which means “Wind Calming Pagoda” in English, for obvious reasons. The stones that make up the pagoda have exotic engravings on them, while the red patterns have understandably faded over time. Initially, this pagoda had no home. It wasn’t until 452 A.D., and through the creation of the newly built Wanghusa Temple (Queen’s Temple), which was probably an ancestral shrine, that the pagoda found a home. Later, its location was changed to Hogyesa Temple in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. Finally, it was relocated to its present location in 1993, under a wooden pavilion, on the grounds of Queen Heo’s burial site.

The tomb of Queen Heo in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. The Pisa Seoktap (Pisa Stone Pagoda) that Queen Heo purportedly sailed with on her journey towards the Gaya Confederacy.

The Pisa Stone Pagoda is intriguing for a couple of reasons. Queen Heo potentially came from an area in India that was Buddhist. Additionally, she probably brought statues and texts to accompany the highly symbolic and meaningful Buddhist style pagoda. Also, the foreignness of the design, shape, and colour of the pagoda point to its alien origins. And while Buddhism didn’t become popular in the Gaya Confederacy, it would seem that Buddhism entered the Korean peninsula at a much earlier date than through the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C. – 668 A.D.). However, with little documentation, because of the confederacy’s destruction at the hands of the Silla Kingdom, it’s hard to definitively state this in the absence of anything concrete outside the Pisa Seoktap.

After a period of decline, the Gaya Confederacy was revived once more during the 5th century around Daegaya (present day Goryeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do). Before this, the Goguryeo Kingdom put pressure on the Gaya Confederacy, which would result in their independence deteriorating. However, while the Gaya Confederacy’s power was slowly being eroded, they remained an autonomous state until they were completely conquered and annexed by the Silla Kingdom in 562 A.D. This happened as a result, and delivered as punishment, for having assisted the Baekje Kingdom against the Silla Kingdom. And so in 562 A.D., the Gaya Confederacy ceased to exist.

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Looking for used books by John Swales

Koreabridge - Sun, 2021-11-14 23:13
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Looking for good books with good cost for a good reason. 
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Top 10 Budget Hotels In Myeongdong: Best Stays Under $100

Koreabridge - Sun, 2021-11-14 08:32

If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Seoul for a reasonable price, Myeongdong is the place for you. There are dozens of budget hotels in Myeongdong that offer a comfortable night’s sleep at prices that won’t break the bank.

Myeongdong is a melting pot of Korean and foreign culture and one of the best places for traveller’s to Seoul looking for an all-round Korean experience. There’s bustling street markets, delicious street food, shopping, and some of Seoul’s top sights & attractions.

When I visit Seoul, I almost always stay in Myeongdong due to its convenience – there are lots of connections to the rest of Seoul. It’s also one of Seoul’s special tourists districts that allows rooftop bars, offering up beautiful views of the N Seoul Tower.

Staying in Myeongdong is a great option for first-time travellers to Korea. This area caters to tourists and offers money-exchanges with the best rates, souvenirs shops, local goods at bargain prices, and a wide range of restaurants and cafes.

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Top 10 Budget Hotels In Myeongdong

Here are ten of the best places to stay in Myeongdong that will offer you a comfortable night’s rest for under $100.

I’m very picky when it comes to hotels and spend a long time checking reviews, looking at the options and prices, and finding the best bargains available.

I’ve personally stayed in most of these hotels and feel comfortable recommending them to people looking for good quality budget hotels in Myeongdong.

Now I want to share them with you.

If you’re looking to travel as a couple, family, or by yourself, these budget hotels in Myeongdong will all be perfect for you.

Please note: Prices might be above $100 during peak times, which include cherry blossom and autumn leaves season.

1: L7 Myeongdong By Lotte

My favourite of these budget hotels in Myeongdong, I’ve stayed in the L7 Myeongdong several times and can definitely recommend it.

It’s got a fun modern design with lots of yellowy decorations. It’s right outside Myeongdong Station and gives easy access to the best shops and street food areas.

The hotel has a free rooftop foot spa where you can dip your feet whilst looking at the N Seoul Tower. This is a great way to enjoy a cold winter’s evening and provides a great place for taking pictures of Seoul.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 245 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Your pillow-top bed comes with down comforters and premium bedding.

Private bathrooms with showers feature designer toiletries and bidets. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming provides entertainment.

Amenities

Make use of convenient amenities, which include complimentary wireless Internet access, 24-hour front desk, and concierge services.

Dining

Enjoy a satisfying meal at an exclusive restaurant serving guests of L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE. Wrap up your day with a drink at the bar/lounge.

Address

37 Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul

Check Prices 2: ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

Although this hotel is technically in Namdaemun, this area is a couple of minutes away from Myeongdong and gives you access to all of the areas attractions.

The ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun is tucked away in a quieter part of central Seoul, so if you’re looking for a modern budget hotel in the area that’s not as busy outside, this is a great option.

This hotel is perfect for visiting Deoksugung Palace and travelling to Hongdae from City Hall Station. There are also some nice cafes and bars in the area that are a bit quieter than in central Myeongdong.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 182 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and LCD televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment.

Private bathrooms have designer toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks.

Amenities

Enjoy recreational amenities such as an indoor pool and a fitness centre. This hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, a banquet hall, 24-hour front desk, and multilingual staff. Limited parking is available onsite.

Dining

For lunch or dinner, stop by R.ENA, a restaurant that specialises in Italian cuisine. You can also grab snacks at the coffee shop/café.

Address

36 Sejong-daero 11-gil, Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

Check Prices 3: Tmark Grand Hotel Myeongdong

The Tmark Grand Hotel Myeongdong has some great rates for comfortable rooms and is probably one of the best budget hotels in Myeongdong for those looking to save money.

What I like most about this hotel is the location. It towers above Hoehyeon Station and is within walking distance from Seoul Station – about 15 minutes away.

You can even take the Seoullo 7017 garden walkway from Seoul Station most of the way. It’s opposite Namdaemun Market, meaning you won’t have to carry your shopping far.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 576 individually decorated guestrooms, featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment.

Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature deep soaking bathtubs and designer toiletries. Conveniences include laptop-compatible safes and desks, and you can also request irons/ironing boards.

Amenities

Be sure to enjoy recreational amenities including an indoor pool and a fitness center. Additional amenities at this Art Deco hotel include complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, a 24-hour front desk, and multilingual staff. Limited parking is available onsite.

Dining

For lunch or dinner, stop by Tour de Goumet Buffet, a restaurant that specializes in international cuisine. You can also grab snacks at the coffee shop/café. Buffet breakfasts are available daily from 7 AM to 10 AM for a fee.

Address

194-15 Hoehyeondong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Check Prices 4: Nine Tree Premier Hotel Myeongdong

Located in the heart of Myeongdong, just a few steps from Myeongdong Station, the Nine Tree Premier Hotel Myeongdong is a clean, comfortable and very affordable hotel that’s perfect for a wide range of travellers looking to explore Myeongdong.

Like other budget hotels in Myeongdong, this hotel offers great transportation links and is just two stops from Seoul Station. It’s also very convenient for the Incheon Airport limousine bus.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 144 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming provides entertainment.

Private bathrooms with bathtubs or showers feature complimentary toiletries and bidets. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks.

Amenities

Make use of convenient amenities such as complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, a television in a common area, a 24-hour front desk. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available 24 hours).

Dining

Enjoy a meal at the restaurant or snacks in the hotel’s coffee shop/café.

Address

51 Myeongdong 10-gil, Chungmuro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Check Prices 5: LOTTE City Hotel Myeongdong

Lotte Hotels have a strong reputation for comfort and modern conveniences and you can’t go wrong booking one of their hotels. As with the other Lotte hotel on this list, there’s a lovely rooftop area where you can eat and take in the sights of Seoul.

This iconic hotel, with the blue bowing man outside, is one of the most popular budget hotels in Myeongdong and enjoyed by travellers from around the world.

This hotel even offers a Muslim-friendly restaurant, Saffron, as well as the C-Cafe on the 27th floor.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 430 guestrooms featuring refrigerators and LED televisions. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming provides entertainment.

Private bathrooms have complimentary toiletries and bidets. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks.

Amenities

Enjoy recreation amenities such as a health club or take in the view from a rooftop terrace. This hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Limited parking is available onsite.

Dining

Grab a bite to eat at C’cafe, one of the hotel’s many dining establishments, which include 2 restaurants and a coffee shop/café. Buffet breakfasts are available daily from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM for a fee.

Address

362, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul South Korea

Check Prices 6: Hotel Midcity Myeongdong

Budget-conscious travellers might want to consider Hotel Midcity Myeongdong, which offers cozy double rooms for as little as $50 per night and family rooms from $70 per night.

This is probably the best of these budget hotels in Myeongdong in terms of value for money. It’s located close to Cheonggyecheon Stream and a short walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace, making it perfect for sightseeing.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 140 air-conditioned rooms featuring LCD televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment.

Private bathrooms have complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include safes and desks, and housekeeping is provided daily.

Amenities

Take advantage of recreation opportunities such as a fitness centre or take in the view from a rooftop terrace and a garden. Featured amenities include a 24-hour front desk, and luggage storage.

Dining

Individually-wrapped food options are available through room service.

Address

30, Dadong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul South Korea

Check Prices 7: Philstay Myeongdong

Another great budget hotel option for those looking for a low-cost stay in Myeongdong in a convenient location. This hotel isn’t the most luxurious, but is very reasonably priced, has friendly management, and comes with a free (basic) breakfast.

You can get a good night’s rest in the city for as little as 40,000 KRW for a double room – the price of a BBQ dinner in one of the nearby restaurants. Close to Myeongdong Food Street and Myeongdong Cathedral for late night snacks or early morning church visits.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 25 air-conditioned guestrooms. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment.

Private bathrooms with showers feature hair dryers and slippers. Housekeeping is provided daily, and both refrigerators and irons/ironing boards are available on request.

Amenities

Make use of convenient amenities, which include complimentary wireless Internet access and concierge services. Featured amenities include a computer station, a 24-hour front desk, and multilingual staff.

Dining

Not available within the hotel.

Address

17F 55, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul South Korea

Check Prices 8: Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel

As you can see from the picture above, the draw of this hotel is definitely the view from the rooftop garden. The area surrounding Myeongdong offers some incredible sights, with mountains to the north and the iconic N Seoul Tower to the south.

This basic budget hotel is cheaper than most of the other tall hotels in the area, with double rooms from 50,000 KRW per night, even on the weekend. That gives you more money to spend on snacks and drinks to enjoy whilst taking in the night view.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 21 guestrooms featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment.

Bathrooms feature showers, hair dryers, and slippers. Conveniences include desks and microwaves, and housekeeping is provided daily.

Amenities

This guesthouse offers designated smoking areas. Featured amenities include luggage storage, laundry facilities, and microwaves in a common area.

Dining

Not available within the hotel.

Address

47, Toegye-ro 20-gil, Seoul South Korea

Check Prices 9: Metro Hotel Myeongdong

Located in the northern part of Myeongdong, away from the markets and night stalls but close to Euljiro 1-ga subway station, the Metro Hotel is an ideal budget hotel for those looking to stay away from the crowds.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s in an inconvenient location. It’s closer to popular sights, such as the royal palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Jogyesa Temple.

It’s also a few minutes away from the Jonggak Avenue of Youth – a popular place for eating and drinking at night that’s less touristy than the central Myeongdong.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 78 individually decorated guestrooms, featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming provides entertainment.

Private bathrooms with bathtubs or showers feature bidets and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks.

Amenities

Enjoy recreation amenities such as a fitness centre or take in the view from a terrace. This hotel features complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and express check-out.

Dining

Enjoy a meal at the restaurant or snacks in the hotel’s 2 coffee shops/cafés. Buffet breakfasts are available daily from 7 AM to 10 AM for a fee.

Address

14, Myeongdong 9ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul South Korea

Check Prices 10: Crown Park Hotel Seoul

The Crown Park Hotel is a large hotel situated close to the Lotte Department Store, Seoul City Hall, and Deoksugung Palace. This hotel strikes a good balance between being a budget friendly hotel and offering a premium service.

Close to the airport limousine bus stop, markets, and department stores, this is a great budget hotel in Myeongdong for those looking to spend less on accommodation and more on shopping. You can even buy extra suitcases nearby for some of the lowest prices in town.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 204 guestrooms featuring refrigerators. Your pillowtop bed comes with premium bedding.

Private bathrooms with showers feature designer toiletries and hair dryers. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming provides entertainment.

Amenities

Take advantage of recreation opportunities such as a fitness center, or other amenities including complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Additional features at this hotel include a fireplace in the lobby and a banquet hall.

Dining

Enjoy a meal at The Park Dining or snacks in the hotel’s coffee shop/café.

Address

19, Namdaemun-ro 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul South Korea

Check Prices Traveller’s Guide To Myeongdong

There are not only lots of budget hotels in Myeongdong, there are also lots of cheap eats, discounted goods, and cheap (or even free) attractions to explore.

If you’re not sure what there is to do in Myeongdong, here’s a quick guide to what to see, do, and eat in the area.

What To See In Myeongdong

Although not technically in Myeongdong, you can’t help but notice the colourful N Seoul Tower looking over the area from nearby Namsan Mountain.

Myeongdong is the best place to be if you want to visit this romantic lookout point that offers incredible views of Seoul in all directions.

To get to the N Seoul Tower, take the Namsan Cable Car or walk (it’s not really that far). You can get there by heading up the path behind Myeongdong Station.

You’ll also see Zaemiro Street in the same area, a special area dedicated to Korea’s comic and cartoon industry. Watch as you walk through the area and try to notice famous Korean characters, including Pororo the Penguin and Red & Yellow Larva.

Visit Myeongdong Street Food Street and sample all the delicious snacks on offer. In the middle of this street, you’ll also see the Myeongdong Theatre.

East of the street food street is the Myeongdong Cathedral, a gothic cathedral designed by French missionaries to Korea in the 19th Century.

Myeongdong is primarily known for shopping, staying, and eating, however, there are many sights nearby. Here are some of the attractions close to Myeongdong:

There’s a lot more than this to see, of course. These are just some of the highlights of central Seoul.

If you want to know a few more things to see or do in Seoul, check out this article:

Best Things To Do In Seoul What To Do In Myeongdong

Myeongdong is known for one thing above all else – shopping.

There are a wide range of shops selling all kinds of goods, from luxury brands in department stores (and fakes in the street markets), to discounted Korean cosmetics, K-pop goods, clothing, souvenirs, and everything else.

Explore Myeongdong’s street markets or the busy Namdaemun Market (right next to Myeongdong) at all hours of the day, with shops open late into the night.

If you don’t want to shop, there’s also the Seoul Global Culture Centre to visit, where you can learn about Korean culture and try on Korean hanbok for free.

Looking for something different? Why not check out the Myeongdong Shooting Range, a popular shooting range designed by K-pop stars and featuring 100s of different guns used in Korean dramas and movies.

This places offers training on how to use the guns and has trained various Korean celebrities, including G Dragon, Kim Soo-hyun, and Lee Gi-kwang.

Book Now What To Eat In Myeongdong

The other attraction in Myeongdong is food.

There are a lot of chimaek (chicken and beer) and samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ) restaurants to check out that have given millions of tourists their first unforgettable taste of Korean dining.

Koreans love to spend the evenings chatting and enjoying coffee and cake together, which is why you’ll find so many cafes in Myeongdong (and everywhere in Korea).

Check out the Korean desserts on offer, especially if you’re visiting in summer when you can enjoy one of Korea’s best treats – bingsu (shaved ice dessert).

Of course, the best options are outside. That’s where you’ll find Myeongdong’s iconic street food. There’s a whole street dedicated to food stalls in the heart of Myeongdong.

Try out a variety of authentic Korean snacks, such as tteok-bokki, hotteok, and gyeran-ppang, as well as more modern treats such as tornado potato and cheesy lobster tails.

If you want more inspiration for what to eat, check out my top 20 traditional Korean dishes that you won’t want to miss:

Traditional Korean Dishes

Not sure where to eat? Why not book a meal at Myeongdong-jeong and try an authentic Korean meal with a range of mouthwatering main dishes and dozens of banchan (Korean side dishes).

Book Now COVID-19 Travel Insurance

If you’re travelling to Korea these days, it’s good to get COVID-19 travel insurance, which will protect you from a number of problems, including cancellations, hospital care, and other unplanned problems.

A great provider of travel insurance that I personally use when travelling is World Nomads. They offer great cover and their prices are very reasonable. Click below to get a quote now.

Get Quote Learn More About Seoul

If you want to find out more about what to do, see, and explore in Seoul, then check out some of my other articles about Korea’s capital.

Free Activities In Seoul Discover Seoul Pass Seoul Indoor Activities

If this is your first time in Seoul or Korea, I’d recommend getting a T-Money card to help with transportation and paying for items in shops. It’s an essential accessory that works across Korea. Learn more from the link below:

T-Money Card In Korea

For other hotels in Seoul check out this article that covers Seoul’s top 7 neighbourhoods:

Where To Stay In Seoul A Quick Note About Hotel Prices

I’ve used Agoda.com for prices.

Other good hotel booking sites for Seoul and Korea include:

Hotellook.com Booking.com Klook.com

If you want to find the best prices, it’s worth taking a bit of time to check each of these sites and compare their prices.

Share Your Thoughts

If you enjoyed reading this article, or if you have any thoughts about it that you want to share, please feel free to leave a message in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback about this article and the subject.

If you want some recommendations about the best budget hotels in Myeongdong, then you can also ask in the Korea Travel Advice group on Facebook.

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If you enjoyed reading this article, then please go ahead and share this with your friends on Pinterest.

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Autumn in Namsan Tower #koreanfilipinocouple #lifeinkorea #seoulkorea

Koreabridge - Sat, 2021-11-13 15:38
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Autumn in Korea #shorts #autumnleaves #namsantower #seoultravel

Koreabridge - Sat, 2021-11-13 05:15
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Live stream from Korea

Koreabridge - Sat, 2021-11-13 02:40

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GIANT Suspension Bridge (소금산 출렁다리) | Wonju Tour Part 3/3 (원주)

Koreabridge - Fri, 2021-11-12 14:13

This is the third and final part of my day in Wonju City. For our last activity together that day, we decided to go climbing up Sogeum Mountain (소금산) up to the giant, wobbly suspension bridge at the top.

Special thanks to my friend 의주 for showing me around Wonju City, and for giving me to some really fun memories there.

The post GIANT Suspension Bridge (소금산 출렁다리) | Wonju Tour Part 3/3 (원주) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Sujeongsa Temple – 수정사 (Ulju-gun, Ulsan)

Koreabridge - Thu, 2021-11-11 23:43
Inside the Elaborate Daeung-jeon Hall at Sujeongsa Temple in Ulju-gun, Ulsan. Temple History

Sujeongsa Temple is a modern temple that’s home to nuns. It’s located in the northwest part of Ulsan in Ulju-gun down a long valley. Sujeongsa Temple is also just some twenty minutes away from the famed Tongdosa Temple. Sujeongsa Temple is located in a very rural part of Korea; in fact, it almost feels like you fall off the edge of the map. But in the process of retreating from the sights and sounds of modern Korea, you find a beautiful Buddhist temple.

Temple Layout

You first approach Sujeongsa Temple up a narrow road down a long valley. After three kilometres, you’ll finally arrive at the Sujeongsa Temple grounds. The first building to greet you are the nuns’ dorms and visitors centre. Next to this building is a serene statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). Almost as beautiful in composition are the guardians that surround the base of the five metre tall statue dedicated to Mireuk-bul.

Past the statue to the left is the ornately decorated Daeung-jeon Hall at Sujeongsa Temple. The exterior walls to the main hall are adorned with Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). In addition to these elaborate murals is a collection of gorgeous latticework adorning the front doors of the temple shrine hall. The latticework is adorned with the Sibiji-shin (The Twelve Spirit Generals). And at the base of the main hall’s front doors are intricate Gwimyeon (Monster Mask) reliefs.

Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll be greeted by a beautiful interior made vibrant by its colours and designs. The main altar is occupied by three main altar statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This central image is joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). These three statues rest under an large, ornate, golden canopy. And the wooden altar that supports these three statues depicts the Palsang-do. To the right of main altar is a shrine dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Next to this shrine are sixteen statues dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). And to the left of the main altar, and hanging on the far left wall, is an elaborate Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural) relief. This relief is joined by an additional seventeen statues dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. All thirty-three statues are vividly rendered and beautifully painted. These thirty-three statues of Gwanseeum-bosal are meant to represent the thirty-three incarnations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. And when we spoke to the head-nun at Sujeongsa Temple, she told us how she had had a dream about the thirty-three Gwanseeum-bosal that inhabit Mt. Botasan in China. Thus, the inspiration for the interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall. And finally, and rounding out the astounding beauty inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, is the octagonal dragon crest in the centre of the ceiling of the main hall. And the gorgeous pink lotus lamp that hang from the ceiling are made from the same material as airplanes (yes, airplanes).

The second temple shrine hall at Sujeongsa Temple is the Samseong-gak Hall, which sits to the left of the main hall. What makes this shrine hall so special is that the Samseong-gak Hall is built around an older shaman shrine hall. According to the head-nun, and the reason that there’s a shell of a Samseong-gak Hall surrounding the former Sanshin-gak Hall, is that she had a dream. This time, her dream centred on Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Originally, the head-nun had planned to simply knock down the two hundred year old Sanshin-gak Hall and build a new one in its place. However, Sanshin appeared to the head-nun in a dream three times. Strangely, Sanshin also appeared to the head-nun during a ritual ceremony at the older Sanshin-gak Hall. A photographer captured a picture of a pine tree on the neighbouring mountain appear as though it was on fire. The head-nun took this as a sign, so she built a new protective Samseong-gak Hall around the older Sanshin-gak Hall. The reason she did this, as she explained it, is that if she didn’t, someone would die.

Finally, there’s an outdoor shrine dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King) to the left of the Samseong-gak Hall. Out in front of the Yongwang shrine is a rounded stone and rough rock that are placed in front of the Yongwang shrine. Interestingly, the head-nun told us a story about the stone and rock. She said that you can pick up the rounded stone from the rock without first praying; however, once you do in fact pray, you’re no longer able to pick the stone up from the rock. Testing this theory, I couldn’t in fact lift the stone from its rocky perch after praying.

How To Get There

Without a car, this temple is very difficult to get to. In fact, I don’t think I would even venture to find it without a trusty car and GPS system. This temple is located on the southwestern side of Ulsan in the countryside. Other than that, it’s next to impossible to explain its location so good luck!

Overall Rating: 8/10

Sujeongsa Temple is packed with originality and beauty starting with the Daeung-jeon Hall and continuing on to the two-in-one Samseong-gak Hall. Both the interior and exterior of the Daeung-jeon Hall are packed with vibrant colours, statues, and reliefs. Adding to the main hall’s artistic achievements is the highly original shaman shrine hall and the magical Yongwang outdoor shrine at Sujeongsa Temple. Sujeongsa Temple is an amazing place to visit for those that aren’t afraid of a little adventure.

The Mireuk-bul (Future Buddha) statue at the entry of the temple grounds. The latticework adorning the Daeung-jeon Hall. The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. The beautiful golden canopy (datjib) above the main altar triad. And the beautiful Palsang-do altar supporting the main altar triad. Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. Three of the Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) statues inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. And the ornate Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). The octagonal, blue dragon crest adorning the ceiling of the Daeung-jeon Hall. The Daeung-jeon Hall and the Samseong-gak Hall together. A closer look at the unpainted Samseong-gak Hall. And a better look at the two-in-one shaman shrine hall. A look towards the Yongwang outdoor shrine and the magical stone that fronts it. —

KoreanTempleGuide.com

Dale's Korean Temple Adventures YouTube

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