Today was a very good day! Why, you may ask? Because our struggle to reach a not-so-well-known temple was way compensated by the beauty of the finding!
Seokbulsa Temple, also known as Byeongpung-Am, was a delight on every level! Located South of the Gumjeong fortress wall, it is an intriguing small temple built just below a rock crevasse and between boulders. Needless to say that the view overlooking Busan is breathtaking! The contrast between the small shrines and the gigantic carved Buddhist images is quite striking and one cannot help but feel at peace and part of a greater calling in between depictions of Buddha, the 4 celestial kings and many more.
For the more adventurous ones, a hiking trail links Seokbulsa to the South gate of the fortress wall! For those coming straight from Busan, the way to the temple is a bit hard to find. From Line 3, go down at Mandeok Station, exit 2. Turn left and walk up the road for a few minutes until you see a big billboard with a duck on it and a road on the left. Follow that road uphill for about 40 minutes, following the occasional Seokbulsa signs (the road is not for pedestrians only, but more of a car road). If you are on a road that is really step, you are on the right track! Also, the remaining kms/meters on the wooden signs indicating the way to the temple are often misleading! We came across one that read 100 meters left when we still had at least 400 meters to walk!
In a nutshell, Seokbulsa might be quite challenging to find, but it is definitely worth the effort!
Our journey in Busan ended here. We then decided to take the bus to Gyeongju, which is about an hour-and-a-half bus drive from Busan Bus terminal. In Gyeongju, you will find many historical sites to visit, amongst which the beautiful Anapji Pond, a must-see place, especially at night!