Spiritual Places You Can Stay The Night In South Korea


Monastic and temple stays are not always the easiest to find but are a unique and spiritual experience that you’ll remember long after you have returned home. Our latest blog post will cover all the information you need about to understand what a temple stay in South Korea is like and recommend a couple of options to consider for your next trip.

South Korea Temple Stay || Photo Credit: KTO Korea

Why a temple stay?

A South Korean temple stay is a unique cultural program which allows the visitor the chance to experience the life of Buddhist practitioners at traditional temples which have preserved the 1700 year old history of Korean Buddhism.

Zen Meditation || Photo Credit: Templestay Korea

What are the benefits of a temple stay? 

Apart from a chance to relax and unwind, a templestay is a cultural experience program for a better understanding of Korean traditional culture and Korean Buddhism. A short temple stay including chanting, meditation, conversation over tea and Buddhist meals which will give you a new perspective on your life.

Experiential temple stay VS Relaxation temple stay

Experiential – If you are looking for an opportunity to experience the Korean monastic life, then an experiential program might be for you. Typically, done on the weekends with one overnight stay, major traditional Korean Buddhist ceremonies include attending the morning chanting, 108 prostrations, Buddhist meals with traditional bowls, and meditation. And it also provides some cultural activities such as making a lotus lantern or prayer beads.

Relaxation – Do nothing but relax. The temple will become a shelter for your fatigued mind and body and will give you renewed energy. With the rest-oriented temple stay program, a stress-free vacation for your mind, you can have a chance to centre yourself. Away from your busy daily routine, breathe in nature and restore your life force through meditation and Buddhist ceremonies.

South Korea Temple Stay || Photo Credit: KTO Korea

The specific contents of programs will vary with the temples, the season, and the interests of the participants, but the ultimate goal of any temple stay is to help people centre themselves so that they can eventually find their inner peace.

Woljeongsa Templestay 

Woljeongsa Temple located in front of Manwolsan Mountain shows the beauty of what mother nature has created. In front of the temple is Keumgangyeon, which is the crystal clear flowing stream and offers the visitor magnificent views. Woljeongsa Temple was founded in 643 by Monk Ja Jang (590-658) during the reign of Queen Seondeock, the Silla Dynasty.

Woljeongsa Temple || Photo Credit: KTO Korea

Woljeongsa Temple is also the site of Seongbo Museum, displaying artifacts and treasures from Buddhist culture of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), including a nine-story octagonal pagoda, also called as the Sari-Pagoda (relic pagoda), and a Stone Seated Buddha figure. Also there is the Jeokmyeolbogung where Buddha’s bones are said to be preserved. The Woljeongsa Temple of today was restored after many buildings burned down during the Korean War.

Woljeongsa Temple offers the visitor the chance to experience daily life as a Buddhist. All participants will take Buddhist tonsure on the first day. They will stay in the temple and will be immersed in Korean Buddhism. Woljeongsa Templestay is a unique opportunity to experience Korean Buddhism, its lifestyle, rituals and spirit. It generally entails staying at a traditional Buddhist temple, and engaging in daily monastic activities.

Woljeongsa Templestay || Photo Credit: Woljeongsa Temple

Insider Tip: Be sure to allow time to walk through the one thousand-year-old Fir Forest – it won’t disappoint! And don’t be afraid to go in winter to see this beautiful temple and surrounds covered in a white blanket of snow.

Naksansa Templestay 

Naksansa Temple is known as a sea temple for its location on a scenic cliff overlooking the East Sea. The Goddess of Mercy answer the prays of all who pray here. The temple is famous for the breathtaking sunrise, the 16m tall standing Bodhisattva statue facing the sea. Although Naksansa was greatly damaged by the large-scale wildfire in April 2005 and the scenery that boasted its beauty was seriously damaged, the Naksansa Temple has been lovingly renewed with the support of the local people and Buddhist community.

Naksansa Templestay || Photo Credit: Naksansa Temple

Bulguksa Templestay

Bulguksa Temple has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the temple that best exemplifies the Buddhist culture of the eighth century. The temple stay program allows visitors the chance to adjust their own schedules except to times for offering and Buddhist services. The experiential program affords guest the opportunity to learn about the cultural assets of the temple and take walks around the pagodas.

Bulguksa Templewhich literally translates to Temple of the Buddha Land, is considered a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom. The temple is classified as the number one historic and scenic site by the South Korean government.

Find your true self || Photo Credit: Templestay Korea

Make this experience yours! Get in contact with our Tours By Design team today and allow us to create the perfect templestay program for you!