Written by Samuel Grieszl
After getting used to the hectic and fast lifestyle of the Seoul city, a temple stay was the right thing to calm down again and find my inner self. What location is better than going to Gimje which features not only one of the most beautiful and biggest Buddhist temple sites in Korea but also relaxing nature? Besides the temple stay, the trip should also include various excursions about Korean historic sites and culture in the region.
After arriving we could check-in in our hanok styled room.
We had some time to explore the temple site which featured a peaceful stream and several stunning temple halls.
Later in the afternoon we were taken to explore two special historical churches in Gimje. It was interesting to see how well those two different religions coexist so well with each other.
In the evening I got the chance to taste the famous and healthy temple food. This food consists only of vegetables and is considered vegan. The most surprising fact to me was that monks don’t even eat spicy ingredients such as onions, garlic or ginger. But even without those ingredients, the food was very delicious!
Later at night we could enjoy a traditional Korean flute play and madang stage play. The madang play was especially fun! The actors tried to include the audience in the play and sang and danced. It was the first time I saw something like that! Before we went to bed the monks taught us how to make our own lotus flower made of paper.
The next day it was finally time to perform the 108 bows. To be honest, I was a bit worried that I couldn’t make it to 108 bows but in the end me and all the other people made it! In the end we even got a pretty necklace as a gift for our hard work.
As the last part of the trip we could get an interesting insight into Korean handicraft and pottery culture. Everyone could make their own pottery plate and try calligraphy or crafting.
In the end we biked to the impressive Wonpyeong market and even got delicious boiled sweet potatoes from the organizators!
In only 2 days I could learn many things about various kinds of Korean culture and refresh myself from the hectic life in Seoul. I can definitely recommend trying it once by yourself!