Our director is so great!! During the week she gave us a list of some things we may want to do in Jeonju and asked us to choose one and we could go with her and her family on the weekend. We decided to pick the nearby Buddhist Temple Guemsansa because we wanted to see what the surrounding area of Jeonju was like and get a bit into the mountains. We started off our outing with some lunch at a very fancy Italian restaurant in Jeonju. We had a 4 course meal and it was delicious. Although Joanna and her family can’t speak English that well, it is very fun to talk to them and compare our cultures. Joanna’s daughter is actually in one of my classes and her son is only just learning English at kindergarten. Her husband can’t speak any English but knows the odd word.
After lunch we headed to Guemsansa Buddhist Temple. Guemsansa means “Golden Mountain Temple”. Guemsansa is in the slopes of the Moaksan Mountains (in the Moaksan Provincial Park) and is about 40 minutes out of Jeonju. The mountain scenery was beautiful. In the national park there were many people starting the hiking trails and relaxing, having picnics. Koreans are the most kitted out hikers I have ever seen. Considering that hiking is their national past time, these hikers looked so professional in their special colourful hiking clothes and carrying hiking poles. The Guemsansa Temple is extremely old and was first established in 599AD. There are male and female Buddhist monks living at the temple and we saw a few walking around in grey robes. You can even do a temple stay at Guemsansa, which we may consider in the future. We spent the afternoon wondering around and looking at the temples. The architecture is so beautiful. Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photos inside the temple but the one temple houses the largest indoor Buddha statue in the world, 11.82m and 2 Buddhas on either side of 8.8m tall! We had a really great day with Joanna and her family and we were so happy to spend time with them. We definitely want to head back to Moaksan Provincial Park sometime and explore some hiking trails. I think we should visit again in Autumn because everything will look stunning with the changing colours of the leaves.
Us with Joanna and Henry in front of a man made waterfall.
Walking up to Guemsansa.
The entrance to Guemsansa.
Maitreya Hall that houses the 3 huge Buddhas.
In front of Maitreya Hall.
Yukgak Tachung Soktap, one of the old treasures, was built between 918-1392.
In front of one of the halls. You can see the gold Buddhas in the background and a lady praying.
Joanna and I. Note the height difference.
Lighting candles and making wishes.
With Henry and Rachel.