Sitting just outside of Coex Mall, Asia’s largest underground mall and the Korean World Trade Center, site of the 2010 G20 Summit, is Bongeunsa Temple. Despite occupying land in one of the busiest and most commercial parts of Seoul, Bongeunsa is a tranquil respite from the city that around it.
The temple features several beautiful buildings, well-manicured grounds, and is fantastically decorated for Buddha’s birthday. However, the most noticeable feature of the temple has to be the 23 meter (75 feet) tall statue of Mireukdaebul, the future Buddha. Considered to be the tallest statue of its kind in Korea, it is also one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in Korea. Surrounded by a beautiful stone praying platform, the stone Buddha stands in stark contrast to the skyscrapers that surround it.
Bongeunsa is the most charming temple that I’ve found in Seoul and well worth the time to check it out, especially if you don’t have a chance to get out of the city to see some of the more secluded temples in the country. It is very accessible from Samseong Station on subway line number 2 (exit number 6).