Ryan, my greatest of friends from my first year in Jeju, told me before he left of a mysterious temple in the middle of the wilderness at the top of a long hike. I wonder if Seokgulam temple is what he was talking about???
Not to be confused with the extremely famous and impressive Seokguram temple near Gyeongju, the Seokgulam temple in Jeju is it's own little jem. The trail is relatively a short 1.5km and has been recently improved due to it's location in the now designated World Heritage Site in Hallasan National Park. Apparently very popular with the locals, especially on Sundays, you might not necessarily hike alone like I did. The temple was built in 1947 and when I get around to it later this week, I'll try and translate some of the sign for the historical information ;)
When I got up to the top, I met a wonderful foreigner who is staying at the temple and studying buddhism with the head monk. She gave me a very nice tour, and explained some of the buddhist symbols and prayer spaces to me. In the Korean and buddhist traditions, I was offered more fruit than I could handle and had a great conversation. It turned out that he is from the same small town where my little brother just moved! What a small world.
The Seokgulam trailhead is located halfway up the driveway to Cheonwangsa Temple off the 1139 on the way to Eorimok.
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