Haeinsa temple and Jinju lantern festival in one day!
I’ve been really busy at school and have been doing lots of volunteering so updating this blog has become less of a priority. However I’m determined to pull my socks up and document my last 4 and a bit months in Korea before our next adventure begins! I also plan to do lots of stuff in the next month or so now that the sweltering summer heat has gone and before the bitter winter arrives!
Ash’s parents came to visit a couple of weeks ago. The first weekend we met them in Gyeongju but I didn’t take many pictures then as we’ve been before. Their second weekend in Korea we all went to Haeinsa Temple and to the Jinju lantern festival, so it was a weekend of firsts for me (Ash had been to Haeinsa).
We caught an 8:30am bus to Haeinsa on the Saturday morning and it took approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there from Seobu Bus Station in West Daegu. The complex is really big and stretches across the hills for a few miles, but we had limited time there so just visited the main complex.
Haeinsa is famous for housing the Tripitaka Koreana, a collection of Buddhist scriptures carved onto 81,258 wooden printing blocks in the 13th century. It is the world’s most comprehensive and oldest intact version of Buddhist scripture in Hanja (chinese) script. Unfortunately to protect it the blocks are kept stored in buildings at the back of the temple. It’s possible to view at the rooms they are in and get a glimpse of them from outside but you can’t reach out and touch them (obviously). Still, the sheer number of scriptures was pretty impressive!
On the way out of the temple we decided to share this stuffed squid between us. Ash’s parents and Ash loved it but I wasn’t so keen on the filling.
When planning the trip we had worried that we’d need to get the bus back to Daegu and out to Jinju again but as luck would have it we were able to get a bus to Jinju from right outside the temple! We thought this was quite weird as there were only two bus services available, one to Daegu and one to Jinju. We bought our ticket and then settled in for another 2 hour bus journey. The route from Haeinsa to Jinju is really beautiful so it was an enjoyable ride and the time passed quickly!
Jinju Lantern Festival
We arrived in to Jinju at about 3pm and Ash’s parents dropped their luggage at their hotel. We hadn’t booked anything ourselves and just planned to stay in a jimjilbang (public bath house with sleeping area) or a guesthouse.
It was still light when we arrived but we could see the river full of different styles of lanterns and were excited at how busy the festival promised to be. The river was also overlooked by the scenic Jinju fortress and a pretty park which had also been set up for the lantern festival.
We watched some traditional Korean music performances and then followed the steps down to the river where we paid 1000won to walk on a very strange bridge made out of bobbing plastic blocks across the river. As the sun went down the lanterns began glowing and looked beautiful. They were dotted all over the water and there were lots of different types!
We ate an expensive but tasty pork BBQ next to the river, wandered around for a while longer and then walked Ash’s parents to their hotel. We managed to find a very reasonable guesthouse for 40,000 around the corner and was also showing British football which pleased Ash no end!
All in all it was a very pleasant weekend and I’m surprised how much we actually managed to fit in to one day!