Friday, November 22, 2013

Yakcheonsa Temple, Jungmun Daepo Columnal Jointed Lava, Jungmun Beach and Chocolate Land

It's amazing really, how the one day I have off is the longest and most tiring day all week. I get up earlier, stay up later, walk more, eat less, and enjoy myself immensely!

This was my most recent adventure:

I took the 700 bus 2 hours to Seogwipo (서귀포), all the way to the very end of the line. Then I changed buses to the 600 bus and continued on for about 15 minutes to what some call the most beautiful building in Jeju, the Temple of Yakcheonsa (약천사). It truly is spectacular. The intricate details and art everywhere is breathtaking.

Beautiful and colorful gong hanging in one of the two towers.

Taken from the corner looking toward the main hall with one of the two towers in front.

Art work was everywhere; except the hand rails.

Miniature Buddhas, filigree, color and ornate decor everywhere you look.

The massive Buddha and two "small" Buddha's take up the back wall.

It is the first public building I believe I've ever entered where I wasn't allowed shoes. That's right, all shoes must come off before entering the temple. Unfortunately the floor isn't warm and it was cold outside so I was very glad to be wearing socks!

There are three floors in the temple and you can also pray to Buddha in the sanctuary. If the main hall is too public there are several other Buddha shrines with kneeling mats that are less touristy and hidden from public view better.

Behind this statue is a hidden sanctuary seen in the picture below.

Named the Hall Of Three Stages. I have no idea why because this picture captures the entire room.

Visiting the temple is free and definitely worth the time if you enjoy the beautiful architecture and ornate artwork.


After visiting Yakcheonsa, I continued on foot to the Jungmun Daepo Columnar Jointed Lava. It was only about a half hour away and although the day was windy, it was sunny and I enjoyed the fresh air.

It costs 2,000 Won to see the columnar lava. There is a path that leads to multiple lookouts for good photos. Being so far away though takes away from the beauty of the columns. I was hoping for a closer vantage point, but was disappointed at the distance the boundaries keep you. It was still a nice place to visit and not expensive.

I walked along the promenade for a little while after leaving the main viewing area. They have lots of promenades in Seogwipo and there are many benches and mini parks or exercise equipment and sometimes gazebos along the way. I just enjoyed the walk as I continued on to what was supposed to be my next destination. As I was walking however, I happened across someone studying a map, and although I was also visiting I'm helpful so I asked if I could be of assistance. Turns out it was a visiting Chinaman. After discussing the map for a while we both decided to see the Jungmun beach that we were practically at and then find a suitable place for dinner. He spoke adequate English and I always enjoy meeting new friends :) So by the end of the night I'd introduced him to his first Korean shopping mart, his first Korean pork bulgogi, and his first Korean soju! I'd say I was successful!!!

Drawing in the sand :)

Jungmun Beach near sunset.

On the way to dinner we happened by a Chocolate Museum. Of course I took a detour and paid the 3,000 Won entry fee (way overpriced) and wandered around the 3 floor museum. It's very small actually, but pleasant. Lots to buy, enough to look at, and even a place to make your own chocolate but it wasn't happening when I was there. They did have a tasty hot chocolate though :)

Chocolate Chess set. If I take your piece I will devour it!!! mwah ha ha 
Getting a cuddly smooch ;-p

Chocolate history and displays

My favorite dolharubangs ever!!!

They had walls of chocolate memorabilia from the different continents.

Doesn't say it, but I'm going with an ode to Willy Wonka!

All in all it was a fun day filled with lots of sight seeing and exercise and new adventures. Now it's back to work again. Don't know when my next opportunity to play tourist will be since my day off each week doesn't necessarily always happen. But up soon will be a circus show, a movie at a Korean theater and I still have to tour the west side of the island. Good thing I still have three months left to fit it all in between show days!

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