Temple Stay & Shopping at the Insa-dong Markets
13.02.2008 -17 °C
In our last days we decided to visit some more authentic and cultural areas in Seoul. Today we explored the Insa-dong market for some souvenir shopping, and just a bit more authentic then the shopping we had done earlier this week.
The Insa-dong markets are a really unique area, as Insa-dong and it's surrounding areas were the residences of Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). They were the residences of the officials, extended royal families and the yangbanaristocrats class. The antiques shops that were established in this time are still here today, and they carried what was then, everyday items, that now have become antiques.
The Insa-dong area is a long main street, that has many small streets that branch off from both sides. It's pretty easy to get confused and lost, so we picked up a map from the Tourism Information Center.
For our last night in the Seoul area, we decided to go on an overnight Temple Stay at the Heungguksa Temple. This temple is the #1 headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, and was built 1300 years ago. It is Seoul's best known historic temple.
The package included a two day tour and one night stay at the temple. The tour was approximately 250.00CAD, which we thought was a pretty good deal, considering what an experience it was.!
It was truly and amazing experience. The tour included an early morning pick-up from our hotel, and a tour of some of Seoul's historic sites. After that were transfered to the Heungguksa Temple followed by our orientation and a traditional Bhuddhist meal. After dinner there was a Buddhist Ceremonial Service, Zen Meditation and finished off by a Pre-dawn Buddhist Ceremonial Service.
Day 2 of the tour included a walking meditation, meals, tea ceremony in the afternoon, and after dinner, we were transferred back to tour hotel in Seoul.
We've attached a website that we thought would be super helpful to anyone who was thinking about traveling to South Korea. It's actually how we found our temple stay package. It's a pretty helpful website with lots of information.