I’m posting this really late, but I wanted to share our adventures in Jinju and Busan! Junkyu had to work in Jinju early one morning, so we drove down, got a hotel room, and stayed the night. Then we went sight-seeing after he got off work. We saw Jinju Fortress 진주성 before driving down to Haedong Yonggungsa 해동용궁사 – the water temple that famously decorates for Buddha’s birthday.
We had a really nice trip. It rained a little but we still got stuck in a huge line at the water temple, since it’s popular mostly around May, when we went.
The Jinju Fortress was a really fun place to visit. It’s spacious and relaxing with lots of greenery and the flowers were in bloom. They have lots of different sites to see, including the wall that overlooks the nearby river and the museum. There were lots of families with kids, and they have events sometimes for children.
The fortress served as a safeguard against the invading Japanese army in the 1500s, and it was partially destroyed but it’s well-preserved today. It’s a beautiful place to stroll around on a spring day. The park and the historical sites make for great photos.
Then we drove down to Busan, where cars lined up for miles near the outlet mall and the water temple. I had wanted to see the temple for a long time, so we trekked up a hill, along the way finding a small Fisheries Science Museum. We ducked into the museum as it started raining – it was a free museum with a few rooms on Korean fishing history. Once we got out, the rain had pretty much stopped.
We made our way to the temple and found an excruciatingly long line. The temple is free to tour, but the crowds had us debating whether to wait or not. In the end, we decided to wait in line and we did enjoy seeing the temple.
There were lots of photo opportunities along the way to the temple, including the zodiac animal statues, which people put coins on in order to make a wish, and the Buddha statue that apparently gives you a son if you rub his belly. Koreans still have a pretty strong preference for boys, but that might be getting less prevalent with the younger generation.
It was smaller than I imagined, and there’s not much to do there. We took a few pictures on the temple grounds before going up to a nearby cliff for a photo op.
Personally, I prefer the temples around Daejeon, especially the ones in the mountains in Gyeryongsan 계룡산. However, we did have a fun trip to the southern coast of Korea. We then drove to Ulsan, where my husband’s family lives, and we got to visit his cousin in the post-natal ward. We saw her and her newborn son before heading back home to Daejeon. All in all, our trip gave us a lot of good memories!