Seokbulsa Temple 석불사 is one of the more secluded, less known temples in Busan. It isn’t as easy to get to as
Beomeosa, Haedong Yonggungsa or Samgwangsa Temple which makes it less traveled than other temples in Busan. Also there are a couple of ways to access Seokbulsa Temple 석불사. The way I recommend you get to Seokbulsa Temple is to ride the Geumgang Park Cable Car up to the top of a small mountain and then hike to Seokbulsa Temple. The other way would be to catch a taxi to the other side of Seokbulsa Temple (which is recommend for those who have difficulty walking more than 15-20 minutes).
So lets cover how to get to Seokbulsa Temple starting with getting to the closest Subway Station, Oncheonjang 온천장역. It is located on Line 1 (orange), so no need to change lines if you are coming from Seomyeon, Busan Station or Nampodong. If you are coming from Gwangalli or Haeundae you will need to transfer at Seomyeon.
Once at Oncheonjang Station 온천장역 (Take Exit 1) you simply need to walk to Geumgang Park (where the Cable Car is located):
Here is the Naver Map version http://naver.me/54YzTeLS (you can still clearly see where you need to go).
From here on in I will let my photos guide you to where you need to go 🙂
After exiting at Oncheonjang Station, follow the map above and you should see a sign saying Geumgang Park.
As you get closer towards Geumgang Park the road should be slightly narrower.
Dongnae Pajeon is famous so we stopped here on the way back for a bite to eat 🙂 Photos can be seen at the end of the post.
The local police station. If you see that you are heading in the right direction.
Geumgang Park! After only a short 10-15 minute walk you should come to a larger road in which if you look to the right you can see Geumgang Park.
The entrance to the park, from here simply walk off to the left.
There should be a sign for the cable car (in Korea stuff changes quick so don’t be thrown off if there is a different looking sign).
The bottom of the Cable Car, finally 🙂
Return tickets for 8,000 won each!
We had to wait for about 5-10 minutes before we departed.
And we are off. You get some really nice views up here.
Endless amounts of buildings can be seen as you would expect.
The weather was fairly good so we got a decent view.
It is a decent cable car which allows for some nice photos.
Once you get to the top, looking at a map is always recommended before you set off. The map is also labelled in English. We headed off for the South Gate 남문.
The signs close to the cable car are in English but I would recommend remembering what the South Gate is in Korea which is 남문 (Nam Mun).
So the trek starts, it took us about 30-40 minutes to reach Seokbulsa Temple at a fairly slow pace. Hiking is popular among older Koreans so you will definitely see other people along your hike. So don’t think you are headed off into the middle of nowhere.
Plenty of signs along the way so it is quite easy to follow.
Just keep on walking this trail and enjoy the view.
I enjoyed the hike to the temple a lot that I would come back just for this.
I would suggest wearing some appropriate walking shoes (sports shoes are fine and also bring some water).
Again, signs are along the trail so very easy to know which way is right., it’s in English as well 🙂
Even a toilet along the way!
So this sign says 남문 which means South Gate (which is where we want to go).
The trail for the most part is fine so should be easy to walk without any worries.
Another sign and it’s in English, perfect!
Keep following the trail and it wont be long before we reach the South Gate.
We stopped along the way for a quick 5 minute rest and a quick drink 🙂
After seeing a few other hikers we thought we might be close.
Walk walk walk.
This signs states there is a toilet just up ahead 🙂 only 300 meters.
Something up ahead.
A sign that states both ways lead to the South Gate 🙂
YAY! The South Gate 남문
This is the South Gate which makes for a nice photo.
The good news is we have made it to the South Gate of Geumjeongsanseong Fortress 금정산성! The not so good news is we still have about 1 km to walk. We simply kept following the trail which led us to Seokbulsa Temple (simply keep walking the same trail you are on now – that means not going through the South Gate).
Instead of boring you with more walking trail photos I will just list what you should see leading up until Seokbulsa Temple. You should come across a small village called Namman which has a badminton court and some small restaurants. Next, you should come across a Blue Sign with 10m on it, simply keep following this path. Next, you should come across a sign which says Seok Bul Sa in English (석불사 is the Korean name of the Temple) which is 0.8 kms away. After that there will be a metal staircase which leads to a paved road. Once you get to this paved road just follow it up to SEOKBULSA TEMPLE!~~~
After finally arriving, it is time to relax your legs and take in the views 🙂
Some large engraved statues.
It isn’t a large Temple however the views are completely worth it.
More of the men/women in the rock.
It wasn’t very busy so was fairly easy to take a few snaps.
Engravings on both sides.
Quite detailed engravings.
A quick standard photo with the background.
As I went in late winter the leaves had already started to turn brown.
Some nice colors from the leaves and the sun.
It feels like a very secluded and peaceful place.
There is a room for prayer/worship so I do believe someone actually lives up here to maintain the temple.
You can almost certainly find a bell at most Buddhist temples.
A nice change of color.
I really like the colors used at Koreans temples.
It should only take about 20-30 minutes to look around the temple if that.
A quick look inside one of the prayer rooms.
As you can see its a fair way up the mountain.
A look back down over the front of the temple.
Again, some nice views.
Quite a mountainous city.
Definitely a different feel compared to other temples within Busan.
A few last snaps of the view from the main part of the temple.
So, the next decision you will have to make is whether or not you want to WALK back to the Cable Car or simply catch a taxi back to where ever you want to go. IF you do want to catch a taxi (probably only worth buying a one-way cable car ticket), you can walk down to the right of this photo above. OR if you feel up to it I would recommend taking a different route back to the south gate. You simply turn left after the first gate in this photo above. There is a walking trail which leads you back to the South Gate.
To walk and get a taxi simply follow the single path back to the main road (shown in the map below):
If you have decided to keep going like we did, here are the photos I took.
Some more snaps of the view.
We were lucky with the weather as it wasn’t too hot or cold for when we were walking.
We stopped to take a few pictures along our way so we certainly didn’t feel rushed.
One thing that surprised me when coming to Korea was that it is quite mountainous.
Again we must have past at least 15-20 people on our hike, so felt still very close to the city (that’s because we are haha).
I did this trip with my partner and her parents, it was a really nice day out. None of us are super fit by the way.
This would have been around 3-4pm in the afternoon.
Some really nice views from the walking trail.
We were shaded most of the way so even though the sun was out we didn’t really notice it.
Walk walk walk.
It’s not just a simple trail the whole way back. Some wooden stairs etc every now and then which lets us know we are on the right path 🙂
I was hoping we may have seen some more wildlife however nothing much to report unfortunately.
Stairs leading up also means stairs coming down (most of the time),
A sign which gives us some directions on where to go. We are wanting to head back to the South Gate 남문 which tells us it is 0.5 kms away (top-right sign).
Some random stones/rocks that may have been a path a while ago.
Again, some other hikers just past us at this point.
A very shaded area which made the hike a little easier 🙂
You can see some logs put down as stairs so another indication you are on the right track.
My better half posing for a photo (the only deer I saw….).
Some large rocks were a bit of a surprise.
The last set of wooden stairs 🙂
Quick last minute photo as the South Gate was approaching.
It’s in sight! the South Gate of Geumjeongsanseong Fortress 금정산성
A photo looking back at the parents-in-law.
The South Gate from the other side!
The hiking trail we just came down 🙂
From the South Gate, we simply walked back to the Cable Car Station (same way as you came up) and rode the Cable car back down to GeumGang Park.
The last couple of photos for the day….
Through the trees.
A well needed drink of Makgeolli 막걸리.
Dongnae Pajeon 동래 해물파전.
Dongnae Pajeon 동래 해물파전 and Makgeolli 막걸리.
And that’s the end. All-in-all it was a big day out with a lot of walking however it was probably one of my favourite little adventures in Busan. It was nice to just peacefully walk through the mountains while taking in the scenery. I hope the above information helps you visit Seokbulsa Temple and you can enjoy yourself like I did 🙂
If you are wondering what else there is to do/see in Busan, please see my
must-visit places in Busan. Please also see my extremely detailed Busan Itineraries. Not sure where to stay in Busan? Don’t worry, I have that covered in my post on the Best Areas to Stay in Busan.
As usual, if you have any questions please leave a comment 🙂
10 thoughts on “Seokbulsa Temple (석불사)”
Thanks for sharing.
Is it December is a good time to visit Seokbulsa Temple?
Since Mark hasn’t answered to your question (yet)…if I may….
If it’s usual Busan winter, you should be fine in warm winter clothing (with layers). Please, keep in mind that it gets quite cold in Busan during winter (below 0 in C or 32 degree in F) but not quite as cold as Seoul. The route Mark took could be a bit challenging, though…it’s a (relatively) long hike.
Sorry for the late reply 🙁 Somehow missed this comment.. Young answered it quite well below.
Your sharing is wonderful. Btw is there any day tour from Busan to Suncheon? Eight of us have booked accommodation in Busan for 6 nights and wish to do day tour to the surrounding cities for a day or two. Hope to get some tips and advice from you.
I’m sure there is, just have never looked into it (when I went I caught the bus to Suncheon from Yeosu, then did a tour there rather than a day trip from Busan). Some others places to consider for a day trip from Busan are: Gyeongju (historical sites) and Geoje-do (small island with some nice places).
Check out these posts as it might give you some idea about travelling to Yeosu and Suncheon.
Hope that helps 🙂
Thank you very much for sharing! We just made the hike from the upper cable car station to south gate and seokbulsa and your text and pictures were very helpful! Only thing: from south gate to seokbulsa temple is 2km, not 1 as mentioned in the text. Seokbulsa is not as big as i imagined it to be but very peacefull and beautiful. Well worth the steep last part of the hike. On our way back we just walked to the metro station mandeok. Thanks again and best wishes from Busan
Hello, thanks for this post as it is extremely useful.
I would like to ask how long did it take for you to hike from the top of the cable car to the temple? I need to rush back to Seoul by KTX on the day where I would be free to visit Seokbulsa. I wonder how many hours do I need to go up and down. I have 2 children who will be making the trip. 11 years old.
Hi Cassie, The its probably at least a 2 hour return trip from the top of the cable cars depending on how long you stay at Seokbulsa Temple. With kids it will probably take a bit longer than that. Hope that helps!
Hi, thanks for this detailed post. I intend to go to Seokbulsa Temple in late Dec this year. I’m wondering if it is appropriate to hike in cold weather both to and from South Gate? Just afraid that it might be too cold and perhaps we should take a taxi on the way down? How easy is it to hail a taxi from the Temple? Also, will there be internet signal during the hike and at the Temple? We most probably require our phones to read your post for instructions whilst hiking (!) and also goggle for information, etc as we don’t know the Korean language at all. Thank you
Busan is fairly cold in the winter but quite dry which will make for a nice hike. It rarely snows at all during winter and occasionally rains. There is an internet signal there and you shouldn’t have any issues as there is normally quite a few people hiking these trails. I would download the KakaoMap app as it actually gives you the directions on walking there after the cable car. Here is the link: http://kko.to/ZpVQhv2jB
You would have to walk down the road after visiting Seokbulsa Temple (which is possible) to hail a taxi.
Hope that helps!