Forget luxury wellness resorts. If it’s meditation and soul-searching you’re after, how would you like to try staying in a Buddhist Temple instead?
Temple Stay Korea allows tourists to have a sampling to life in a Buddhist temple and learn, experience and appreciate Korean culture and the lifestyle of Buddhist monks. Organized by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism’s Templestay Division, the program promises visitors “a magnificent chance to relax, reflect and revitalize themselves in the tranquility of nature”.
Are you up for it?
I got my first hint of this austere lifestyle when I arrived and was greeted by Cho Hyemun-aery, who introduced herself in fluent English. In the guesthouse, she showed me the communal bathroom and the small room my friend and I would stay in, which was unfurnished except for sleeping pads, blankets and small pillows. Then, Cho handed us our clothes for the weekend: two identical extra-large sets of baggy gray pants and vests, along with sun hats and blue plastic slippers.
But that’s just the beginning. Go and read the Catherine Price’s travelogue, detailing her stay at a meditation center on Ganghwa Island.