This temple was in the top 100 places in 2015/2016 and then again in 2019/2020. I have visited many temples, and the temples start to blend together. I won’t spend too much time mentioning this temple, but about the journey (drive) there.
If you want to know more about temples in Korea, this blog has better information http://koreantemples.com/. I have also been mentioned in the top 40 blogs of Korea- https://blog.feedspot.com/korea_travel_blogs/ in feedspot.
I drove here from Wonju late July using the scenic route which meant no toll highways. It is a route that I definitely recommend as there are lots of places to stop in the mountains and appreciate the views. Going there, I went through Gangwondo (Wonju, Yeongwol), Chungcheonbukdo (Jecheon), and finally Gyeongsangbukdo (Yeongju). The roads there are narrow and steep, so make sure you are a confident driver if you drive there.
I departed in the morning, and it was foggy. On one road I could barely see 1 meter in front of me, because it was that foggy. Thankfully there were few cars going in the opposite direction and the places I met them, the road was wide enough for us to pass each other. I would not call it a safe route, but an exciting route. It took about 2 hours to get to Buseoksa parking lot.
After parking, it was a short walk to the temple. There was a booth to pay for entrance, but no one was there, so I went straight through. I visited the temple on a Friday so there were very few people there. The temple grounds were quite small so it was easy to see everything in less than 30 minutes.
As I had arrived around 11:00, lunch was being prepared and would start to be served around 11:45. Lunch at most temples are free for visitors. However you should clean your own dishes. There is no meat and the lunch was quite delicious.
The views from the temple were amazing. I would not consider this to be the best temple in Korea, but it was an easy day trip if you are within driving distance.
It was supposed to rain in the afternoon, and I wanted to get back before the rain started, and thus the real adventure began. I made a pit stop in Punggi which is part of Yeongju. There is a train station here, which I would recommend if you are into Ginseng. Punggi and Geumsan are known for their ginseng markets. There is also an old train on display near the train station that you can go into for free. I enjoy riding trains and this was pretty awesome to see and experience.
After my short time in Punggi, I hit the road again. One of the most interesting roads in Korea winds through the mountains of Sobaeksan National Park. I would recommend to anyone to take this road especially if you don’t like hiking. As this road goes to one of the best outlook points in a national park in Korea. However on my way up, it started raining and the rain soon turned into a complete downpour, that did not last for a short time. I and some other cars had to pull over in a restaurant parking lot to wait until the rain let up.
After the rain let up after about 20 minutes, I continued up the mountain. It was like a small river had developed and it was flowing down the road. As soon as I reached the top, it started to pour again, which lasted another 20 minutes. However I got out of my car and walked around with my umbrella and enjoyed the views.
After I left Yeongju, I was in Danyang, which is another trip that I will mention in another blog. Danyang is very scenic drive, and I found a new camping place near a river in Danyang which would be awesome for another time.
All-in-all, I can recommend scenic route, but I can’t recommend Buseoksa if that is your only aim. It will be good if you add other tourist attractions to your itinerary. Driving is best here as these places are small towns and public transportation is not often.