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Wellness retreat at Bongeunsa temple
Sometimes you don't have to escape the city to find a retreat. At Bongeunsa temple in the heart of Seoul's Gangnam district, visitors can relax at an overnight temple stay that encourages guests to clear their heads and refocus. Think of it as yoga without the stretching - mornings start before dawn with a sequence of meditative bowing, and the program ends with a delicious meal cooked by monks.

Buddha's Birthday at Bongeunsa
Buddha's Birthday is a big holiday in South Korea, where approximately twenty-five percent of the population are Buddhists. On this day, the faithful gather at temples all around the country, including this one at Bongeunsa in Seoul, where they light candles and pray before a towering statue of the Buddha.

Paper Lanterns at Bongeunsa Temple
In the very heart of Seoul sits Bongeunsa Temple, one of the most famous temples in all of South Korea. The landmark is a pleasure to visit at any time of the year, but is made especially enchanting during the Lunar New Year and Buddha's Birthday, when ornate paper lanterns are strung between the rooftops and hang from the eaves. Temple stays may also be arranged here for two days at a cost of 70,000 won.

To get here: Take Subway Line 2 to Samseong Station, exit 6. Go forward, past the Coex, to the end of the block. Turn left and walk about 100 meters. The temple is just across the street.

531 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2-3218-4800