across from the glass towers
Bong-eun-sa Temple, in the southern part of Seoul
, dates back to the end of the 8th century. The skyscraper-studded Gang-nam district, in which the temple now finds itself, dates back just a couple of decades; as recently as the 1980's, rice paddies were common in what is now the neighborhood of the Korea World Trade Center tower, the Intercontinental Hotel, and Asia's largest underground shopping mall. This constant juxtaposition of the medieval and the modern--Buddha and K-pop--gives Seoul its vibrant-at-all-hours buzz.