Guryong-sa

Buddhist Temple in Chiaksan National Park

Set among the verdant hills of Chiaksan National Park, this colourful and vibrant temple is a beauty, its main courtyard festooned with vibrantly coloured lotus lanterns and orchids placed outside the main hall. Among other shrines is a small hall to Gwan-eum, the Goddess of Mercy. The temple is home to a Templestay operation, if you want to overnight and deeply fathom the silence of the mountains (but book ahead; no English spoken).

The temple is colloquially known as 'Nine Dragon Temple' in honour of a myth that the temple was built upon a pond in which dwelt nine dragons that were chased away by a monk; its name however literally means 'Turtle Dragon Temple', out of respect to a turtle rock that once existed here and protected the complex, but was destroyed, bringing misfortune upon Guryong-sa. The name of the temple was therefore changed to Turtle Dragon Temple – which has the same pronunciation in Korean as Nine Dragon Temple – to reverse its demise and afford it protection.