Hard to find, difficult to reach and a wonder to behold, this hermitage has Buddhist images meticulously etched into stone. Visually powerful in scale and impact, it’s the kind of work that moves visitors to exclaim ‘wow’ as they step back and arch their necks to get the full picture. The quickest route here begins with ride on the Geumgang Park Cable Car; up top, follow the trail signs.
The most interesting – and strenuous – route to Seokbul-sa is to add it to your Geumjeong Fortress hike (carry plenty of water). From Nammun, the path indicated by the Mandeokchon (만덕촌) sign leads to a collection of restaurants and a foot volleyball court. Keep going straight until you can’t go any further, then turn right onto a narrow path. Eventually this leads to a larger path heading down the mountainside. Look for a sign that reads '석불사 입구' (Seokbul-sa entrance), which points you down a steep, rocky trail. Way down at the bottom, turn right at the cement road and walk uphill to the temple.
On the way back, you can either return to Nammun and then follow the signs to the cable car, or keep walking down the cement road from the temple – you’ll end up near Mandeok station on line 3.