Top choice in Gyeongsangnam-do

The visual imagery of this temple is a feast for the eyes and, like any exquisite dinner, should be savoured with deliberation. Stone walls supporting multiple levels of buildings notched into the mountainside, combined with mature trees and a trickling creek, create a pleasant sensory experience. Three gates mark the path to the main hall – take time to read the signs to appreciate the symbolism of your visit.

One of the most attractive temples in the province, it’s a long day trip from Busan. For a relaxed pace, consider an overnight stopover in Jinju or Hadong and an early morning departure to the temple. There are budget rooms and a few restaurants outside the temple entrance.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gyeongsangnam-do attractions

1. Buril Pokpo

1.15 MILES

It's an easy day-trip from Jinju to this small water fall in Jirisan. The hike to get there is an easy 3 hours round trip from Ssanggye-sa.

2. Chilbul-sa

4.42 MILES

Founded in 560, this small temple, 7km from Ssanggye-sa, was burned during the Korean War and reconstructed to its original form in 1984.

3. Hwaeom-sa

8.69 MILES

Founded by priest Yeongi in AD 544 after his return from India, this ancient temple dedicated to the Birojana Buddha is enveloped by the beautiful natural…

4. Naewon-sa

10.01 MILES

This temple is about 3km from Samjang-myeon, off route 59. Highlights include a three-tier Silla pagoda and a rare Cheonwang-bosalnim statue.

5. Daewon-sa

11.94 MILES

Tucked near the eastern border of Jirisan, this temple is an active nunnery where a famed female sanshin (mountain spirit) is thought to reside. A…

6. Jinyangho Lake Park

22.28 MILES

Lakeside city park with a handful of hotels and cafes, plus an amusement park.

7. Jinju National Museum

24.37 MILES

This small but worthwhile national museum inside Jinju Fortress houses a collection of artefacts dating back to the Imjin War (임진왜란; Imjin Wae-ran) – a…

8. Jinju Fortress

24.47 MILES

Local street signs call it a castle, but it’s actually a well-preserved fortress that was partially destroyed during the Japanese invasion of 1592. One of…