You’ll need a full day to explore the offerings in and around this temple about 30km north of Pohang. Bogyeong-sa is a gateway to a beautiful valley boasting 12 waterfalls, gorges spanned by bridges, hermitages, stupas and the temple itself. There are splendid hikes including up Naeyeon-san (930m), from where the waterfalls gush down. The 20km return trip to the summit – Hyangno-bong – from Bogyeong-sa takes about six hours (take lots of water).
The well-maintained trail to the gorge and waterfalls branches off from the tourist village. It’s about 1.5km to the first waterfall, 5m-high Ssangsaeng Pokpo. The sixth waterfall, Gwaneum Pokpo, is an impressive 72m and has two columns of water with a cave behind it. The seventh waterfall, about 30m high, is called Yeonsan Pokpo. Further up the trail, the going gets difficult; the ascent of Hyangno-bong should only be attempted if the day is young.
The temple is 15 minutes’ walk from where the buses from Pohang terminate, and there’s a tourist village with souvenir shops, restaurants, minbak and yeogwan.
Bus 500 (₩1600, 45 minutes, every 30 to 90 minutes) runs between Pohang’s intercity bus terminal and the temple, though some buses require a transfer at Cheongha. The easiest route is to catch one of three or four buses that travel directly to the temple; check with the tourist office to find out the latest timings. Otherwise, take bus 500 to Cheongha, get off at the tiny terminal and wait for a connecting bus (₩1300, 15 minutes, every 10 to 90 minutes). A taxi from Cheongha to the temple costs ₩15,000.