Donghwasa Temple Stay

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35, Daegu, South Korea

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Donghwasa Temple Stay Daegu Reviews

Pearl510 Pearl510
162 reviews
Temple Stay on the slopes of Palgongsan, near Daegu city May 07, 2014
First of all, how do you rate a temple? Of course the amenities weren't a five stars, would you expect them to?

That said...

I think there are many kinds of temple stays and I don't, by all means, want to say Donghwasa offers the best. My advice when looking into these stays is to have a good thought about what you're looking for.

Do you look for a very basic, rough stay were you are obliged to participate in all activities, don't have free time, aren't allowed your own snacks, can't have a single smoke... Like a religious boot-camp? Do you look for something luxurious, with gourmet food? Or rather something moderate and in between?

Do you want to be left on your own or have lots of chances to talk to monks and priests?

What kind of events do you want to learn about or be a part of? Do you want chanting? Meditating? Praying? Or non of those. All of those? Something else?

Do you want a secluded place in the depths of a forest, or a bustling temple in the middle of town? Will you choose a building for its historical value, or for its events, its location,...?

If you check the Korean Temple Stay website, you can search through all available temples and you'll see that there's many options, all over Korea. What you'd like to choose depends highly on the experience you're looking for.

Donghwasa is a laid back experience. Guests have their own, private room with an en suite bathroom. The room is small though, and has no chairs or tables. Just a futon that you'll have to lay out yourself, but there is air con and a fan as well.

There was the monk, who talked to us about a lot and whom we could ask all our questions, but we were perfectly allowed to have spare time, to eat a cookie in our room if we wanted, we weren't obliged to participate in any activity. But we were invited, always.

This was a simple temple stay and we ate the same food that is offered to pilgrims for free. You serve yourself in those metal trays that are so common in temples. One can take as much as he likes, but there is an emphasis on moderation and respect, and just like the monks, you are expected to eat everything you take... to the last grain of rice. And eat in silence, while contemplating the food and your day. A simple, basic Buddhist meal. Nothing fancy, nothing like the luxurious temple stays in Japan's Koya San (review to come). But I liked it that way.

Those simple meals are included in your stay, but for those who crave something more, as I said... Nobody will check your luggage or judge you for bringing some food of your own. Don't bring drinks though... I mean alcohol. Seriously, if you don't intent to respect the temple than just don't stay there. Having a little beer-chat on the porch at night won't be appreciated, even if you're not getting drunk. So don't.

What else about the temple?

In Donghwasa you have the chance to learn at your own pace about the rituals and the Buddhist life. You can just walk around on your own if it all gets a bit too much or too blurry, you can ask for more chats with the monks if you need to. There's no huge lists of rules, and we were only two guests the night I was there, so I have the impression that Donghwasa doesn't get crowded at all.

Donghwasa is easily (cough cough, read my Daegu journal, I took the wrong bus) reached from Daegu. Its grounds feel like miles away from the city, but in fact it's very close. So if you're only planning on a one nights stay and it might not be worth travelling a full day to get to the most secluded place, but you also don't want to be in the centre of town, than Donghwasa is a great location.

I don't know what else I should write here. If you have any more questions about the temple stay, just send me a message :)

Also: for a more poetic description of Donghwasa, you can read my blog about it:
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
enkuush says:
Hi! nice article :)
I just wanted to answer Jenny's questions because I have been on some Templestays myself and wanted to share with you.

Templestays usually cost from about 30,000won to 120,000won which is about $30~$120. As for English speaking Monks, there are particular temples which either have English speaking Monks, English speaking staff, or even both! So you are able to choose from those temples youself.
If you want to find more about Templestay, please visit their homesite and you can find the exact one for you!
Have a great day :)
Posted on: Nov 03, 2014
haidgirl says:
congratulations on your featured review!!! : D
Posted on: Aug 04, 2014
Zagnut66 says:
Congrats on being featured!
Posted on: Aug 04, 2014
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