Bongeunsa Temple is a famous temple in Gangnam since it’s traditional, yet smack in the middle of the city. Skyscrapers and traffic surround it, yet it maintains a quiet, peaceful atmosphere and is the real deal as any other temple. It’s also right next door to COEX Mall.
I’ve lived in Gangnam for almost two and a half years. I’ve passed this temple about 100 times, but FINALLY went last weekend!
The City of Seoul offers a public bike sharing service called Seoul Bike. It’s available for both residents and tourists! The cost is dirt cheap, at 1,000W for an hour. You can return these bikes at any other docking station. If the other station is full, you can even hook it up to another bike that’s already there and return it that way. Follow the above link for detailed instructions, how to register, and to download the app.
It’s a very convenient way to get around, but the app does take some effort as the process can be confusing or difficult for visitors. Even for me, I had to try it a few times before I got the hang of it!
Since I can speak Korean, I used the best map app for bikes. ***A quick word about Map services.** Google Maps does not work well in Korea. The government and Google don’t play nice. It has very basic functionality for public transit, but does not offer walking or biking directions. I would recommend Kakao Map. It offers English support. You can also copy and paste Korean addresses and names and get the best directions that way if you’re comfortable.
Kakao Map is great since it shows which roads have bike lanes, how long it will take, even the expected and highest inclines of the journey. A PSA: even if it says there is a bike lane, 99.99% of people will walk in the bike lane and all over the sidewalk, so prepare to ring that bell and go around and zig zag.
Biking across the Han River is absolutely one of the best things to do in Seoul. After six years in Korea, every time I cross the river, I can’t help but stare and stare and stare and stare……………………………..
The Han River bisects Seoul. Along the banks of the river, essentially is one giant network of parks, bike lanes, exercise areas, walking paths, swimming pools (opening dates vary yearly), picnic spots, rock climbing walls, festival areas, night markets…….
So we made it to the Bongeunsa area and returned our bikes. Below are some shots of the area and the temple. It is a nice, quick visit for an hour or so. I’m also not religious and have seen maaaaaaaaaany temples in my time around Asia.
At sunset, there was the bell/drum ceremony with foreigners participating. You can even do a Temple Stay!
After our bike ride, we walked the short ten minutes to my house and got ready for a night out………
Up next, I’ll FINALLY spill some tea on my neighborhood bars and restaurants….