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Discover (& stay in) the Temples of South Korea
By: Bamboo Travel
The Temple Stay program also provides a chance to discover an understanding of the important influence Buddhism has played in South Korea, and provides a unique and relaxing alternative to a traditional hotel stay. Participants leave the modern world behind at the temple gates and immerse themselves completely in the monastic lifestyle.
Most stays are run on a shared basis, with up to 80 participants, and last for two days including an overnight stay. It is possible for Bamboo to arrange stays lasting much longer if there is a desire to gain a deeper understanding of the life of a Buddhist monk, but two days is sufficient for a hands-on introduction to the 1700-year-old history of Korean Buddhism.
South Korea is home to dozens of working temples with many enjoying mountain locations in or just outside the major cities. A temple stay itinerary will include various ceremonial activities with each designing its own program. Activities are influenced by location and particular spiritual focus, but there are a few common activities found in most temples.
These include Meditation, with the aim of cutting off all thoughts in search of your 'true self', a Tea ceremony - monks believe drinking tea uses the five senses to aid the meditative techniques of mindfulness and concentration, and Buddhist chanting.
One of the real highlights of the monastic lifestyle is temple cuisine. Participants are provided with three meals a day, which are strictly vegetarian using ingredients often grown on the temple grounds or foraged locally.
Sleeping arrangements at Korean temples are simple but clean. Most temples provide shared rooms with men and women bunked separately, but Bamboo Travel can request private rooms for couples or families looking to avoid dormitory accommodation.
Temple stays can be arranged on several itineraries, including the 16-day Deeper into the land of Morning Calm (https://www.bambootravel.co.uk/
The holiday costs from £4985 per person (two sharing a room), which includes flights, all transportation, 15-nights' B&B (plus one dinner), sightseeing/
Call 020 7720 9285 (bambootravel.co.uk)
Mick Thompson, Travel Dog PR