Reserve Korea Temple Stays

Nestled amidst the tranquility of lush mountains and echoing with the gentle sounds of temple bells, South Korea offers a unique cultural immersion through its Temple Stay programs. Designed for both locals and foreigners, these programs allow participants to experience the serene life of Buddhist monastics and indulge in the simplicity of temple food, a hidden gem of Korean culinary tradition.

Temple Stays And Temple Food In Korea For Foreign Visitors

1. The Essence Of A Temple Stay

A Temple Stay is an opportunity for visitors to live alongside Buddhist monks and nuns, engaging in their daily routines and practices such as meditation, prayer, and chanting. This form of cultural retreat not only offers a respite from the hectic pace of modern life but also provides a deeper understanding of Buddhism and its practices in Korea.

Many temples that participate in the Temple Stay program are located in scenic areas that highlight the natural beauty of Korea. These temples, such as Jogyesa in the heart of Seoul, or Bulguksa in the historical city of Gyeongju, offer programs that range from a single day to several weeks.

2. Korean Temple Food

One of the highlights of a Temple Stay is the opportunity to sample temple food, which is entirely plant-based, aligning with Buddhist teachings of non-violence and mindfulness. Temple cuisine is prepared with seasonal and local ingredients, emphasizing natural flavors and health. Dishes are typically low in fat and sugar, and free from artificial flavorings, making it not only a spiritual but also a holistic culinary experience.

Notable dishes include ‘barugongyang’, a formal monastic meal that teaches mindfulness and restraint through its eating rituals, and ‘bibimbap’, a mixed rice dish with assorted vegetables and traditional sauces, prepared in a way that highlights the unique flavors of each ingredient without overpowering seasonings.

3. Learning And Living The Korean Temple Culture

For foreigners, participating in a Temple Stay can be a profound way to learn about Korean culture beyond the usual tourist experience. English-speaking guides and monks are often available to facilitate an understanding of the rituals and practices. The experience is designed to be accessible, offering a glimpse into a lifestyle that has been preserved for centuries.

Additionally, many temples offer workshops on Buddhist culture, such as tea ceremony, Seon (Zen) meditation, and lotus lantern making, providing a hands-on approach to understanding the spiritual and cultural significance of these practices.

4. How To Participate

Interested travelers can book a Temple Stay through various platforms that specialize in cultural tourism in Korea. The Korean Temple Stay official website provides a list of temples, along with descriptions of their programs and amenities, making it easier to choose a temple that matches one’s interests and comfort level. Most programs are very affordable, offering a cost-effective way to deeply engage with Korean culture.

Korea Temple Stays

5. Korean Temple Food Cooking Program With Jeong Kwan Sunim At Baekyangsa

Korean Temple Food Cooking Program With Jeong Kwan Sunim At Baekyangsa

Located in the serene environment of Baekyangsa Temple, nestled in the Naejangsan National Park, the temple food cooking program with Jeong Kwan Sunim offers a unique culinary experience. Jeong Kwan Sunim, a Buddhist nun who gained international fame through the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table, guides participants through the philosophy and techniques of Korean temple cuisine.

The program is designed to teach the principles of temple food preparation, which emphasizes natural flavors and seasonal ingredients, all adhering to Buddhist ethical guidelines. Participants learn to create dishes that are not only nourishing to the body but also calming to the mind, reflecting the Zen principles of mindfulness and simplicity.

Classes include hands-on cooking sessions where attendees prepare a variety of dishes using fresh, local produce. Jeong Kwan Sunim also shares insights into the spiritual aspects of food preparation and consumption, highlighting how eating can be a meditative and transformative practice.

This unique program is not just about learning recipes; it’s an immersive experience into the tranquility of monastic life, the mindfulness in cooking, and the enjoyment of simple, wholesome meals. It offers a profound understanding of how food can connect one to nature and spirituality, making it a deeply enriching experience for anyone interested in the intersection of cuisine and Zen Buddhism.


For those looking to explore Korean culture in a more meaningful and introspective manner, a Temple Stay offers a unique blend of spiritual enrichment and cultural education. The experience is complemented by the culinary delights of temple food, which embody the principles of balance, health, and mindfulness. Whether you are seeking spiritual solace, cultural immersion, or simply a peaceful retreat from the every day, a Temple Stay in Korea promises to be an unforgettable experience.

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