If you have left the thermos at home you can be assured that somebody is thinking of you almost where ever you go hiking in Korea. Here it was a nice thing to have a hot coffee as a light snow started to fall during my walk. This pleasant hermitage has a large wooden decking area, under construction, which would make an excellent cafe. Perhaps this is the intention, something to look forward to on my next trip here.
This makes a really nice rest stop while walking towards Yeongchug Mountain. In clear weather the views are wonderful looking SE towards Tongdo-sa and Tongdo-ri village. This quaint hermitage is one of about a dozen situated in the close vacinity to Tongdo-sa temple. Here one will find a wooden shrine and an ample supply of mountain spring water. Fill up here if doing the walk in warmer months.
Starting from Tongdo-sa temple one can walk up hill to the top of Yeongchug Mountain either by walking from the temple it's self or driving to some vantage points at the mountain's base. Walking to the summit should only be done when weather permitting. I actaully walked from the temple complex to the Back Un Am hermitage by taking the road leading west and then another road at a right hand turn running north to a car parking area at the SW foot of the Yeongchug Range. From here it is a steep, but clear trail up to the hermitage. From there one passes through forest along a narrow ridge to the main range of the Yeongchug Mountain. I only went as far as here due to snowy conditions, but it is 5 hours walking time to do the complete walk in a loop taking in the summit of Yeongchug Mountain, from and returning to Tongdo-sa temple.
Like all temples in Korea the most obvious attraction to them is their "dancheong" paint work. This is the artful skill of detailed designs and decorative colours on the timber work. However there are always extra surprises to find in the artwork, timber carvings and structural design of these humble but impressive structures. Even the most important and largest of temple complexes such as Tongdo-sa are built on a "human" scale. Take a good look around and an even closer look at the minor details evident on some of the 65 buildings which make up Tongdo-sa temple if you can.
Fondest memory: Every time I visit a temple building complex in Korea it makes me sad to realise that this country has a great architectural tradition. A real far cry from the horrendous city scapes. It was really with the tumultuous times of the first half in the 20th century which robed this country of it's fine architectural venacular. However today there are signs of careful restoration and harmonious reconstruction work going on in the temples and historic villages.