GAYASAN (가야산) National Park: The Basics


CLICK here for high resolution printable trail map (929 KB).

Gayasan was designated a national park in 1972. One of the smaller parks, it covers 80km2 on a branch of the Sobaek Range. Supposedly shaped like the head of a cow, Gayasan is also sometimes called Udusan ('Cow head'). The main ridgeline of the mountain forms the border between North and South Gyeongsang Provinces. The highest point is split into two peaks, named Sangwangbong (1,430 m) and Chilbulbong (1,433 m). Though Chilbulbong is slightly higher (by 3 meters), Sangwangbong is more well-known and usually listed as the primary peak. For all purposes, they can be considered a single peak.

The lower part of the park is dominated by pines, especially around Haeinsa and on the road leading up to the temple. Deciduous trees are also common. In Autumn, the bright crimson of the maples and the yellow of the gingko trees sets the mountain ablaze, making Gayasan one of the top parks for visits during the fall season. The park also contains the beautiful Hongnyudong Valley, Yongmun Falls, and two impressive standing images of the Buddha on the mountain. The hikes in this park are quite easy and can each be accomplished in a few hours.

Gayasan is most famous for its primary temple, Haeinsa, which houses the entire Buddhist scriptures on 80,000 wooden printing blocks. There are a score of smaller temples and shrines clustered in the vicinity.


From Busan, there are several options for reaching Haeinsa and Gayasan National Park.

(1) The easiest choice is to take an inter-city bus from either Busan's Seobu-Sasang Terminal or Nopo-dong Terminal to Daegu (East) Inter-city Bus Terminal. At Daegu, transfer to a bus bound for Haeinsa (temple).

BUSAN Seobu-Sasang Terminal ► DAEGU East Inter-city Bus Terminal
Fare: W8,500
07:00 08:30 10:00 11:30 13:00 14:30 16:00 18:10
Duration: 2 hours

BUSAN Nopo-dong Terminal ► DAEGU East Inter-city Bus Terminal
Fare: W8,400 / (W5,800)
(06:25) 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:40 10:20 ◄ Every 30-40 minutes ► 17:40 18:20 (19:00) 19:40 (20:20) 21:00 (21:30) 22:30
Duration: 1½ hours – 1 hour 50 minutes

DAEGU East Inter-city Bus Terminal ► HAEINSA (Temple)
Fare: W4,200
06:40 07:00 08:00 08:40 09:20 10:00 10:40 11:20 12:00 12:40 13:20 14:00 14:40 15:20 16:00 16:40 17:20 18:00 18:40 19:20 20:00
Duration: 2 hours

(2) Another option is to take an inter-city bus from Seobu-Sasang Terminal to Jinju Bus Terminal. From Jinju, 3 buses a day depart for Haeinsa.

BUSAN Seobu-Sasang Terminal ► JINJU Bus Terminal
Fare: W6,900
05:40 ◄ Every 10-15 minutes ► 20:20 21:05 21:30
Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

JINJU Bus Terminal ► HAEINSA (Temple)
09:30 13:10 17:40
Duration: 2 hours

(3) The third and least desireable route involves taking an inter-city bus from Seobu-Sasang Terminal to Hapcheon Bus Terminal and there transferring to a bus for Haeinsa. Hapcheon, like Jinju, is a small town and has rather infrequent bus times. You may need to wait 1-2 hours for the next Haeinsa bus.


(1) While Daegu is the best route for getting TO Gayasan, the reverse is not true. For being the third largest city in Korea, Daegu seems to have surprisingly infrequent buses to Busan. The best return option is to route through Jinju. At Jinju, transfer to a bus for Busan.

HAEINSA (Temple) ► JINJU Bus Terminal
Fare: W9,700
07:40 13:00 17:00
Duration: 2 hours

JINJU Bus Terminal ► BUSAN Seobu Terminal
Fare: W6,900
05:50 ◄ every 10-20 minutes ► 21:10
Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

(2) The second route takes you to Daegu, where you transfer to a bus for Busan.

HAEINSA (Temple) ► DAEGU East Inter-city Bus Terminal
Fare: W4,200
06:40 07:20 08:00 08:40 09:20 10:00 10:40 11:20 12:00 12:40 13:20 14:00 14:40 15:20 16:00 16:40 17:20 18:00 18:40 19:20 19:50
Duration: 2 hours

DAEGU East Inter-city Bus Terminal ► BUSAN Seobu Terminal
Fare: W8,500
07:00 08:30 10:00 11:30 13:00 15:10 16:40 18:00

(3) From Haeinsa, there are also buses to Daejeon and towns or districts in the local area, including Hapcheon (W4,300), Goryeong (W3,300), Yaro (W1,500), and Gaya (W1,000).

HAEINSA (Temple) ► DAEJEON Inter-city Bus Terminal
Fare: W12,000
07:00 10:10 11:30 15:30 17:20


As with most national park entrances in Korea, the area just below Haeinsa near the bus (Chi-in Village) has plenty of minbak 민박 and a few motels 모텔. Prices are typical of the parks--W20,000-30,000 per night. Restaurants and street vendors are scattered here and there, especially on the hill opposite the bus stop.

One of the best options for an overnight stay is Haeinsa itself. The temple provides room and board for W20,000 per night. Reservations are suggested, but unnecessary most of the time. Reservations can be made by following the directions at the Temple-Stay website. Your fee gets you a place in one of the communal sleeping rooms (floor mattress, blankets, and pillows provided), dinner, breakfast, and lunch the following morning. Lockers are provided for personal belongings. All the temple asks is that you follow the rules:

(1) Go to bed at 9:00 PM.
(2) Get up at 3:00 AM and attend the 3:30 AM prayer service in the main Buddha hall.
(3) Be quiet and respectful on temple grounds.
(4) Be on-time for meals.

18:10 - Dinner
19:00 - Evening Prayer Service
03:30 - Morning Prayer Service
06:10 - Breakfast
11:15 - Lunch


There are three campgrounds just beyond Yongmun Falls and Chi-in Village at the main entrance to the park. A fourth campground is located at the east entrance near Baengundong Village ticket office. Fees range between W3,000 and W7,000 per night.


The trail running from Haeinsa to Maeburipsang Buddha statue is restricted on the authority of the park service until 2010.


[Park Office] : 123-1 Guwon-ri Gaya-myeon Hapcheon Gyeongnam
[Tel] : 82-55-932-7810


No comments: