Hwaeomsa Temple in South Korea for Buddha’s Birthday

buddha's birthday hwaeomsa temple lanterns

On the weekend of Buddha’s birthday each spring, festivities are held at the temples all across South Korea. The temples around the country hold events for the entire family. There are performances, ceremonies, free food and lots and lots of colorful lanterns!

buddha's birthday hwaeomsa temple lanterns

Though all temples, big or small, will have some sort of event or lantern display, some are better than others. After receiving a recommendation from a friend, we made our way this year to Photos of the bell ringing ceremony and rows of brightly colored lanterns at Hwaeomsa Temple Buddha’s birthday celebration in South Korea near Gurye, Jeollanamdo. It takes about an hour and a half to drive from Gwangju city to the temple.

buddha's birthday temple Hwaeomsa
buddha's birthday temple lanterns Hwaeomsa

The temple did not disappoint! Traditional music and chanting could be heard throughout the complex. Visitors offered prayers and lit incense but there were also vendors selling ice cream and popcorn as children ran and played. We were also incredibly lucky to catch a bell ringing ceremony which we had never witnessed before!​

buddha's birthday temple monk ringing bell korea
buddha's birthday temple lanterns koreaBub dancing to the chanting from the monks

buddha's birthday temple lanterns korea

hwaeomsa temple roof south korea
hwaeomsa temple buddha birthday lanterns korea

buddha's birthday temple monk ringing bell korea

Admission Fee

  • Adults 3,500 won
  • Youth 1,800 won
  • Kids 1,300 won


From Gurye Bus Terminal take the bus headed to Hwaeomsa Temple. From the station the ride is about 10 to 20 minutes to the temple bus stop. It approximately another 20 minutes walk from the bus stop to the temple.

Free parking closer to the temple is available for people heading to the temple by car.

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