Less is more: Templestays offer culture with a change of pace

A temple food dish, Gamja Ong-Sim-e, or potato soup (Photo Credit: Korea Cultural Centre)
A temple food dish, Gamja Ong-Sim-e, or potato soup (Photo Credit: Korea Cultural Centre)

There's perhaps no better way to experience traditional Korean culture than to spend time at the country's temples, which offer authentic experiences ranging from its temple food made with natural seasonal ingredients to exhibitions and traditional craft activities. 

Templestays, which are being promoted by the Korean Culture and Information Service and Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism at the Korean Cultural Centre in Hong Kong, offer delegates a change of pace from city life and the chance to experience the culture and daily life of a temple. 

Planners can learn more about the templestays during the promotional event in Hong Kong, which will be held from June 11 to 13.

An exhibition featuring photographs of Korean temples, temple food and templestay participants as well as dolls made of Hanji, or mulberry fibre paper, will also be on display.

During a templestay, delegates will be able to tuck into temple food, which consists of dishes containing no meat nor any of the five 'pungent' vegetables of the allium onion species such as garlic and green onion.

Planners can also experience hands-on activities such as lotus flower making and wood block printing, with a highlight being a temple food cooking class by Ven. Yeogeo Sunim over the three days. Dishes such as Gamja Ong-sim-e (Potato Soup) and Gochu sobagi (stuffed pepper Kimchi) will be made using ingredients familiar to Hongkongers. 

The templestay experience will also be showcased during the Hong Kong International Travel Expo, which runs from June 14 to 17. 

The general public will be welcomed to participate in activities, such as handheld fan paintings, making traditional patterned coasters, and making lotus lanterns on June 16 and 17.

There are nine temples in downtown Seoul that currently offer temple stays.

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