This wasn't on our list on our itinerary. It so happened that we found an English magazine with a photo of a giant Buddha centered at the foot of a mountain. It looks so majestic and we want to see it. From my out of date guidebook, it says that it would be accessible by the subway. Sounds easy, right? The trip took about 2.5 hours but if you use the local train (like taking the express train), it took us about 1 hour. I heard that if you take the KTX (the speed train) it will only take about 30 mins but it will drop you off on the different train station next town over.
We got off in train Cheonan station. The train station was small not as slick as the one in Seoul but functional. You could tell that we are really far removed from the city life when you see squat toilets on public restrooms. We took Exit 1 and on the bottom of the stairs is a tourist information. They gave us information on the bus number we need to take and where we would be able to catch it. We were told that we would be able to use our subway T-card so there is no hassle fumbling for cash.
The Gakwonsa Temple is one of the biggest temple in South Korea and is located at the foot of Mount Taejosan. Part of the temple was a 60 ton sitting Buddha. It was enshrined to pray for the reunification of North and South Korea.
To get here from Seoul:
You could take the Blue Line #1 from Seoul and get off at the Cheonan stop. The trip would take at least 2.5 hours. Best option to take the local express train. It will cut the travel time to 1 hour.
Once at the Cheonan train station, take Exit 1 and at the bottom of the stairs is a tourist information center. They don't have information in English but at least they would be able to tell you the bus you need to take to your destination. There is also a city tour bus that would drop you off at major tourist destinations. It leaves at 10 am in front of the tourist information center. A good option for day trips. For more information, click here.