Hongryongsa: Rainbow Dragon Temple


I first saw this place posted on the Busan Lightstalkers page and I was interested. Where else can you find a temple next to a flowing waterfall near Ulsan or Busan? I had to investigate further. I searched Dale’s Korean Temple Adventures site, which is my go-to site for temples. It has the most comprehensive listing and detailed descriptions of Korean Temples and it always has what I am looking for.


Getting to this temple is really tricky if you don’t have your own set of wheels. It sits up in the mountains of Yangsan and I did not see any signs for buses past the little village. Thus, it is better to catch a ride with someone or even take a taxi up. I did see many taxis waiting around there.


Shooting was great and the rush of the Rainbow Dragon Waterfall was amazing. It was unlike any other temple that I have been to in Korea. Not to mention that is was nestled into the mountain, so along with the waterfall you had a dark quiet place to relax as well. However, even during the rain, it was still packed with people making photography and relaxing a little challenging.


One of the things that I recommend is bringing a ND filter or something to stop-down you camera to not only get the flowing water but to give a longer exposure that will effectively remove people walking through your shot. As I found out here and in many other places, ajummas simply will not wait a couple of seconds and will push right through. Having a longer exposure will help eliminate their presence in your frame.


This time around, I wanted to shoot wide and used my Tokina 16-28 mm. This lens is not designed to be compatible with most filter systems. So I had to increase my f-stop up to f/22 and hope for the best. I normally bracket my shots in case I want to do some HDR but in this case it works because I can get a full range of exposures to choose best. I found that +1 stop worked well here as the surrounding forest was quite dark and overexposing a bit really brought out some of the shadows.

If you are a fan of my blog and site, you will know that I normally shoot HDR. However, for situations like this, you don’t really need it. Instead, I used NIK’s Analog Efex Pro 2 for most of the shots and Color Efex Pro 4 as well. I am really loving Analog Efex Pro 2 these days and I wrote about it before. It really adds a lot of depth and creativity to your images.

Other than that, I must say that I will be visiting this temple a lot more. The waterfall is simply too amazing to pass up. If you would like more information on this place drop me a line or check out Dale’s post


  1. Dale Reply

    Thanks for the link love. You have some pretty amazing pictures of one of my favourite temples.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thanks Dale. As I said in the post, I visit your site often. It is a great resource. As for hongryongsa, it is really amazing. Right now with all the water rushing through, it is truly breathtaking.

  2. John Steele Reply

    Nice shots man, can’t wait to get down there soon!

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thanks! Can’t wait to see what you get.

  3. Scott Herder Reply

    Came here from Korea tourism. Stunning shot. Grateful that you point out its best to take a taxi for folks like me who don’t have own transportation. Hopefully I can make it out there soon. Love chasing waterfalls!

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Scott, thanks for stopping by. There have always been a few taxis in the parking lot every time I have gone. Not sure what the charge would be from Yangsan Stn. but the waterfall would be worth it.

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  5. Jason Eom Reply

    Stunning shots and nice tips!
    Although I live in Yangsan, I havn’t been this place.
    Thanks to your post, I’ve decided to go there soon.
    I found this site through the cinemagraph app for iPad.
    Your works you uploaded are fantastic!
    I will come around to see your great shots.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Thank you so much Jason! I am glad that you stopped by.

  6. kabayanmark Reply

    Very interesting post. My first time to see this place I will be going there very soon !

    As I am relatively new to Busan I haven’t found any photographer groups.

    If you know of any like minded groups that seek side trips with the camera please let me know

  7. Helena Reply

    Oh my word I want to see this temple! We’re planning a family trip next year and were already planning to do Tongdosa before heading down to Geoje. I wonder if my kids could handle two temples right in a row.

    • Jason Teale Reply

      Tongdosa would be great for the kids as far as temples go. Be sure to try the ice cream there! However, hongryeongsa is a bit of a drive and is essentially is the middle of nowhere. This it may put a damper of things. Perhaps hitting there first and then stopping of a tongdosa and the theme park next to it (Tongdo Fantasia) would be a good plan.

      • Helena Reply

        Ice cream for sure! They’ll go for that. 🙂

        About how long is the drive, off the main road?

        • Jason Teale Reply

          If you take the expressway then it is about 15 minutes or so into the mountains. The key is once you exit the yangsan tollgate take your immediate right and then just follow the Brown signs

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