|What are Farm Stays and Temple Stays? Farm Stays provide experiences with rural tourism products. By staying at a rural village people can experience farm work, farm life, and culture. Temple Stays provide experiences with temple life and discipline. At first, Temple Stays started with the object of providing accommodations for foreigners. In 2002, Korea hosted the World Cup, so the government planned Temple Stays to introduce Korean culture to the world. However, Korean people make use of this program more than foreigners these days. City people want to break out of their daily routine and look for a little extra meaning in their lives. Even people who are not Buddhist participate and do not see it as conflicting with their own religions. There are 109 temples which have been designated by the government as of 2010. Each temple has a different style when it comes to Temple Stays. There are 6 different types of Temple Stay. Most temples are prepared as being restful experiences. There are also Buddhist culture experiences and ascetic experience Temple Stays. Restful experiences provide places to relax when people need to take a break from their stressful lives. Most foreigners, children, and students participate in Buddhist cultural experience Temple Stays. In this experience they can practice the tea ceremony and make a lotus lamp or Buddhist prayer beads. The ascetic stay allows visitors to experience firsthand a monk’s daily routine. People can realize their differences and understand each other better in order to live harmoniously. Aside from these three, there are also traditional culture, ecology, and temple life experiences.
In order to give you a more detailed example, we covered an ascetic Temple Stay at Jikjisa. Jikjisa is located in Gimcheon, and they primarily operate ascetic style stays and restful stays. Ascetic stays are divided into one day two nights and two days three nights. They are divided according to the number of Buddhist services, but the quality of education is the same. Visitors wake up at 3:30 a.m. and participate in morning Buddhist services consisting of 108 deep bows. Visitors then take a meditation walk, and eat breakfast which is called the "ballwoo meal." This means that people shouldn’t leave anything in their bowls even if it is red pepper powder. After they eat breakfast, people do community work. They pull grass and sweep the garden. In other words, people experience a genuine disciplined life style. Most importantly everyone must remain silent, because they learn a great deal from this ascetic period. On the other hand, restful Temple Stays are very free. Participation entails simply staying at the temple, so there is no schedule to follow. Visitors can participate in the Buddhist services if they wish. This kind of stays main visitors are professionals, educators, and students. After people have these experiences, they can write about their feelings and thoughts in a teahouse at the temple. Most people say they have trouble adjusting to temple life at first, but they feel a sense of pride for enduring the program to the end. Jikjisa held the first camping Temple Stay in 2010. Family or friends are eligible to participate. Temple Stays help to popularize temple life, and it develops the character of people.
These days, many families prefer Farm Stays to tourist attractions. Because tourist attractions are crowded places and they are becoming increasingly expensive. People want to be substantial tourists, so local villages and Nonghyup Corporation created Farm Stays. They help local economies and promote exchanges between farm villages and cities. Many citizens are interested in Farm Stays nowadays from children to adults. They are especially popular with children. As of June 2010, there were 289 Farm Stay villages and 3941 participating farm houses. Farm Stays are generally for one day and two nights. People arrive at a farm village, and they experience two events. After visitors take a look around the villages, they experience a third event. The last event can be experienced on the second day. The experiential content is different in each village, and they all have unique characteristics.
Gaesil village people are descendants of Jeompiljae Kim Jong-Jik. This village was designated as a Beautiful Village by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security from 2001 to 2004. In 2005, they were designated as an Experience Rural Village. Twelve farmhouses out of fifty operate as guest houses. When they accept groups, the groups stay at the village community center. This village usually accepts families, elementary or middle school students, and the disabled. Kyobo Life and Samsung Life assigned a customer appreciation event here. However, this village doesn’t accept MT groups, because some university students cause trouble.
They offer various services specific to each season. People can harvest strawberries in spring. Bamboo squirt and rafting are offered in summer. These are very popular with children. Fall is sweet potato harvest season, and people can ride a sled in the winter. The most popular attraction is making taffy; this can be experienced year round. For this reason, this village doesn’t have a peak season or an off-season. Each year at least 60,000 people visit this village. Most people are satisfied with the experience, and some people visit again. Due to the business, tourist related income is actually larger than farm income in this village. At first, village people were ill at ease with visitors, but now they show an enthusiastic attitude. Farm Stays give them opportunities to be active.
Temple Stays and Farm Stays are having a more profound effect than expected. The “Stay” culture is used in various ways. The form of stay is different based on their characteristics, but the reasons for their practical use are the same. Many city people need restful places and pragmatic vacation programs. Children and youth need to experience other styles of living. In brief, modern people dream of breaking away from the grind of daily life. Therefore, many types of stays can help them. Even now it is not too late; there are Temple Stays and Farm Stays nearby and they are just waiting for you.