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With the country's largest coastal population, the Southern Gyeongsang Province (sometimes shortened to "Gyeongnam") is mostly oriented toward the sea. The largest cities are Busan and Ulsan, each of which has its own separate governments.

Gyeongnam is home to South Korea's most celebrated temple, Haeinsa, located on the southern slopes of Gayasan. There are 15 hermitages associated with Haeinsa, located in the valley nearby. The closest to the great temple is Hongje-am, where the famous military leader Monk Samyeongdaesa of the Joseon Dynasty retired, after leading a group of Buddhist warrior monks during the Hideyoshi Invasions. The first hermitage built in the area, Wondong-am (which is said to have been the staging site for the building of Haeinsa) is nearby. There are other historical sites in the area, including Baengnyeon-am, which has the most beautiful scenery; Hirangdae (where the Monk Hirang meditated); and Jijog-am (a place for prayer).

In the western part of the province is Jirisan National Park and the small town of Hadong, which is located on the western edge of the province. This mountain town is known for its wild tea fields and the vendors in its open-air herb market, Hwagae Jangteo.

Gyeongnam is also known for its wonderfully rocky coasts, tiny little islands scattering into the sea, and beautiful beaches, like Sangju Beach near Geumsan in Namhae. The country's best dinosaur footprints can also be found on the picturesque coast in Goseong.