After my trip to the Philippines, I followed my friend to Busan the following weekend because she had a shoot(freelance photographer) and wanted someone to go with her. She was going to drive and was not confident to drive more than 300km by herself.
Quick fact! Busan hosted the 2002 Asian Games and the APEC 2005 Korea. The city has parks and beaches and it is the second most visited city probably in South Korea next to Seoul. Seafood is well know in Busan but can becomee very expensive so you have to be careful when choosing where to eat.
How to get around:
The best way to go around Busan is by public transportation. If there are no subways going the direction you want, there will always be buses. So, no worries!
You can also rent a car to get around but you would need to check the laws that apply.
Did you know? Koreans say the most reckless drivers are from Busan. (Stay safe!)
Note that some tourist places can be reached by private vehicles or a taxi. But you might have a hard time grabbing a taxi back to the city proper.
Where to stay:
I have searched that there are hostels as well in Busan if you are on budget travel. There are also mid-class hotels to very high end ones. Watch out for those love motels!
I stayed at my friend’s house, where her mom still lives (free accommodation, yey!), she was sooooooo nice. She was very soft spoken despite the fact that people from the southern part of SK have thick accents and are kind of loud.
1. Our first stop was at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.
The temple overlooks the sea and it is a marvel. It isn’t very big so it won’t take a lot of time to see it.
This temple is THE famous tourist spot in Busan and I don’t like crowded nor touristy places but I like visiting temples and churches in places I am visiting. Temples and churches expose the root of that certain place. History lies and represents the generation before the place was civilized in these types of architectures.
You can take in the fresh air and the beauty of this magnificent place if you visit in less crowded times, such as early in the morning. Like the sea in front of the temple, the smashing of the waves on the rocks below and taking in all that peaceful energy.
My friend was waiting for me on the bridge connecting to the entrance and the temple. She just stood there and listened to the waves. It is pure love and joy to be by the sea.
2. Our next stop was Dongbaek Island/Park.
It was very humid that even walking to the park was a sweaty 5 minute-walk from the parking lot.
I was walking alone while my friend was having a meeting at the park for her shoot the next day. I reached a resting point right beside the APEC building they built back in 2005, which had the view of the Gwangan Bridge.
3. Chilling at Bay 101
When I met with my friend again, she told me that her friends were at Bay101, (she is from Busan.) The Bay101 is a new place in Busan so it has a modern feel to it. It is where you can see the amazing buildings that crowds Haeundae. So, we headed over to where her friends were. I got the best seat on our table!
So that’s the view. City lights from below and not above.
The Bay101 has a lot of restaurants from the ground floor up to the rooftop. The rooftop or deck has a gret view where you can enjoy a few drinks as well. A bit pricey compared to other restaurants outside but the difference isn’t much.
4. Gamcheon Cultural Village
The next day, right after my friend dropped me off and she headed off to work. I was free to roam wherever I wanted. A place I really wanted to see was the Gamcheon Cultural Village.
It wasn’t difficult to find. I took bus 1003 from Haeundae and changed to Saha-gu neighborhood bus 1-1 to the Gamcheon Elementary school where the starting point of the village is.
I heard that this place was made into a culture village recently and the murals were very beautiful. Unique, different and not the same as the other murals I have seen around Seoul. I enjoy street art because it shows more essence of what people are capable of. Walls and spaces were used to make a different atmosphere and the village sprung to life!
I saw coffee shops and small restaurants along the way but they were all closed as it was still early in the morning and it was a Sunday.
I allowed myself to roam around (with direction) and look at all the colors.
The colors and how they utilized the space around the village was quite mesmerizing.
And of course, this culture village is famous for the Little Prince and his fox companion statue as they overlook the village on a ledge. It is compulsory to get a photo with him when you visit. Either sit beside him, sit and put your arms around his shoulders or leaning on him. Don’t worry, there is a not-so-strong-net below and a roof. I decided to stand beside him instead and asked two girls to take a picture of me.
It was all stairs around me and I got lost after a while. I did not climb stairs but I had to climb a very steep and uphill street. Imagine a 45 degree angled road. Well, some parts were almost 60 degrees. I was so happy to see the bus stop where I got off and was unhappy that I took the bus from the wrong direction. So I had to get off and ride another one after waiting for 15 minutes with my heavy bag. #thestruggleisreal
5. The APEC Building
It was open when I arrived at the park so I decided to take a look. I saw the pictures of the presidents that joined the APEC meeting, the huge meeting room, the souvenirs they received from the meeting and even the food they ate. With the gorgeous view of the sea, the building was clean and well maintained.
The place was filled once more of Chinese tourists. (They are EVERYWHERE.)
The view was too beautiful to ignore. Green or emerald seas might be common in the Philippines or other countries with gorgeous beaches but not so much in Korea. I took in as much as I can since beaches are far away from Seoul and it’s not convenient to get to unless you have a car.
As I walked along, I spotted another famous statue – the mermaid. Same old story as any statues of mermaids or women that are placed by the sea. She was waiting for her one true love that set out to sea a very long ancient time ago, fell into the water and came back as a mermaid. Numerous times a mermaid was seen here and so they made a statue. Whichever the story, I could feel the loneliness and sadness of the mermaid sitting alone.
It was amazing to see the waves splashing onto the rocks and the statue.
I stared at the beach, watching people as they passed by and my camera battery died. LOL. Perfect timing.
There were a bunch of families, friends, playing beach volleyball, a weird crowd, guys wearing thongs, skinny girls with skinny boys that had tattoos, and what caught my attention was a very tall foreigner with long hair until his hips who sat down behind me. He was either European or American or British or, you get the idea.
As soon as I was done packing my things, in perfect timing, my friend called me to ask where I was. She came to fetch me and I had my lunch at a café.
Dinner was with my friend’s friends again. They took me to eat Naengchae Pig’s feet, and it was soooooooo goooooooooooooood. Sorry, I don’t have a photo. Nevertheless, try it when you are in Busan! It is different from the normal Pig’s feet you can see in Seoul.
Overall, my trip was good. Thank you to my friend who drove even late into the night back to Seoul.
Check out my friend though, she takes awesome photos. Her forte is performance arts (dance) photography : O-frame.
I hope to go back to Busan one day, see all the other amazing attractions it has to offer.
Summer is too hot, so it may be a while before I take another walk. ‘Til then, keep walking.