Busan for a Weekend

by - July 12, 2017

We decided to do a 2 day trip to Busan, to see what the hype was all about. Fortunately, we stayed in a room with personal jacuzzis so that made our trip worthwhile. In short, I found Busan not to be as clean or exciting as Seoul, but hands down, people were more friendly, and the food was less sweeter than the Seoul food. That being said, I don't see myself making it a weekend getaway. It is certainly too far.The train to Busan takes a long while - even the KTX is at least 3 and a half hours with all transfers included. Mugunwha train takes forever. Tickets for train aren't cheap either so one just wonders, why not fly to Jeju? That being said, you could try to pre-book a tour either through Klook or Voyagin, that have really affordable deals. 

We arrived by train late night and crashed. The next morning, we got ourselves metro day passes and then, headed to Gwangalli beach. We were lucky it didn't rain and the weather was glorious. The beach itself isn't a typically beautiful beach but had a number of activities to offer. The long stretch of sand is lined with lots of restaurants and cafés. We rented kayaks for 2 hours and eventually got very wet. Sadly, we didn't bring an extra pair of clothes so had to sit back in a bus all wet.

After the beach, our clothes were destroyed so we headed back to our hotel near Busan Station. We quickly changed in our hotel and then headed to Nampo Station. There, we followed the signs to Yongdusan Mountain, which is one of Busan's three famous mountains. It was originally called Songhyunsan Mountain, which means a mountain with a view of the sea through the dense pine tree forest. Later the name was changed to Yongdusan, as the mountain peak was shaped similar to a dragon's head (yongdu), protecting the area from foreign invaders coming from the sea. To get to the top, you can take stairs or elevators. Lazy us chose the latter.

The top of the mountain was the Busan Tower. The weather at the top was amazing and it was slightly foggy. The top of the tower is modeled after the baldaquin of Dabotap Pagoda in Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju. There was also a statue of the Great Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

There is a good spot to sit and look down into the city, as well as find photo opps with signs. For a good two hours, we did nothing but take photos and walk around in Yongdusan Park.  And like always, we decided to forgo entering the Busan Tower and just admire it from the ground.  I

There is an observatory deck on top the tower with entrance fee of KRW5,000 (RM18.50). We chose to skip the observatory deck as the scenery outside the tower were awesome enough. Instead, we went to the next door Twosome Place in the temple, where we enjoyed some Bingsu with Cheesecake.Yum!

Thereafer, we came down to find ourselves strolling around the BIFF Square.Based on the name itself, BIFF Square used to be where the Busan International Film Festival was held. Now, it’s a shopping street full of Korean cosmetic and fashion brands. Somewhat analogous to Myeongdong in Seoul but less plastic. I’m not sure if it’s the main place for shopping in Busan, but we decided to refrain from hoarding and just looked around.

 It didnt end there. We went then to Seomyeon for nightlife. We searched for the "first street" as they call it. The street was bustling with life, full of cafes, dance lounges, bars and restaurants. In addition, there was a wide array of entertainment spots such as theaters and game arcades. We jumped into dancing a bit early, and the people there were super nice. We went to Harem, where they played top 40 and shamelessly, we started dancing as early as 8:30 pm! The people there loved us and served us snacks for free!! 

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