Breathtaking Busan

My autumn break was spent (again) in South Korea, but this time I finally decided it’s time to explore beyond Seoul. So I visited the less cosmopolitan, but more breathtaking city of Busan. Straight from Gimpo airport I rode the AREX to Seoul Station and boarded the KTX bound for Busan.

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This isn’t a scene from the blockbuster movie Train to Busan – it’s the platform where I boarded the 1:30 train.

The moment I set foot in Busan, I knew I fell in love…the beach, the sunrise, coastal walks, heart-stopping cliffs with unending ocean views, mouth-watering food, an artsy village, and not to mention the fact that Jung Yong Hwa & Lee Jong Hyun (“Busan Brothers” of Cnblue) are from this place.

Where to go and what to do in Busan

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Haeundae Beach skyline
  • Haeundae and Gwangalli Beach

The former is a short walk from my hotel while I had to take the subway and walk for about a kilometer to reach the latter. I visited Haeundae Beach twice – after dark and before sunrise. Read more about the sunrise visit here. From Gwangalli Beach, one can see the changing lights of Gwangandaegyo Bridge, which changes every day and every season.

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Gwangalli Beach skyline
  • Dongbaekseom Island

This island, which used to be an island, is now part of the mainland. An easy walk south of Haeundae beach, there are stairs and paved pathways all throughout. The Nurimaru APEC House is located here, as well as the statue of Choi Chi-Won, a scholar and writer during the Silla Kingdom. A more detailed account of my early morning walk to this place is here.

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An easy early morning walk to Dongbaek Island
  • Taejeongdae Park

This is one of the must-visit places in Busan! I almost gave up going to the lighthouse thinking it would be a very arduous climb back, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Beyond the lighthouse are sweeping views of the vast ocean from cliffs that made me want to stay longer. Some scenes from the movie Ode to my Father were filmed here.

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Yeongdo Lighthouse
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The rugged coastline with Haeundae in the background
  • Gamcheon Cultural Village

This is an artsy, touristy village on the western side of the city. I was curious to see what all the hype was about and besides, I want to see the Little Prince, since I’m not visiting Le Petite France in Gapyeong during this trip. More pictures and detailed experience in the village can be found here.

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Overlooking the village from the view deck named “As One”
  • Jagalchi Market

Korea’s biggest seafood market sells both dried and live fish and all kinds of sea creatures (edible) you can think of. I was too lazy to do the fish shopping, so I went to the second floor, ordered shells and had lunch right there.

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  • BIFF Square and Gukje Market

Most of the scenes in Ode to My Father were filmed here, although I wasn’t able to find the shop of the main character. This is just a 428-meter long street where there are shops and a lot of street food, as well as hand prints of famous movie celebrities.

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  • Yongdusan Park

This was my last stop after a very long day full of walking and hiking. The escalators are a real blessing and my legs are so thankful for them. The sun was already setting, so I just took some pictures and didn’t go up the tower anymore.

img_3275My stay in Busan for two days and two nights weren’t enough to go to all the sights I wanted to see. Igidae Park and Oryukdo Skywalk will be my priorities on my next visit to Busan. Besides, it rained the following morning, when I still had a half day left before going back to Seoul.

So that the morning won’t be wasted, I decided to visit Diorama World, which I saw on my way to the Busan International Film Center. After a quick lunch at BEXCO, I found my way back to Busan Station, lined up for the KTX ticket, and said goodbye to a city that captivated me by its many charms.

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