At the southern end of Haeundae Beach is a hilly place called Dongbaekseom Island (Island of Camellias). It used to be an island, but over time a land bridge formed connecting it to the mainland. There are many evergreens and camellias, dongbaek-kkot (동백꽃) thriving there, thus the name.
After watching the sunrise at Haeundae beach, I walked further south past the Westin Chosun Hotel and followed the path leading to Dongbaek Park. It’s a pretty easy and delightful walk and even if I haven’t been exercising regularly, I was able to go around without difficulty.
There are plenty of spots along the way, the first one is the statue of a mermaid known as “Princess Hwangok“. According to legend, this princess who came from Naranda, the mythical land of mermaids and tritons, married a king and came to live on the shores. But she missed her home so much that every full moon, she would come out and gaze at the view of her home reflected on the waves of the ocean. The statue shows her holding a ball and gazing toward the sea.
These are some of the fantastic views of Busan’s rugged coastline. You can see the coastal walk, which consisted of stairs and decked pathways built all around it.
The Dongbaek lighthouse is one of the attractions of the park and it looks like it’s guarding the Nurimaru APEC House nearby.
The Nurimaru APEC House was built when Korea hosted the annual APEC meeting in 2005. The name is a combination of the Korean words nuri (“world”) and maru (“summit”). Thus, APEC House collectively means “a house where the world summit leaders gather together for an APEC meeting.” The Gwangangdaegyeo Bridge or Diamond Bridge can be seen from here. It must have been nice to come back here at night to see the light display of Diamond bridge from another angle.
Going around in a counter-clockwise manner, the last attraction one would see is the monument inscribed with a poem of scholar Choi Chi-won. It is actually a little off the road and an uphill walk, so I didn’t see it as I was running behind schedule and still had a lot of places to visit for the day.
Before exiting Dongbaek Park, I saw this mermaid that is made of plastics and it reminds people about the danger of plastics to marine animals. A plaque beside it is a plea to keep plastics being swept to the sea because whales, turtles, albatrosses are suffering and even smaller oceanic organisms like mackerel, squids, and shrimps are taking microplastics lately.