21.06.2016 – 26.06.2016
Our last stop in Korea was Busan. Our flight to Hanoi is scheduled for the 26th, so we have five days or so, to spend here. Busan is a beachside city, with lots to see and do. Most tourists use the city as a base to visit Jeju Island, but this was well and truly out of our budget! The subway system in Busan is extensive and relatively cheap. When we arrived, by bus, we made for our accommodation at Haeundae Beach, Busan’s version of Surfers Paradise; beaches, tourists and food! Geographically the city is narrow and situated along the coastline, making anything a distance from the centre of Busan. Think rectangle and not square.
The fist adventure was to check out Jagalchi Fish Market and the surrounding area. The market sells an incredible amount of seafood and it is all super fresh with salty sea water pouring out of tanks everywhere. The bottom level is fresh seafood, the top level is dried seafood and restaurants. If you venture out of the central market building and explore the streets there is more to be seen and the restaurants are much cheaper. We ordered a whole grilled fish, that came with kimchi and the usual sides. It was delicious. I think Bianca is beginning to see the light and enjoy fish!
Across the road (Nampodong) from the market is a shopping street and market that specializes in cheap clothing and homewares/electronics. Nothing too exciting. A short stroll to the end of the shopping street brings you to the big shopping mall of the area. It’s three towers (one department store, one high-end fashion and one catered for general population).
On Day 2, now sick of shopping, we decided to visit the Gamcheon Cultural Village. This village was formerly a slum tucked away into the side of a mountain until an Art School decided to make a project out of beautifying the village. Today it is a beautiful walk with lots of photo opportunities and artistic stops. Along the way, we found a juice bar that had rooftop seating. It appeared nothing special at first, but we had the rooftop to ourselves and it was an oasis. Pictures don’t do it justice (for the millionth time this trip).
After our cultural and arty overload, we hopped off the subway at Gwangalli Beach, a quieter, less touristy and tacky version of Haeundae. The beach is better here we found a Korean BBQ restaurant for dinner. This was our first “real” Korean BBQ experience and staff constantly reminded us how to use the BBQ and cook the meat. They took great pleasure in showing us how to turn the pieces of meat and how long it should all be cooked for. We both rolled our eyes a few times! The food was great and we’d highly recommend trip to a Korean BBQ.
We also got to try a delicious Hotteok, a pastry like bun, filled with a nut and seed mix, fried in butter and drizzled in honey, served hot! Delicious. We couldn’t recommend try some of the pastry’s and sweets around more highly. We also tried a deep fried sweet ball, filled with sweet white bean paste, rolled in nuts – sounds weird, but utterly delicious!
A whole day away from the shops was just too much to handle and Busan boasts the world’s largest department store, so naturally we had to see it. Shinsegae Centum City has 14 levels of international and local shopping to make anyone happy, the food court is comprehensive and it is capped off with a driving range (for paying members only unfortunately), ice rink, cinemas and beauty spa that only add to this monster of a shopping centre. You could spend days here!
Our final day was spent relaxing, blogging and generally missing Seoul.And doing much need laundry! Korea is a top country, but Seoul is more than the heartbeat of the country. If you’re looking to spend time in Korea, spend the vast majority of our time in Seoul. You won’t regret it!
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- Gamcheon Cultural Village (a must when you’re in Busan)
- Shinsegae Centum City
- Gwangalli Beach
- Spending your time enjoying Busan. It’s a very livable place, don’t feel as though you need to rush around and see everything.
- Best food is in the either of the beach areas.
- Shinsegae Centum City for shopping.