I want to go to the beach…
see how the beaches in Busan looks like…
explore the seafood market, the temple by the beach, ride the cable car and the museums…
Reality: I just want a vacation. And hopefully, do all of that.
Working in South Korea (or any place) can be exhausting and a better way to alleviate stress is to take a trip to a tucked-away paradise waiting to be discovered. Today, I want to share with all of you my trip to Busan, South Korea.
Gong Yoo: “Busan ba kamo?”
Busan is the 2nd most populous city in South Korea next to Seoul with 3.5 million residents. It is in the southern part, much like Davao City in the Philippines in terms of location.
It has its own international airport and often dubbed as the Port City. It was formerly named Pusan and now officially is Busan with a population of 3.5 million.
It was my first time to go to Busan so I didn’t know what to expect but at the same time, I was excited about the trip.
There are many modes of public transportation to reach Busan from Seoul. You can even fly directly to Busan International Airport.
Here are your options:
(Fares are subject to change without prior notice)
Train – about $56 usd
Bus – about $24 usd
Airplane – Airlines that fly from Seoul to Busan: Korean Air – approximately $260 usd,
Budget airlines Eastar Jet, Jeju Air, Air Busan – approximately $70 – 85 usd.
Since I’m on a super duper tight budget, I took the bus which is the cheapest mode but consequently the longest it took to get there.
I went to Dongseoul or Gambyeong station Line 2 at around 8:30 for my 9:20 departure.
Upon exit at the subway station, you have to go across to reach the terminal building then proceed to the 2nd floor. I wanna make sure that I have some time to figure out my ticket reservation. I made a prior reservation because it is Chuseok or Thanksgiving holiday so I thought that seats might run out (it did actually). I went to the website kobus.co.kr to make a reservation. It has an English translation so it’s perfect.
TIP: You have to use Internet Explorer (not Google Chrome or Firefox or whatever) to be able to successfully book and pay. I don’t know why, but save yourself the hassle.
Anyway, at the terminal, there are a lot of self-serving kiosks to print your ticket. All you need is to swipe the credit card you used for your reservation and voila, you will have your ticket. There’s also a counter to help you if you need assistance. Then proceed to the Express Bus Terminal Platform and look for your bus. Mine was at 1 leaving at 9:20 am. Again, it’s ok to buy your ticket in the counter, though in some instances, tickets may run out especially in holidays.
1. Go to Gambyeong Station Line 2
2. Proceed to Dongseoul terminal 2nd floor.
3. Print your ticket.
4. Go to Express Bus Platform
5. Look for bus no.
6. Don’t be late because the bus leaves on-time
Since it was Chuseok holiday, there was heavy traffic in a lot of areas so it took 6 hours instead of 4.5 hours to get to Busan.
Finally, I arrived in Busan! As soon as you came, you will already feel that it’s different from Seoul. There’s a cool breeze in the air, somewhat reminds you of the sea. The people seem more casual and friendlier than in Seoul (just my opinion) and the place is neat and clean.
My 1st Accommodation – Calli Hostel
After 6 hours of kpop music, naps and listening to Rupaul’s What’s The T with Michelle Visage podcast, I arrived in Busan bus station. I took the subway in Nopo station from the bus terminal and it took another 50 mins to get to Nampo station. Upon reaching exit 1, just go right on the first turnpike (it’s between Eider store and Global Inn cafe) and you will find the entrance to the Yongdusan park or Busan Tower. Another right turn and it was my hotel for the night, Calli Nampo Hostel.
Calli Hostel is a quaint little hostel right in the foot of the Busan Tower. What I liked about it is the wide space for the common area which can almost pass as a themed cafe. The rooms are pretty standard and the rates are very cheap which of course I booked thru Agoda.com.
After a little bit of rest, I went out and of course, since I’m already in the vicinity, I went first to Busan Tower.
It was a sight to behold especially at night, where you can see the twinkling city of Busan and yet, be refreshed by the breeze of cold, sea air. I further explored the area which is called Nampo, which is famous for its bustling shopping district. Kind of like their version of Myeongdong, but much bigger.
Midnight snack at BIFF
Originally, I planned to visit a bar in Busan which is in Beomil station, but to my dismay, everything was closed because of the Chuseok holiday! Watthef. So I ended up back to Nampo and enjoyed midnight snacking at the BIFF or Busan International Film Festival area.
There was an endless array of stores selling food and the longer you walk, the more stores are there. It was crazy and fun. In this area is where you will also find the Jagalchi Seafood Market, the largest seafood market in Busan ( I think). Too bad, I was not able to go there since it was already night time. Definitely going there when I go back.
Busan City Tour and Haeundae Beach Resort
I wanted to see a lot of tourist spots in Busan as much as possible so I rode the Busan City Tour bus. I went there early like 7 am and I was surprised to see how many people were there. Parang pila ng NFA rice, bes!
The Busan City Tour is really a great way to tour around the city if you don’t have a lot of time to spare. You can also go off in a tourist spot that interests you, and ride the next city tour bus. Go to Busan Station square in front of Arirang Hotel and look for the bus terminal on the side of the station.
Exploring the city is a breeze! The Busan City Tour bus goes around the city and they actually have different routes to choose from. I was able to see the seaport, the bridges, the islands, Tapjongdae Park, cable car and of course, the beaches.
and finally, the world famous Haeundae Beach!
Haeundae Beach attracts a lot of visitors each year, and not only on the summer season where it’s literally packed with people but throughout the year. The view is fantastic, and the skyrise hotels and buildings along its coastline give a modern feel and comfort. Busan also attracts a lot of visitors because they also have a lot of festivities and massive structures like the Busan Convention Center attracts thousands of conferences and international performances.
And certainly not the least, Busan offers the most sumptuous seafood and dining experiences that would surely make you wanna come back.
Please watch out for part 2 of my Busan adventure in my next post.