Before deciding to come to Seoul, I thought about going to Busan instead. Busan is located on the sea, has therefore a totally different climate and atmosphere. But at the end, you think about Seoul when considering going to Korea. It seems to be impossible to make a day trip to Busan when looking at the map of South Korea. Seoul is located in the north, where else Busan is located in the south. That means, that you have to cross the whole country in order to visit Busan from Seoul. But in reality, it is actually possible and not as time consuming as we thought at first. Korea has, similar to Japan, a high-speed train line which connects the most important cities. A ride from Seoul to Busan takes only 2,5 hours and costs around 50€. That’s comparable to the ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, which takes 2,5 hours as well, but costs around 120€.
Even though the ride takes “only” 2,5 hours, we wanted to be as early as possible at the train station Seoul. We woke up around 5:30am, took a taxi to the station and came perfect on time for the train leaving at 6:30am. It was quite a special moment to take a “Train to Busan”. I watched this movie together with my friends in Glion. The whole location and the train reminded me so much of it. Kind of creepy.
After arriving in Busan, we immediately took a taxi to Gamcheon Cultural Village. The reason why we took a taxi was simply, that the public transportation in Busan is very limited. The main attractions are far away from any subway stations, because they are mostly located close to the sea or up the hill. The taxi drove us directly to the entrance of that beautiful little town. Gemcheon Cultural Village was originally the village for refugees. Nowadays it is called the “Santorini or the Macchu Picchu of Korea”. And that’s exactly what it reminded us of. It is nothing like I have seen before in an Asian country. The colourful houses, with beautiful alleys and an amazing view over the surrounding area and the sea is something that you would most likely see in a Mediterranean country, like Greece.
We walked through the village. Made a ton of pictures, had a look in some of those original stores, bought some ice cream and just enjoyed the view. We also found probably the most original “hotel” that we ever saw. It looked just as it would come from another planet.
From the village we walked back down to the city centre, where Gukje market is located. The market is huge and has everything you can possibly imagine. We definitely felt the difference though to Busan and Seoul. Seoul is much more developed and touristy than Busan. The hygiene standards for example are completely different as well. Busan shows the local life of Koreans and has so much more character, than in Japan for example. The life has a totally different standard and is just easy going. I almost felt like I would be back in Southeast Asia.
From Gukje market we headed to Yongdusan Park, where you can find the Tower of Busan. We walked through the “Myeongdong” of Busan with all those skin care shops and took one of the longest escalators that I have seen in my life. It was a cool method to reach the park and the tower. We made a little break but walked straight back up after a while.
Not far away was Jagalchi Market, the biggest and most famous fish market in whole South Korea. Elle wasn’t that excited when I first told her about it, but at the end it was probably the best and most impressive thing we did in Busan. I`ve never ever seen something like that before. It was just crazy! It seemed like the whole underwater world is presented right in front of you. If mussels, crab, octopus, fish, shrimps, eel and other underwater creatures that I’ve never seen in my life before, this fish market had everything you could think of. I would lie if I wouldn’t tell you that it was a little shocking and disgusting too, to see all those animals moving. But at the end, that’s the reality and the freshest seafood you can get.
Therefore, we had to eat seafood for lunch. In the same building, right above the fish market is a big hall with local restaurants serving the seafood from the market. We chose the one, where many locals chose to sit. Because we were actually the only tourists, we were treated quite differently than the others, which was a little sad. We didn’t know about special menu items or deals that the others could choose from. Furthermore, we waited longer for our food and had a less good service. The table next to us on the other hand was so friendly and tried to translate and communicate with the server for us. He even made us a dipping sauce, that he loves to eat with seafood. We ordered a big plate of different mussels, sea urchin and an extremely tasty sea bream. It was super tasty and definitely a lunch that we will never forget. Nevertheless, it was really pricy and not a fair deal in comparison to what the Koreans next to us ate. Well…
From the market we took a taxi to Oryukdo Skywalk. It was such a coincidence that we wanted to cross the bridge at exactly 2pm. That was the time when the bridge opened up to make space for the ships at the harbour. It was quite a spectacular with many people coming by. Our driver let us out so make some pictures. Just the perfect timing.
When you are in Busan, I would definitely recommend taking the taxi to Oryukdo Skywalk from Jugalchi market. It is a beautiful road. Just because of this ride, we saw so much of Busan. We discovered the harbour, drove over the famous long bridge that goes directly over the sea and saw the beautiful coast line. It was just beautiful!
I can still remember the feeling when we arrived at Oryukdo Skywalk. OMG! I`ve never expected it to be that beautiful. I think I haven’t seen something as beautiful as that for a long time. Really! We had the most amazing weather that we could have asked for. We saw the skyline of the “Manhatten” of Busan, the beautiful sea, little islands and just beautiful nature. The skywalk itself is for free and a fun thing to do. You get the chance to walk on a floor made out of glass, in order to have the best view possible and the feeling of walking over the sea. Right by was a little festival as well, where Korean ladies danced, sang and played their music. It just added to the experience and was so much fun!
Our next spot was Haedong Yonggunsa Temple, which is considered as the most beautiful temple in Korea. We took again, a taxi, because we just didn’t have another opportunity. But I have to say, that this temple is different to all temples I have seen before. Just the location directly on the sea makes it absolutely unique. We spend a while here wandering around the temple area. The time here passed by so quickly, that we almost forgot that we have to go back to Seoul soon.
Therefore, we went from Haedong Yonggunsa Temple already to our last spot, which was Haeundae Beach. Before coming here, we thought that Busan is a place, where you don’t do anything else than going to the beach. But at the end, we didn’t spend a lot of time there. Haeundae is in my opinion the most popular and touristy area in Busan. That`s why the beach was super crowded and not that inviting to swim or relax. Furthermore, we both couldn’t spend much more time in the sun. I mean, I love the sun and the hot weather, but on the other hand I am always the first person to get burned. That’s why we just checked out the water, chilled a little bit on the beach and walked afterwards straight to the next subway station. On the beach we definitely felt the difference between Asia and Europe, America and so on. Here, most of the people are wearing long clothes to go swimming. That’s something we would never see back home.
The subway ride to Seoul station was about 50 minutes. We couldn’t make it to the train at 6:30pm, which we thought we could. The next one was at 7:10. Therefore, we decided to get dinner in the station. We didn’t have so much time left and needed to rush a little, which is not that easy when the food is 1000° degrees hot! But we made it on time. It was pouring rain when we arrived in Seoul. Such a good idea that we come to Busan. It was a long and an amazing day! We are in love with BUSAN!