As mentioned in my post on the DMZ, myself and some friends took a little jaunt to South Korea in May of 2013. We went for just over a week and split our time between 2 cities – Seoul and Busan. Busan is the second largest city in Korea and located in the South. It is known for its pretty beaches and more laid back environment.
You can head to Busan by plane, bus or train. We chose train as there is a great service that runs from Seoul. KTX trains, via Daegu and Daejeon, take from 120 to 150 min. You can buy tickets at the counter but there is also a handy automated English-language machine. I’ve heard that you can also buy tickets online which can be helpful when you are travelling at busy times. If I remember rightly, there are quite a few options per hour. Our first choice was full but the next train wasn’t too far away. There is free Wi-Fi on the train, but it’s pretty slow with limited data. Busan station is located right in the centre of town. We had no trouble jumping on the metro to our hostel.
Where to stay:
I know that there are lots of options but we were recommended Indy House Hostel central Haeundae and we didn’t regret staying there. Though there are typical dorm rooms, as there were 5 of us, we booked a 6 person room (living in luxury guys) which included an ensuite. It was basic but clean and well located. Most importantly, there was also a GREAT social area which included large sofas and a well-decked out kitchen. We often used the area to predrink and ended up meeting some cool people. It was located only 3 or so minutes from the beach and a brief walk from the metro.
What to do:
We really wanted to catch a baseball game but unfortunately didn’t time it quite right. We then tried to head to some cable cars…and found out they were long broken and disbanded. Team fail. We did, however, check out the local aquarium, watched Iron Man 3 at the cinema (we were living in rural Japan with no English cinema…gives us a break) and ate some ridiculously good food.
We spent a lot of time eating and checking out the food markets (something I can never spend enough time doing). The beach near where we were staying (Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장)) was super picturesque and beautiful – unfortunately it was still a little cold for a dip in the sea but I’d love to go back. The sand was bright yellow and superfine. Apparently there are over 300 raw fish restaurants on or around the beachfront.
There are also a lot of temples and pretty parks around the place. We took a walk up the hilly Seokbulsa Temple where there were stunning views. We had a little bit too much fun with the outside gym equipment, must to the chagrin of the elderly people working out.
A final thought, a trip to Busan (or Korea) isn’t complete without stopping for fried chicken – preferably when drunk. There are so many places around to indulge in buckets full of the stuff. Oh my…mouth…watering..just thinking..about it…