We took a bus from Seoul to Busan 12:30-5 PM. The bus ride wasn’t too bad. I slept a little and we stopped a couple of times to get food and take restroom breaks. Busan is in the southern part of South Korea and is an international business and financial center, and is the fifth busiest seaport in the world. Busan is renowned for its machinery, steel, ship building, marine industries, fashion, tourism and trade fairs. Busan is also called the summer capital of Korea since it attracts tourists from all over the country to its six beaches. When we got in we had a little trouble getting a hold of the Airbnb host. It’s been a common issue for us because we have to find internet to let the host know we arrived and sometimes it can be hard to find. After we got in, we were pretty tired so we just grabbed dinner nearby and went to bed.
For our first full day in Busan we went down by Centum City where they have the Busan Cinema Center, the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO), and the Museum of Art. Unfortunately, there were a good number of Trump-named buildings downtown which put a bad taste in my mouth. We had lunch at Shinsaege Department Store, the largest department store in the world. It has a really large food court and although the building is huge, it doesn’t feel that overwhelming.
After lunch, it was getting pretty hot out but we made our way to the Busan art museum which was free. We looked around for a little bit and saw some interesting sculptures. Then walked to Nurimaur APEC House which is a beautiful ocean-side building that hotsted a famous Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. We also walked along a coastal path along the cliffs to Haeundae Beach. At the beach, I found out that Ironman Busan 70.3 was going on tomorrow and we saw some athletes and where the swim start would be. I would have liked to watch the race but it would have tough to wake up early to watch and I wasn’t going to put Diem through that.
Our second day, we went to the Jagalchi Fish Market, which is supposed to be the largest fish market in Asia. The fish market starts outside with tons of vendors selling lots and lots of fish and different sea creatures on the street leading up to the main Jagalchi Fish Market building. There is also a main building that houses other vendors and restaurants. The restaurants are on the 2nd floor and have people in front of each one aggressively trying to get you to eat at their restaurant. We ended up eating at one of them but it was pretty pricey and not that good.
Then we walked to across the Yeongdodaegyo Bridge (suspension bridge) and then along the Igidae Coastal Walk on the Yeongdo-gu island. It was a nice walk along a path but it was also pretty difficult because you’re constantly going up and down steps or slopes. We stopped along the way at a little café to drink a beer. Our ultimate goal was to reach the Taejonde Lighthouse but we grossly miscalculated the time it would take to reach it walking. It took us about 3 hours to walk over 5 miles because of the number of steps. We finally got to the Taejonde entrance and took the tram to see the lighthouse which wasn’t that great. We didn’t have the time or the energy to head down some steps to the cliffs at the bottom of the lighthouse but it looked pretty cool and would have been nice to get some pictures there. It was almost 7:45 PM and the last train leaving Taejonde was at 8 PM and we didn’t want to miss it. We took a bus from the Taejonde entrance back to the Fish Market area.
We had dinner in the Lotte Mall which had a cool water fountain show in the lobby. It was complete with music that was synchronized with water flowing from the ceiling and the fountain below. The mall was near the Yongdusan Park which is has a tower that lights up at night and some monuments and statues around the tower. Even though it was late we walked up to the top and took some pictures. It was a long day of hiking and running so I was pretty exhausted. We went back and went to bed.
The next day we needed a rest day. It was cloudy and rainy outside so it was a perfect day to watch the US Open and the NBA Championship Game 7. The next day, we went to Suymeon Market, got Hakata Ramen and Melon Shaved Ice. It was nice to have some ramen again but unfortunately, I was disappointed again with the shaved ice. We were still recovering and it was still pretty rainy in Busan so we just went back and chilled for the rest of the day.
Our second to last day, we decided to hike around Geumjeongsanseong Fortress. We were waiting for a couple days for the weather to clear up to do this hike and we finally got a decently clear day. We took a lift up close to the south gate then hiked up to the North gate. It was a pretty brutal hike and took us about 3 hours. The hike itself isn’t that steep but with the heat, our packs, and the bugs made it worse. Toward the North gate there was a beautiful view of Busan and the coast. We hiked down to Beomeosa Temple along a river of large rocks that was pretty rough on the ankles and knees. We noticed that they offered temple stays at this temple and we’re thinking we might do a temple stay when we’re in Cambodia, Thailand, or India. We kept going down the rocks and stopped along the way to dip our feet in the river.
On our last full day, we really needed to rest from the hike the day before and to do laundry. We washed our clothes at the apartment and went out to get some street food at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) market. I got some dumplings and Diem got some kimbop. I also got this pastry stuffed with seeds, fruits, and a bean paste, it was hot and delicious. Of course, if we were having dessert we also had to get some shaved ice. This time we got a mango shaved ice which was better than the melon shaved ice but still not worth it. After the market, we packed up for our bus ride to Gyeongju the next day.
We didn’t get to the beach as often as I would have liked while we were in Busan but we did take a couple of rest days where we relaxed in the apartment and recharged. Busan is actually a lot bigger than I was expecting for a coastal city. It’s great for seafood lovers and outdoor adventurers. We had a great time there but I feel if we had some better weather we would have really enjoyed the city more.
See the full gallery from Busan here: Busan, Korea.