Last weekend, we decided to travel to Korea’s 2nd largest, and awesomely coastal, city of Busan! Our specific destination within the large metropolis was Haeundae Beach, the most famous beach in the country. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t pan out for our trip. We brought our swimming gear and newly purchased sunscreen and picnic mats for the beach, and couldn’t use any of it! The weather was extremely foggy or overcast the entire time we were there. But we didn’t trek all the way there to stay inside all day. This post will detail our adventures from the weekend.
Friday, June 12, 2015 Busan is either a 3 hour 10 minute bus ride from Cheongju’s Express Bus Terminal, or a 2 hour KTX (high-speed rail) ride from Osong (a suburb of Cheongju that is about a 14,000 KRW taxi ride away from here – however far that is). We wanted to take the KTX because neither of us has been on a high-speed train but all the good times going there and coming back were sold out, so we settled for the bus. Settling is really not even an appropriate word. As I’ve mentioned before, these buses are fancy! Photos on that later. We got into the dingy Busan Express Bus Terminal around 10:40pm, right on schedule. We thought we would just stay in a motel by the bus terminal Friday night and make the hour-long trek to the beach in the morning. When we got there, we realized that the bus terminal seems to be in a bit of a dodgy part of town (for Korea standards) and figured out we could get to the beach via Metro. It took literally 1 hour and 2 transfers, but we made it to the late-night foggy neighborhood of Haeundae Beach! Now – to find a place to sleep! Haeundae Beach is also famous for its abundance of love motels (rentable by the hour). We could have stayed in a hostel but we wanted to have the Busan love motel experience. There are countless ones to choose from right off of the metro stop. Since it was midnight we didn’t feel like shopping around and went with the first place we found because, A) the prices seemed reasonable compared to what I had read online, and B) she showed us the room and we liked it! We ended up at the A+ Motel.
Even though it was late, we decided to take a walk to the beach. The fog on the beach was so thick at one point, some hotels completely disappeared, lights and all!
Saturday, June 13, 2015 The next morning wasn’t much better…
To ease our sorrows we indulged in a delicious lunch at the local expat owned Sharky’s Restaurant. This place was simply awesome. The food we received looked exactly like it did on the menu and it tasted delicious. I even got a guacamole burger in Korea. Those words are not normally in the same sentence here. My tummy was happy.
After lunch, we decided to visit Shinsegae, the largest department store in the world!! It did not disappoint! The complex is complete with a grocery store, gourmet food court (Sushi belt, Johnny Rockets (!!), turkish cuisine, pastries, etc etc), spa, movie theatre, gallery and golf range. Wow. We each walked away with some fun new clothes! (Shopping in Korea is hard so it was delightful to be able to buy things!)
We also ventured to the Cinema Center where the Busan International Film Festival is held every year.
Sunday, June 14, 2015 We got a late start to our day because our bus wasn’t until 4:30pm. We had brunch along the Haeundae Strip, which was quite nice. Then we made our way back to the bus terminal and waited for awhile. We noticed this cool thermal camera. This is 100% due to MERS. They are checking everyone’s temperatures and if you have a fever, better hope you weren’t trying to go anywhere important! A second Busan resident just died from MERS (our current country-wide death toll is up to 20) so the city is on heightened alert for sure.
As promised, I will leave you with some photos of our posh buses here in Korea. They are really a pleasure to ride!
All in all we still had a really fun time in Busan! We’d love to go back when the weather is cooperating. This weekend I’m set to go to the beautiful island of Bijindo, and unfortunately it’s forecast to rain. I sense a pattern and I do not approve! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more. 🙂