My first time in Busan!

Hello everyone! It’s been way too long – I was extremely busy preparing for my graduation exhibition but now that it’s over I have a TON of blog posts lined up. Can’t wait to get everything set up!

In the beginning of August I decided to take a small trip for myself before everything got too hectic and booked a short trip to the port city, Busan. In my 5 years in Korea I have never had the chance to travel outside of Seoul, and as all of my foreign friends have nothing but positive things to say about this city I figured, “why not?”

Haeundae beach

First stop – the beach! One simple does not go to Busan without going to Haeundae District, or so I am told.

Guangan Bridge

I got there relatively early and thus it was slightly overcast but luckily cleared up towards the afternoon.

The clouds were so low over the islands that it looked like a scene straight out of a Hayao Miyazaki movie!

Haeundae Beach

I had never been to a beach in Korea before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried there would be no shade and I would have to bring a parasol or something of the sort to be able to relax on the beach, but leave it to Korea to be sun-conscious! There were rows of umbrellas neatly lined up that you could rent for a small fee and relax under for as long as you wanted.

Having come from the beaches in Mexico where bikinis were king, it was definitely a different experience to see everyone so covered up to protect themselves from the sun! The water was a lot colder than I expected, considering August is the peak of summer in Korea, but it was so refreshing to take a dip and walk around after with your clothes damp!

까막비빔국수

Of course the first meal in Busan had to be something that can only be found in Busan – Black spicy noodles! (까막비빔국수 – Kkamak bibim guksu) There’s nothing more refreshing than cold noodles for the summer, as the ice combined with the spiciness cools you down extremely well! I’m a huge fan of cool noodles and this was no exception; delicious!

Levee Brewing

Nothing better to end a day in the sun with a cold craft beer! Decided to make a trip to the Seomyeon District, Busan’s commercial area, and visit Levee Brewing. Lots of great places to shop during the day or chill with friends at night in Seomyeon, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a local brewing company!

Dark Indian Pale Ale

…or, somewhat local. Originating in Suwon, Levee Brewing only sells beer of their own making. Great atmosphere, friendly staff, but most importantly, excellent beer! Definitely recommend if you’re looking for somewhere to wind down at the end of a long day out and about.

Seokbulsa trail

Another start bright and early on day two, and straight to the physical activity! My favourite…………. \(-ㅂ-)/

In all seriousness, if you’re going to do a hike in Busan, do this one! For someone as unfit as I am it was still slightly challenging, but regardless was a relaxing trek up paved roads and wooden planks as opposed to rocky hillsides and foliage aka Jasmine death.

The view at the top!

Unfortunately as it was still quite early the day hadn’t cleared up yet, but the view was amazing nonetheless! Totally worth the hike to the top, and yet the amazing view wasn’t even the best part…

Seokbulsa Temple

This was! Seokbulsa Temple, more than being on the mountain, is part of the mountain. I had been to a few temples in the middle of Seoul, but nothing could compare to this. The long hike to get to such a peaceful place makes the experience feel that much more satisfying.

The temple is decorated in delicate stone carvings to be observed as chanting echoes throughout the otherwise quiet landscape, sounding almost haunting.

Behind the main temple building

Carved into the mountain, Seokbulsa is truly a sight to behold. Everything feels so pristine and natural, peaceful and less commercialized than the busy temples I visited in Seoul, pushing you to buy souvenirs and filled with bustling crowds of tourists.

Carvings in the side of the mountain
Inside a small cave
Looking down

Despite the cables and man-made structures dotting the mountain in the distance, when sitting at the top you truly feel at peace, away from the busy life of the city that I and many others are so used to.

For dinner was this craziness, also known as one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in Korea ever. The restaurant is called Friendly Octopus (착한낙지 – Chakhan Nakji) and they carry the best stir-fried octopus I’ve ever had in my life!

‎LOOK AT IT (ノಥ益ಥ)ノ ┻━┻

Will definitely be eating this if and when I visit Busan in the future! The octopus is so soft and the sauce is quite unique when compared to the typical red pepper sauce native to this dish. I feel like I have literally dreamt of this octopus in my sleep. Anyway…

Gukje Market

Next up for the evening was the famous Gukje Market, located in Sinchang-dong. It was the weekend so it was quite busy, and thus not my kind of environment, but as I naturally only came to eat we went directly to a tiny hole in the wall to get dinner!

Bibim Dangmyun

Another type of food exclusive Busan, Bibim Dangmyun is a dish made with glass noodles, spinach, fish cakes, and red pepper sauce, served warm and then mixed together to create a flavour very unique despite seeming so simple at first glance. My friend clearly has exquisite taste when it comes to finding the best of Busan, and this was no exception. Very different from anything I’ve eaten in Korea!

On the way…

Next was a visit to Busan tower! On the way we came upon some lanterns and had to stop to take a picture. Probably one of my favourite pictures out of all of the ones from the trip, even if I am not sure what they were for 🙂

The tower itself

Most people probably would have gone up the tower to see the city at night, but as I have been to Namsan tower in Seoul at least 5,000 times I figured it would not be that much of a new experience. Was still feeling the aftereffects of the morning’s hike…

And to end the night…

My last night in Busan would not be complete without another attempt at a local brewery. Found while walking around the area, Three Monkeys is a relatively new joint, and felt like a great bar for Koreans to transition from local beers to stronger, more flavourful beers like my favourite IPA. The beers here weren’t as strong as I’m used to, but great for those who are just starting to branch out when it comes to beer drinking. Definitely a good find!

Gamcheon Culture Village

Decided to take it easy on my final day after all the insane hiking and walking, and take a trip to Gamcheon Culture Village. After a bumpy bus ride that left me terribly motion sick, I arrived to the village and was greeted with the sight you see above. It was like nothing I had ever seen in Korea! Gone were the rusty brick and dusty gray buildings lined up in perfect monotone, and instead were buildings of varying colour scaling up the hill in harmonic chaos.

View from behind

Walking through the village you can find various artworks and strange installations scattered throughout the hill. Near the top are various things to buy and eat, which leads me to…

…this glorious thing. Takoyaki kimbap? Why has no one thought of this before????? Such a simple concept, yet tasted AMAZING.

The final stop of the day before dinner was Gwangalli Beach. Despite being another popular location for tourists and vacationers, this beach was significantly less packed than Haeundae and thus a better place for relaxing!

오소리순대

There was not a single thing I ate in Busan that wasn’t extraordinary, and this too was top notch. When I first moved to Korea I found the idea of soondae (순대), a kind of blood sausage, absolutely horrifying, but I’m glad that a few of my local foreign friends convinced me to try it. Now I love it! The soondae at Ohsori Soondae was the best I’ve ever had. So good that my friend and I were unable to speak during the whole meal! There were so many different kinds, and all melted in your mouth like butter…

Songdo Beach

And with that I conclude my post on my trip to Busan! I excluded a few things as I didn’t want it to get too long (I say this when I’ve written essays shorter than this blog post  ̄□ ̄), but hopefully this post was enjoyable/helpful to at least someone! I will definitely be visiting Busan again in the future as I really enjoyed my time getting away from the busy life I lead in Seoul 🙂

Now that my exhibition is over I will make an effort to post more regularly! Expect a post about Korean highlighters soon. Until next time~ ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

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