Busan Metropolitan City 부산광역시

Located in the southeastern tip of Korea, Busan is Korea’s second largest city and the largest trading port. It has lots of coastal tourist attractions, historical sites, and trendy shopping areas. The city has a well-developed public transportation system, as well as a hop on, hop off, Busan City Tour Bus, so you won’t have  to worry about getting around. This was my first time in Busan, and I know that there are a lot more things to do here that what I did in my two days, so I’ll have to come back here for round two sometime later this year.

 TRAVEL ITINERARY: DAY ONE

1. Pork and Rice Soup (돼지국밥)

2. Dongbaekseom Island (동백섬)

3. Haeundae (해운대)    

4. Dalmaji-gil Road (해운대 달맞이길)    

5. Gwangalli Beach (광안리해수욕장) 

 

 TRAVEL ITINERARY: DAY TWO

1. Clam Soup (재쪽국)

2. Busan National Museum (부산박물관)

3. Taejongdae Park (태종대)

 

I arrived in Busan around lunchtime, so I wanted to try some pork and rice soup 돼지국밥. I was really looking forward to trying it because it looked so delicious in the movie The Attorney 변호인  (2013). The main character who is based on former president Ro Mu-hyun 노무현 is poor and pulls a dine and dash at a local restaurant. Years later, he becomes a wealthy lawyer and goes back to the restaurant to apologize and becomes close with the restaurant’s owner and her son, and spends many delicious meals there. There were pork and rice soup restaurants all over Busan, especially near touristy areas. At the restaurant I went to, I ordered some bossam 보쌈 along with my soup and it only cost 7,000 won per person. It was a delicious meal of meat, fat, and salt.

After lunch, I went to Dongbaekseom Island (동백섬) which is also referred to as Dongbaek Park. It used to be an island, but is now part of the mainland. Dongbaekseom Island is named for the many dongbaek trees (camellias) and evergreens that thrive there. At the top of the island, there is a statue and a monument of Choe Chi-Won, a scholar and writer from the Silla Kingdom (BC 59 ~ AD 932).

Towards the edge of the park, there is the Nurimaru APEC House (누리마루 APEC 하우스) which is where the 13th APEC Summit was held in November 2006. Inside you can look at a gallery of photos of the world leaders who attended and some touristy things they did during their time here.

Dongbaekseom Island Admission Fee: free

Operating Hours:  24 hours

Average Viewing Time: 1-2 hours

English Availability: n/a

From Dongbaekseom Island, I walked straight to Haeundae Beach, which is located right next to the island. Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) is probably the most famous beach in the country. The beach was named by scholar Choi Chi-Won (857~?) from the Silla Kingdom. When he was walking past Dongbaekdo Island, he was fascinated by it and left the carved words “Hae (sea) Un (cloud) Dae (hill)” on a stone wall on the island, and I guess it’s been called that ever since. It was cloudy that day, so a bit too cold for me to go swimming, but there was a fair amount of people in the water, but nothing close to what I’ve seen in tourism pamphlets where the whole beach is littered with people.

Haeundae Admission fee: free

Operating Hours:  24 hours

English Availability: n/a

Dalmaji-gil Road is a small walkway full of cherry blossoms and pine trees. It’s located by Haeundae Beach, on the slope of Mt. Wausan. On clear days you can see Japan’s Daema Island from the observatory at the top. The road is filled with franchise and local coffee shops, and at this point in the day it was good for a rest.

Dalmaji-gil Road Admission fee: free

Operating Hours:  24 hours

Average Viewing Time: 1-2 hours

English Availability: n/a

I decided to spend the night at Gwangalli Beach (광안리해수욕장) There were a lot of motels nearby, but unlike other beaches in Busan the restaurants at Gwangalli Beach were mostly western as apposed to local seafood restaurants. At night the bridge put on a decent light show.

Gwangalli Beach Admission fee: free

Operating Hours:  24 hours

Average Viewing Time: 1-2 hours

Contact Information:

English Availability: n/a

For brunch the next day, I got some 재쪽국 which is a clam stew with lots and lots of tiny clams, unfortunately in my pic you can’t see the clams because their hiding on the bottom of the bowl and underneath all those scallions. It’s a popular local dish for hangovers.

Then I headed to the Busan Museum. It was a good place for an overview on Korean history, but it was very similar to what I had already seen at the national museum in Seoul. I did however, really enjoy the temporary exhibit on the Yeongnam Daero 영남대고 which was a major road during the Joseon Dynasty. The exhibit showed quite a bit about scholar-travelers of the time who would write books on their travels to famous mountains, beaches, etc. Then others would use those books as travel guides and once there, they would paint pictures of tourist attractions to show all their friends and families back home. It was the low tech version of blogs and photographs.

Busan Museum Admission fee: free

Operating Hours:  9 am – 8 pm / Closed Mondays, Closed Jan 1

Average Viewing Time: 1-2 hours

Contact Information: 051) 610 – 7111    museum.busan.go.kr

English Availability: detailed translations available

Then it was off to another park, specifically Taejongdae Park 태종대. Taejongdae was named after the 29th king of Silla Kingdom, King Taejong Mu-Yeol (604-661) who was a fan of natural scenery and often came here to visit. The highest peak is 250 meters high so it was a little difficult to walk up, but there is a large shuttle bus called the Danubi Train that you can take up to the top of the hill. Since there are a lot of things to look at, I decided to walk up to the cliffs in the park, and then took the Danubi Train to go back down. Walking downhill is tough on my knees. 😦

At the top of the hill there was a pretty cool looking observatory and I some great sights of the rocky shoreline. These cliffs were the highlight of this park.

Taejongdae Park Admission Fee: free

Danubi Shuttle fee: 1,500 won / adult

Park Operating Hours:  4 am – 12 am

Average Viewing Time: 1-2 hours

Contact Information:

English Availability: n/a

Relevant Links

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=262352

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