Aluum-dabbda! This is how to say “beautiful” in Korean. The same phrase could be used to describe the gorgeous environment in Busan, Gyeongju and Jinhae, especially in spring, one of the best times of the year to visit with the Cherry blossom.
I love to travel, who doesn’t? Meanwhile, everyone has their own priorities and travel styles. And you guys know me, right? I love travelling without much plan to escape from a well-scheduled work life. Much more fun and challenging to put yourself in an area without knowing the directions, the language, nor internet access on the iPhone. I just have the confidence to get out of the comfort zone and conquer an unfamiliar situation. Korea is one of those unknown territories, where most visitors get no further than Seoul.
HERE IS MY SURVIVAL TIPS FOR NON-KOREAN SPEAKER IN BUSAN
01 | MEET NEW LOCAL FRIENDS
Stay in a guesthouse instead of a hotel, I met a wise businessman, nice doctor and lovely ajumma. True, communication is not easy with my limited Korean language to talk to people with limited English. However, two-thirds of all human communication is nonverbal, so a friendly smile and a warm welcome are universal, just don’t be shy! We spent the whole afternoon chatting and showing pictures to each other. Koreans know how to turn strangers into friends. They’re kind, polite, but most of all they’re friendliest people I came across. Use the Kakao Talk app to keep in touch☺
Yusun Guest House Address: 1120–6, Gupo 2-Dong, Buk-gu, Busan Ph: +82 10 3516 2190
02 | OVERVIEW FIRST
When you travel, get a glimpse of the city before diving in and getting lost in every single street. Sitting 120 meters high, Busan tower dominates the skyline and it can be seen from all parts of the city. From the top deck, you will get an incredible 360° view of Busan, including the fabulous Gwangan Bridge. You’ll love it, I promise!
03 | TAKE IT EASY
Extraordinary is an understatement. Haeundae Beach is the kind of location that takes your breath away from the moment you see the stunning ocean. You will see the impressive Oryukdo Island, which means five-six island: there are six islands, but only five could be seen during high tide. On the way, there are aquarium and APEC Naru Park. Tired of walking? Visit a cafè, such as TwoSome Place, Tom n Tom or Coffine Gurunaru. Also, go to the wonderful SpaLand centum city located on the ground floor of Shinsegae, which is Guinness world record largest department store. Believe me, these magical places are just perfect to rediscover yourself and enjoy the ultimate relaxation.
04 | KEEP AN OPENED MIND
It’s not just Busan’s tourist destinations that provide pleasure to visitors — simply walking down the streets will give you a feel of what makes this place so special and unique. Offering a modern-day fusion of Korea old and new are the colossal markets in whose sprawling reaches you’ll find anything from pig intestines to pancakes. If you are ever craving some delicious street food, indulge yourself in Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) square is the best option. Besides, get addicted to the Seomyeon underground shopping center and the lively district near Nampo station. You can also expect a feast at the Jagalchi fish market, Korea’s most well-known and largest seafood market.
05 | KEEP LEARNING THE CULTURE
Located in the north of Busan is Gyeongju, capital of the Sila dynasty for almost a thousand years of history. This area is preserved with the grassy burial tombs of the many kings and queens who ruled here. Top of most tourists’ agendas is Bulguksa. Pay only 4,000 won to enter and you’ll get access to World Heritage List temple, where is widely considered as one of the most picturesque places in the world that you can’t miss out.
How to get there:
Route 1: KORAILS — From Busan KTX station to Singyeongju (27 mins), then take the bus route 700 (~50 mins) to Bulguksa
Route 2: Take the line 1 train to Nopo station, then take the express bus to Yeongju city, and then take the circular bus 10 or 11.
06 | GET LOST IN THE BEAUTIFUL SCENE
West of Busan is Jinhae-gu, a district famous for its ten-day cherry blossom festival every spring; a curious mix of the street performers and the carnival stalls, it’s 1.5-kilometre flower streams is one of the must-see things before you die. I’ve heard so many friends of mine raving about the beauty of this place that I finally convinced to visit. When the wind blows, when the petal falls, my jaw dropped. It’s absolutely surreal and pretty romantic, so don’t be surprised to see many couples holding hands.
How to get there:
Route 1: KORAILS — From Busan/Gupo KTX station, take the Mugunghwa train to Chengwon, then change train to Jiehae
Route 2: Take the train to Sasang station, take the express bus to Jiehae, and walked about 5–10 mins.
… AND NOW, GRAB YOUR PASSPORT AND MY HAND
Busan can make you feel good for a weekend. Hopefully, this blog post will inspire you to come out here and experience Korea culture! Let’s be honest: currently, my body is back to work in the Hong Kong office, but my soul is still dreaming of the trip to Korea. Even you are thousands of miles away, add me to your list of potential travel buddies. I’m happy to explore other stunning places and blow your mind. Kamsa-hamnida!
Originally published at victorleungtw.wordpress.com on April 12, 2015.