Life in Seoul #8: Weekend Trip to Busan

Busan Station

This trip was not actually on my “2014 Korea Wish List”. However, knowing about the Asia Song Festival with EXO, Teen Top, and Henry as some of the performers, I started planning the trip. And here’s how I spent my 2 days in Busan…

Day 1

09:50 Seoul-Busan by Mugunghwa Train

Inside the train

Mugunghwa is the cheapest train going from Seoul to anywhere in Korea. The one-way ticket price to Busan was 28,600 won, which is around half of KTX’s. According to some information I read before buying the tickets, this train is actually as convenient as KTX. The only difference between the two is only on the speed. I didn’t fully believe it at first, but then I really did enjoy the 5-hour journey. The seats were comfortable, the air conditioning system worked properly, and there was enough space for my legs to rest. This one, I bet, would not be found in any bus rides. .

15:30 Arrival at Busan Station, check-in at Mr. Egg Guesthouse Nampo-dong

The guesthouse room

The train was late for around 10 minutes but I was okay with that. After going out from the main station and move to the subway station, I rode the subway to the next station which was Jungang Station. That was the location of my guesthouse. The guesthouse was pretty easy to find even though it was not on the main street.

I really recommend this guesthouse because of the location, the service, and the atmosphere of it. It is only a walking distance from Nampo-dong, the main district of downtown Busan. Most of the most popular landmarks of the city is located within this area. You can also ask for a map of this area at the lobby. Oh, by the way, here is where I found the information about this guesthouse.

17:00 Nampo-dong

One corner of Nampo-dong

I heard that this district is “the Myeongdong of Busan”. Well, both of them indeed have similar atmosphere. Not only clothes, there are also many shops selling food. Of course the street food sellers are there too.

18:30 Gwangalli Beach

The shining beach

So since I didn’t have a chance to see this beach last year, I went there on my first night in Busan. To be honest, apart from the shining Gwangan Bridge, there was actually nothing special in that area.

19:30 BIFF Square

The gate of BIFF Square

This is the site of Busan International Film Festival. Along the street I found soooo many food stalls selling toppoki, hotteok, and even kebab. The movie posters posted on some places were probably the only “movie-ish” thing I saw there.

From there I walked back to the guesthouse. The distance was really short and there were many things to see along the way. I could even see Busan Tower from afar.

Day 2

09:00 Taejongdae

Taejongdae Lighthouse

Going to this natural site was actually a sudden plan. I decided to go simply because I found the information about the bus on the map posted on the guesthouse lobby. The bus stop for city buses going to Taejongdae is located only 5 minutes away from the guesthouse, so I decided to give it a try. The supposedly 30-minute journey took me only 20 minutes because of the high speed bus drive, lol. Anyway, Taejongdae is the last stop for the bus (Bus No. 88).

After arriving at Taejongdae bus stop, I walked up for around 10 minutes and reached the Danubi Train station. This is a 2000-won circular train going to different landmarks around the site. I first got off at the observatory deck and walked to the lighthouse. These two are the main attraction of Taejongdae. I wish I could stay longer to observe more, but the fact that I was alone plus the heavy bag on my shoulder stopped me from doing so. :p

I had early lunch at a restaurant near Taejongdae bus stop. This restaurant is run by 3-4 halmeoni (Korean word for grandmother). I ordered Dwenjang Haemul Chigae or been paste seafood soup, and guess what, I got a huge portion of side dishes. I overheard the halmoeni talking about how good I am at eating kimchi, lol. Well I wasn’t sure that was what they were really talking about because Busan accent is a little bit hard to understand.

12:30 Busan Chinatown

Chinese ornaments

Arriving back at Busan station, I tried to find some interesting sites nearby. Then I found the gate of Busan Chinatown which is located right across Busan station. Interestingly, this area does not only have Chinese but also Uzbek and Filipino restaurants. Even some signs on the streets were written in Uzbek (I assume).

12:45 40-step Cultural Street

The 40-step stairs

From Chinatown, I walked all the way to 40-step cultural street. This street is full of displays about Korean people and their lives during Korean war. Its major attraction is the 40-step stairs which is said to be the place where people used to meet each other during the war.

14:30 Busan Asian Main Stadium

Right before the concert started

Here is the highlight of the day: Asia Song Festival! I thought I arrived too early to the venue, but I was wrong. I saw hundreds of teenage girls trying to catch a glimpse of the rehearsal being held inside the stadium. Some others went to the stalls selling accessories and light sticks to cheer for their favorite groups.

The gate itself opened at around 4 pm. I immediately found my seat, which was on the 3rd floor. After 2 hours of waiting, the show finally started. Even tough I could barely see the performers, I felt quite satisfied because of the amazing lighting and sound system. That was also my first time seeing real Korean K-pop fans, and I was totally amused by how they were so passionate about their favorite groups.

23:10 Busan-Seoul with Mugunghwa Train

I rode the same kind of train to go back home. I don’t usually sleep on train or bus rides, but I was so tired (and happy) that night that I slept really well until I arrived back at Seoul station at 5 am on the next day.

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