From my old blog, posted June 11,2011:
… and furnish it with looooove! Grow cherry-blossom treeeees and sitting on the beeeeeeach .. okay I made that up.
There’s no other way to say it. I love Busan. Being from Cape Town this is probably where I feel most at home in Korea. The city by the Sea…
There are many ways to get to Busan. Subway, bus, train and airplane.
There are quite a few bus terminals in Busan, but you’ll most likely end up at either Sasang or Nopo-dong. Sasang is on the green subway line and Nopo-dong is the first stop on the orange line. Here’s a subway map to make this post a bit easier to follow – if you want to go there.
These are a few of my favourite thiiiings…
I am a green line junkie. Most of my favourite places are on the green line. So I’ll start from Sasang (stop 227), which is where I usually get off when I take the bus. Sasang itself doesn’t have too much to offer, but I must also admit I haven’t spent a lot of time there, so maybe there are some hidden gems. There’s a big E-mart pretty close to the bus terminal as well as a few clothing stores, but nothing major. As you make your way from the bus terminal to the subway, you’ll go through the apple clothing store – a bunch of clothing shops. They have some nice stuff, but I think the prices are a bit of a rip off. As you exit the apple store you’ll find McD’s, KFC, Crown Bakery, Baskin Robbins etc. There’s also a small little stall which sells scarves / boots / stockings etc. I got a very nice beanie-cap (5000w) and a pair of fleece lined leggings (10,000w) from the first vendor. The leggings are like SA ski pants with fleece in them… awesome for Korean winter!! I have two pairs now and wear one every day! Anyways, you go down the escalator to the subway and buy a ticket.
TIP: If you’re going to spend the whole day doing lots of stuff around Busan (getting on/off more than 3 subway stations) buy a day pass! Press English on the ticket machine and in the bottom corner choose Day Pass. It’s 3,500w and gives you unlimited access ’til midnight! If you leave earlier just grab a Korean who’s waiting to buy a ticket and give it to them saying “day pass” and smile. Good deed of the day.
Okay, so my green line favourites are… (From Sasang towards Jangsan – so you need to take the gates next to the ticketing machines)
1. Seomyeon station – Okay I’ve only been here a few times, but… There’s a huge Lotte Dept store with a pretty decent food market on the lower level. Awesome Korean restaurants and other food stalls as well as a grocery store with some imported foodstuffs and a nice wine shop. Before you get to the Lotte you’ll also pass a few shops like Krispy Creme and clothing stores like Converse and Uniqlo. If you walk from the subway towards Lotte and take the exit to your left, you will find a bus stop. Hop on the 68 (it costs 1000w) and get off 3 stops later. Ask someone to point you towards “Tractor restaurant”. It’s about two blocks or so from the bus stop. That’s the Korean version of Primi Piatti. It’s soooo nice! I have only been outside Seomyeon station twice, but I recommend taking a day and exploring. I saw loads of clothing stores and other nice coffee shops etc. I definitely plan on checking it out soon! From Seomyeon you can also transfer to the orange subway line without having to go through gates again, but more about that later.
2. Gwangan – Gwangalli beach is just a short walk (5 minutes or so) from Gwangan subway station. This is the place to be on those hot summer nights. I love love love Gwangalli beach at night time. There are some excellent little bars and restaurant on the beach front. Also try Fuzzy Navel – the bar where your chair is on the sidewalk. They have some amazing cocktails. For a wide range of beers, try 700 Beer. There’s also a Wabar if you’re looking for some western drinks. What I love most about Gwangalli beach is the bridge that runs across the bay. At night time it’s lit up and changes colour. The skyline at Gwangalli is also pretty spectacular.
3. Millak – this stop is perfect if you plan on going to Costco in Busan. If you grab a taxi from here it’ll be less than 3000w to Costco. You can also take a taxi from Centum City, but the traffic is a bit more crazy, so you’ll spend ages at traffic lights while the meter keeps running.
4. Centum City – Where Shopaholics meet. Centum City is the home of Shinsegae, the biggest Department store in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. You will find anything and everything at Shinsegae. Perfumes, Clothing, bags, make up, shoes, food. From Shinsegae you can also enter the Lotte where they have the Aqua mall. They have a watershow every 20 minutes – worth seeing if you’re going to be there anyways.
5. Haeundae – The famous Haeundae beach in Busan. This beach is very crowded in the summer, but it’s not hard to understand why. The water here is amazing! Also lined with bars and restaurants, although I think it’s a bit more commercial than Gwangalli. They have Burger King, TGIF, Bennigans etc. If you exit the subway and walk towards the beach, look out for a chicken restaurant on your left. I honestly can’t remember the name… but there’s a picture of a chicken.. The sign is black with white writing and there are blue lights inside. But they have really good chargrilled chicken and have some soju cocktail with that!
Orange line favourites
Okay so from Sasang station travel to Seomyeon station. Instead of exiting, check for signposts directing you to the transfer lines. You can go to the Nopo-dong side or Sinpyeong, depending on where you’re headed. If you go towards Sinpyeong, these are my favourite stops: (I don’t really know the other side yet)
1. Jungang-dong – This is the Ferry terminal subway station. If you want to go to Japan you can take the ferry here. Next to the Ferry Passenger terminal is a small white building. Here you can buy tickets to take a boat trip either to Haeundae (1 hour, one way, 18,000w) or a trip around Busan (40 minutes, return, 15 000w). There is also a Lotte – surprise surprise! But what I *really* like about this one is the sky park! From the top floor, go outside and take the elevator up to the roof. You will get to see a stunning view of Busan. Also pretty spectacular at night time! Lower level of Lotte also has the food court area where you can have some really healthy meals for a few thousand won.
2.Nampodong – Another Shoppers delight! Nampodong has a brickroad lined with Western clothing stores. North Face, Merrett shoes, American Apparel – it’s all there! If you’re looking for some cheaper options, take the side streets from there. They are lined with Korean clothing stores and stalls. You can get some awesome specials there! Christmas time in Nampodong is also gorgeous – with lots of Christmas lights. From Nampodong you can also take an escalator (well… 3 escalators or loads of stairs) up to the Yongdusan Park where Busan tower is located. You can get another sky view of Busan from here. You can also find PIFF square from Nampodong – also lots of nice restaurants etc. there! There is also a really nice hair salon opposite the Paris Baguette called Hwamiju. They’re a bit pricy but it’s sooo pretty in there! (Ask for Jini! Her English is very good!)
3. Jagalchi station – I’ve only been there for a few hours, but Jagalchi is known for the fish market where you can buy the freshest seafood. You can also walk to PIFF square from Jagalchi, 10 – 15 minute walk)
Okay seriously the only thing I know about the brown line is: You can take the subway from Sasang to Deokcheon and transfer to brown. Travel one more stop which is Gupo. Gupo is a KTX train station, so if you’re wanting to travel by train and your bus stops at Sasang, it’s quicker to take the subway to Gupo, than it is to go to Busan Station (orange line).
And that my dear friends are some of my favourite sights in Busan. Feel free to comment if you’ve found anything else. Also note that these aren’t the really touristy things (like Busan tower), but more like a list of “Where-can-I-walk-around-in-Busan” type of places.
Click here to visit the official Busan Tourism page.