Depends on the day I suppose.
Anyways, took the KTX from Seoul station to Busan Station after school one Thursday and made it to our hotel about 11:30. We took the fast train there and it was quick and painless, worth the 55,000 krw. The subway closes earlier than in Seoul so we had to take a taxi to our hotel, the Elysee Hotel, booked on Hostelbookers.com. It was a great Love motel that was cheaper than booking a hostel private room and came with wayyy more! We had our own hot tub and steam shower in the bathroom, a big flatscreen TV and computer in the room with a large bed and all the amenities one could need! They even had a big bottle of shampoo and body wash in the shower. Korean hotels are pretty nifty because they really leave you everything you might need so you don’t have to bring them from home, including hairspray, above mentioned shampoo, bathrobes, and other toiletries. They even through in a “FREE” movie for our veiwing pleasure.. turns out korean softcore porn is lame though…
Best part is the hotel looks like a Midevil Times Castle!
Good place to stay in Busan though if your looking for a cheap, nice hotel that is in a good location! We could easily walk to Nampo shopping and eating district, Busan Tower and Jagalchi fish market.
We tried to fit as much as possible into our short 3 days in Busan and I think we got a good taste of the southern culture. The food tasted different than Seoul, I did not enjoy the BBQ as much, although that could be because we ate at a 24 hour BBQ place at 1 in the morning after too many naked Long Island Ice teas at a jazz class club overlooking the bay.
Obviously we went to Haeundae Beach, the most popular beach in Busan, walked along the beach and had coffee in a cafe (how Korean of us, wow!) It was beautiful and there were not many people there unlike the summer months when the sand is covered in umbrella mushrooms with thousands of Koreans hiding from the sun underneath. It was windy and cold in early March so we headed inside to the Busan Aquarium (18,000 per person, not 15,000 like I had read on some sites). I had never been to an aquarium so I was like a little kid putting my head right up to the glass and squealing with excitement over the sharks and seaweed sea horses! It was a really great experience and we got to see them feed the penguins and sharks (The sharks there were the most docile things I have ever seen, I think my friends cat is meaner than all these sharks put together!) There is an amazing underwater tunnel that surrounds the shark tank and it is a great ending to the ocean animal filled fun!
After Haeundae we wanted a different vibe so we took the subway (which BTW runs on a different subway card system than Seoul and we could not recharge our TMONEY cards there! It was also more expensive for short distances than Seoul) to Gwangalli Beach with its picture-esqe veiw of the bridge all lit up with different color lights at night. We found a snazzy jazz bar called Luna Bass on the 8th floor with a great view of the bay, bridge and city lights. After enjoying 2+ adult beverages we then preceded to buy fireworks from a vendor on the street (who understood the word fire and sneakily went to the secret back door for his stash) and light themoff on the beach. No appendages were lost thank goodness and the night was would have been memorable, had I not drank so many beers on the subway! I really recommend this beach area [Get off at Gwangan Station – subway line no. 2, exit 3 or 5) and walk 5 minutes.]
We only made it to one temple in Busan (meaning we will have to go back eventually, there is so much more I want to see!) but it was very beautiful and out of the city a bit so it could satisfy our nature cravings as well. Beomeosa Temple is the most famous temple in Busan and had many beautiful buildings, statues, shines and temples. It was under construction while we were there, but still open, and we got to enter all temples that we wanted to. A lovely Korean gentleman took it upon himself to be our tour guide, he spoke wonderful English and we learned a lot about the history of the temple and what certain things meant. A short walk up from the temple is a semi hidden gem with several temples where monks were chanting surrounded by hundreds of depictions of Buddha. It was by far the most beautiful area of the temple so make sure you don’t miss it! You can learn more about this temple at this guys blog, he gives a lot of history and more detailed information than I could even try!
———-This is where our camera died 😦
That evening we went out looking for a good sushi restaurant (and a good time) in Kyungsung and Pukyong Nat’l University area (line 2). Finally we decided on some food and had some drinks at a couple bars in the area, Almost Famous (very cool people there!), ol’55 and Vinyl Underground. Cool places to chill and listen to live music with a cool crowd. Busan Haps – this is a really cool website and magazine for all the cool things going down in Busan, check it out!
The final day we checked out the area around our hotel, Busan Tower and the international fish market, Korea’s biggest. The tower and surrounding park had a beautiful veiw of the harbor and it was a beautiful day! We enjoyed watching the Korean children playing and laughing at Korean picture taking habits:) The fish market was well, fishy. Nice to see but we didn’t spend too much time there. There were many people, lots of yelling and LOTS of seafood, every imaginable kind. Check out the buffet on the 6th floor, looks amazing, but make sure you get there before 3 when it closes for lunch
Took the slower KTX home which was half the price and double the time, but it was nice to relax, listen to the pod, read and take a little nap. Bring some snacks and you have a nice little ride through the Korean countryside!
Enjoy Busan, South Korea a big city by the ocean with a small town feel!
** Editor’s Note: We were unfortunately in Busan the weekend of the horrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Much too close for our comforts but we had no idea anything had even happened until we saw something on TV at a restaurant. My heart goes out to those lives lost and people affected by this tragedy and its after effects. Wish there was more I could do than just send money being so close here in SK, but the Japanese are a strong culture and will overcome this hardship. Peace be with you Japan **