Friday, 24 May 2013

A Weekend in Busan: Part 1

Last weekend some friends and I travelled down south to Busan, Korea's second largest city. The coastal metropolis, populated by around 3.6 million people, is famed for its pretty beaches, its relaxed atmosphere, and its huge port. It was Buddha's Birthday when we visited, so the city was teeming with people, but despite this it felt so much more chilled out than Seoul ever does. Spending time by the cool, breezy coast was a welcome change from the humid smog currently enveloping Seoul.

Leaving Seoul on the KTX. The journey was a bit pricey, but it was nice getting all the way to the southern tip of Korea in just over 2 hours (when we went to Jindo by bus, it took a godawful 7 hours). 
Some verdant, green scenery we saw on the journey down.

We arrived at Busan Station around 11 o'clock, and relaxed in the area outside the station for a while.

Soon we took the metro towards Haeundae, which was where our hostel was. The metro felt very similar to the one in Seoul: crowded but pretty clean and efficient for the most part.
Looking for our hostel in Haeundae at the east side of the city.
The communal area of our hostel. It was a very pleasant place as hostels go, and I was glad there was a guitar there for me to practice on.
Once we were settled into our hostel, we headed straight for Haeundae Beach, where we saw this dude dancing in the sun.
Haeundae Beach is one of the largest and most famous beaches in Korea. I'm glad we came when we did, because apparently in summer it gets so busy it's near-impossible to find a spot in the sand to sit down.
Some well-deserved relaxation time.

After spending some time on the beach, we then took taxis to Haedong Yonggungsa, a coastal temple just outside the city. It was one of the most beautiful temples I've seen in Korea, and I've made a more expansive blog post about it here.
The next morning, after having spent the previous evening drinking on the beach, Angela and I separated from our friends to explore the city on our own. We started with the 40 Steps Culture and Tourist Theme Street. This historic district became a meeting place for refugees and immigrants during the Korean War, and has since been refurbished and turned into an outdoor museum of sorts. It has lots of statues depicting life in Korea in the 1950s.

The area was very quiet, not something you can say for most "tourist spots" in Korea.

The 40 Steps, after which the area is named. Many migrants of the war used this spot as a meeting place, since they didn't have access to more advanced forms of communication.

At the top of the steps is a pretty district of coloured houses.

There was also a giant brush.

Click here to continue the adventure in Part 2!

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