First trip to Busan

Early Saturday morning, Andy, Kaylyn and I caught the Mugungwa (Korail) train to Busan.  It cost 7,700 won (6.75 USD)  and took about 1 hour 30 minutes.  While not the most luxurious train, I would definitely recommend it and you can’t beat the low price.

As soon as we exited Busan Station, we could smell the sea and I was pretty happy! We took the subway to Jagalchi fish market, the largest fish market in South Korea.  After securing a delicious lunch for Kaylyn, we walked around admiring the beautiful and tasty seafood swimming around in buckets.  I was familiar with some of it, like crabs, oysters, and flounder, but other creatures were new to me.

Fish and other creatures for sale
Octopi
 
In America, this is just decoration.  In Korea, it’s food.

 Jagalchi Market is a sprawling, outdoor market, but it also has a few large buildings.  In these buildings you can choose your seafood and they’ll cook it for you on the spot.  All of the vendors were eager to please and hopefully entice a few new customers.

Posing with a baby shark… yum?

On top of the main building, there is an observation deck.  (Also included inside… market, restaurants, guest house, noraebang/karaoke room, screen golf, wedding hall… Korea is odd sometimes.)  Look how pretty Busan is on a clear day!!

Busan Port

After the market, we took the subway to Haeundae Beach.  In the summer, every inch of sand is covered with Korean beachgoers.  Luckily for us… it’s still spring! There were still a good amount of people on the beach, either sunbathing, throwing a frisbee, or walking their dogs.  I found it ironic that all of the Westerners took off their shoes, yet the Koreans kept theirs on… since in Korea, you have to take off your shoes in any number of locations.

Haeundae Beach

Later that evening, we visited another beach – Gwangalli.  Gwangalli has the pretty Diamond Bridge which lights up and changes colors at night.  It just so happened that a fishing festival was going on (Gwangalli Eobang Festival), so we watched some of that ridiculousness and even got to see some fireworks! In October, Busan holds a tremendous fireworks festival in that same spot, and I would definitely like to come back for that.

Gwangalli Eobang Festival
Diamond Bridge from Gwangalli Beach

That night we wandered around in a group, checking out the local restaurants and bars.  The next morning was overcast, so we didn’t do much other than wander up and down Haeundae.  Andy and I took the KTX (high speed) train home, which took only 40 minutes and cost 11,000 won (under 10 USD) and was a considerably smoother and quieter ride.  Both trains were great but obviously the KTX was nicer and more luxurious, not to mention faster.

Our group, from left to right: Claire, Emily, Kaylyn, Keir & me on top of course!
Somewhere between Busan and Daegu, taken from the KTX

Some details for any expats reading this:
– Stayed in the Story Guesthouse in Haeundae, would recommend for the price, level of service, and excellent amenities.
– Korail and KTX were both great, although Korail offered standing room and some guy sat on my armrest.  Negative points.
– Cabs in Busan are expensive and the subway takes forever! This is more of a complaint than actual advice.

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