I recently visited Korea on a business trip but didn’t have much time to tour around the country. My only time off was on the weekend so I decided to travel to Busan for 2 days, 1 night.
The distance from Seoul to Busan is 325 km and it usually takes about 4 to 5 hours by car. So I decided to take the KTX instead to save travel time, the fastest train in Korea.
As soon as I arrived at Busan station, I hopped on the Busan City Tour Bus for a tour around the city. The fare is usually 15,000 Won but you can get a special discount of 3,000 Won when showing a KTX train ticket. The departure point of the bus is located in front of Arirang Hotel at Busan Station Square between Exit 8 of Busan Metro and Exit 1 of Busan Railway Station. The route of the tour bus is designed in a loop shape consisting of Haeundae and Taejongdae on either sides: a hop-on and hop-off service available on both routes where an all-day access is available with a single ticket purchase. I felt the tour bus was both extremely convenient and economical. I recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the essence of Busan in a short period of time.
The overall bus ride took about 40 minutes from Busan Station to Taejongdae. Taejongdae is one of many must-see tour sites which is just as well-known as Haeundae in Busan. It is famous for its rocky beaches and pine tree covered forests; it’s one of my favourite tourist destinations. I find the ocean view truly spectacular from the observatory. On days with clear skies, you can even see Japan’s Tsushima Island from the observatory as well.
After visiting Taejongdae, I got on the bus to go back to Busan Station and decided to take a walk all the way to Jagalchi Market. On my way there, I saw Chinatown located right across from Busan Station, also known as Shanghai Street. The street is filled with numerous Chinese restaurants, shops and other attractions with many foreign tourists visiting the area, especially tourists from Russia.
A historical mural of the Three Kingdoms can also be found here as it symbolizes the popularity of the classic novel. Who is your favourite character among many heroes in ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’? Overall, Guan Yu seems to be the most popular character, although my favourite is Zhao Zilong.
On route, you can also visit restaurants where the Korean classic movie, Old Boy, was filmed.
Getting closer to Jagalchi Market, I ran into many other attractions including 40 Steps, Yongdusan Park, Theatre District, and Bookstore Alley. In the midst of this busy city of Busan, Jung-gu marks as the central region and called the hub of Busan’s commerce and shopping district with Jagalchi Market, Gukje Market, Lotte World shopping complex, Nampo Market and Bupyeong-dong Market.
Next up is Gukje Market, another popular tourist destination near Busan Station. During the Korean War, refugees who had fled to Busan set up stalls in order to make a living here and it became one of the largest markets in Korea. The success of the recent Korean film, Ode to My Father, made Gukje Market even more popular.
Finally, I reached my destination, Jagalchi Market. Jagalchi Market is Korea’s largest seafood market and it is famous throughout the country for the traditional lifestyle of the native Busan residents.
Once you enter the market area, you can still find the original fish market that has been in business for decades, right outside of the Jagalchi Market’s building. If you want an authentic experience of culture and seafood, I would highly recommend coming out to the street market outside.
After finding myself emerged with Jagalchi Market and its scenery, I became extremely hungry. I went into a restaurant and ordered the popular Dwaeji Gukbap: Busan’s Pork and Rice Soup. It is a Gyeongsangnam-do specialty and tastes similar to Pork Bone Soup but less spicy. There are many restaurants in Toronto where you can try Pork Bone Soup but harder to find Dwaeji Gukbap. I will include a list of restaurants in my next blog for those who would like to try it out.
This sums up the first short tour I had of my recent trip to Busan. Stay tuned for Part 2, as I will be writing about Haeundae, the most popular beach in Korea. In the meantime, enjoy watching the video clip highlighting my recent trip!
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