Thursday, October 10, 2013

Exploring Korea: Busan

Ok, sooooo I went to Busan like a LONG time ago. Not THAT long ago, but a while back, like in May and June. Did I mention I liked it so much that I hit it twice? Yeah, totally happened.
Beautiful Busan!
So Busan is FREAKING FUN! Don't get me wrong, Seoul is the only woman for me, but I would seriously consider taking Busan on as a mistress and then going with her to see Jeju perform at the ultra-classy-need-a-password-to-get-in-champagne-room-having strip club.

Sorry, got distracted looking for strip club gifs that didn't have actual nudity in them... can't be done... what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, Busan!

The first trip was with Mr. Y (pre-breakup... *le sigh*) and the second time was for the wedding of my super cool coworker Ashley to her equally awesome man JinHo. These were two very different, but equally enjoyable experiences.

For both trips I took the KTX. Seriously, people, buses are for CHUMPS and the KTX is where it's at! My biggest recommendation is that you book your tickets as soon as you have finalized your plans. Busan is a popular destination for Seoulites and it's pretty common for the trains heading down there to fill up. For the first trip we waited a TAD too long and the only seats left were in first class (which, if you're debating, isn't really worth the extra money, all you get is free water, a slightly nicer chair, and a lot of leg room).

On the first trip Mr. Y and I chose to stay in a Love Motel. Don't hate! Love Motels can be gross and wrong and terrible, but they can also be awesomely jam-packed with free toiletries, snacks, beverages, cozy robes, and ridiculous mood lighting. Ours was very nice and within walking distance of Haeundai Beach, the most popular beach in Korea. It was also within spitting distance of the subway, another plus.

On the second trip I was hitting a wedding for which the happy couple were kind enough to rent out a hostel for all their young guests to crash in. It wound up not being many of us there, but I can highly recommend Hello Guesthouse. They have a nice facility, and outside communal area, and a bunny! They are also very close to Haeundai, kinda felt like I was having a flashback.

The beaches in Busan are seriously top-notch. I preferred the vibe at the smaller Gwangalli Beach to Haeundai. Haeundai has become more resorty with tons of hotels lining it and not much in the choice for food, booze, or boardwalking. Well, not as much as Gwangalli has.
Though Haeundai offers a slightly better actual beach
Both times I was there it was still early summer, so it was too chilly to actually swim, but I managed to occupy my time with extensive sightseeing. Mr. Y and I checked out the downtown area, Taejongdae Park, Jagalchi Market, Beomeonsa Temple, and the Shinsegae Departments store (largest department store in the world!). We were definitely not short on things to do.
Beomeosa during the Buddhist Lantern Festival
The biggest highlight of either trip was the fact that I discovered my new absolute favorite Korean food,  장어구이, or babequed eel. This stuff was AMAZING! Super fresh and delicious with soy-based sauces and a little bit of raw ginger. I've had it a few times in Seoul but, sadly, nothing has come close to my experience in Busan. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

SERIOUSLY, so good...
I highly recommend Busan if you're needing a weekend away from Seoul. My biggest recommendations are: book your train tickets as EARLY as possible, stay at a nice hostel or Love Motel since the hotels are super overpriced, eat seafood until your stomach feels like it's going to explode, explore the city and the outlying rural areas.
It was also a really good call having a hair-tie with me when we were touting the cliffs of Busan
Something I Wish I had Done: Had jeokbbal on this one street where ALL of the restaurants were only serving jeokbal. I normally really don't like it, but maybe Busan's would have been better?

Next time you know a long weekend is coming up on your calendar, head on down!

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