Monday, November 17, 2014

Back to the Big City: First Day in Busan

On my fourth day in Korea, I left Gyeongju and went to Busan. I took the Mugunghwa (regular train) from Gyeongju Station to Haeundae Station. It was a cheap (KRW5300) yet comfortable and scenic ride that took over an hour. There are also buses that go from Gyeongju Bus Terminal to Busan Bus Terminal that takes about 50mins but the train was more convenient for me because my guesthouse in Gyeongju is a few hundred meters from the train station and the guesthouse I booked in Busan is in Haeundae (far from the Busan bus terminal).

When I arrived at Haeundae Station, I was not aware that it's not the same as the Haeundae subway station (which is near my guesthouse). I got confused because I could not find the right landmarks and there wasn't any tourist information booth at the station so I was forced to ask at the ticket booth. Thankfully, the lady at the ticket booth was very nice and she even wrote down the address of my guesthouse for me to give to the taxi driver. Basically, I had no choice but to take the taxi lol. I actually didn't want to take the taxi because I was on a budget but I figured that my guesthouse shouldn't be so far. I ended up with a KRW5100 taxi fare, which wasn't so bad even though it's almost equal to my train fare. The driver was very nice too and he can speak a little English. 

I arrived at my guesthouse at around 12nn, left my luggage, rested a bit, went out for lunch, went to Yonggungsa (I will share my experience in the next post) and then went back to hang out at Haeundae beach at dusk.

Haeundae was quite nice, the beach was long and wide and pretty clean. However, coming from a country with so many paradise-like beaches, I was naturally not very impressed. However, what's very interesting for me is how Busan maintains its beaches despite the urban environment. In the Philippines, I don't know of any beach that's surrounded with so many high-rise buildings. I'm guessing Busan really puts a lot of effort into keeping their beaches clean and that, for me, is impressive. It makes me wonder if Manila Bay can still be cleaned and restored.

Busan International Film Festival was ongoing when I was there. I was given a chance to watch one of the movies during my stay (another guest at the hostel was giving away a ticket) but I had to pass because I was really sore and tired that night.

South Koreans definitely love their monopods/selfie sticks.

I had this kimchi stew for dinner which doesn't seem like a lot but it was actually too much and I couldn't finish it!

Haeundae is also known for nightlife. I actually tried to bring myself to it but being a morning person and a non-partying type, I just couldn't. I guess partying/clubbing just isn't for me. I ended up getting a cocktail from this bar/restaurant and then going back to my guesthouse.

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