Busan Tower

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Address: Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

How to get there: Nampo Station Exit 7 and you’ll see a sign pointing you to Yongdusan Park

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Entrance Fee: W5,000 for the observatory

Busan Tower is located in Yongdusan Park. It is the symbol of Busan and towers over the city. And as part of Korea’s history, the park also features a monument of Admiral Yu Sun-Shin.

The tower offers a magnificent view of Busan, its surrounding mountains, and the ocean.

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A view of Busan’s port and the Jagalchi Fish Market. The market has a seagull shaped roof as symbol of their fishing activities.

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The other side of Busan with the Gwangan Bridge in the background.

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And at the park below, beautiful cherry blossom trees line the path.

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Jagalchi Fish Market

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Address: Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

How to get there: Jagalchi Station Exit 10, just follow the smell of the ocean

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Entrance Fee: Free

If you’re looking for fresh seafood, you need to go to Jagalchi Fish Market.

When you exit the Jagalchi subway station, the wind will blow and it will leave the essences of the ocean. That’s how fresh the seafood is at Jagalchi.

The market is just right beside the fishing docks. As soon as the ships come in, they goods are directly transferred to the market.

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You have big crabs!

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And delicious looking shell fish!

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Aside from those selling by the street, there’s also a building for it.

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And it’s the cleanest wet market I’ve seen ever. On the upper floors are eating areas where they will cook the fish for you.

We wanted to try it for the experience but our finances did not allow it. One person will have to pay at least W30,000 for a meal. There are regulations about food in Korea and two people may not be allowed to share a meal.

It would have been a nice experience. The food court allows customers to sit in mats and eat at a low table while overlooking the ocean.

Haedong Yonggungsa

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Address: Sirang-ri, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan, South Korea

How to get there: From Heaundae Station Exit 3, ride the Bus 181 up to the Haedong Yonggung bus station, the temple is still a short walk from the bus station

Operating Hours: 4:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Entrance Fee: Free

Haedong Yonggungsa or Haedong Yonggung Temple (‘sa’ being the Korean word for temple) is known for it’s unusual location. Most temples can be found in the mountains but this one is on a cliff by the sea.

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Headong Yonggungsa is one of the sacred related to the Goddess Buddha of Korea. So there will be a lot of other Buddha figure in the temple.

My girl friend refused to touch the figure above because it may be an unplanned pregnancy.

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The motto of the temple is, “At least one of your wishes will be answered here through your heartful prayers.” That’s why it’s still one of the most visited temples in Busan.

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And once you reach the right spot, you’d see this beautiful sight. They are also celebrating a festival on the 1st of April and most of the lanterns are not yet placed. That would have been beautiful too.

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As promised, a lot of Buddha figures are lying around the place.

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The architecture is the same one as that of the palaces.

When we arrived, there was an ongoing worship ceremony. However, I didn’t want to intrude so I didn’t take pictures. I was just watching from the open door until they’ve finished.

Next time, I want to catch the festival of lanterns.

Gwangalli Beach

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Address: Gwangan 2-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan, South Korea

How to get there: three blocks away from Gwangan Station Exit 5

Operating Hours: All day

Entrance Fee: Free

Gwangalli Beach is the secondary beach of Busan.

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It’s most noticeable difference from Heaundae is the Gwangan Bridge that adds to the view of the horizon – especially during the night when it’s lit with a lot of colors.

However, just like Haeundae, adjacent to it are hotels, shops, bars, and other establishments that cater to the young. There were a lot of people on the beach that day since it was almost the end of the working and school day.

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One thing I also like about Korea is the abundance of places where people can hang out without having to spend a lot of money. The government invested in improving this service by providing people with parks and the like.

Imagine being able to chill out by the beach after a long hard day at work. Wouldn’t that be heaven?

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And just beyond the beach are the establishments. Although it’s a good way to infuse nature and progress, there’s still this strong inkling towards a pure beach experience – no buildings, no great amenities, just pure nature.

Next time I visit, I might see people take a dip?

Going to Jinhae from Busan

If you’re in Korea to see the cherry blossoms, you’d be familiar with the city of Jinhae.

To go to Jinhae from Busan, you have to make your way to the Sasang Station on Line 2 of the Busan Metro.

There are two ways to get to the Seobu Intercity Bus Station. You can either get into the department store which is connected to the bus station or get out of the subway and walk to the bus terminal.

If you choose to go out of the subway station and follow the directions on which exit is closest to the terminal, you’d see the bus terminal on your left. It isn’t hard to find because the sign will be in your face.

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If you can see this sign which reads Busan Seobu Beoseu Teomineol (Busan Seobu Bus Terminal), you’re in the correct path. I just realized now that when Koreans translate English words into their own alphabet, they have an accent.

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Once you enter the terminal, you’d see the ticket counters. Don’t worry about the amount of people buying tickets. Seobu Bus Terminal caters to a lot of cities in South Korea, even Seoul. Also, buses to Jinhea depart every 15 to 20 minutes.

Buses to Jinhae service passengers between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM.

Don’t fret!

Tickets to Jinhae cost W5,100 onee-way. You cannot buy round-trip tickets because you’d have to buy the Jinhae-Busan ticket at the Jinhae Express Bus Terminal.

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After purchasing your ticket, you will make your way to Platform 17 where buses to Jinhae are parked.

The bus ride is just 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the traffic. I was quite surprised that days before the festival, there isn’t much traffic so it was just a short ride to Jinhae.

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If you’re going back to Busan after your Jinhae adventure, you’d have to go back to the Jinhae Express Bus Terminal and buy your tickets there. Still, buses are abundant so there’s no need to take note of a bus schedule. The last bus to Busan, though, could be around 11:00 in the evening.

Haeundae Beach

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Address: Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea

How to get there: three blocks away from Haeundae Station Exit 5

Operating Hours: All day

Entrance Fee: Free

I am a lover of the beach and I heard that this is the famed beach of Korea. And after seeing the beach, I have concluded that we are better in terms of the beauty of this seaside location.

For a famed beach, it barely compares to the lesser known beaches in the Philippines. What I will commend, though, is its cleanliness and accessibility.

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Like everything Korea, the beach is lined with street performers and art installations. Korea never misses anything when it comes to art and its expression.

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The beach is just beside the street and the rest of the neighborhood is just across from it. Although, there are hotels that are situated near the shore.

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If you aren’t keen on eating at restaurants and fast foods, you’d be able to get to the Haeundae Market which is just a block away from the beach. It features various seafood that will catch your attention. The first item on the roster is the eel which really look like snakes on water.

The visit was not complete, though, because we weren’t able to take a dip in the water. First and foremost, it was nighttime. And the second reason is that the water is just freezing cold at this time of the year.

I should definitely go back during the summer season when the beach is lined with towels and umbrellas.

Riding the KTX to Busan

It’s a cross-country adventure we signed up for. We didn’t want to take the plane because that will be costly. And since Korea offers its own high-speed railway, we decided to take the KTX to Busan.

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For KTX trains, you’d have to go to Seoul Station. Seoul Station is the central hub of all trains that goes in and out of Seoul. It is also the biggest station in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and has a Lotte Department Store connected to it.

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Aside from the KTX, there are also two other trains that will bring you to Busan. These are the ITX-Saemeul and the ITX-Mugunghwa. The difference between the three are the length of time it takes to reach Busan. Since we didn’t have the luxury of time, we chose to ride the KTX.

Same as with the ITX ride to Gapyeong, we decided to book our tickets online through this site. We weren’t sure how many people will decide to ride the train that day given that it was the weekend.

But, you can still buy tickets at the terminal itself.

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If you have spare time, you can stroll around the area. As for me and my friend, we were hungry. It was lunch time then and we were looking for a place to eat. We found the terminal’s food court.

In the middle of it is the menu for all concessionaires. You’d just have to order at the correct one and wait for your order to be prepared.

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And each concessionaire has its own return area where you will put your used utensils and plates. Korea is a fun of the clean as you go principle. We had to hurry our lunch because it was almost time for us to board the train.

I wasn’t able to document everything properly but you’d enter the passengers’ area and you’d look for the correct platform your train is on. Don’t worry, there are LED boards that details the trips and available trains on the platforms.

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Here’s the confirmation, inside the train, if you’re on the correct ride.

The impressive thing, though, is that there are no checking of tickets before you ride the train and even while you’re on it. Korea is big on trusting people to do the right thing.

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The inside of the train is spacious, half of the train is facing your side. There is enough legroom.

On the entrance part is a space for luggage so you won’t have to bring it inside seating area. There are also separate restrooms for men and women. Vending machines for drinks are also available as well as trash cans.

It was really a quick three hour ride that you won’t notice. You won’t even feel that you’re traveling at around 300 km/h.

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Next thing you know, you’re in Busan Station. Busan Station, on the other hand, is the central hub for trains going in and out of Busan. It’s like the Seoul Station but in Busan.

We were confused, at first, where to go. But, Korea, being a tourist-friendly nation, was able to help us find our way.

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The biggest difference between the Seoul and Busan Station, Busan’s subway system is not connected to the main terminal. So, you’d have to go out of the terminal and find your way to the Busan Station subway. It isn’t far so you wouldn’t have to worry.