This time of the Seoul Diaries, I will be recapping my first trip to Busan! It was a trip that I had been putting off for some time, but I finally booked the KTX ticket, made my hotel reservation, and went on my way!
I woke up super early and headed to Seoul Station KTX to catch my train ride. After getting adjusted to my surroundings, I found the correct train and hopped on. The vibes were just like in the movie ‘Train to Busan’ from the connecting doors to the seats. I got a window seat and spent most of the 3-hour train ride sleeping because I was so tired. Sadly, Gong Yoo didn’t appear in my train car ㅠㅠ
When I arrived at Busan Station, the place was packed with people and I hustled my way to the closest bus. My friend recommended that I try Busan’s Shake Shack (서면점) and it didn’t disappoint!
Next, I went to Pusan University’s campus to meet a friend and was given a wonderful campus tour. It is said that if a building/home has a river in front of it and a mountain behind it (like Pusan University), the place is an ideal place to live or attend~
Tip: This was a huge culture shock to me, but when I got off a local bus, I scanned my T-money card as usual. Apparently, in Busan, you can tell who isn’t from Busan by this action as most locals don’t use transportation cards on buses. I saw many people just hop on and off buses and was very shocked. Maybe it is just the inner Seoul-person in me who is so used to scanning everywhere I go haha.
While on the campus tour, I was shown an area where the K-drama ‘D.P.’ was filmed and even met their mascot, the Eagle, along the way.
Once I finished up there, I headed back to check into my hotel and then immediately went in the direction of Haeundae Beach. I got there just in time for sunset!! The views were glamorous and I was very happy to have finally made it to Busan 🙂
Busan Staple Food #1: 모듬국밥 [해운대 오복돼지국밥]
This meal was just what I needed after a long day of walking around everywhere. It included sundae, noodles, pork, and dumplings. Not only did it warm my belly, but it was the first taste of authentic Busan food for the day. I would highly recommend stopping by this restaurant after you go to the beach. It is on this big strip of other restaurants just near the beach. To end the night, I watched the movie ‘Shaun of the Dead’ (8.9/10 rating; it was pretty funny) in my hotel room while drinking boba to continue the zombie theme into the night!
On the second day, I traveled to met my language partner from a previous Korean language program. We walked along one of the many 카페거리 (cafe streets) near 서면, but because it was early in the morning, they were all closed…
However, we later met up with her mom and proceeded to head to a restaurant to try more Busan-specific foods!!
Busan Staple Foods #2-4: 대구탕, 고등어구이, 삼겹묵은지 [엄마손 대구탕]
They introduced me to these foods all at once and my favorite out of the three of them was the 고등어구이 (which is a type of mackerel fish). The 삼겹묵은지 was really spicy, but tasted really good when made into a wrap 🙂
Next, we took a nice drive along the Busan coastline and arrived at the next destination: 해동용궁사 (Haedong Yonggungsa Temple). While the hike to this temple was a bit rough, the view was completely worth it. I loved the architecture of the temple and felt a deep sense of calm while being there. If you visit here, make sure to bring some coins with you because you can toss them into a wishing well! I forgot mine so I tossed in some imaginary coins lol.
Feeling hungry, we then stopped by a cute cafe [see previous blog post on my top 10 cafes!] and visited Gwangalli Beach. Here, you can take in the fresh beach smell and see the famous Gwangalli Bridge.
Busan Staple Food #5: 칼국수 [공원칼국수]
After telling my friend that I have yet to try 보쌈 (Bossam) and 칼국수 (Kalguksu), she found a restaurant that served both. 칼국수 is a comforting and warm soup dish with noodles and shellfish. This dish was my all-time favorite out of the entire trip!~
On my last day in Busan – being the meticulous planner that I am – I planned a full day of activities and traveling before my train left the station at 8pm. Yes, I know – that’s not much time between 11am and 8pm to go to all these places Faith. Well, I did it! Thanks to the help of my friend and her family, we stayed up organizing our game plan to the T the night before.
This was a Breakdown of the Itinerary for the Last Day:
After saying goodbye to her family, my friend and I left to take a bus and the subway to Busan Station so that I could drop off my backpack for the day and pick it up before my train left that night.
12:30 부산역 도착
Tip: Apparently at subway stations there are lockers (보관함) which you can pay for to store your bags and luggage for the day. They are pretty cheap and helped a lot as I was carrying a very heavy backpack everywhere. They also use finger print technology which is how you can lock and unlock your locker!The more you know!
1:00 감천문화마을 도착
First stop of the day: the Gamcheon Culture Village! This village was absolutely the cutest place ever. Along with wall murals everywhere and delicious food vendors, there were many Instagramable places everywhere, the most iconic being the Little Prince Statue (which had the longest line). It was here that I attempted the Squid Game Dalgona Challenge for the first time…and died 🙁
2:00 감천 구경 끝
We finished up there and headed over to catch another bus to get to 영도, which is where a lot of cool cafes are located. After walking down the longest and steepest hill that I have ever encountered and taking a short bus ride, we made it.
3:00 영도 도착
Once on the island, we walked down many flights of stairs towards the cafe that I wanted to go to, only to find that there were no seats available because I always pick the famous and popular cafes hehe. Instead, we came across this very yellow book cafe which had a beautiful view of the ocean so I guess it worked out anyways 🙂
4:00 카페 끝
Once we left the cafe, we walked down stairs, stairs, and more stairs before arriving to the ocean front. If you head towards the left of the island, you will eventually reach this mountain cave which is a popular photo spot. The line was too long though, so we went all the way back up 6+ flights of stairs to reach the bus to head to the final and last location of the trip.
4:40 부평깡통시장 도착
My friend’s parents suggested that I visit this traditional marketplace (부평깡통시장) to find more authentic Busan street foods and I am so happy that I went. Here, I came across many stores and street food vendors.
Busan Staple Foods #6-8: 씨앗 호떡 + 오뎅/어묵 + 물떡
The marketplace was huge and we finally stumbled across a stand that sold 씨악 호떡 with seeds in it. Heaven in a cup. Next, we explored the indoor marketplace area further and found a vendor selling 오뎅, 떡, and 물떡. All were very tasty and cheap :))
6:00 카페 도착 (다시)
With the night ending, we ended up walking around more until we found a cute cafe that sold croffles.
7:00 부산역 도착 (다시ㅠㅠ)
My original train ticket back was set to leave at 8pm, leaving me with less time to catch a bus back home before the buses shut down. With some time leftover from the cafe, my friend and I literally ran to catch a subway back to Busan Station and managed to change my ticket to an earlier departure time so that I could catch a bus.
I spent the rest of the train ride sleeping because I severely burnt my eyes that day from all of the sunlight (I’m okay though guys).
Tip: If you have eye sensitivity, make sure to bring your sunglasses with you to the beach/ocean area!
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