Busan, South Korea: beaches, market and traditional villages

img_20161124_180455Soon enough, I was sitting in my seat, ready to take off to the next country: South Korea. The flight was smooth to Seoul. At Seoul, I had to go through immigration and collected my bag. I took a transfer shuttle bus to the domestic airport, where I went through the whole procedure again until landing in Busan, in the south of South Korea.

I had instruction on my phone, telling me the route to take to the hostel. Once I received my bag, I walked to the subway station, where I purchased a ticket then found the platform. I had to change trains twice but this wasn’t a problem as there were clear signs and the trains weren’t busy.

About mid-afternoon, I reached the hostel, where I checked in and chose a bed in my room. Next thing I need to do was to decide my itinerary for the next week in South Korea. I hadn’t planned anything apart from landing in Busan and flying out of Seoul. I asked the receptionist where she would recommend to go and I took her advice.img_20161201_160810

In the afternoon, I wandered around the surrounding area of Seomyeon. The roads were busy with cars driving on the right side of the street. There were bright, colourful signs on both side of the road, protruding from the shops. People dawdled along, popping into shops. Off the main road, were streets of shops and markets selling every sort of thing you could ever want. Christmas lights and decorations filling the street and k-pop music or Christmas tunes filled my ears as it blasted from different shops. I just had a good feeling about this place. I was going to love being here. Later on, I noticed how safe the country is with people being extremely honest.

As I passed some of the street stalls, I was feeling hungry with the smell of food wafting in the air. It’s sometimes hard being a pescartarian especially in a country that doesn’t speak much English. However, I did find an omelette looking pancake with carrots and what looked like fish which I ordered plus surprise dumpling thing (luckily, it just had noodles inside). Standing at the side of the stall with a plate of food, some soy sauce and a drink of some gravy liquid, I munched at my delicious food.DCIM119GOPRO

On the way back, sweet potato chips took my fancy but actually they weren’t as good as I expected.

In the evening, I sat in the common room sorting out photos and writing my blog. I went to bed earlyish as I had been awake a long time.

img_20161202_144043In the morning I got up at a reasonable time, trying not to wake up my fellow roomies, had a shower and set off  for the day. I first took the subway to Beomeosa Station. Then I hiked for about 4 km up the side of a windy road to the top of a mountain. Outside was cold so walking, getting breathless certainly warmed me up. It was difficult to read signs as they were all in Korean but I couldn’t kind of gather the correct direction. I looked around Beomeosa Temple then followed the rocky path in the forest through Geumsaem-ro food town and along a beautiful stream to the bottom. On the way, there were many picturesque views of the mountains and the city. Busan is a bit of a funny layout as there are clumps of high buildings scattered around the city with mountains also sporadically in between. I like it though.

I managed to navigate myself back to the subway station, where I rested my feet in a coffee shop, sipping on a café latte.

img_20161201_163034I caught the subway to Haeundae, where I was in need of food. Close by to the station, there was the food alley with plenty of food stalls. I sat in a little place, where I ordered a vegetable pancake and sweet potato in batter. The Korean markets do love fried things. There were noodles dishes and lots of fish but there weren’t any prices so I stuck with what I could read but also cheap (2000 won – 2.80AUD or £1.50).

I ambled down to Haeundae beach with golden sand spread for kilometres with high rise building and a calm, shimmering ocean. It was bliss looking beyond the water, thinking and meditating. I leisurely plotted on the sand, dipping my feet in the sea. At the end, I did the coastal walk on the rocky paths around Dongbaek Park to the lighthouse and APEC House. The view was mesmerising with people fishing, the waters crashing against the rock and a few status in the distance.

I wandered around the APEC House, which is where government leaders from this side of the ocean and the other side had met to have important meetings.

After, I walked a few kilometres towards Gwangalli area, stopping of to find a souvenir shop but ended up in a huge supermarket, where I purchased some clemetines.DCIM119GOPRO

It was late afternoon and I was feeling tired from all the walking so I headed to the nearest subway to go back to the hostel. I cooked some food and relaxed in the hostel.

There weren’t many people around apart from some older Korean so I couldn’t talk to anyone. I find sometimes especially when you have your own plans and are in the more less travelled countries, it’s harder to find travellers to talk to. There were, however, two English girls in my room, who were studying in Seoul but they had their own agenda.

I went to bed reading my book before falling asleep.

Waking up to my alarm, I jumped out of bed, packed my stuff and had a shower. Once I ate a cereal bar and an orange and drank a cup of tea, I walked to the subway to get a train to Gamcheon Culture Village.img_20161203_115452

Out of the station, I hiked up a steep pavement to the top, where the village entrance was. There were lots of tourists around, taking pictures and eating street food. As I wandered down the cobbled path with little, unique shops and food stands either side, I took in my surrounding, mesmerised by the beauty. A volunteer guy told me where the best view was of the village so I climbed some narrow steps to take a look. All around me were cute, little, colourful house scatter on a hill, looking so picturesque. It reminded me of Porto in Portugal or somewhere in Greece (not that I’ve been there). On the other side of the platform was a view of the whole of Busan.

Down the stairs on a balcony was a coffee shop with outdoor benches so I purchased a latte and just sat, admiring the scenery. After, I walked around the village, taking more photos and popping into different shop.img_20161203_120000

Just after midday, I left and strolled down the hill back to the subway, where I caught a train to the Nampo area. I wandered around the lanes of Gukje Market, filled with shops and stalls selling clothes, gift and food. In the centre of one road were ladies frying food with stalls around them. One of these took my fancy so I sat on a stall, eating some kind of brown, transparent noodles.

I then walked to the fish market, wafting the strong smell of fish with a variety of dead fish ready to be bought. I sat by the harbour overlooking the sea for a while before taking the escalator up to Yongdusan Park. Here, there was a huge, white, elongated tower and temples around it’s foot.img_20161203_131303

I couldn’t stay in the park long as I need to go back to the hostel, collect my bags and head to Nopo, which is what I did. The central bus station is situated in Nopo, where I bought a ticket to Jeonju. I had been recommended by the hostel receptionist to check out this town.

The ticket I got was for the general bus, which meant it was cheaper (16,100 Won: 20AUD) and got told the seat were smaller. This was not the case, I had a single, wide seat with plenty of leg room. The journey wasn’t exciting and just drove straight there.