I finally got the chance to see whether or not all the great stories I’d heard about Busan were true. I had a 3-day weekend thanks to Buddha’s Birthday on Monday and decided I should do a bit a travelling. I originally planned to go with a friend from Atlanta who now lives in Korea as well. But since everyone in all of Korea was on holiday buses/trains/ and accommodations in Busan were all pretty much sold out. So I decided to go solo once I found a slow train (Mugunghwa) from Daejeon to Busan departing at 5:00 a.m. I went without any real plans on where I would sleep. I also figured it wouldn’t be too lonely because I was sure I would run into some peeps from Daejeon.
I arrived in Busan around 9:00 a.m. And my first mission was to find some eats. I headed to the subway (which was a lot more simple than Seoul, I think there were about 4-5 different lines). The Busan Station is right next to the Chinatown, but I didn’t check it out. I decided to head to a more tourist-y area. So that meant the Gwangalli Beach (광안리해수욕장) area. It took me a bit of a ride on the subway, but I finally made it.
I have to be honest–I had low expectations for the beach, but it was actually quite lovely with the bridge in the background. But Gwangalli is most beautiful at night. Of course I had to take out my newly purchased selfie stick and give it a try.
After that I was feeling pretty hungry and breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal. So I went in the search of it. I managed to find one place that seemed somewhat near me. But it was actually pretty far walking. And I was pooped. Homestead Coffee.
I thought it would be more of a restaurant sit-down independent type place. But it was a chain, fast-food type deal. The option I ordered was called “American Brunch” and cost about 10,000 원 (About 10 bucks) if I remember correctly. It was almost clutch except the pancakes had a slice of processed cheese between them. The condiment in the yellow cup is strawberry preserves that were delicious.
Anyway, after brunch I decided to walk to the nearest (HA!) subway and catch it to Haeundae Beach. I ended up getting pretty lost and walked in a huge circle. It was a nice walk though. Eventually I made it to Haeundae area. Definitely more foreigners and things geared to our tastes. It reminded me of a beach walk area back home. I decided to lounge about on the beach for a while. Alone. (When you’re alone out and about in Korea the Koreans tend to think it’s a little weird since it’s such a group/couple culture).
After the beach I wanted to meet up with some friends. But I felt pretty grimy. Decided to go to a jimjilbang for the first time ever! For those who don’t know: It’s like a bathhouse/spa/relaxation place. You go in take a shower/bathe communally. Then you can go off to eat, get a massage, go to saunas, game rooms..etc.
The spa I went to was a bit a little farther away from the typical touristy areas. There was not a foreigner to be seen. Oh except for me…and I was definitely seen. I was already pretty self-conscious about stripping down in front of strangers, but they didn’t help it by staring at me. The elderly and the children were unabashed in their curiosity. I was told by an ajumma (older korean woman) that I needed to take a shower beforehand. I honestly thought the majority of things would be there for my use so I didn’t bring anything. So I had to get some soap. And y’know I had just did my hair so I wasn’t tryna get it too close to the water of course, but no. The ajumma saw me dodging water droplets like bullets and came over to force my head under the shower head. She then told me that I needed to scrub longer and harder and practically started to bathe me herself. It was all very embarrassing. After I’d scrubbed down, I all but ran and submerged my body in the baths to avoid the stares. It wasn’t a very relaxing experience.
Other highlights of this trip include: Gamcheon Cultural Village, the aquarium, huge ass Lotte Mall, and Jagalchi Fish Market.