Autumn in South Korea – Busan (Day 1)

After spending the night at 24 Guesthouse in Seoul, we walked to Seoul Station and took the train to Busan.  It was a tiring day of walking with our luggage!

Busan (부산 (Korean pronunciation: [pusan]), officially Busan Metropolitan City), Latinized Pusan before 2000, is South Korea’s second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.6 million. (Wikipedia)

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Korail Pass

We purchased a 3-day unlimited Korail pass online for KRW 67,700 each.  (Check the price list here)  It would be better to book online ahead of time.  The Korail pass is for those who will be travelling outside Seoul.  Otherwise, there’s no need to buy one.

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At Seoul Station

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Lotteria’s Shrimp Burger Meal: KRW 5,000

We had lunch at Lotteria inside Seoul Station.  Their Shrimp Burger Meal was my favorite!  Lotteria is a popular fast food chain in South Korea.

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Shake hands with the soap

Restrooms in Seoul Station are clean plus this unique soap+soap holder caught my attention. Cool.

Boarding

Boarding

Inside the train

Inside the train

Seoul to Busan: 2 hours and 40 minutes.  The seats were pretty comfy.

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Something to keep you busy

Dolphy look-alike

Dolphy look-alike

As I was flipping through the pages, I noticed this ad with two men.  The one on the right looks like the late King of Comedy.

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This cute little boy was busy walking on the aisle

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Parking: More fun in the Philippines

At Busan KTX Station.  I was surprised to see that huge ad there.  Our government is quite aggressive in inviting more South Koreans to visit the Philippines.

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Picture-picture!

We used our bags as tripods.  😀

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Outside Busan KTX Station

When we got out of the station, I was mesmerized by the view–mountains, autumn trees, white houses and buildings!  This city looked totally different from Seoul.

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Outside KTX Busan Station

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Taxis waiting in line outside Busan KTX Station

Since we couldn’t speak Korean and the drivers couldn’t speak English, we showed them our hotel’s address through the Ipad.  It was a good thing that we also prepared the address in Korean characters.  We took three cabs.

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All taxis have GPS

The driver attempted to build rapport but he spoke in Korean.  We’re really sorry Mr. Driver.  We couldn’t understand a thing you said.  😦

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Taxi Fare from Busan KTX Station to Tower Hill Hotel: KRW 8,000

We arrived at our hotel and we could finally leave our luggage.  Tower Hill Hotel is a 15 to 20-minute ride from Busan KTX Station.  (Check this website for their rooms and rates).  A part of this hotel is literally on a hill.

Tower Hill Hotel

  • Address: 20, Baeksan-gil, Jung-gu, Busan, PU, South Korea
    Phone:+82 51-250-6000
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The street in front of Tower Hill Hotel

What makes Busan’s streets interesting?  The roads are made of tiles!

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Another street with a different floor tile design

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Busan in the afternoon

We went out to explore the city.

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What? An underground shopping center?!

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Smiles for the camera, not for walking down the stairs

Smiling for the camera before going through a painful journey on the stairs.  LOL  Just like Rayn (photo: left facing camera), my left knee would hurt whenever I walked down the stairs.  It was triggered by the cold weather. *cough* *cough* Arthritis. *cough* *cough*

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Lots of cheap finds!

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Street signs

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I really liked this area because of the benches and trees which lined up on the streets

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Busan Tower at Yongdusan Park

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Street Shopping at Night

There are a lot of nice stuff for sale near the Gukje Market area.  It looks expensive but it’s actually quite affordable.

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Clothes for Autumn and Winter

The clothes for sale are seasonal.  There were only a few being sold that are fit for a tropical country like the Philippines.

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Street Food

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Scarves

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Cute shop exterior

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Jao asking for directions

Whenever we got lost, we would prefer approaching high school or college students for directions.  They are most likely able to understand/converse in English.  We were looking for the famous Jagalchi Market.

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We found it!

Jagalchi Fish Market is a fish market in the neighborhood of Nampo-dong in Jung-gu, and Chungmu-dong, Seo-gu, Busan, South Korea.[1] The market is located on the edge of Nampo Port (남포항), Busan. The name is said to have originated from jagal (자갈 gravel in Korean) because the market used to be surrounded by many gravels.[2] This is one of the ten landmarks of Busan, so many tourists visit there to shop.[3](Wikipedia)

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Seafood Vendor

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Street Cleaners

I really admire the South Koreans for always making sure that their streets are clean.

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Lotte Department Store at night

We walked from Jagalchi Market to Lotte Department Store (Gaya-daero, Busanjin-gu, Busan). Those shapes surrounding “LOTTE” changes color from time to time.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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Who took our picture?

We’d make use of our bags, tables or chairs as tripods. 😀

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Water Fountain Show

We waited for the Water Fountain Show and took a seat on the benches around the fountain area.  I really expected that it was going to be really beautiful but I got disappointed.  There was something wrong with the lights.  We didn’t wait for the show to finish and then we left.

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Subway

From Lotte, we walked to the subway and took two trains to Kyungsung.  There are automatic machines inside Busan’s stations where you can buy paper/card tickets.  Click here for the fare and more info. Jagalchi to Kyungsung Station: 1 transfer, 42 minutes.

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Everyone was busy with their cellphones 😀

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We walked along the streets of Kyungsung

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Popular Korean street food: Ddeokbokki 떡볶이 – Spicy Korean Rice Cakes (left) and fish cakes on stick (right) KRW 1,000-2,000.
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You won’t have the complete South Korean experience if you won’t try their street food

If you walk around the streets of Busan, you’ll see these almost anywhere.  The Ddeokbokki looked very enticing because of its color.  I had a feeling that it was very spicy but I wanted to try it.

There were college students who were eating beside the stall. When they saw us, they encouraged us to try. After I took my first bite, I told myself that I’m never going to eat one again!  HAHA!  It was too spicy and I have a very low tolerance for spicy food.  The students looked at my reaction and laughed.  If I saw myself, I would have laughed too.

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1…2…3…Say “Fish Cakes”

If you don’t want to eat anything spicy, you can try the fish cakes instead.  I really liked it.  It reminds me of our own fish balls in the Philippines but the difference is: we fry it and South Koreans cook it on boiling water.

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What’s this long line for?

We continued to walk and saw people who lined up as if they wanted a celebrity to sign for an autograph.  It was actually a waffle cart.  Wait. What?  A waffle cart?!

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The smiling Mr. Waffle Man

We got curious so we lined up too.  It actually took him so long before he could finish giving out the waffles.  I got curious, went near him and watched while he made those.  What made him very interesting was his cute apron and he was always smiling!  I realized that he was making those waffles with passion (no kidding) plus he was building rapport with his customers.

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Chocolate and Strawberry Sprinkles

His waffles were very special.  You can request for chocolate and strawberry sprinkles + chocolate and strawberry cream for no extra cost.  No wonder his customers didn’t mind the long line.

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The finished product! KRW 3,000

The waffle was very delicious although it was too sweet.  I couldn’t finish the whole thing in one sitting.

Gwangalli Beach at night

Gwangalli Beach at night

From Kyungsung, we took a cab to Gwangalli Beach.  Taxi ride:  around KRW 8,000.

Gwangalli Beach (Hangal: 광안리 해수욕장) is a beach in Busan, South Korea. It is located at Gwangan 2(i)-dong, Suyeong-gu,Busan Metropolitan City, west of Haeundae Beach. It sits inside a cove spanned by the Gwangan Bridge and covers 82,000 square meters over a length of 1.4 km and a width of 25 to 110 metres, in a curved in a half-moon shape with fine sand. Adjacent are alleys with restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs. Because of its popularity, city officials are pushing for improving water quality around the beaches.[1] The beach is near the Busan Yachting Center used for the sailing events of the 1988 Summer Olympic.  (Wikipedia)

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Lost and Found: Boys

We took 2 cabs:  one for the boys and the other for us girls.  We only told the driver to take us to Gwangalli Beach but we didn’t know that the beach was really big!  When we arrived there, we couldn’t find the boys.  Thank God for free wi-fi, we were able to communicate through Facebook and we found out that the taxi driver dropped them off on the other end of the beach.  We didn’t stay long.  It was already so cold.

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Late dinner

We took a cab from Gwangalli Beach to our hotel.  We were already too tired to commute.  Taxi fare:  around KRW 12,000.

We had our late dinner at a Korean restaurant near our hotel.   I had Kimbab (KRW 5,000). It was my first time to try it and it was okay.  That’s what I’d look like if I get very tired and sleepy.  LOL  It was a long and tiring but fun day. I looked forward to the next day but I badly needed to sleep.

P.S.  The photos were taken using a camera phone and digital camera.  Credits to Lhynx Lim, Ritha Villahermosa, Joan Villahermosa and Raynier Go for some of the photos that were used for this blog. :)

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