안녕하세요: 2D1N Busan Exploration Part 1


Oops, I just realised it has been more than a month since I last blogged.. For some reason, time is passing by so quickly and I am barely keeping my head over the water with everything that is going on. Is it a sign that I am getting old? T.T

Don't answer that. We shall just move on with the final portion of my extended stay in Korea, completed with a 2-day 1-night stay in Busan.

To be honest, Busan is not my favourite city since I first visited in 2012. I thought I might be too biased or too quick to judge, which was why I decided to give Busan another chance, and went back on my own. Errr, maybe that is not so true. I had actually planned to fly to Osaka from Busan (which is cheaper than from Seoul by the way), so Busan was more of a stopover. But! that does not mean I did not put in the effort to explore the different parts of the city loved by many. Let's check out the attractions I popped by.

So, right after I dropped my stuff at the hostel I was staying in -- Blue Boat Hostel Nampodong, I went for a stroll in the vicinity and my first stop of the day was Yongdusan Park 용두산 공원, directly accessible from this escalator along Nampodong Street 남포동거리. The Gong Cha should still be there, even though it is no longer with us in Singapore.. Doesn't matter to me actually, since I am more of a Koi-person lolol

That's the Busan Tower~~

Apparently, the Yongdusan was formerly known as the Songhyunsan, but changed its name as the people find the shape of the mountain peak similar to that of a dragon head i.e. Yongdu and it actually protects the area from foreign invasion via the sea during the Korea War. That is why we'd notice the familiar figure, the statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin here at the Yongdusan Park as well.

There are many other attractions around Nampo-dong, including the BIFF Square 광장, Gwangbokdong Food Street 광복동 먹자골목, Gwangbok-dong Cultural & Fashion Street 광복로 문화패션거리 and of course, the famous Gukje Market Food Street 국제시장 먹자골목 and Jalgachi Market 자갈치 시장. It is almost like a one-stop center in Busan. Why else would Ha Ha and Skull tell us all to come Nampo-dong?

Everybody come to Nampo-dong~~ Everybody come to Jagalchi Shijang~~

Lotte Department Store AND Lotte Mart for the shopaholics

For tourists who are not so into shopping, remember to check out the Busandaegyo Bridge 부산대교 and Yeongdodaegyo Bridge 영도대교 on either side of the Lotte Building. The Busandaegyo Bridge was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Busan Port, and the Yeongdodaegyo Bridge lifts itself up and point towards the sky several times a day to allow ships to pass through. Super cool!

Jalgachi Market -- Come here for the wide array of fresh seafood!

BIFF Square -- Anyone you'd recognise?

Gukje Market -- Hungry yet?

And a sad dog outside Gukje Market in Winter

I spent way more time than I was supposed to to explore the whole of Nampo-dong, and it was almost 4 pm when I was done, making it hard to decide whether I should continue on to my next stop, which was the Beomeosa Temple 범어사 located in the mountains. As I doubt I would be returning to Busan anytime in the near future or would have enough time the next day before my flight to Osaka, I stuck with my itinerary and went ahead despite fully knowing night falls fast in winter.

So I took the subway to Oncheonjang Station and made my way to Geumgang Park 금강공원 after turning right from Exit #1 and walking straight for about 10 minutes. I headed straight for the cable car station and made it to the last ride up Geumjeongsan Mountain 금정산. Upon reaching the peak, the operator even told me specifically not to venture too far as I only have ten minutes before the last cable ride down leaves the station.

That meant that if I want a ride down, I would not be able to visit the Beomeosa Temple. And if I insist on visiting the Beomeosa Temple, I might be spending my night, or probably my whole life in the mountains since I have no map, no reception and no idea how to get out. Come to think of it, I am really shocked that I actually got the courage and determination to tell him not to wait for me.

Off we go!

It was too late but I did kind of regretted my decision when I realised how scary it was to be venturing in the mountains alone. There was no one in sight, and the only information I knew about this hiking trail was to "head towards Nammun Village 남문 마을 and follow the path". I thought that was simple enough to follow, but apparently it is not when most paths are not clearly defined. I had stepped from rock to rock to cross streams, go down slopes, etc. It did not help that Nammun Village appeared so quickly and I didn't know how to continue from there. I was obviously lost.

It was also here where I sprained my ankle real badly, I had no idea where I was, and could not even go back to the top because I do not know the way of course, and even if I made it there, I would not be able to go down via cable car until the very next day. The only choice I had at that time was to keep on walking. It almost felt like I was one of the tributes in my own version of the Hunger Games, and I really thought this was where I was going to die. It did not helped when I realised no one knows I am here. No one would even launch a search team to locate me. I didn't even want to go Beomeosa anymore. I just want to get out safely and return to my hostel. Drama max.

I was SO dead when I saw this, but somehow I made it...

These are the only pictures I managed to take before the sky turns dark within seconds. In case you have noticed, I was still pretty much at the top of the mountain and once again, this is where I have to thank my lucky stars for a middle-aged couple who decided to take a stroll up to Beomeosa that very evening. I swear they were the only souls I saw throughout this journey.

They were shocked to see me alone in the dark and accompanied me down. I WAS SO HAPPY to see someone, and I WAS EVEN HAPPIER when I saw that they have a car parked halfway down. They initially offered me a ride to the nearest subway station but upon knowing I was staying in Nampo, they wanted to send me back. Obviously I could not let them do so when their house is just at the foot of Geumjeongsan Mountain, so they dropped me at Seomyeon in the end. I have met SO MANY kind souls on this solo trip, and I cannot be more grateful for their help.

And with that, I spent my evening at Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center 서면지하도상가 and Seomyeon First Street 서면 1번가, one of the busiest streets in Busan that is also known as the Art Street for its performance halls, festivals and street performances.

Stay tuned for the second part of my trip, featuring the Gamcheon Culture Village 감천 문화마을 and 40-step Culture & Tourism Theme Street 40계단 문화관광테마거리!

It will be published soon, I promise,

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