My First Stop in Korea
It was a huge relief to finally arrive in Busan as my last day in Japan was rushed and a little bit stressful. Until the last minute I was not sure if I will catch my ferry to South Korea or at least the one that I booked a couple of days earlier. It was a comedy of errors, not on my part entirely, that I will share some other time.
Busan is a fun city. The sun, the beach.. That always attracts a lively crowd. I am not at all surprised that it is a popular destination with many young people from Seoul, who want to get away from the capital and as well as their parents to party and hang out with friends.
When I arrived in the evening it felt to me like my hostel was situated in some kind of epicentre of bars and restaurants but later I realised that this is the feel of the city. Fine by me! I just did not expect that I will struggle so much with finding a place where I can easily order something to eat, which is not a pile of meat. I was surrounded by Korean barbecues. They were everywhere!
At one restaurant I finally managed to order some noodles. Success? Not really.. They were cold noodles, naengmyeon and I am not particularly fond of these type of cold dishes. Luckily I also got offered a nice salad followed by other snacks and drinks. After a while a small green bottle with two shot glasses ended up on my table. It was a bottle of soju, vodka-like rice liquor. A restaurant manager insisted I have a drink with him, a proper Korean welcome!
It soon turned out that others, who sat around me want to see how a girl from Poland handles her drink. All eyes on me. Well.. I let my team down, I let my country down and I was grateful that a lovely waitress rushed in with a glass of water. That drink was horrible! My reaction did not stop her boss from showering me with compliments and wishing me a great stay in Korea. He even tried to flirt with me using a translation app. Hilarious!
Making the Most of My Stay
I started properly exploring Busan the next day and I was not disappointed with the Jagalchi Market. Similarly to Tokyo’s fish market, I could smell it already from the metro station. It was impressive, interesting and a little bit scary! I was glad I was wearing waterproof shoes.
Gamcheon Cultural Village was my favourite place. In the past one of Busan’s poorer areas and a home to many refugees during the Korean War, these days known for its steep streets, narrow alleys and colourful houses and artistic vibe.
To catch the sunset in serene and peaceful surroundings I decided to visit Beomosa Temple hidden in the mountains just outside of the city. The area around the temple is perfect for hiking and I wished I had more time to do it.
Quick Walk by the Sea
On my last day in Busan, just before taking a bus to Gyeongju I stopped at Haeundae Beach. I imagine that it must be a crowded place during the summer but there might be much nicer spots to enjoy the sun but as always it was great to walk by the sea. I missed that.
Busan Kyungsung Hostel was located conveniently, was not expensive but I would not recommend it to anyone. Maybe it was my overreaction after fantastic experience in Japan but hey it was a bit of a dump with dirty bathrooms and smelly duvets. I am glad I met really nice people who stayed there as otherwise it would be difficult to bear it.