I can't believe it has taken us nearly a year to visit the coastal city of Busan. I kind of wish we had gone earlier as I'm sure we would have been back a few times. But I'm so glad we managed to go before we leave Korea. Busan is the second largest city in Korea but it is not very accessible from Jeonju. There is no direct train and the buses aren't that frequent. On our way home we actually had to go via Gwangju, which was such a mission, making our trip home 7 hours! But anyway, our great weekend in Busan made up for it.
When we were planning our itinerary we decided that we weren't desperate to see any of the major tourist attractions, but rather just wanted to relax and take it easy. The only 2 places that were on our list were the Gamcheon Culture Village and the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (full blog posts coming soon).
We caught the first bus to Busan on Saturday morning and went straight to the culture village. Unexpectedly there was a festival going on around the village giving it a vibrant atmosphere.
After wondering around for a couple of hours, we went to Gwangalli where we had lunch at Sharky's (great place) and chilled on the beach.
We then decided to walk along the coast for a while. There are some great coastal trails that go on for kilometers. The paths followed the sea and weren't too busy.
We didn't reach the end of the trail but turned around about half way and headed back to Gwangalli beach and the sun was starting to set. The lights come on Gwangalli Bridge around 8pm so we waited for that. As the darkness and night chill set in, we headed to our accommodation in Haeundae and had a relaxed evening.
The following day, we were up very early for a walk along Haeundae Beach (the most famous beach in Korea). There were quite a few people running, cycling and swimming already. Although the water was rather cold, we thought we had to swim otherwise we would regret it. It was so refreshing. Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches are really something quite amazing to see. It's so weird to see the skyscrapers come right up to the beaches, definitely not something you see in Cape Town.
We had a quick breakfast at our accommodation and caught a bus to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. This temple is famous for being the only seaside temple in Korea. It was quite crowded and adorned with colourful lanterns to celebrate Buddha's birthday next week.
We headed back to Haeundae and had a quick lunch before beginning our long trip back to Jeonju.
I definitely think Busan is a great city. It has such a relaxed atmosphere and it's not as busy and fast-paced as Seoul. Another thing we noticed were the amount of people walking dogs (even off lead), definitely a record for Korea.