My South Korea Tour Day 3. “2D1N in Busan”

Itinerary

 Pyeongchang ==> Seoul KTX Station ==> Train to Busan ==>  Jagalchi Market ==>  BIFF Square ==> Yongdusan Park ==> Gwangan Beach & Bridge

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In the original plan, we should leave Pyeongchang before 7 o’clock in the morning. But, it would be rude to just leave the deliciously prepared breakfast by our lovely host couple.  Look at those beautiful colors! We were definitely full and ready for the long trip down south. We left our holiday home later than expected.

 

Busan Tour

To complete our Korea tour, we decided to take KTX train to Busan. Nope. We did not have zombies on board. But, surely we had a lot of funny, memorable and not so memorable experiences on this trip.

 

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KTX to Busan.

 

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KTX to Busan. We booked our Korail Pass night before our trip. Since we are traveling in group we decided to book a 2-day flex group saver pass so we could save from our transportation expense.

We were pressed with time to redeem our voucher for the KTX ride. We kept running here and there. My cousin and I were the younger ones that could move fast so we decided to facilitate everything. We knew that tickets should be printed but still we took our chance to just show a soft copy along with our passport and credit card used to book it. When we arrived at the KTX station to redeem our reservation, we were advised to have it printed. Good thing there is a public computer that gives access to internet and printer inside the Seoul KTX station. We used our tap card to pay for it.

We had a bad experience on this machine station though. Ahead of  us were 2 Thai males who didn’t seem to figure out how to use the machine as well. Realizing that the queue was already long, they stepped aside. When we took over and paid our part. Then, they offered to “help” us. Unfortunately, they just tricked us! They used our money and time for their own use, printed their own ticket and left. Charged to experience. Thank goodness we made it in time. It was crazy! Come to think of it. We finished everything in less than 30 minutes and we had still 15 minutes before our train arrives.

TIP: We confirmed our ticket back to Seoul in Seoul KTX station so we didn’t have to take the queue in Busan KTX station the next day.

Assigned Seat. KTX has pre-assigned seat. It was funny but probably due to excitement to take our seat and eat our kimbap (it was past 1 o’clock in the afternoon, by the way.), we didn’t even remember to check our seat number. When we saw four seats facing each other (and with a table) I know our eyes dazzled as if we found a treasure. LOL! We did not hesitate to take it. It was until our first bite, when the ticket inspector asked us, that we wished we could hide ourselves from embarrassment. (^_^) Good thing my cousin took the tickets with her in the toilet. We made an excuse and he left. We surreptitiously moved to our assigned seat laughing.

Internet. Yes. Our fingers have been itching to post an update in social media site. We were finally on board train to Busan! Thankfully, we had good access of free internet en route to our destination.

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And we were finally here! #BusanKTXStation

When we thought that Busan is warmer because it’s in the south, we were actually caught unprepared. The weather was rainy so the wind was chilly. Later on, my Korean friend who grew up in Busan told me that it’s actually a “rain city” because it often rains there. (Just like my hankies, I think I lost 2 umbrellas with me here. LOL).

 

 

Popcorn Hostel Nampo

South Korea, Busan, Jung-gu, 자갈치로47번길 6-1.

This hostel is very cheap and ideal for backpackers. I booked it through Agoda. We paid like 550pesos each. Not bad for overnight stay. (Upon updating this blog, I saw the website of Popcorn Hostel. It’s a great improvement because I think they didn’t have it when I booked it (or did they?)

 

BIFF Square

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Our hostel is located conveniently within the city center. It’s pretty near the Jagalchi Market (smaller arc behind me) and the BIFF Square.

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BIFF Square is just right across our hostel. At the entrance, we were welcomed by these food stalls. It was rainy yet many people were still strolling around. While taking pictures of each other, one ajumma called our attention and told us to move while murmuring. It turned out that were covering her stall from prospective customers.

 

Going around BIFF Square

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Yongdusan Park (Busan Tower)

A lot of our plans in Busan got cancelled due to rain. So, we just decided to explore nearby tourist attractions. A leisurely walk brought us to a Buddhist temple beneath a hilly slope, then we found a stair, which seemed to be never-ending. Our curiosity on what’s there to see brought us on top of Yongdusan Park. We only realized it when we’re already up there.

 

 

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Few steps more to Busan Tower. On this day, my phats were crying. LOL
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Citizen’s Bell

 

 

 

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This could have been a better view had we gotten a chance to enter Busan tower. The place was already close when we arrived. The buildings behind us were actually skyscrapers, but we only got this view.
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Flower clock, General Lee Soon Shin’s Monument and Busan tower in my background.

 

 

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Busan Tower Upclose

 

 

 

Gwanganlli (Gwangan Bridge)

When in Busan, one should not miss to see the waters. Either you go to Haeundae or Gwangan Beach or both. In our case, however, we just visited Gwangan Beach. Aside from the fact that we could see the beautiful diamond bridge, we wanted to have seafoods for dinner too, but we just could not find one because it’s hard for us to navigate our location.

 

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Gwangan Bridge at night.

 

Gwangan Bridge (popularly known as Gwanganlli to many tourists), is a suspension bridge located in Busan, South Korea. It connects Haeundae-gu to Suyeong-gu. The road surface is about 6,500 meters long, with the bridge as a whole spanning 7,420 meters. It is the longest bi-level bridge over the ocean in Korea. In addition to providing a quick way to get around, the bridge offers breathtaking views of nearby attractions such as Oryukdo Island, Hwangnyeongsan Mountain, Gwangalli Beach, Dongbaekseom Island, and Dalmaji Hill.

We were able to witness a firework’s display when we got there. It was just short as it was almost ending when we got out of the restaurant.

 

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Samgyetang.  It means ginseng chicken soup. It is consists primarily of a whole young chicken – filled with garlic and rice, scallion and spices, among them jujube and Korean ginseng

 

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Our exhaustion searching for Korean seafoods restaurant in Gwanganlli brought us in this restaurant. There were actually many restaurants in the area but they were Japanese. The Korean restaurant we saw had many people drinking and they don’t serve dinner. Personally, I was glad to have been here. I’ve always wanted to try eating samgyetang. It was very delicious. It seemed to rejuvenate my tired body from walking. It was my first time eating something with ginseng. (When I got home, my mother was laughing whenever I talk about ginseng because she said we have a ginseng plant at home. She even showed it to me. Oh well, Korean ginseng is different from our ginseng. hehe)

On my 3rd day traveling around Korea, I realized that the side dishes vary according to area. While we were served mountain vegetables in Pyeongchang, we were served seaweeds, and I think spicy fish anchovy, in Busan. The owner probably realized that I was curious about ginseng so she gave us 2 baby ginsengs to be eaten fresh. It’s my first time so it tasted weird to me but it was not bad, and I finished it

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After eating, we decided to go back to our hostel in Jagalchi. We asked for direction from the restaurant owner. We had 3 options, subway, bus and taxi. We took the easiest and fastest: taxi. There’s a very little difference in terms of cost since we are four, and we can divide the cost. It was a good decision, and our driver was very trustworthy, only that he drives really fast. He went over 100kph so I had to tell him to reduce speed. Thanks to my limited Korean, he was able to understand me.
Taking the taxi was a very good decision. We were able to see the downtown of Busan at night. We also used the beautiful Bukhang Bridge. It was another new information to me.
 
Bukhang Bridge is the 2nd longest cable-stayed bridge in Korea. It was completed last 2014 so it’s a new attraction. It would have been nice if we were able to see the daytime view of the sea from there.

 

Breakfast at Jagalchi Market

We woke up early with hope that the rained had stopped but unfortunately it didn’t so we had no choice but to just have breakfast and prepare for our trip back to Seoul. We decided to go to Jagalchi Market for some local food. The marketplace is perfect to experience local culture.

Jagalchi Market, located on the shoreside road in Busan’s Jung-gu, is Korea’s largest seafood market, selling both live and dried fish. After the Korean War the market solidified itself as a fish market. Most of the people who sell fish are women, so the vendors here are called Jagalchi Ajumma, “ajumma” meaning middle-aged or married woman in Korean.

 

This market represents Busan and is famous throughout the country. If you visit you can eat fresh raw fish right at the market.

We did not walk further as the rain was pouring.  When an ajumma called us to eat at her restaurant, we checked and decided to have our breakfast there. She was kind enough to offer fresh towels to us. It was sealed. Good service! Anyway, since it’s rainy we opted for something with soup. She offered a hot-pot of eel soup and we went for it. I love spicy food so it was perfect for me!

While waiting for our food to be served, it felt like I was in a Korean drama. LOL! There were several regulars (probably). There was also a big TV monitor showing a replay of Korean dramas. She also offered us pajeon and, later on after meal, a cup of coffee!

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Travel Tips:

1. If you are traveling in group, I suggest making an online reservation through your credit card for a Korail Group saver pass. You wont be deducted until you redeem it. In our case, we are 4 so we booked at least a day before. We bought a 2 day flex pass. (http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfKrPassAbout.do) from 102,000W to just paid 91,000W each. Ok, so basically we spent more money in Busan just to experience KTX ride ^_^.

2. Have your Korail pass printed. If you were not able to do it, there is a machine for printing in Seoul KTX station. We had a bad experience from Thai travelers though. We thought they are going to help us but instead they printed their own, and I paid for them. Let’s charge it to experience.

3. Be at the KTX station at least 30mins to 1 hour because the queue may be long.

4. Don’t forget to check the weather. It was raining when we arrived in Busan. On our way, we just checked the sunset because we were planning to go to Gamcheon Culture Village but we failed to check the weather. Days after, my student said it always rains in Busan TT TT.

5. The downtown Busan is like a typical city in Seoul with many cosmetics shop too. As for the weather, it was pretty cold because it was raining.

6. Gwangan is famous for its diamond bridge and its beach. However, the area is less busier than Haeundae beach which is also a famous tourist place in Busan. We want to eat seafood that time but it’s too late so we just had Samgyetang in Busan! -_- It was delicious though. One whole chicken for each of us. 

7. We used our tapcard for Taxi! it was like 10~12000W from Gwangan beach to our hotel in Nampo. Not bad for the 4 of us chipping in.

8. If you want to Go to Gwangan beach, don’t go to Gwangan station because it’s far from the beach and takes a lot of walking. Instead get off at Geumnyeonsan Station. It’s much nearer.

9. By the way, in KTX Station in Seoul we already booked our return ticket so we didn’t have to wait in line in Busan. Also, when we arrived at Busan KTX, we were able to change our travel time to a much earlier one. This is possible.

10. Subway Korea app also has a map for Busan. ^_^

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My South Korea Tour – Day 1 Suwon & Yeouido)

Itinerary

Arrival   ->  Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung   -> Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival  ->  LG Headquarters (LG twin Towers) -> Han River

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Touchdown at Incheon International Airport. Cannot contain my happiness ^^.

Philippines and South Korea has 1 hour difference. We left Kalibo International Airport (KLA) in a red eye flight (around 1:50am) Philippine time and arrived at Incheon International Airport a bit earlier than scheduled. Unfortunately, this was also the time when the influx of international tourist arrived so we spent over 30 minutes to around 1 hour in the immigration.

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Incheon International Airport Jongno 3(sam) ga via Gongdeok Station

HOSTEL. Khaosan Seoul Insadong Guesthouse, Gwansu-dong, Seoul, South Korea. According to the instruction sent by our hotel it is just 30 steps away from Jongno 3(sam) ga station, which is true indeed. From the airport, we went to our hostel directly. We have contacted them for early check-in and they were OK. However, as it would be Saturday morning, our hostel emailed us that it’s going to be difficult to have a vacant room to leave our luggage.. They told us to just leave our luggage in the receiving area, and the valuables in their office. (With emphasis on “We have CCTV.” LOL) And, it was safe indeed. The Staffs were very accommodating. In this trip, we basically planned to spend most of our time outside and just go home to sleep. Our room was comforting for me so I have no complains.

Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung

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Jongno 3(sam) ga going to Suwon Station

Traveling to Suwon City. From our hostel, it was very convenient to go to Suwon because it took us only 1 ride.

Please see below for more information from Subway Korea Mobile Application.

Fastest Route: Line 1, Blue Line
Time Required: 1hr 9mins

Stations: 25 stations
Transfer: None
Fare: 1950 KRW (Tap Card); 2050KRW (Cash)

Suwon is a beautiful City located in Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi-Province), and there are so many places to visit there but we were only able to visit the Hwaseong Haenggung.

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At AK Food Hall we had Bokkeumbap with beef patty on top (I forgot the exact name.)  for KRW9,000

Lunch at AK Food Hall. We arrived in the Suwon around lunchtime so we were limited in our activities. Plus, we were also thinking of going to Yeouido afterwards so we can’t really stay longer. Meanwhile, we opted to have a lunch at AK Plaza. The food hall of this shopping center can be accessed from the Suwon Station.  There are a lot of food selection but it was hard to find a table for four of us.

Bus to Hwaseong Haenggung. After lunch we decided to go to Hwaseong Haenggung. From Suwon Station, don’t forget to go to the tourist information center. They have a very helpful tourism officer there. He advised us to take bus numbers 11, 13, 36 or 39. The fare was around 1300KRW
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What is Hwaseong Haenggung?

Hwaseong Haenggung is the palace where King Jeongjo used to stay when he paid respects at Hyollungwon (Present day Yungneung). It is the largest Haenggung (Temporary palace) in the Joseon Dynasty with 576 rooms, and was normally used for government office. We went to every nook and cranny inside partly out of curiosity and partly looking for our friends ^^. Prepare your feet.

 

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(Top) Park just in front of Hwaseong Haenggung (Bottom Left) Front gate of Hwaseong Haenggung (Bottom Right) A picture with some Korean students.

 

I love that the park was filled with families enjoying their time together in a beautiful spring weather. This was the first historical landmark that we visited so I was very amazed. The busy people in the palace rehearsing for the next day’s activity, and these beautiful ladies in Hanbok here brings me back to the past. For sageuk drama fan, it was really an achievement for me.

 

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Remembering Prince Sado

While strolling around the palace, I came across this rice chest. It instantly reminded me of Prince Sado who was imprisoned and made to starve by his father (King). He died inside this chest. It was too small that I wondered how he could fit in here. Such a sad story of an estranged father and son relationship.

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Make A Wish.

Zelkova Tree. Don’t forget to make a wish.  According to them, this tree is more than 600 years old and very sacred. It has stood and protected Suwon City since before the construction of Hwaseong Fortress.

 

 

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival. This was one of the most culturally shocking experience for us. We are used to enjoying festivals in my country but this one is different because the main and the most convenient (inconvenient at that time) form of transportation was subway. We took the Yeouinaru Station route from Suwon so we could get to the festival much closer but we didn’t expect the number of tourist in the area.  The place is enough for the number of tourist but the entry and exit points of the subway were not. We were shocked and scared that there might be a stampede as it was very difficult to exit on the subway stairs and people keep pushing us. Good thing I had enough strength against falling, otherwise people might just step on me. Nonetheless, it was a memorable experience for us.

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Cherry Blossom Picnic Festival, April 8, 2017

Yeouido is home to KBS station, National Assembly, IFC Mall and YG Republique restaurant but I was not able to go there.  We arrived in the area around 5:30PM and the temperature was dropping. We opted to enjoy the street food, cherry blossom and the Han River.

For this day, we also found a sort of traveler’s treasure (well, that’s just for me)… the LG Twin Towers (LG Electronics Headquarters!) We were just in search for a place to freshen ourselves. At first, I was hesitant to ask if my friends and I could use their toilet. Gosh! It’s for our survival, unless we want to embarrass ourselves in the crowd. Anyway, upon entering the building, we found a big LED monitor advertising LG. We didn’t mind it because after all LG is a Korean brand. However, I just could not stop wondering. I thought I had to speak my mind and and ask my question to the security so I could sleep well.  LOL Indeed, it was LG’s building… and we were at the back (^_^) So, we didn’t miss a chance to take pictures.

 

 

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A sculpture (left) and a bas-relief (right) at the back of LG Twin Towers.
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In front of LG Twin Towers

Han River Experience

I Seoul U ❤

To complete the evening, how about a walk in the area and be amazed by the different randoms street acts of aspiring singers and dancers… maybe future K-pop stars! Who knows you could also experience the fireworks display we saw ala Cheong Song Yi style. LOL

Travel Tips:

1. We bought T money Card for 4000W and have it reloaded with 50000W. We paid a total of 54000W (This is refundable) It saves time from reloading. You can use this tap card when taking a subway (Seoul & Busan) & Taxi.

2. Download Subway Korea App. It’s very helpful!

3. SK is tourist friendly. There are many tourist information centers in the area. Never hesitate to ask them questions.

What do you think of this post? I hope it could help you. Just message me for questions!