After being in Korea for almost 10 months now, I am feeling very comfortable. The adventure of it all and the newness has slowly disappeared. The food isn’t quite as foreign, the buses aren’t as confusing and the giddiness of simply waking up in South Korea is gone. The arrival of the beach season brings new opportunities to explore Korea. Taking advantage of a three day weekend (Buddha’s birthday), I headed to Busan to experience something new and feel like a traveler again.
Haeundae-gu is known for its beautiful beach which is what many Koreans have labeled the best beach in Korea. I can’t say that I disagree, however, although it’s free of debris, it’s littered with both foreigners and Koreans. Definitely worth a weekend getaway, though. I stayed at Pobi Guesthouse, which I highly recommend. It’s a short walk away from the beach area and very clean. Since it was a holiday weekend, Pat and I booked our bus tickets early using the Kobus.kr. Booking early is always a good idea on holiday weekends, the hostel and motel prices skyrocketed once the weekend arrived and the city was filled with backpackers trying to find accommodation.
Saturday was spent soaking up the sun, taking walks along the beach and snapping pictures of cute Korean kids. The popular thing to do among Koreans seemed to be to come to the beach fully clothed then throw your friend/brother/sister/girlfriend into the ocean, clothes and all. I lost count of the number of Koreans I saw doing that. After spending the majority of the morning and the afternoon under the harsh rays, we decided to get lunch at a popular Mexican restaurant called Fuzzy Navel. Great food, but you have to be patient. This definitely isn’t a fast food place, the wait for food is quite long. So, order one of their fantastic Bloody Marys and enjoy the old American pop music they play.
Busan is known for its amazing seafood. While I love my Jangheung beef, sometimes I just need something different. Pat and I ate out two nights while in Haeundae. The second night we had a delicious spicy seafood soup and the first night we had this:
Shellfish soup with an assortment of Banchan and a side of white rice paired with a bottle of Soju. It really can’t get much better than that, folks. The dining experiences in Korea never get old. Whether it be a traditional restaurant where you have to sit on the floor or a samgyeopsal restaurant where you cook the meat at the table, it’s all fantastic. After dinner while we were walking through Haeundae Market, we stumbled upon the killing of what could have been our potential dinner: eel. Grilled eel seems to be a popular dish in Haeundae as there are restaurants lining the streets. In front of the restaurants you can watch as they select your eel out of the overcrowded tank and skin it before your eyes. Watching this didn’t exactly make me me want to try eel anytime soon. Check it out:
Both nights we ended up at Rock and Roll House. I wouldn’t say it’s the best bar in Haeundae, but the music was good, the people were fun, and the drink prices were reasonable. For all you IPA lovers, check out Sharky’s. They carry a super hoppy IPA called Rogue, it’ll make your taste buds dance. Other night adventures included a pub quiz at Star Bar and late night runs to the “Taco Truck”. The nights always ended, though, at Rock and Roll House dancing with friends and screaming the words to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Monday morning Pat and I journeyed to Centum City to check out the world’s largest department store. Once we got bored with that we headed over to the Busan International Motor Show. Pat checked out the cars and I took pictures of all the cute kids posing for their parents in front of the cars. My favorite:
Thanks, Buddha, for the three day weekend! Busan, I’ll be back.