On my trip to Busan (부산). After Boseong, we hopped on an express bus for a three hour ride to Busan. I’m still amazed at how easy and fast it is to get around Korea.
I was super excited as I have had intentions of visiting Busan since I stepped foot in Seoul. I love the ocean and I have noticed missing it when I stay in Seoul too long. It’s a thing. We arrived at the Busan Express Bus Terminal at around 11:00pm and then we hopped on the metro to Haeundae (해운대) and immediately crashed. The next morning we awoke very near the beach and we spent the morning wandered around the area looking for breakfast.
Skyscrapers Lining the Beach
We got a tip from a kind employee at the tourist information center on the boardwalk and went searching for the restaurant he had recommend. We had a map with a circle behind a major hotel and his description of “hamburger restaurant” to go on. We were not interested in hamburgers for breakfast, but the guy had said they served breakfast food there. This could have meant a number of things, but we chanced it. After wandering in a small circles a few times and getting steered in the wrong direction by a “helpful” man with a bit too much enthusiasm and some confused information about a “British Thanksgiving”, we finally found Breeze Burns, a western restaurant with epic western breakfast plates. After justifiably throwing around the word “vacation” a few times epic western breakfast plates were proper.
Western Breakfast (has now replaced "Lumberjack breakfast" in my terminology)
After a slow and satisfying breakfast and a brief chat about the best brunch places that our hometown offers, we walked along the ridge to Dongbaek Park. The sky was amazingly clear and some time was spent climbing on the rocks around the fishermen and couples posing for pictures.
After a spider-dwelling-pine-tree-lined walk up lots of steps, true to Korean hill/mountain form, we reached a small area with a statue of Choi Chi Won Haeundae’s namesake.
One of Many
Choi Chi Won Statue
After this walk we caught a cab to go to the famous Jagalchi Fish Market and wandered through the very crowded market looking at all the seafood while being called to enter the various restaurants lining the market. This was the first time in South Korea where I feel that I’ve been called at to buy something.
After the market we caught the subway back to Haeundae and drank tall boys of Hite Dry and Max, respectively, staring at the Pacific Ocean while the sun was setting over Dongbaek island and the neon lights of the large hotels surrounding the beach came on around us.
Shoes and Sand
Max and Hite Dry
Light Reflecting Off of the Buildings
Buildings Lighting Up
After the sun had set and the temperature dropped we headed to find food. We stopped at one the many soju tents behind the beach and ended up with makgeolli and tteokbokki.
Tteokbokki and Makgeolli
After the makgeolli did what it does best we headed into the Wolfhound for the night was young. I’ve been to the Wolfhound in Seoul and it’s fine, but the real draw to western bars in Korea is simply that you don’t have to order food with your drink like you do in Korean bars (Hofs, or the Japanese version Izakayas). After a sangria and a whiskey drink (err something…respectively) I was ready to meet my goal of eating seafood in Busan so I did what made sense and impulsively followed a group of Koreans going into a busy restaurant. Having no clue as to what kind of seafood the restaurant was serving and not having socks on, which always feels shameful when you have to take off your shoes in a restaurant, I still sat down ready for an adventure. After asking the Chinese cashier a question in broken Korean and her turning to the Korean server for help, the server came over and I’m sure we looked helpless. She said the name of a dish claiming that it was delicious, in English, and we said “sure”. All the while looking over at the next table where a family sat, the daughter eating McDonalds and the parents with a red mass of something flopping around over a gas grill. Naturally it turned out that we had ordered the same flopping red mass. The irony lays in the fact that of all the seafood we had seen at the market, the eel looked the least appealing, but there we had gone and ordered it.
Jang Uh Gui (장어구이)
This is where the adventure ends really. We picked at it a bit, gave it our best shot, paid up and left, not disappointed, but not really interested.
The next morning we hopped on an early KTX train back to Seoul.