For budget, travel info, culture, see Itinerary Part 1.
For Seoul Itinerary Days 1-3, and Days 12-14, see Parts 2 & 8 respectively.
For Andong Itinerary Day 4, see Part 3.
For Gyeongju Itinerary Day 5, see Part 4.
For Busan itinerary Days 6-8, see Part 5.
For Jeju Island Days 9-10, see Part 6.
For Haeinsa at Gayasan National Park Day 11, see Part 7.
Busan Itinerary Day 8: Haedong Yonggunsa, Busan Museum, and Shopping
Two days in Busan is enough. If you’re rushing for time, you can skip this day and move on with your itinerary.
In the morning, head to Haedong Yonggunsa, one of the few temples to be built along the coast, honoring the seawater great goddess Buddha of Mercy, who lives in the sea and rides a dragon. You may want to catch sunrise here, or the cherry blossoms in April or lanterns in May for Buddha’s birthday.
Admiral Yi Sun-shin fended off Japan with his iron-clad “turtle” ships, and Korea shut itself from the rest of the world, with only Busan port open to foreign ships, and came to be known as the Hermit Kingdom from 1600-1800s.
Afternoon, visit the Busan Museum, which displays the artifacts, telling the history of Korea. So few people visit this museum that the receptionist gave me a free ticket. It wasn’t spectacular to me, but it brought the Korean history to life.
Life-sized barber shop in the 70s in Busan Museum. Very scary, considering I was the ONLY visitor in the museum.
If you have enough of temples and museums, then just skip them and go shopping. If you’ve been following my itinerary, you would probably already have shopped at PNU area, and the Haeundae area. So the third area I’d recommend is Seomyeon, where my recommended hotel is. For trendy clothes, try Migliore (668-1 Jeunpo 1-dong, Jin-gu; +82-51-922-6000; 11am-11.40pm; closed 1st and 3rd Monday of the month; Line 1 or 2 to Seomyeon Station exit 5 or 6); for duty-free shopping, try Lotte (772 Gaya-daero, Busanjin-gu; 10.30am-8pm, closed on alternate Mondays; Seomyeon Station exit 7); for bargains, go to Judies Taehwa shopping center and the surrounding streets (+82-51-667-7000; 11am-11pm; closed 2nd and 4th Mondays; Seomyeon Station exit 2, then turn left.)
How to Get to Haedong Yonggunsa
Line 1 to Dongnae Station, then take bus #100 or #100-1, get off at Songjeong Beach to transfer to another bus, bus #181.
416-3 Sirang-li, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun
How to Get to Busan Museum
Line 2 to Daeyong, exit 3, turn 180-degrees around, take the 1st left, and walk for 15 min.
948-1, Daeyeon 4-dong, Nam-gu
T-Sun: 9am-8pm. Closed national holidays.
What to Eat Around Seomyeon
Remember that Seomyeon is a youth area so the food is fast, cheap and not healthy. There are lots of chain stores here and I tried Lotteria (the Korean fast food), Tous Les Jour (bakery), Angel-in-us coffee, Paris Baguette (bakery), and a Korean ice cream shop.
1. Mubanna Chondak KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN is evil. Once it gets in your head, you have to satisfy your craving. This chain shop is everywhere and of course I had to eat it to compare with Singapore’s Chicken Up and Kko Kko Nara. Eh, so-so niah.
Address: It’s everywhere but the store I had was along Jungang-daero 702 beon-gil. (Seomyeon Station Exit 2, turn left on the 3rd street, and walk straight for 3 minutes. On your right.)
2. Soft Tofu Stew Steamed Kimchi KOREAN I swear that’s the name of the shop: “Soft Tofu Stew Steamed Kimchi.” When I asked the hotel receptionist what she ate for lunch, she pointed me to this shop. The stew was spicy kimchi soy bean stew and you can add things like seafood, or cheese in the stew. It goes as low as ₩8K and guess what? Except for the stew, everything else is refillable for free! It’s like a buffet!
Address: Along Jungang-daero 692 beon-gil. (Seomyeon Station Exit 2, turn left on the 2nd street, and walk straight for 3 minutes. On your right.)
Address in Korean (click to enlarge):
3. Don’t know what it is called. From a roadside stall outside the fried chicken shop, this was skewered grilled chicken. The auntie asked, “Spicy or no?” I said, “Spicy,” and regretted. SO SPICY I immediately had to go to the toilet.
4. By the way, if you’re clubbing at Seomyeon, there are makeshift tents set up at night to 6am for supper along Jungang-daero 702 beon-gil.
To be continued…
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.