Go F___ yourself in Busan! Guide to Busan in 2 days!
This is a continuation of my previous post, Go find yourself in Busan in a day! Please check there for a good first day itinerary.
So, you’ve either got another day here, or your means of conveyance doesn’t arrive until much later on in the evening. Well, we’ve wrapped up the East Coast of Busan in the first day, so where to?
There’s a lot to do on Busan’s Southern coast. Today, I’m gonna walk you through a totally decent trip to Busan’s finest South side locations.
But, isn’t there shopping in Shinsegae?
Of course! Go there. If you came to another country to go to a giant department store, then have at it. I’d personally go by there for the ice rink (a very good novelty to have year round in a mall) or the spa. The spa there is legendary, and my friends go on about it at length. You could spend the whole day there in the spa, shopping, or skating.
But I’m not writing a travel guide to tell you to go to the mall. If your main idea of exploring foreign lands is to bone up to the largest department store in the world to shop, you and I have fundamental differences in what travel is for. So, by all means, let’s continue.
First thing you’re gonna do is head down to…
It’s located on the orange line. If you stayed in Gwangalli or Haeundae, just take the green line and transfer at Seomyeon. It’s a lot cheaper than a taxi, and takes about the same amount of time.
So, when you get to Nampo-dong, go out exit 7. Exit 7 is across from the underground entrance to Lotte Department store.
Upon exiting, you’re going to notice Gwangbok (Independence) Street. If you’re here near Christmas, this is the place to go feel all Christmas-y. Any other time, it’s a good place to start a wander around.
However, you’re around the corner from one of the best cups of coffee in the country. Take the first street on dead ahead and slightly to the right as you come out. You should see Baunova coffee just ahead on your right. Seriously, one of the best cups of coffee in at least Busan.
Why? All of their baristas are not only trained roasters. The owner/operator is a certified coffee sommelier. They are so particular that water has a triple filtration system, and all employees have attended a water quality and filtration course in addition to their coffee training. Simply put, these people are serious about coffee.
In nicer weather, there are tables outside. However, this is more of a ‘take-out’ coffee shop. They are so about coffee that the inside of their storefront is just coffee and roasting accessories (occasionally, a total mess). I recommend this place as someone who is a) tired of foreigners telling me Koreans can’t make coffee and b) a former regular who buys pounds of their coffee to take back to my home in Seoul.
The street you should presently be on has a gauntlet of women who are professional money-changers. Sitting in chairs like cats in scattered cardboard boxes, these women are a valid alternative to going to the bank. Whenever I went to Japan, I was all-too-happy to have these women to change my cash. If you don’t want to venture down this street of cheap souvenirs and massage places, then head back to the main road. If you fancy a massage, make a pit stop and get one. Otherwise.
Gwangbok street is a good starting point. It’s a totally decent brick road with good shopping for locals and tourists. However, I’m not here to tell you about that. This is a jumping off point to many other things.
For people who like panoramic views and paying to be shuttled up city phalluses, down Gwangbok 3 blocks and to your right is an escalator to Busan tower and Yongdusan park. The park is nice enough. It’s a great photo op, and there’s a few lacklustre museums as well as the tower. You also will never struggle to find the old men on the left playing Go (바둑) for hours at a time and consuming impressive amounts of soju. It’s a nice place to see, and worth the pit stop.
When you head back down, walk down past the main road and make your first right. The main street is nice, but if you want to see the more desperate and enticing chaos that Asia is known for, head down the side street next to Gwangbok for a myriad of places to eat, drink, or buy socks. Keep walking until you get to
Now here’s a situation worthy of lovingly being called a hot mess.. This used to be the main sight of the Busan International Film Festival. There are 2 movie theatres, with screens in various other buildings on the street. The main festival has moved to more ‘moneyed’ parts of town (Haeundae), but this place is still an awesome collection of street food, chaos and fun.
There are plenty of places to eat up and down this way. I’d use this spot as a landmark while you go explore the immediate area. There is a full range of food around here, from street food to steak, so take some pics and have a wander around, but save room for dessert, because this place is home to the legendary
A fried pancake with brown sugar and sunflower seeds in it? Yes, you can look up countless food aficionados having a good wank at explaining the finer points of it to you. However, just try one. They’re about 1k won, and the stand with the line up is the most famous place to buy one in Korea. If you’re in BIFF Square, you’ll know exactly which place to get it. Don’t go to the knock off places down the block. In my opinion, these are good enough to potentially ruin any more hoddeoks you will have for the rest of your time here.
After you’ve had a wander around, you have a choice. If you can afford the time or are leaving soon, check out
Started as a side street selling magazines left behind by American soldiers, this place is now an adorable little enclave of bookstores with plenty of kitschy and beautiful photo ops. There are even a few coffee shops to stop by and relax. Will you find a book? Not important. It’s a great little street to experience.
After that this nice little detour, head back to BIFF Square.
Now, if you feel like taking in the largest fish market around, cross the road at BIFF square and walk right into
Not the building. That big building sucks… Seriously. Turn right and walk past it to get to the real market. It goes on for blocks, and is very endearing. You’ll know when it ends, and there’s plenty of places to grab a small bite or a big meal.
Tip: The old women running the stalls can be quite feisty. Be careful taking pictures, and make sure you are smiley and polite if you care to try your luck. Buying things helps your case as well.
Also, if you’re keen on taking pictures of the boats, you can skip over to that area and have at it.
Now, if you haven’t filled yourself with a bunch of fish already, how about a shellfish dinner on the seaside?
Thought so. Let’s go to the
Grab a taxi from outside of Lotte Department Store to the tents at Taejongdae, or use the directions on this page from Busan Awesome High Five!. There are a whole bunch of tents, that all run pretty much the same meal for the same price. This will be a carnival barking match. Your best bet is to find someone who speaks English (if you’re Korean’s no good) and saddle up in there.
Seriously, this is a great way to spend the early evening. Watching the sun go down while you treat yourself to a shellfish dinner is the best idea you’ll have all day.
After you’ve had some dinner, let’s get you back to civilization. Take a taxi or the bus to Nampo-dong, then take the subway over to
Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of Seomyeon. I do believe I’ve never been there with my camera; which means I’ve hardly been there sober. My apologies.
Seomyeon is a big party place (as mentioned) with plenty of good eats and places to get a drink. A good rundown of different places in Seomyeon can be found at this link. If you’re perusing there, the Old Record Bar is great. Or, you could sidestep to Beomil dong to the Cave Bar.
Well, that’s where I end things. You can always check my previous post if you’re looking for KSU or PNU as options for partying as well.
If you need a room close to there, book that up solid before you go out. Maybe even have some down time before you head out. Korea is at war with sleep, and Seomyeon is a formidable battlefield.
Well, that’s it for me. Hope I’ve been of some service.
Part 3 may very well arrive soon.