Trip to Busan

Busan is South Korea's second largest city. You would have heard this name from popular movie such as Train to Busan, it was also on the list of New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2017 (it is number 48 on the list).

While Seoul is a bustling metropolis with people in suits, in Busan it is the largest industrial area and at first glance it is mostly blue collar. It has now gone through a renaissance and it has established itself as a creative and international center for hosting sports tournaments and events like the Annual Busan Film Festival.

We took the morning train to Busan from Seoul. We were not sure what to expect but we bought the first class tickets. We had wide comfortable seats and we were given courtesy water bottles. The free wifi was strong enough to stream videos. The 3-hour trip was a breeze.

Our plan was to take the morning train to Busan and spend the entire day on a hop on-hop off tourist bus. It was raining that day and since Busan is by the water the wind is strong and cold. All seats inside the bus was taken so we were forced to endure the cold rain on the open top.

As expected, our bus looped around the port and bridges around Busan. All I can see were ships, crates and high rises. It is definitely more rugged than the sleek Seoul.

The drive through this high loops made me uneasy. They look too narrow and high.

Looking outside the concrete jungle.

We decided to get lunch at Centum City, one of the worlds largest department store. There were so many food options at the food court and there were also individual restaurants upstairs.

After sitting in the cold rain, all I want to eat was something warm. A bowl of noodles was a good idea but the menu didn't have much details beyond the picture and the lady didn't really made small talk reminding me that this was a cold noodle bowl. You should see my horror on my first taste of the broth and found out it was ice cold soup with pieces of shredded ice on top. I think my mouth got numb afterwards. Nevertheless, I finished my food. I don't want it to go to waste.

While everyone in my group is getting tired and cold from the rain, we decided to take the bus back to our hotel to rest and get ready to walk around and end our day with a hefty (and hopefully warm!) dinner.

We walked around between Jagalchi and Nampo area and found these lively narrow alleyways. It was easy to get lost to them and these lighted alleyways seem endless.

We plan to have our dinner at Jagalchi Market where you could pick the items you want to eat and they will cook it for you. The market seem to wrap up for the night and most vendors were heading home. We settled to go somewhere else.

The guys want to eat something substantial so we all settled for this lively chicken and beer place.

We ordered 2 sets of chicken: garlic and original fried. Paired with light beers and rice were equally delicious. This fed a group of 6 people. This probably started our obsession with chicken and beer. Koreans seem to know how to live the best life - one chicken and beer (or soju) at a time.

We end our day walking back to our hotel. We found a non-descript place to stay by the Busan Station. It is a small room with a soaking tub which would be perfect for my sore feet. We have to get some sleep since we would visit the Beomeosa Temple and head straight to Gyeongju.

Last thoughts: I am actually intrigued with Busan and would like to explore further. I am curious how this city looks like in the warmer months when the beach opens. Also, it seemed that it is more cheaper to stay in Busan compared to Seoul. Maybe a little more laid back and informal.

On my next visit, I will stay longer and would take that 3 hour ferry to Japan.

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