Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 1 - Busan : Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Haeundae Beach, Gwangalli Beach+Diamond Bridge

Did anyone here watch Korean drama “Reply 1997”? If you’ve watched it then you must be aware that they used Busan as their background right? From then on, I really love Busan for no exact reason lol. So after consider other aspect, me and my parents decided to go to Busan rather than Jeju Island. Yes, this post will mark as the start of my story-telling about my trip to South Korea yeay! Hahaha I sound too excited.

Busan is the second largest city in S.Korea after Seoul. Located in the South part of S.Korea, Busan has a big port that always busy with cargo activities and alongside with that Busan also has numerous beach, river, and also mountain which always attracts mainly local tourist. Busan is a perfect place if you come to Korea in summer. To speak frankly, tourist that come to Busan mostly are local tourists lol I rarely saw foreigners there but well it’s a not-to-miss-city, so let’s hear my story in Busan!

After some consideration, we finally choose to used KTX to go to Busan. KTX is a high-speed train that can reach many parts of S.Korea in instant. Why not airplane? Well, we wanted to try something new and Gimhae Airport (Busan’s Airport) are quite far from the main attraction in Busan and KTX is also cheaper than airplane. By using KTX, you can reach Busan in less than 3 hours while normal bus will take around 5 hours and airplane of course has shortest arrival time which is 55 minutes. You can book your ticket 1 month prior to your intended date. There are this pass that can be used only by foreigners called Korail Pass which allowed you to go anywhere in S.Korea using any train. There are 1 day pass, 3 days pass, 5 days pass, and 7 days pass. With this pass you can hop here and there without purchasing any other tickets! This pass will be really useful if you want to go to many places beside Seoul. The downside is you can’t book a seat if you use this pass, you can purchase the pass prior to your arrival and you should show it while you’re purchasing tickets to your destination at the ticketing place in big train station but if you come in a peak season, it is possible there wouldn’t be any available seats. Considering I brought my parents with me and August is a peak season in Busan, I choose not to get this pass and purchase the normal booking tickets that more expensive (around 30.000 Won/Rp360.000,- difference) to ensure we got a seat because 3 hours is a pretty long journey especially if you just have 7 hours-flight before that. The 3 days Korail pass will cost you 83.700 Won per person for 2-5 group of people while the normal tickets will cost almost 120.000 Won roundtrip per person. You can check this official site to know more about Korail pass, price, and other info about Korail trains.

We arrived at Incheon Airport around 8.30 am and immediately purchase my parents’ T-Money at 7-11 so we can go to Seoul Station by AREX. There are actually other options if you want to go by AREX, there’s this express train that of course will be faster than the normal AREX train and the seats are different than the normal one. I used the normal AREX so I’m not really sure of how to purchase this express ticket, but I think I saw another ticketing place that maybe (maybe) sell the express ticket. The express ticket cost you about 8000 or 9000 Won (Rp90.000-Rp100.000,-) while the normal one costs around 4500 Won (Rp50.000,-). It needs around 55 minutes to get to Seoul Station, so actually we were in a hurry because our train will leave at 12PM and the clock shows it’s already 9.45AM woops. 

AREX at Incheon Airport

Very first thing to buy lol

We arrived at Seoul Station at almost 11PM. Because we didn’t want to go to Busan with our luggages, we decided to put it in Premium Travel Center’s baggage storage service at Seoul Station just 1 floor upstairs the AREX’s exit gate. Check their site to know more! After we got the numbered card, we immediately go to the ticketing place to exchange our booking number with the actual ticket. It was a really simple steps so don’t worry too much about it! We have around 30 minutes left so we decided to buy some foods and snacks! There’s KTX lunch box that you can purchase on train but it’s limited so if you really really hungry just buy some foods in Seoul Station because there are many restaurants (well mostly fast foods) and stalls that sell kimbab, lunch box, and other mouth-watering foods. I didn't took many photos because we were in a hurry sorry!

Seoul Station

The screen above us will tell the train schedule, train number, and also which rail number your train will stop.

Excuse our tired face

The KTX is really comfortable!

Our lunch!

After almost 3 hours journey, we finally arrived at Busan yeay! Busan has such a really nice weather in the sunny summer. We immediately go to the alley just beside Busan Station to go find Hansung Motel that we've already booked from Agoda. It was only 5 minutes walk and finally we get to have some proper rest and showerrrrr. 

Busan Station

At night it will lit up and also there's the fountain too

We arrived at Busan around 3PM and after some refreshing rest and shower, we went to the first destination in our itinerary which is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple! We took subway from Busan Station and it took around 45 minutes to arrived at Haeundae Station. From Haeundae Station exit 7, you can hop to Bus number 181 or use taxi (about 10.000 Won). The journey will take you around 15 to 20 minutes and you can reach the temple from the Bus Stop, if you choose to use Bus, after 10 minutes walk.


Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of the must-visit-place when you go to Busan, with people mostly go there for temple visit or to make a wish on New Year as they watched the sunrise. After the front gate, you can find this road full of street-snacks like Omuk (fishcake), Read Bean Bread, and there are still many delicious snacks that followed by another road that full of animal statue of your Shio (that’s what Chinese people in Indonesia called it). After another 5 minutes walk and those little stairs, we finally reached Haedong Yonggungsa Temple! We didn’t actually get in to the temple, so we just enjoying the view and took some photos! The place was really beautiful with the colorful temple located near the end of the cliffs and the clear blue ocean just in front of your eyes.


The most delicious ice cream bar
My fav omuk and the really kind ahjumma! (she gave us bonus for the red bean bread!)

The next destination should be Haeundae Beach which is the most favorite tourist place during summer, but due to heavy traffic (and we used taxi) we decided to just skip Haeundae and go straight to Gwangalli Beach. There are so many events at Haeundae Beach in the summer and we can just watch the beautiful beach from the taxi /insert sad ballad song. Well, we didn’t have a plan to swim or do any other water activities so it’s okay hehe. You can reach Haeundae Beach by using the Bus number 181 you used earlier from Yonggungsa Temple or use subway to Haeundae Station and take exit 7. You can also visit Gukbap Alley which is a place full of restaurants that sell pork rice soup. Because we didn’t eat pork so we decided to skip it hehehe. There’s actually a famous restaurant in Gukbap Alley named Haeundae Wonjo Halmae Gukbap, make sure you visit the restaurant!

Took it from Google hehe

Gwangalli Beach is another most favorite place in Busan where you can swim, watch some events held there, and watch the beautiful Diamond Bridge at night. Don't be confused, Gwangalli Beach and Diamond Bridge is in one same place. Gwangan Bridge or we know it as Diamond Bridge is the largest bridge that cross the ocean in South Korea and accompanied with really beautiful light that lit up at night. The athmosphere there was really nice and also romantic! If i can, I would just sit there for hours lol. Near the beach, there are so many restaurants and other places to eat. To get here by subway, get off at Gwangan Station and take exit 3 or 5.

Street full of restaurants

Our dinner

This will be the end of my first day in Busan and i will post the next story soon (hopefully). Also, we want to tell you guys we will probably post every 1 or 2 weeks because the campus life is starting (ergh) so we're really really sorry! Just leave your comment if you have questions!

You can download my itinerary here!