South Korea

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  • Day13


    October 18, 2019 in South Korea ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    We started our final leg of South Korea in the coastal city of Busan, after a 50 minute flight with Jeju Air. We stayed in The Stanford Inn which was ideally located for some of the main sites of the city. After checking in, we crossed the road to get some lunch in the Nampodong Street and BIFF Square food stalls. There was a wide variety of local savoury and sweet foods. We definitely got our fill of food for the afternoon ahead.

    We negotiated our way on the bus system and arrived at Gwangalli beach. We walked the length of the beach in the beautiful evening sunshine, forgetting that when we turned around there were big skyscrapers towering along the promenade. Next we walked to Shinsegae Centrum City, which according to the Guinness World Records, it is the largest shopping complex in the world. We wandered through the seven floors of shopping before deciding it was time to hit the foodhall for some dinner. This foodhall was one I had never seen before. Rows and rows of different counters with every cuisine in the world you could think of!

    After dinner we went next door to view the lighted roof of Busan Cinema Centre, which had just finished holding the Busan International Film Festival the day before. Then headed back to Gwangan beach to see the night lights show on Diamond bridge.

    The next day after breakfast in the hotel, we got a two hour bus to Haedong Yonggung Temple which is South Korea’s only temple situated on the coastline. It claims to be the most beautiful temple in South Korea...which is debatable but it was nice to go see a different part of the city away from the craziness.

    When we had finished the tour of the temple, we hopped back on the bus across to the other side of the city and went to the Gamcheon Culture Village. This village is known for its steep streets and colourful roofed buildings on the side of the mountain. The renovation project for this area has nicknamed it, the ‘Machu Picchu of Busan’, however it reminded me of the favelas in Rio de Janerio. The beautiful colours as the sun was setting over the village was amazing and one of my highlights from the city...On our way back to the hotel that evening we wondered through Changseon and Bupysong Kkangtong markets, two of many markets we saw on this trip!

    Day three in Busan started with a trip up Busan Tower with a great view of the city, port and surrounding mountains before walking down through Yongdusan Park where the tower is situated in. Next we got the bus to Taejongdae Park where we hopped on the Danubi Circular Train to see the sites before walking the peninsula and getting a good view of the lighthouse and nearby port.

    That evening we meet Kevin, Donal and Cian for what turned out to be an interesting dining experience. After our initial choice of restaurant was closing (most restaurants are closed by 9), we saw a place that looked busy with locals so thought that was a good sign and went in. With no English menu available, we soon found out that this was going to be a strange encounter. Using one of Rubén’s apps to translate the Korean, we made a wild attempt of ordering a pork dish and a chicken dish between us. The waitress told us that two dishes would be enough between us and that they weren’t spicy dishes either. After only a few minutes of waiting, the two hot plates arrived still sizzling after coming out from the oven. The pork came with a cheese sauce but it turned out to be really spicy! Most of us struggled with it and mainly ate the cheese. The chicken came in a stir fry, but I’m think it may have been chicken offal as it was very chewy! We finished the evening with a trip to a soju bar to try out South Korea’s famous beverage. It is a rice wine brewed locally with an alcohol content from 15-53%, depending on the bottle. It is usually drank neat from a shot glass during spicy meals to ‘enhance the flavour’. It wasn’t my kind of drink but was nice to try it.

    Our final day in Busan was a nice chilled day where we walked around Jagalchi fish market, Korea’s largest fish market. There’s were hundreds of stalls over three floors of a vast range of fish and seafood! Quite amazing to see. We finished our time in South Korea with some Bibimbap for dinner, which is a hot bowl of rice covered with various vegetables and meat of choice. Another different food we tried during our time here.
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