Travel Destinations: Busan, South Korea
Busan has a truly cosmopolitan feel to it when one enters this vibrant city. Famous for Busan its raw fish and harsh dialect, underneath the gloomy landscape, the city is filled with wonderfully friendly people.
Busan is an expansive coastal city, tucked away in the south-eastern tip of the peninsular. Gimhe International Airport is 27km west of the city centre and beautiful agricultural and fishing communities surround it.
When travelling to Busan, the wonderful Beomeosa temple is the first port of call. Founded in 678 CE, the structures constructed around it have all been rebuilt over the years. Despite it being located in the bustling city, the temple makes the traveller feel as though they have been transported to a magical and faraway land. The beautiful temple is set against a magnificent mountainous background.
This is a busy attraction; not only does it draw visitors to its bosom, but the temple is also a starting point for hiking trails across Geumjeong Mountains.
When travelling across Geumjeong Mountains, one would expect to see a fortress when going to visit Geumjeon Fortress. However, Geumjeon Fortress is a long stone wall with four gates. It is a trail marker but do not despair – when you reach Geumjeon Fortress you will be rewarded with some of the most amazing views when hiking.
Hikers generally start at the northern end of the trail, starting with an easy-going climb on the left side of the Beomeosa temple. Hiking along this trail will bring you to the North Gate, then an 8.8km hike to the South Gate. Signs are mostly painted in Korean, but there are some English ones as well.
If hiking is not your thing, the best route is by cable car which you can board at the southern base of the mountain. Riding the cable car allows you to soak in the magnificent views of the city. Once the cable car has stopped, it is only a 10 minute walk to the South Gate.
Seokbulsa temple is another wonderful attraction to visit. It is a hermitage that was carved into rock. Two gigantic boulders measuring 40m in height, rise from out of the mountainside. Together, they create a U shaped enclave which is now a place of worship. Images of the Buddha have been carefully carved into the stone making it visually and spiritually powerful.
This is a wonderful place to reach if you are up for a challenge and like to explore nooks and crannies. To reach it via the challenging route, from the South Gate follow the path until it stops at a volleyball court in Nanman Village. Pick up the trail from the other side. After 500m down, you will find a sign – turn right, walk down the steep hill until you reach another sign pointing the way. After a 600m uphill walk, you have reached the temple.
Beaches are a wonderful place to unwind after all that hiking and exploring. He-undae is the most famous beach in the area. It is a place that is filled with umbrellas in the summer as people relax with family and friends. To get here, take Line 2 to Hae-undae station, Exit 3 and then walk to the beach.
There are other great locations for the traveller to visit. Yongdusan Park is another. In the middle of this beautiful park, stands Busan Tower, 118m high.
Jagalchi Fish Market is a great place if you are a lover of seafood. The smell is strong, so you better love the scent of sea creatures! It is South Korea’s largest fish market and you can see everyone selling a variety of fresh seafood. In addition to this, sailors will also offer you a 20 minute boat trip around the harbour.
Busan is home to a variety of museums and exhibitions, offering you a great chance to get a real feel and insight into the people, the culture and the history of this wonderful country. The Busan Metropolitan Art Museum can be found when you take Line 2 to the Metro Art Museum, Exit 3.
If you have a love of aquariums, the Busan Aquarium in Hae-undae holds a shark diving class to visitors.
If you visit Busan in August, you might catch some local festivals. Busan Sea Festival and Busan International Rock Festival are held on the beaches. Sometime between September and October the Pusan International Film Festival is the most important festival held in the city. It first premiered in 1996 and screens movies from numerous countries.
Busan has various different hotels and restaurants to cater to everyone’s individual budget. If you need hostels, middle of the rangel hotels or something with a little luxury, Busan can give you what you need. You will find that the food in Busan is raw, salty and spicy and offers a wide range of fresh seafood.
Busan is a wonderful place to visit when exploring South Korea. It is home to some of the friendliest and unique people, home to some of the world’s most breathtaking natural beauty spots and glorious historical sites.