After almost 2 full days in Seoul we packed our bags and took the bus to Seoul Station.
With our prepaid tickets I reserved online, we caught our 11:57pm KTX #027 bullet train to South Korea’s second city of Busan.
No zombies here.
Arriving into Busan station at 2:41pm in the afternoon, we were greeted by my new friend Sooyoung who had been following me on Instagram since COVID-19 and was excited to finally meet in person! This was totally worth the wait for me as well; she has been so helpful in arranging us even a private bus to the tea fields of Boseong tomorrow!
She guided us down into the subway/metro for an hour’s commute to the Haeundae district and most populous area of Busan.
It’s also a food paradise.
By 4:20pm we arrived to check into our lodgings at O’Guest and Ekonomy and got ready by 5pm to set out for Busan’s arguably top sight at the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, one of few in Korea to be located so photogenically on the seaside.
We took public bus 1001 for about 30min from Haeundae to get there. And the walk itself downhill to the temple may be worth the trip alone.
Once you reach the steps down to the temple itself, you might find yourself catching your breath at the sight.
Outside there’s a sign that says “The most beautiful temple in Korea” when welcoming you, and while that’s not very Buddhist of them, you might be inclined to agree after even a few minutes here.
You can get even better views of the temple by navigating a few minutes along the coast to the shrine.
And then crossing the bridge to enter the temple grounds itself was a mesmerizing experience.
The mood indescribably calm, the opportunity to take a meditative stroll here invited us a rare hour of individual reflection.
I recommend also climbing to stone steps the very top of the temple for the views over the coast of Busan. This was one of those moments where I put down my camera just to take it all in for a few more minutes.
Another boon was learning that the temple stays open an hour and half later until 8:30pm during the spring and summer so you can see it light up at night after sundown.
Once we regathered outside the temple to return home, we boarded Bus 1001 again and made it to Busan’s highest rated cold buckwheat noodle spot. And thanks to Christina calling from Seoul, the owner stayed open an extra 2 hours to accommodate us!
Having the whole place to ourselves to drink, banter, and eat traditional cold noodle soup? It’s hard to beat.
(although Raubern and I enjoyed perhaps even better millyeong at the packed popular lunch spot at Gaya Wheat Noodle Haeundae)
For our third day, after our next day visiting the Boseong Tea Fields, we enjoyed a free day. Some of us sought to walk along Haeundae Beach near our accommodations . . .
… while other spent as long as 4 hours at Korea’s arguably preemitnent bathhouse at Spa Land in the megamall at Centum City.
Spa Land commands serious real estate creds; it features 11 different types of themed saunas, a full service massage/mani/pedi parlor, a game room, a theater room, a footbath area, multiple relaxation areas, a steam hall, a restaurant, a snack bar, a café, a massage chair area, and gender-specific nude bathhouses all for less than $20 per person.
Frankly with all that they have here, 4 hours might not be enough.
Others joined us later at the spa to check out Busan’s cultural village earlier in the morning, located an hour northwest of Haeundae.
And finally there was certainly no short of nightlife options in Busan, especially where we’re based in Haeundae:
Most curiously, why was there a washing machine in the subway station (and it wasn’t to sell them!)?
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- At time of posting in Busan, it was 14 °C - Humidity: 43% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear