Busan is a coastal city in the southern part of the Korean peninsula. Having visited Busan for 3 days last year on a stopover to Jeju which was hardly enough to have a taste of this sprawling city, I decided to cover Busan and its environs in more depth by doing a 8-day trip during which we did a 3-day side trip to Geoje and Tongyeong, a region of breathtaking coastal landscapes.
Here’s a summary of our trip:
- Arrived around noon by Air China CA 970 via Beijing (SIN-PEK-PUS). The international transfer at Beijing airport was a mad house. Took us more than an hour and a half to clear the security checks in the morning peak. Boarded the connecting flight in the nick of time.
- Took a cab from Busan’s Gimhae airport to our hotel at Haeundae (cost: ₩29000). Took an hour 15 mins due to heavy traffic along the way.
- Stayed at MS Hotel Haeundae for 2 nights (USD92 per room/night). Rooms overlook Haeundae beach. Great location. Walking distance to Haeundae traditional market and the famed Haeundae beach.
- Dinner at Seafood restaurant at the north end of Haeundae beach, within walking distance from hotel
- Had breakfast at McDonald’s next to hotel. The plan is to cover the eastern part of Busan today then head back to Haeundae for dinner.
- First stop: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple in Gijang-gun about 30 mins north of Haeundae. The cab ride to Yonggungsa costs ₩9800. Dropped us at the temple entrance saving us the 20 min walk in the hot sun had we taken the public bus.
- Visited Gijang Crab market, had a 3.1Kg king crab for lunch. Total ₩118000 with service charge for the 4 of us. Pretty reasonable for the size of crab.
- Next stop after lunch – Lotte Mall (Dongbusan branch), Asia’s largest premium outlet mall. Location is near Yongungsa Temple. This mall is huge. Could not cover in half a day.
- Did a return visit to a Jokbal restaurant (Tel: 051-741-6568) as we enjoyed the dinner here last year. It’s 3 min walk from Paradise Hotel.
- Picked up rental car from Centum Q (Lotte car rental Haeundae branch). Rented a Samsung SM6, 3 days inclusive of insurance ₩350,000.
- Headed to Geoje, a pleasant 3-hour drive from Haeundae. Visited black pebble beach, Windy hill and Sinseondae, must see attractions in Geoje for the scenic beauty.
- Continued to our Airbnb accommodation at Tongyeong, a bungalow with a living room and 2 bedrooms (USD 280 for 2 nights for 4 people).
- Spent the day visiting attractions in Tongyeong. Took the cable car up Mt Mireuk and trekked to the summit, about 20 from the cable car station.
- Viewed the spectacular sunset from Dara Park on the south western tip of Tongyeong.
- Had nice BBQ pork dinner (Tel: 055-646-6766) at Tongyeong town center.
- Drove back to Busan from Tongyeong.
- Visited Taejongdae including a 40-min cruise around the cape.
- Visited Oryukdo Skywalk in the afternoon.
- Stayed the next 3 nights at Seomyeon. Accommodation is an Airbnb apartment – 2 bedrooms with living room, fully equipped kitchen and dining, Wi-fi and 65-inch Samsung curved screen TV with cable sports. Nice. (USD390 for 3 nights).
- Visited Jagalchi market. Here you can pick live seafood and cook them the way you want in the restaurant upstairs. Had a 2.7 kg king crab steamed, grilled abalones and steamed clams for lunch. (₩80,000 for the 2.7kg crab, another ₩40,000 for abalone and clams. Total came to ₩160,000 including service charges).
- Did some shopping at Lotte Mart @ Gembeok
- Visited Gamcheon cultural village
- Did a leisurely 2-hour Igidae coastal walk. Easy trek with great scenery. Really nice trek on a cool day.
- Did some last minute shopping at Lotte and the huge Seomyeon underground mall.
- Had a nice seafood dinner of octopus, cockles, Saba fish and seabream at one of the stalls set up at night along Seomyeon Food street (Seomyeon 1st Street).
- Had another round of Odeng (오뎅), the ubiquitous Korean fish cake in soup at the Haeundae market before heading for Gimhae airport.
- Departed at 12.45pm on Air China CA130 to Singapore via Beijing.