Korea, day 8 & 9 (two days in Busan)

Day 8

The drive from Gyeongju to Busan was easy, just 90 minutes or so. 

Busan is the second biggest city in Korea and is a very active port city. 

After a late breakfast we decided to spend the day at the Haeundae Beach in Busan. The beach itself is about a mile long and packed with Korean people enjoying the ocean and sand. I’m told the water is quite cold except during July and August.

The beach scene is quite a sight. There are umbrellas everywhere and lined up perfectly. Towels, umbrellas and beach chairs are all available for a daily rental fee. Most all Koreans (men, women and children were mostly covered up). We felt a little out of place since we had different attire. You can find drinks and light snacks on the beach or across the road is the Haeundae district where you can find almost anything to eat. 

One surprise is how much coffee there is here. I assumed this was a tea culture country but it seems like Koreans love their coffee even more. (I must say it’s sad to see Starbucks killing it here). 

For dinner we found a local Korea seafood restaurant. I’m a vegetarian so I kept to rice and vegetables but Lauren says the sashimi tastes completely different and amazing compared to the United States version. 

Day 9

We are staying in the modern area of Busan. The Gwangon bridge connects the new to the old, so this afternoon we drove across the bridge and explored the older parts of the city.  I’m very glad we did. The contrast was unreal. I really enjoyed exploring the Gamcheon Dong area. It’s a hillside village with art and artists and colorful homes built into the mountain. 

Afterwards we went for a hike in Taejongdae. It’s a beautiful natural park in Busan. The cliffs and ocean were stunning. I took this iPhone photo of my daughter Sophia as we made our way to the cliff’s edge. 

We were all starving so made our way to the Jagalchi Fish Market. It’s a massive market with fresh fish everywhere. You basically point at the seafood you want and then they bring it upstairs to the restaurant and make it for you. 

Half of our team was very adventuresome and the other half got pizza :)

After lunch we explored the area some more and had dessert at a place that served Patbingsu. I never had this dish before arriving in Korea and we are now totally hooked. I hope someone brings this dish to the United States. It is delicious. 

Busan is a really interesting and beautiful city. It’s filled with extraordinary contrasts and the people could not be any nicer. It’s also a special place for us since this is where my mom grew up. I am happy we could make it here together as a family.