For many people travelling to Korea, Seoul is often the be all and end all of their journey. And while it’s true that the country is very centralized, once you venture out of its capital, you will quickly find incredible geographical and cultural diversity.
Going to Busan from Seoul is fast and pretty straightforward – the KTX (Korean high speed railway) ticket is around 50,000 won (just under fifty bucks) and it takes you there in less than two hours! Even though Busan is quite smaller than Seoul (around three million people), it sprawls out quite a bit, so you’ll often find yourself taking the metro or the bus for a good hour to go from point A to point B, and this doesn’t even include suburbs or the more peripheral parts of the city. Some of the more notable areas are: Haeundae, located on the very coast – this is where you’ll find the humongous Haeundae beach that gets packed in the summer months. Nampo is one of the busiest spots for shopping. This is also where the bookshop alley is located, which I found incredibly charming, although it should be noted that 99% of the the titles were in Korean. What I found even better was the Jagalchi market that had an insane display of various seafood and aquatic life. Those braver than me could try the live baby octopus or some other equally crazy dish. Elsewhere, Seomyeon, PNU and KSU are also popular for cafes, bars and restaurants and are pretty busy at night time. During the day, I enjoyed going on hikes (notably the Dalmaji Hill in Heundae) and just taking in the beautiful scenery. Busan has truly become a special place for me.
Make sure to try the local delicacy called dongnae pajeon, which is some sort of seafood pancake.