Busan’s national branding goes by the tag line “Dynamic Busan.” With all due respect to Seoul’s vibrance and modernism, I would most probably lean towards Busan more just because it gave me more energy when I first stepped onto its ground. There may be fewer people here than in Seoul but the place itself is intently screaming vigor and zest to me. Busan is the second largest metropolis in Korea and is located at the Southeastern of the peninsula. It is a mixture of countryside and city feels where you can see high rise buildings on this side, long beach lines on the other, and cliffs and mountains on another. Truly, it offers diversity to adventurers who fairly wants the best of both worlds.
We (I, Jason, and Marcel) were en route to Busan at 11:40 and arrived there before the clock hits 14:00. The Indonesian guys picked up first their visa at the Japanese embassy before going on a spontaneous trip. We walked through the streets of Busan because the Consulate of Japan is just a subway station away from where we are. Unfortunately, we got lost and ended up taking the subway as well. Also, this may be irrelevant but I saw a Filipino restaurant with a big “Mabuhay” sign at the China Town just across the street.
First stop, BUSAN MUSEUM OF ART.
The Busan Museum of Art is a building where contemporary art pieces are kept. They are mostly collections of an artist ranging from photographs, paintings, sculptures, or even hand drawn illustrations. Maybe if I were an art connoisseur in a parallel universe, I could’ve stayed longer in this place. But no, we spent less than 45 minutes and off we go. Marcel had to go back to Gumi as well which left me with Jason until the next day.
BEXCO is a big auditorium just across the Busan Museum of Art. The last time the Indonesian guys went here, they watched a free Kpop concert. During this time, there was a large event for online gamers. The festival was called “G-Star.” We just passed by this place to get to the next destination.
Second stop, Shinsegae Centum City, the world’s largest department store.
They say that Shinsegae is also famous for its long history. The main branch of this department store was just a Japanese franchise and later on, an officer renamed it to such until it was developed and get to where it is now. Inside this building are mostly designer brands where you can see Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada adjacent to each other. I and Jason had no plans of shopping there, of course. We went to the roof top and to our surprise, there was a mini park for kids called Zooraji. We stayed for a few minutes and took photos of Busan city at night.
Third stop, Haeundae Market + Haeundae Beach, where I was able to crossed out one item from my bucket list.
My hunger is unfathomable that time but I still chose to roam around first before eating dinner. There are a lot of fresh and live sea food of all kinds like eels, fish, squid, octopus, clams, and some penis-like creatures that I still cannot get over. I thought of eating by the beach shore to which Jason positively agreed. We had chicken, deep fried goodies, beer, and a super cheap mat to lie on.
ON SKINNY DIPPING. Half way through our food, I told Jason that I wanted to go skinny dipping and that it was one of my bucket list. Of course, he thought of that as a crazy idea. I actually agree that it was… because 1st, it was freezing cold, and 2nd, there were some people from afar. Heck, I still went for it, dove into the cold sea water and spent some time battling it. Pictures however will not be posted on my blog. Or maybe next time, I shall. Lol.
Last for the night was Haeundae Spa Center (Korean Sauna and Jimjilbang) where there’s little awkwardness since it was my second time already.
ON KOREAN SPA AND JIMJILBANG. I really thought that spas are for men/women only who wanted to have a bit of break from work and just relax. Here in Korea, I learned that this is also a family hangout activity. I was a bit surprised to see middle school students or even toddlers who were in the same spa as I was. They were with their fathers and most probably the girls are with their mothers on the women section. In the sleeping area, we are given mats and head supports and you basically sleep wherever you want.
- It’s really cheaper than most typical guest houses or motels that you can stay into. Some spas can go as low as 7000 Won which is half way cheaper.
- You have free passes on jacuzzis and steam room. Some spas provide free bathing necessities. Likewise, you get to relax on the side too.
- In the jimjilbang (sleeping place), they provide televisions for entertainment.
- Some spas have rooms with double decker beds for you to sleep on (like the one we stayed in Seoul).
- It kinda boosts your self esteem when you get along and stay with a couple of naked men in the same room. Eventually, you will aslo feel comfortable with your body.
Now, the low-downs…
- For some people who values privacy so much, places like these might be no good.
- In some spas, you need to spend on extra things like toothbrush, body wash, or shampoo. Likewise, if you don’t have snacks, you might want to spend for it as well.
- It’s a little bit hard to sleep because you sleep on the floor with the mat on. Likewise, you get to be disturbed by people walking around your sleeping place or people getting up in the morning.
That’s it for Busan Day 1. I’ll be posting Busan Part Deux (a half-day trip) next which I find quite interesting despite the short time!