There was a Korean national holiday some time back in June; I think it was Memorial Day. Anyway, it meant I had a long weekend. I decided I wanted to go to a city I’d never been to: Busan. It’s southeast, it’s huge, it’s on the beach, and it has a lot of places to see. I wasn’t 100% sure of what I wanted to do there, only that I knew I wanted to go there. Luckily, you don’t really need a plan when you just want to go somewhere. There were 4 major places I went to: a shrine, a beach, an amusement park, and an art museum. (More pics in my flickr album)
Getting to, from, and around Busan
There are a couple ways to get there. If you have a car, you can drive–this is probably the fastest and most comfortable way to get there. A bus is very common, but if you have to use the toilet, you have to wait for a rest stop (usually the buses stop half way through the ride if the ride is three or more hours). I took the train–my first train ride! Trains are pretty convenient for a number of reasons. If you book early, you can reserve a place to sit. If not, you can stand. Granted, standing is never fun–but it sure beats a bus. There are also toilets available on the train. Needless to say, I like the train. Unfortunately, trains are not available in every little town and city, unlike buses. Oh, I took the train Saturday afternoon and came back Monday afternoon. As for getting around Busan, there are subways, taxis, buses, and walking (I used all except for the bus).
Chungnyeolsa Shrine 충렬사
So…the typical saying with Korean shrines and temples is once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Although this is true to an extent, I still enjoy walking around and visiting them. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoy it. Usually it involves a short walk/hike so I can get at least some exercise. ^^
Haeundae Beach 해운대-구
So I was pretty excited about visiting the beach, but it was actually kind of a let-down. This was partly my fault because I didn’t get to the beach until very late. So, I missed the sand castle/sculpture thing that it’s known for. It was also too cold to swim, so I just walked along the beach. However, there was some sort of concert/show on the beach. First it was kinda nice because there were some very attractive men dancing and taking off their clothes (well their shirts), and then some girls joined them as well. Further along the coast, a girl group (LPG) were singing and dancing on a stage and I watched them for a bit. So that was the highlight of the beach for me. I can’t wait to go back when it’s actually warm so I can enjoy the sun and the water!
Mee World 미월드
So Mee World is an amusement park! I was pretty stoked. Unfortunately, finding this amusement park was a pain in the ASS! So first I went to go eat at a kimbap place and I decided to ask the guy for directions. It’s more of a “Mee World?” and then pretend to understand Korean as I watch him point in a general direction. So I’m like cool! And I start walking in that general direction. So, as I’m walking, I’m thinking…I should be able to SEE this place…but NO. So I ask someone else as I’m walking. The same routine. “Mee World?” but this time they point in the OPPOSITE direction. OMG…I change directions because it really didn’t look like I was headed towards anything anyway. After about 15-20 minutes of walking, and I’m coming up to a river, I start to worry. Fortunately, I see a middle school/high school aged boy and I decide to ask him. Surely he’d know! So…same routine, but he points in the direction I’ve been walking and he said “maybe 30 minutes.” Oh well, at least I know I’m heading in the right direction.
So I continue my trek and eventually I catch a glimpse of a ferris wheel on top of a hill. So I get excited. I start walking in the direction around the base of the hill in what I assume is to the entrance. The sidewalk ends and I’ve lost sight of the amusement park…ugh–wrong direction. So I turn around, and 10 minutes later I’m finally at the entrance! I was still in high hopes of this amusement park, but I quickly realized that it’s really small…smaller than Woobang Land. There are multiple ticket options: to ride the 3 main rides (3 total uses), to ride the mini rides, or an unlimited pass. I opt for the unlimited pass. I’m glad I did.
The ticket was pretty cheap and the rides were not very good. I went on like a tower drop ride which was AWESOME. The I went on a Viking swing ride…that was more funny then anything. There weren’t many people on it and it wasn’t very exciting, but each side took their turns screaming/raising their hands when up in the air. The other side outdid mine because they had a bunch of teenage girls and I had just a few couples and more guys. I think my side spent more time laughing and more of a “whoo” sound than actual screaming. I went on another ride that was like a carriage thing and it twirled you around upside down–fun. Then I went on a “roller-coaster” that was far from exciting. The last ride I went on was the Ferris Wheel. So, I hit all the major rides and it was mildly entertaining for less than $10.
Busan Museum of Art 부산시립미술관
After Mee World, I had to head back to the subway, unfortunately, the last subway entrance I was about 20 minutes back. So, a 20 minute walk and a 3 minute subway ride and I’m at the art museum! (The museum entrance was super close to the subway stop–unlike MeeWorld.) However, the walking beforehand had killed my feet so I had to sit down between each exhibit/floor. The art museum (2 or 3 floors) had some pretty cool pictures, paintings, and sculptures (shown below)…and a lot of ugly and uninteresting ones too. Such is art!