Sunday, April 04, 2010

More of Busan: Taejongdae and Haeundae

I'm kind of loath to bury the post I wrote yesterday about ATEK under a bunch of pictures, so if you want to read something more important, rather than just seeing a travelogue, here's that thing about ATEK again. The pictures are nice, but this article matters more, in the grander scheme.

After my trip to Busan, I added a bunch of pictures from Jalgalchi market, which was great.

Next, I have more pictures from some of the other parts of Busan I visited.

The very best ones are all in this video, including some video of knife sharpeners and waves crashing. But below are also lots of pictures. The video has music. The pictures below have explanations. You must pick. Or do one, and then the other. That's OK too. I don't mind.

Taejongdae is a resort/cliffy rocky place/park on the edge of town: Girlfriendoseyo explained that while Seoul traditionally had only the one, main downtown area, because Busan is a port city, it always had two main strips - the city's always been spread out more than other cities in Korea.

So we took a bus out to Taejongdae, and saw this on the way:


Busan is one of the busiest harbors in the world.

Hong Kong Harbor just about blew my mind, but this sure wasn't anything to sniff at, either.

Taejongdae had beautiful rocks and water. Mmm.

Here's a white guy photoshopped into a picture of Taejongdae. There's a Japanese island somewhere on that horizon, that's close enough that you can sometimes see it with the naked eye. Tee hee. I said "naked".

There were extensive, winding, and uneven steps and stairs all the way down to the water at Taejongdae. We opted not to take the ferry to Haeundae Beach, but we could have. The waves were crashing. it was sweet.

The rocks there looked really interesting: there were some sedimentary, layered-looking rocks, but some other formations that made me wish I knew more about geology.


Once I took a rafting trip with my sister-in-law's brother, who is a High School science teacher, and he was pointing out all kinds of cool stuff about the rock formations in the Rocky Mountains where we were paddling. Very informative. I love that kind of stuff. you can see more of the rocks' neat features here:

Everybody's photogenic at beaches in the mid-late afternoon.

right down at the water in taejongdae

Hey buddy: wanna eat the freshest seafood in the world? The only way to get it fresher is to put on diving gear yourself.

This was waiting for the bus near a restaurant/lookout on the top side of Taejongdae cliffs, after we climbed down and came back up again.


Then, our hotel was near Centum City, and the monstrously huge "Bexco" - Busan's answer to COEX. It was big. Also in Centum City were a Shinsegye and a Lotte Department store built right next to each other in a kind of "who's the boss of this town" one-upmanship thingy, where Lotte built a huge department store, and then Shinsegye built a bigger one right next to it, just because screw you, Lotte group!

Shinsegye (note the frame built above the actual roof, in order to make it seem to dwarf Lotte more than it actually does)
the red sign actually says "world's largest department store" Eat that, Lotte!

But the other Lotte Dept Store in Busan had an anchor. No Shinsegye department store didn't have no darn Anchor. Or maybe only a small one. So they can suck it too.

One thing that really struck me about Busan was how different it was than Seoul: here are some things I saw there that are impossible to find in Seoul:

Really tall, kind of ugly apartment buildings.


crowded subway cars.

big grey, monolithic highway structures

all kinds of coffee shop chains


and shiny cosmetics stores. It was all so unfamiliar.

And somehow, down in Busan, they love talking about "Hub" stuff

Nah just kidding, you can find those things in Seoul, too. But actually Busan DOES have a very different feel, and often a different look, than Seoul.

But the subway cars in Busan are narrower.
Also: not many of the apartments in Seoul are built on waterfronts this pretty, frankly:


Busan WAS different from Seoul, and quite a bit cleaner, to be honest.

Finally, Haeundae was fantastic.



The "what to do if a Tsunami comes" sign amused me, too.



I wonder if this sign was up there before the movie "Haeundae" came out.

We had a great time eating: Girlfriendoseyo's mom is a real food aficionado, not afraid to demand the best, or to set aside stuff that's less than the best. We went to a 복 (Blowfish) restaurant, which I've always wanted to do, and had all kinds of variations on Blowfish. Blowfish is cool, because if you slice up the fish wrong, there are some deadly poisons in the fish, but if you cut it right, it's really really good. Whichever brave soul discovered the edible and inedible parts by trial an error wins my respect. I've always wanted to try it, and right next to a beach is always a good place to have a first experience of a seafood.

This restaurant was mad packed already at 9:30 in the morning, when we came. By the time we finished eating at 10:30 the line was going out the door.

one version of the blowfish - the nurungji squares on the bottom were the best.

another restaurant - I don't even know how she found it, it was tucked away in a winding back alley, but she'd found it on the internet, and it was one of the better-reviewed restaurants to be found in Busan.

The name of the place;

and the location:

Last few kicks: climbed a steep hill and walked around this nice park: can't remember the name of it, because I'm either dumb, or too lazy to find out, or too inattentive to find out the name when we went there. Busan Mike has helpfully let us know it's called "Yongdusan" and he even wrote about it.


The dragon was cool, but we also got to see our first flowers of the year, which was a big reason why we went down to Busan in the first place. Seeing as most of march was snowy in freaking Seoul, we were due for a bit of spring's promise.

Spare pics: the downtown shopping area:

you can see the covered, escalator-d entrance to the hill/mountain park at the end of this lane.

and I don't know what to do with this shop name... it kind of fits with "red face" another Korean brand of hiking gear... but I don't dare say anything more. But I had to include it.


JIW said...

Geology rules!!!!!! looks like it's metamorphic rock ~ tee hehe

HiExpat said...

I've always regarded Busan as "the second city," but it actually is really nice once you drag yourself down there. Haeundae was fantastic!
I do think Busan slightly resembles the satellite cities of Seoul in that everything looks pretty new and shiny and a little all over the place. I don't really like the way all the buildings are crammed and packed if you go to, say, bundang.

kushibo said...

When will South Koreans learn to just say no to black face?!

Seriously, though, that is an unfortunate name choice.

Mike said...

The park at the top of the hill/'mountain' (with the dragon statue) which is accessible from Nampodong via the covered escalator is called Yongdusan (용두산) Park.

Marc Hogi said...


Cool post and pictures. I've traveled to Busan four times now, and it definitely has a mellow vibe even though it doesn't look that different than Seoul (other than beaches everywhere and more hills).

Also the local dialect is fun to listen's like Korean with English intonation. Contrary to what many Koreans have told me, I don't find it that exotic or difficult...certainly no difficult than standard Korean.

This post makes me want to go back soon...

Matthew Sharp said...

I was in Korea and Japan on a holiday from March 24-April 27, and I found Busan a much more pleasant place to stay than Seoul. The air is much cleaner, and I did get a sense that the Busan people were much friendlier.

I stayed at my friend's apartment in Centum square apartments (right beside Centum Park), and every day I was impressed by the colour of Busan. Seoul is kind of a grey mess, but Busan reminds me more of Osaka.

Some HDR photos of Busan/Ulsan can be found here;