Yes, I'm using that movie title: Train to Busan (but no, I don't watch it since I dislike thriller genre, but oh yes I was almost tempted to watch it because of Gong Yoo) since this post is really about my day trip to Busan except I met no zombie along the way. So back then when I was planning on this trip, I thought about buying Korail Pass and I did buy the 1-day pass for KRW 81,000. I still haven't decide which city should I visit when I bought it. I always want to visit Busan since it is the second largest city in South Korea, but yet it is so far away from Seoul, the round trip itself took around 5 hours by KTX - the fastest train in South Korea, meanwhile I only bought the 1-day pass which mean I could not spend the night there. On the other side, the 1-day trip pass would be most advantageous if I use to Busan since normally it costs around KRW 120,000 for a round trip. So there I was, one cold Saturday morning, heading to Seoul Station to get on my train to Busan.
I started my morning with a bottle of Banana Milk and Waffle, walking to the nearest station. The weather was better, not as cold as the day before, and it was quite relieving to know that Busan was even warmer - though it was still under 10°C,
It is quite common to see such a view inside the train station, neon box birthday greetings from fans for their idol. I arrived on Seoul Station around 8.30 in the morning.
So how to purchase a Korail Pass? The easiest way is to purchase it at the Korail Pass website and pay it with credit card. If you go with a group of people, you could buy the Korail Pass with special price! But since I went alone, I should accept the fact that I need to pay for the normal price. On my arrival day, I exchanged my printed voucher at the information desk in Seoul Station. You also need to show your valid passport to redeem the pass. You also need to mention the desired travel date and it will be printed on the Korail Pass that will later be redeemed with train ticket. How to activate the Korail Pass? Just go to the ticket booth, show your Korail Pass, and mention your desired station, then the officer will show you the available timetable. On the date, I thought I could just come and go with the earliest train available, but apparently the earliest train available was the 10:15AM one. So a tip for you, if you wanna go early, come to the station as early as possible.
While waiting for my train to come, I fed myself a triangle kimbap (samgak kimbap) - or known as onigiri in Japanese term. So I had waffle, banana milk, and onigiri filling my tummy and ready for the trip!
On the train ticket, the train number, departure time, carriage number, and seat number were mentioned. So just be alert and make sure you get you eyes on the notice board. Be ready next to the lane when your train is expected to arrive because everything will be on time, and you will be left when you are a minute late.
All aboard! And I was so ready for Busan. The train passed by and stopped at several cities along the Gyeongbu Line, and Busan was the last stop. Actually you could go to several cities in one day by using Korail Pass if they are quite near, but since Busan is far away, I decided just to go to one city. For your information, the Korail Pass is also available in other types like 3-Day Pass, 5-Day Pass, 7-Day Pass, Flexible 2-Days Pass, and Flexible 4-Days Pass. Once I arrived at Busan Station, I went straight to the ticket booth to get my return ticket for later that night. Once I got my ticket, I went outside the station and finally I breathed the air of Busan.
If you watch many Korean dramas and shows, Busan people are shown as the tough one with their strong dialect (satoori), the vice versa of the Seoulites, at this quality is known as their charm. So there I was, standing in front of the station, and thinking where should I go next. Actually I thought of hopping on Busan City Tour Bus, and I had these destinations to visit in my mind. But yet, this is the beauty of solo travelling, you get spontaneous at times.
I didn't took the Busan City Tour Bus, and decided to take the subway instead. My first destination was somewhere where I could fill my tummy with yummy food. I did follow one Instagram account that focused on food in Korea, and one post that attracted my eyes happened to be in Busan. But this was my first visit to Busan, and I got no clue about the streets in Busan, moreover Google Maps didn't work well in South Korea. But when there is a will, there is a way! I just copy pasted the name of the place on the Naver Map, and looked for the nearest train station to that place. Thank God I could read hangul (Korean's alphabets), it helped a lot.
And thank God, I'm not bad in reading maps and directions, I found the place! The name of the place is 남포동 해전곱창 (Nampo-Dong Haecheon Gopchang). It is located in Nampo-Dong area nearby the famous Jagalchi Market. From Busan Station, you should take the line 1 train heading to Sinpyeong and alight on Jagalchi station. Just download Busan Train apps on your mobile phone to make your trip easier. Take Exit 3 from Jagalchi Station and follow the map (the red stroked line) below to reach this place.
I didn't know why, but I felt proud of myself when reaching this place. I entered the restaurant which wasn't too big, and ordered the menu I've been eyeing on - 돼지곱창 치즈구이 / Cheese Pork Gopchang.
The owner Ahjumma served the Cheese Pork Gopchang set on my table. The set consisted of Marinated pork gopchang (intestines), spring onions, garlics, wrapping leaves, chilis, and a bowl of doenjang jjigae / soybean paste soup (I guess...).
The portion was huge! The Ahjumma herself grilled the gopchang for me while asking several questions like where did I come from and stuff which of course I answered with my so broken Korean. The best part was when she added cheese on the top of the gopchang. Major food porn in front of my eyes!
I've uploaded the video on my Instagram.
Maybe some will think that gopchang (intestine) will be yuck, but truthfully, this was super duper yum! Chewy sweet and spicy gopchang with savory cheese, added with garlic, and wrapped into leaf, oh my goodness it was so good!
Let me tell you some funny (or stupid) story behind this lunch experience. I expected to pay KRW 8,000 as written on the menu. It was written that KRW 8,000 was the price for 120gr Cheese Pork Gopchang, and I did feel that the portion was kinda gigantic. Apparently I didn't know how, but I paid KRW 24,000 for my meal, and it turned out to be, I ate 3 portions of this Cheese Gopchang. I don't know who or what to blame, but at least I really enjoyed the meal and it was a memorable experience.
I haven't even wrote half of this post and I'm getting tired already, oh my dear brain. Okay, let's continue. After that huge lunch that caused me a bloated belly, I walked around the neighborhood. I could spot the Gamcheon Culture Village form afar. I really want to visit the village but the time didn't allow me. Maybe on my next trip to Busan.
Since I alighted at Jagalchi Station, I thought the famous Jagalchi market must be nearby. So I just took a look around the neighborhood and found this street packed with fishmongers and customers. You could many kind of fish, especially the ones in season here. At some stalls you could get your fish cooked right away, then you can sit inside and enjoy the freshly cooked fish. Too bad my belly was too full with gopchang, I was actually quite tempted to try some fresh seafood, especially those you could only find here in South Korea.
At the end of the street, I spotted the Jagalchi Market, known as the largest seafood market in South Korea but I didn't enter the market since I got to see enough fish already and I got quite a limited time in Busan.
After a few minutes walk form Jagalchi Market, I spotted Lotte Mall Gwangbok which is best known as the first seaside department store in the country. Well maybe you could compare it to Baywalk Mall here in Jakarta, but with better seaside view of course.
From there, I continued walking to BIFF (Busan International Film Festival) Square. I knew about this place from Infinite Challenge (무한도전 / Muhan Dojeon) when they had the chasing episode here in Busan. This place is well known as one of the tourist attraction in Busan. Actually the BIFF Square was known as an area where pair of cinemas that were built following Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule over half a century ago, but know this area is packed with shops and leisure facilities those attract young visitors and tourists. Just the right place to have an afternoon stroll and having a cup of coffee.
Couples, couples everywhere. Beware for you solo traveler!
The clock was ticking, I should already move to my next destination. I rode the line 1 train heading to Nopo and transferred at Seomyeon Station then get on the line 2 train heading to Jangsan. I alighted at Gwangan Station, and took Exit 5.
After 5 minutes walking straight from Exit 5, I reached my destination, Gwangalli Beach.
Gwangali beach is famous for its fine sand. The sea was also very clean since the beach has undergone a water cleaning program. And they allowed no smoking at the beach. Superb!
I kinda felt a moment of serenity here, travelling all alone, on a calm and clean winter beach. I should've bring some papers to sit on and a can of beer.
Maybe because it was winter time, the beach wasn't too crowded. I just spotted some people strolling around or taking some pictures.
Nobody to take pictures of me? Don't worry, I got my gorilla pod ready to be placed on the sand.
Above is a snap of a lonely traveler in front of the famous Gwangan Bridge. This Gwangan Bridge is also a well known tourist course in Busan, known as the largest bridge over the ocean in Korea. Okay, before I got too melancholic here, I should move over to my last destination.
I headed back to the Gwangan Station, continued my journey with the Line 2 train and alighted at Haeundae Station. And yes, the destination was the famous Haeundae Beach. I took exit number 5 and walk around 500 m to reach the beach.
If you see a restaurant with the signs above, you are on your right track to the beach.
And finally I reached Haeundae Beach!
I was welcomed with a band of harabeojis (grandfathers) playing some jazzy tunes at the entrance.
Haeundae Beach is more crowded from Gwangalli Beach. It was stated that Haeundae Beach is probaly the most famous beach in the country. I bet this beach is super packed on summer time. I've seen the pictures of Haeundae Beach on summer time, lines of parasols and swimming tubes are all over the beach.
The sand at Haeundae Beach are rougher that Gwangalli's. But both beach are attractive with their own charms.
I was there at almost sunset time. The sun set behind the tall building when I expected to see a sunset behind the sea.
Couples taking pictures together?
No problem! I got my gorilla pod ready for me, and the result wasn't so bad right? It was quite an artistic picture of a lonely traveler (there I go, praising myself).
Nearby the beach, on my way from the station to the beach, I spotted this Haeundae market. On my way back to the market, there was still plenty of time before my train schedule, so I didn't miss the chance to visit the market.
Stores, varies from food stalls, supermarket, restaurants and more are lining on this market alley.
If you are hungry, go enter the seafood restaurant, if you just want to chew on something, there are quite many street food to try.
I just stopped at this streed food stall selling twigim (the Korean version of tempura), tteokbokki, and odeng.
I enjoyed some fritters and a stick of odeng before heading back to Busan Station.
I got back at the station around 8 PM and before entering the station, I got stucked at the odeng stall in front of the station. I don't know why, but I have this weakness for odeng that I have a strong desire to buy it every time I pass by an odeng stall.
This Busan odengs were really good. I've heard before that Busan odeng is famous for it is thicker and tastier than the usual odeng you find in Seoul. Odeng and a cup of warm broth on a winter night could never go wrong.
Busan is pretty captivating and worth a visit, that's my two cents based on the trip. Though it is also a big metropolitan city, just like what Seoul is, I think Busan has a different charm, especially because it is located on the coast. So if you love beach, sea, and of course seafood, you should love Busan. I thought about my day trip of Busan as a survey trip, so when I get the opportunity to visit back, I already got a glimpse of the city. Well, see you when I see you Busan!
SOUTH KOREA TRIP SERIES
South Korea Trip Part 8 - Day 7: Seoul - GPdI Hati Elok, Gangnam, Coex, Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil, Another Night in Myeongdong