I left Beijing at 2:50 am Thursday morning and with the time difference arrived in Busan about 6:30 am-way too early to check in to my Airbnb apartment, but I took a bus over to the beach area in Haeundae. I hadn’t made any plans for the day but the bus dropped me off in front of the aquarium on the beach. It wasn’t open yet but there was a sign saying that they had discounted admissions for people who purchased the city’s hop-on-hop-off bus tour. And the tour stop was right next to me so I just decided to go for it.
One of the first stops was Haedong Yunggungsa temple. The pictures aren’t great quality because it was really overcast that day but it was still beautiful. It was nice just to be surrounded by nature. Beijing has its share of parks and greenery but they’re all manufactured and transplanted. I’d forgotten what real nature looks like.
I also got to check out the Busan Museum of Art, mostly modern. There were some cool pieces there. Then I went back and toured the aquarium.
After that, I checked into my apartment around 4:30, where the lack of sleep caught up to me and I accidentally took a 5 hour nap. I woke up at 9:30 and decided I didn’t want to waste any more time so I decided to take a moonlit walk on the beach. The Haeundae area is pretty touristy, but it wasn’t peak season yet so it wasn’t very crowded, and it’s still beautiful. I walked down to the end of the beach then strolled around the neighborhood-there are tons of restaurants, bars, street vendors, and little shops to explore. I also realized I was starving so I grabbed some fried ice cream for dinner around 11-the perks of being an adult 😉
I got up early Friday and set out to explore some more. I wanted a hat since I’d already gotten more sunburned than I wanted the day before, so I went to Centum City, a giant mall that contains the largest department store in the world-seriously. The largest department store in the world and I still could not find an affordable hat I liked. Naturally. Still cool though. This place has an ice-skating rink, a golf club, and a park on the roof.
Then I hopped on another bus and cruised around the harbor and out to the Oryukdo Islets, which was a really peaceful, quiet area.
Afterwards I went back to Haeundae Beach and strolled around the fish market there. They had every possible variety of seafood (fish, squid, worms, snails, mussels, eels) swimming around in tanks in front of tiny restaurants. You can pick out your dinner and have it cooked. I kind of lost my appetite after watching the eels though-even after killed and skinned they kept wriggling around on the counter-blech!
I took one last stroll on the beach, where some ingenious person had constructed a glass-walled library with a rooftop deck-seriously, why would anyone ever leave this place?
It was really hard to leave and come back to a smoggy overpopulated Beijing, that’s for sure. Think maybe I need to move again…