letters to my younger self

I Left My Heart in Haeundae

This is the second day (technically, since we arrived in Seoul at night so that means one night in Myeondong, one day travelling to Busan and then one night strolling around Seomyeon – so yeah, second day) of the SoKor trip and the people I know know that before booking this flight – I already made up an itinerary for this trip.

Yep. Last year, January, I was cleaning my room and I exercised and I must have pumped up my brain too much because I just started off making travel itineraries to Tokyo to Busan to Seoul and yes – after that day I had finished the eight day Busan-Nami-Seoul itinerary. I didn’t even know if I can score a cheap airfare let alone who wanted to go with me – I just had it! And then I booked a flight in February for a November trip. I know – it was an nine-month-long wait and nine-month-long preparation.

So imagine that that second day – we just decided to change where we’re going. I don’t mean that instant – but during the night before – originally for the second day we would go to Oryukkdo, Haeundae and Gwangalli – but at that night we decided we should go to Taejongdae instead of Oryukkdo – Haeundae and Gwanggalli will still be the same.

We changed our itinerary and little did I know that that is the start of the “We make as we go” itinerary trip to SoKor.

So moving on – because we had a good night’s sleep (not really because I watched Mnet that night and The Heirs which wasn’t subtitled so I didn’t understand but I want to because Woo Bin ❀ )Β  and we ate off of the breakfast buffet of the hotel we’re staying at. (The hotel’s name is ShinShin hotel very near Seomyeon station booked thru Agoda)

I was not able to take a picture of my breakfast plate but it was so good – I had the anchovies side dish (top one Korean side dish!), porridge, chap chae, beef bulgogi, I can’t remember if they have egg rolls, seaweed soup, and then cereals and milk – the breakfast plate is a mixture of western and eastern food it can’t understand itself.

And then we head off to our first real destination in Busan. πŸ™‚ Taejongdae

Taejongdae Resort Park

To go to Taejongdae – you can ride subway + bus or bus only from Seomyeon station – and being lolas – we choose the one that we don’t need to transfer. πŸ™‚ There are a lot of buses you can ride just use Naver Map and it will tell you the bus number, we rode bus 88A.Β 

And here I go again getting jealous of their public bus system because there is a bench at the bus stop and there is a screen which shows the number of the bus that is coming and how many minutes are we going to wait and I just sat there being cold (the weather is like 9 to 12 degrees) and being amazed because I love the screen I love the public bus I love that we can use Tmoney in buses I love that I didn’t need to watch out for upcoming buses they were displayed right there and lastly I love that public buses only loads and unloads in bus stop and I should stop this litany because I might create a very different post. πŸ™‚

We planned to sleep on the bus but can’t do so – I don’t know why – I just literally take in all of my surroundings – the ajusshis and ajummas riding the bus and the leafless trees outside the buildings and non-buildings and etc – and in less that an hour we reached the last stop of the bus. And we got off. But we still have a long way to go.

We walked for about 15-20 minutes to get to the entrance of Taejongdae Park. We paid for the Danubi train (2,000 won if I remember correctly). You can enter the park fee if you chose to hike since the payment is only for the train but I suggest you ride the train – it adds to the experience and it is a long way hiking up – trust me – you should reserve your energy in exploring the sites.

Turns out that the Taejongdae Park has like 12 to 15 attractions (get the free map so you can plan ahead) and if you want to visit everything in one day, you can’t – unless you don’t want to breathe in the surroundings – so we planned to just go to the Observatory Deck and the Yeongdo Lighthouse.Β 

The first stop of the Danubi train (which I admire since the voiceover is being spoken in Korean, Chinese, Japanese and English – they are very language friendly)Β is in the Observatory Deck and of course most of the people got off on here including us πŸ™‚Β 

But we didn’t go to there yet – we entered the convenience store and bought warm tea – I bought this lavender champagne tea – which really smells like champagne πŸ™‚

We looked around and sat for a while until the people were gone and then we saw the view deck apparently which overlooks the sea – I don’t know what sea is this – inner geek is not with me at that time – but it looks great – there is a large tower in the middle, maybe the lighthouse and the water looks so clear and blue-greenish the kind of color you get when the water was very clear and the sand is white and there is a man fishing below.Β 

And I wouldn’t mind spending an hour or more just looking at the view. πŸ™‚

After that we walked to the Yeongdo lighthouse and because we took our time – by the time we got to the lighthouse we were the only ones there – you’d think it is closed. And then we saw few people coming but that was it – the place is all to ourselves. Someone asked me if I am a Korean or a Japanese and I was amused because the person is speaking in Hangeul and I can understand it πŸ™‚ Achievement unlocked!

Walking around the lighthouse was gruelling – if you won’t take a rest but we did – every now and then – we didn’t get super tired but it took most of our time and sadly the path towards the cliff is closed. Sad. But we’ve gone toward the lowest level – to the place where the people are fishing below. And then we have to go up again and I kinda wished there was an elevator there.Β 

And then to the lighthouse – and journalling friends – there is a stamp station here!Β 

We climb upstairs to the rest area where we – as the name implies – rested. I received a video call from my little sister in Manila and she pointed out the growing pimple in my chin! And also people were eating and we found out it was lunch time already.Β 

Yeongdo Lighthouse was refreshing – there were only few people around which makes the sightseeing lovely and peaceful. What I love about this place and Taejongdae – in general – is that the worlds looks very large and as you look around the place it becomes bigger and bigger until you no longer compare anymore. πŸ™‚Β 

And then we got hungry so we decided to go back already. We should have rode another Danubi train to go back but we thought that we can walk back up to the entrance/exit – do not make this mistake! It was about 30 – 45 minute walk uphill and downhill and it was a time well spent just being with nature – so yeah – good choice anyway. But if you don’t want to be tired, just ride the Danubi train back.

We walk past the entrance and to the bus station and bought pretzels – there are a lot of restaurants here where you can eat if you’re hungry. So we rode another bus going to Haeundae. Take note that there is no straight way from Taejongdae to Haeundae – so we rode a bus and got off at a bus stop and rode another one.Β 

Haeundae Market + Haeundae Beach

What amazed me in travelling from Taejongdae to Busan is the road the bus were travelling on – at one point we have this three levels of flyover above the sea and it was so amusing I forgot that I am afraid of heights and also at the one time that we crossed the Gwanggalli beach.

When we got off at Haeundae station – it will be like a 5 to 10 minute walk to the market. There was this wide road leading to the beach lined up with restaurants and stores on both sides and in the middle they were still creating Christmas decors. That would have been wonderful to look at – if finished – with all the lights and Christmas trees. πŸ™‚

Since we haven’t eaten yet – halfway towards the beach – we ate in this chicken and beer restaurant. The owner was a person from Nepal who married a Korean and here they are. We ordered chicken and coke. πŸ™‚ And they have the most amazing radish side dish that I had ever tasted. This one was diced with vinegar and sugar (side dish top two for me!)

After eating a lot (man, that was too many for the two of us – but we finished!) we walked towards the beach. We didn’t go anymore to the market (deviating plans on the go). Wait, before we ate, we also entered Starbucks and here they have the most brilliant Busan designs on tumblers. πŸ™‚Β 

What I liked about Haeundae beach is that it has a CR that is clean! πŸ™‚

Well, that was not it – part of maybe – but what I liked most about Haeundae is you can just sit there and watch the sea. There are so many people but you don’t feel overcrowded – you can be alone even if there are people surrounding you. It was nearing sunset by that time and if you look in the east (or on my left side) the moon is already showing and the sky is this pinkish hue and as you look towards the west (on my right side if you’re looking at the sea) the pink hues turns yellowish into orange and then you’ll see the sun setting signalling that this day would come to a close.Β 

We satΒ  by the beach and think about life or did not think actually. Favorite part of the trip really is just us staring into space staring into nothingness staring into the beauty that is South Korea.Β 

And the sand was not sticky – you can just dust it all off. As for me, I touched the water and it was cold but not super cold and you know I just walked and ran parallel to the shore and teasing the waves while wearing winter clothes and running just to not get wet because I’m wearing sneakers like those in Korean or Japanese dramas. πŸ™‚ Maybe those were really some of my dreams to walk or go to the sea while wearing winter clothes in winter.Β 

And that’s it. I didn’t expect to find peace in Haeundae but I did and that is where I left my heart. πŸ™‚

We walked the wide road again and you can choose to ride a bus or subway going to Gwanggalli station and since it was about 6pm (rush hour – but really there is no rush – I love the province vibe of Busan) we rode the subway.

Gwanggalli Beach

Same as Haeundae – you have to walk again going to the beach but here there are more stores and restaurants and I think more people. If Haeundae is a province vibe, the Gwanggalli is the city vibe or maybe because it was night time already and the lights were on – maybe.

But you know when we saw the sea or the lighted up Gwanggalli beach – we squealed in delight because it was amazing! You know there are a lot to be said in just sightseeing and not experiencing things and it was one of those moments.

Of course we went near the sea and maybe because it was a Tuesday night there were only a handful of people around. On the far far left someone set up a camp and he might be fishing? And in both sides you can see a lot of buildings and stores and their colorful lights being reflected on the sea and it was a mixture of different colors and in the middle is the Gwangalli bridge that looks so majestic.Β 

Sadly there were no one who sells fireworks.

That was the one reason I visited Busan actually. To go to Gwanggalli beach and light up some fireworks and listen to musicians around busking – but luck had run out – because it was a Tuesday, no one was around but hey – more for ourselves then. πŸ™‚

So before the day ended we hunted the Gwanggalli design of the Starbucks tumbler around the area. We went to two Starbucks to find it and when you buy one they even give you a coupon for a free drink anywhere in Korea because you buy a tumbler and if you will use it instead of having your coffee in a disposable cup, you are helping Mother Earth. Ooohh rewards. πŸ™‚

And of course we had to eat – I guess it is not to early to eat Samgyeopsal! πŸ™‚ Actually we already spotted the restaurant while we were walking to the beach so it was not hard to find somewhere to eat. They have a lot of side dishes – which you can expect from a Korean restaurant and we ate and I no longer remember when was the last time I ate rice.Β 

Going back to the hotel – we rode a subway straight to Seomyeon station – but before that we rode the one going on a different direction – haha – getting lost again but now we manage.

Tomorrow is the last day in Busan so upon coming back to the hotel we packed our clothes and things because tomorrow we go back to Seoul.Β 

Haha – I’m dreading on how to carry our luggages again back to Seoul. πŸ™‚

Β 

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