2 Days in Busan

I know I’m getting a little out of order here because I still have quite a few more Thailand posts to publish, but that can all wait because I really wanted to write about my Busan trip while it’s still fresh in my mind.

But first! How are you?! I feel like I haven’t updated you all on my life here in Korea in a while. Life got pretty crazy a few weeks ago. I had to plan for summer camp, lead summer camp, travel to Busan, plan for my church’s mission trip, and then actually attend the mission trip. I’ve barely had time to do anything. There was actually a day where I forgot to drink my hot tea and it ended up turning into cold tea. That’s how you know I’m busy.

Anyways, things are getting back into a routine here, as I am back in school and ready to crush the next 6 months left of my Korean adventure! Oh yeah. Did I mention I renewed my contract for another 6 months? I was literally praying that God would let me stay here for another 6 months and He answered! It’s rare to receive a 6 month contract here so that just goes to show you what a miracle it is that my school even offered it to me. I have quite a few plans for the next 6 months:

  • Become a BSF (small group) leader at my church
  • Do more to raise awareness about human trafficking in my area
  • Figure out where I’m going to move after my contract is over

Right now, I’m waiting to hear back from a teacher’s program in the States. So I guess I’m doing the whole “teacher thing” now. Who woulda thunk it? I’m also a little sad because the North Korean tutoring season of my life has come to an end. It was really fun while it lasted, but the person I was tutoring is actually moving! So yay for them, but kinda sad for me. I’m sure God has this all in His timing though. Leading a small group at my church looks like it’s going to take a lot out of me so it’s just as well that I don’t have as many obligations.

Okay! On to my Busan trip!


Since I’m still saving for my Japan trip next month (!), but I really wanted to travel somewhere during my short summer vacation, it looked like Busan would be the perfect trip. Busan is known for being THE beach town in Korea. I really got a San Diego/San Francisco vibe from the place. The last time I went to Busan, I was only there for 1 night, and it was fairly cold. Not exactly perfect beach weather. So I was excited to spend some much needed time in the sun.

Most people take the KTX (the fast train), but being the budget-conscious girl I am, I decided to take the bus. I will never do this again. While I don’t mind 5 hour bus rides, I also realized that I totally wasted an entire day just trying to get to Busan, when it would’ve only taken me 1 hour on the train. So yeah. Lesson learned. However, part of traveling isn’t just arriving at the destination — it’s everything in between. So I tried to have the best attitude possible during this bus trip.

ANYWAYS, after the longest traveling day ever, I finally arrived in Busan late Monday night. And wouldn’t you know it, but this week was a beach party week! Apparently there were going to be lots of events during the week at the different beaches. I booked a hostel right next to Haeundae beach, one of the most popular beaches in the area. It was the first night of festivities and they had a concert, along with some fireworks. This was super fun to me, and I really enjoyed the fireworks. Busan is also known for its’ fireworks festival in October.

IMG_3459 IMG_3462 IMG_3449

After the shows, we ate a lovely dinner of seafood and accidentally walked through a red . . . er, pink . . light district.

Random side note: I had no idea that Busan has such a vibrant red light district. Though I’ve been in Thailand, I’ve never seen prostitution so blatant in a country before. I know I didn’t actually walk through red light districts in Thailand, but seeing prostitution so out in the open like this in Korea really shocked me. For such a conservative culture, I couldn’t believe that everyone just lets this happen. There were literally women sitting in shop windows waiting to service customers. I even saw a police car drive through the area. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about the darkness in those alleyways.

This district really broke my heart and stayed in the back of my mind throughout the whole trip.


The next morning, I decided that I just wanted to hang out at the beach. And so I did. I was afraid it was going to rain, but praise the Lord it didn’t! Thankfully, my hostel was near the side of the beach that is not crowded with tourists, so I got some nice quiet times in.

IMG_3479 IMG_3471 IMG_3470

After roasting in the sun for a couple hours, my friend and I decided to visit Gamcheon Culture Village, which is known for being artsy and the “Machu Picchu of Busan.” But first, lunch! It was soooo hot, so my friend convinced me to try a Korean soup that is cold. It was okay, but I probably wouldn’t order it again unless I was about to die from heatstroke. Ice in soup still weirds me out.

IMG_3513 IMG_3514 IMG_3511

We accidentally set out on a hike to the village instead of taking the bus, but it was all good in the end because I enjoyed the hike. It was lovely walking through the village and seeing such adorable houses.

IMG_9712 IMG_9713 IMG_9715 IMG_9716 IMG_9717 IMG_9718 IMG_9720 IMG_9721 IMG_9724 IMG_9726

Finally, we arrived at the top to see a view of the village.

IMG_3521 IMG_9728 IMG_9730

At the top, we ran into 2 other travelers and decided to go touring with them for the rest of the day. This is one reason I love traveling — meeting like-minded people from all over the world!

We walked a through the village and I bought a glorious hotteok ice cream sandwich. Nobody understood how happy this made me. I could swim in rivers of this stuff.

IMG_9735 IMG_9737 IMG_9738 IMG_9742 IMG_9746 IMG_9753 IMG_9756 IMG_3644

It started raining a bit, and time was passing quickly, so we decided to head to a temple that we heard was near the ocean. One thing that surprised me about Busan was how far apart everything was from each other! It took us about 1 1/2 hours to get to our next location!

Oh, but it was worth the trip. The temple was absolutely stunning. We arrived when the sun was going down and while it was still sprinkling. There weren’t a ton of tourists there and I felt like I was walking through a ride at Disneyland. But it wasn’t a ride! It was real life!

IMG_9759 IMG_9766 IMG_9772 IMG_9773 IMG_9775 IMG_9779 IMG_9780 IMG_9782 IMG_9784 IMG_9785 IMG_9786 IMG_9792 IMG_9802 IMG_9805 IMG_9810

IMG_3554

At one point, I sat in front of the temple and just listened to the hum of buddhist chanting mixed with trickles of rain. It was so peaceful.

IMG_9808

That night, I ate a Mediterranean dinner with my new friends and then walked around the beach to watch some buskers. A few of the performers were actually really talented. There was also a pizza vending machine!

IMG_9814 IMG_9820

IMG_3557


This was to be my last day in Busan, as I needed to get back home in time to go to the Immigration Office on Friday. To be honest, I was absolutely tired. I enjoy traveling, but after having such a busy work schedule, I just wanted to chill for the rest of the day.

Though I spent the previous day with a bunch of people, I was thrilled to spend the entire day by myself.

I started the morning lounging at the beach for about 3 hours before treating myself to a fancy lunch next to the ocean.

IMG_3564 IMG_3565

After this, it was shopping time! Busan houses the biggest department store in the world! I didn’t buy anything, but it was still nice walking through the building anyways. However, I felt like the store was really just a big mall complete with an ice skating rink, several museums, and a rooftop garden. It didn’t seem very store-like to me.

IMG_3573 IMG_3574 IMG_3576 IMG_3577 IMG_3582 IMG_3583 IMG_3586 IMG_3587 IMG_3605

My main attraction for the day was Spa Land a.k.a. Heaven. I’ve been to a Korean bath house before, but never like this. There were about a dozen different saunas in the place, and maybe half a dozen giant baths. I have never felt so relaxed in my life. My body could barely move. It was incredible.

Spa Land gives people a 4 hour time limit, and at first I thought this was too much. But now I realize that if you have food, you can easily stay there all day. I could not recommend this place enough.

IMG_3588 IMG_3589 IMG_3590 IMG_3592 IMG_3593 IMG_3594 IMG_3595 IMG_3597 IMG_3598 IMG_3599 IMG_3600 IMG_3601

When I finally decided to leave because I was STARVING, I thought that maybe I could watch a movie somewhere. But after checking my bank account, I thought better of it. This all turned out okay though because across the street from the department store was the Cinema Center. This is where the Busan Film Festival takes place every year, and it is SUCH a cool building. They even have a giant movie screen outside that sometimes plays movies. Of course, the building itself does act as a movie theatre, but I just chose to walk around it instead of actually sitting in the theatre. This was still really fun to me and I was definitely nerding out.

IMG_3603 IMG_3606 IMG_3608 IMG_3610 IMG_3612 IMG_3613

I ended my evening here by walking near the river and listening to Hamilton. The trail near the river wasn’t crowded and I even found a spot to sit down. It was a great way to end the night in this area. Later on, I met up with my friend again and we walked to another famous spot. It was another river area, but I wasn’t too fond of it because it was super crowded. I think I chose right in my decisions that day.

IMG_3614 IMG_3618

All in all, this trip was SO FUN and relaxing.

And you better believe I took the train back home instead of the bus.

IMG_3623 IMG_3622 IMG_3629

What do you think?