Day Three was also quite packed. Let’s get to it.
Another park right on the coast. You can take a bus directly to the park, but I recommend getting off at Sungdo Beach (another nice little beach) and walking to the park along the side of the cliffs on a very scenic hike.
The views are pretty great, especially with the locals fishing along the trail.
The downside to this walk is that I was already tired before even getting to the park itself thanks to the heat and sleep deprivation.
That proved to be a bit of a problem, as the park is pretty intense in itself and you have to hike uphill for quite a bit. This brought me near the point of total exhaustion, but it was all worth it.
Luckily, I was able to catch a bus home from the park afterwards. I had to head straight back to the hostel to take a shower and relax for a bit. That was a good idea anyway, since I wanted to explore the area near the hostel in detail anyway. I already looked around a bit and visited the Lotte Mall and Busan Tower before, but there was still plenty of stuff left to discover.
The view from my room:
Namo-dong is one of the busiest areas of Busan. It hosts the famous fish markets, as well as the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) and much more.
The Film Festival is in October, but it is nonetheless a very popular area with a ton of shops and a gigantic street market that sells all sorts of counterfeit clothes (Adidas is a particular favorite it appears) and tons of delicious streetfood.
Another big attraction are the (self-proclaimed) world famous fish markets located here, which are the biggest fish markets in all of Korea. I’m not the biggest seafood fan and visiting the markets definitely did not make me crave it any more, but it was an experience I won’t forget for a while. Tons of little stands, living fish and other inhibitants of the sea swimming around in little tanks or buckets, being cut up right in the street. It was certainly a bit of a culture shock.
The highlight(?) were definitely the living octopuses/squids (don’t ask me what the difference is) that were kept in small buckets that they easily escaped time and time again to crawl around on the floor, only to be put back in the buckets by the sellers (and sometimes even random customers). Well, it certainly doesn’t get any fresher than that.
Getting lost in the woods / Samgwansa Temple:
Next, it was time to visit another temple. This one, Samgwansa, is located near a mountain which is a typical temple location. However, Google Maps really failed me here as it told me to exit at a bus stop somewhere on the other side of the mountain and then take a rather impossible route. After a while, I discovered a path that seemed to lead into the mountains (in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go, but oh well). So then I just hiked around for a solid hour without much hope of ever finding the temple.
But it seems like getting lost in the woods in Korea is almost always worth it, especially if you are rewarded with sights like this:
And yes, there are exercise machines on the top of the hill. Of course there are.
At that point, I was a bit bummed about not seeing the temple, but was pretty content with that hike. And miraculously, just as I looked for a way to get down to the city again, I discovered this:
I had actually managed to find it! I’ll spare you the details since I don’t want to repeat myself. I like temples. This is a temple. Therefore, I like it.
The temple also sells ice cream. This is probably as close as I will ever come to experiencing a religious awakening.
Since I enjoyed the city bus tour so much, I decided to book a night bus tour as my final activity in Busan. Riding around in a bus at night is definitely neat since Busan at night looks pretty spectacular. This also allowed me to do something since I would not have had enough energy to do anything that required any kind of physical activity. I was amused by the guy next to me that fell asleep as soon as the bus started, only to have to struggle mightily to stay awake for the last hour of the trip myself. Karma is a bitch. The tour itself was alright, but not that spectacular, especially since one of the two stops was one I had already encountered at night the day before (Gwangali Beach). Still, it was pretty cool.
Overall, I loved the hell out of Busan. It really was a magical experience and had a totally different atmosphere than Seoul. Can’t recommend this city highly enough.