With Christmas approaching and Seosan totally lacking the festive spirit, I really wanted to get away to celebrate the holiday. My partner and I looked at Jeju Island but feared that the hotel prices would be too expensive since it was a last minute idea. So we settled on Busan, a city both of us had never been to before. We had to take the bus to Daejon, which took 1 hour 30 minutes, then the KTX to Busan, which took another 1 hour 30 minutes. When I arrived in Daejon I realised that it must be so convenient for people living there. They can take the KTX to Busan which only takes 1 hour 30 minutes or they can go to Seoul by KTX which is only 1 hour away. I’m definitely considering moving to Daejon later on – you can go almost anywhere from there!
We booked a hotel about 20 minutes from Busan Station by foot. It’s called 코모도 호텔 but in English it’s Commodore Hotel. I thought it would be spelled Komodo, like the Komodo dragon, but for whatever reason it’s not. The style of the hotel is like nothing I’ve ever seen before and the interior is just as amazing! The hotel has a swimming pool, a fitness centre and a sauna but we only used the swimming pool once in the morning.
We arrived in Busan at night time so we went to get dinner. I do not like seafood but my husband does so went to the famous Jagalchi fish market (자갈치 시장) – the attraction of this market is that customers choose the seafood they want (all the fish, octopuses, crabs, lobsters etc are out on display in tanks) and then the owners will prepare the food for you so it’s really fresh! I chose to have lobster because I’d never tried it before and I thought it would be the least ‘fish’ tasting thing on the menu. It was pretty good but the portion was too much for just myself! My husband ordered two types of raw fish which he said was the most delicious raw fish he’d ever eaten. The bill came to over 100,000 won which is a lot for just 2 people but considering the food was really fresh and we both enjoyed ourselves it was worth it.
After dinner we headed to the street where the millennium statue was which was decorated with lots of Christmas lights and a big tree! It was so crowded you were literally bumping into other people to get by. However, it really brought out the Christmas feeling for me seeing all the lights!
The next day it rained pretty much the whole day so we planned to spend our time indoors. In the morning we went to Busan Tower but we arrived too early so had to hang around outside for 30 minutes until they opened. When we got inside I was … disappointed. I knew it was smaller than Namsan Tower in Seoul but it was just TOO small inside. I guess the view from the tower was nice but it was nothing spectacular. I had more fun outside playing with the local stray cats than being inside.
After Busan Tower we headed to Busan Museum because I love history and learning about how people used to live. After visiting the museum I took my husband to one of the Apple retailers because I wanted to buy him a Christmas gift. I bought him the Apple Airpods – I still think they are expensive for a pair of earphones however we did find them useful when we were travelling. We would each take an earbud and so we could both listen to music without being restricted by wires.
In Busan there is a massive Shinsegae department store in Centum City which is apparently the largest department store in the world. By the time we arrived there we were both pretty knackered from all the travelling and so only spent about an hour looking around. I would say it’s great for shopping if you know what you want but I was really tired and I stupidly didn’t bring a pair of flat shoes with me on the trip so I was walking around Busan for the duration in high-heeled boots – biggest mistake ever!
On our last full day in Busan (on Christmas Day) we went to Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을) which is a small village which has colourful buildings and tourists can try to collect all the stamps around the village as a challenge. It was really fun and we tried to take pictures at each stamp point but it got really busy by 12 o’clock in the afternoon so we spent most of that time trying to find them all. It wasn’t easy! Luckily the weather was great and so I didn’t mind spending my morning doing the challenge. We ran out of time because we had to meet a friend for lunch but we found every stamp except the very last one. A lot of other people had difficulty finding it too.
The friend we met for lunch was born and lived in Busan so he offered to drive us to a temple which was located on the coast, outside the city centre. Haedong Yonggung Temple (해동 용궁사) was absolutely beautiful. Honestly, being there I felt at peace and I could have spent hours just sitting there looking at the ocean. It’s not in the city centre and it took us about 1 hour by car to get there but if you can, I would 100% recommend visiting.
The next day we had to head back to Seosan because I was working that same day! We got the early KTX train to Daejon and then caught a bus back to Seosan so I could then work from 3pm – 11pm. I was very tired at the end of the day but I was so happy that I went to Busan. It had been on my list of cities to visit for years.
This post was actually supposed to be published last year (before the new year) but I got really busy with work after coming back from Busan. I plan to post at least twice a week starting in February so keep an eye out for some more posts in the future! I think this post is the longest I’ve ever done so if you have read up until now, thank you so much and I hope you enjoyed reading!
What cities should I visit next? 🙂