Saturday, June 23, 2018

{Travelog} All Girls Escape to Busan! 姐妹淘釜山自由行

My besties and I managed to arrange a last minute trip to Busan - the decision was made just 1.5 months before the trip and the itinerary was very much developed on-the-fly. We identified few places of interest while on the cab to our hotel, and navigated our way through the city with the help of one of the besties who speaks fluent Korean and visited the place few times. It may be a hastily decided trip, but we managed to cover quite a number of the famous attractions, sampled many local delicacies and it was an amazingly fun trip when you have a bunch of besties who shared same interest.... and we were super lucky to have a true Korean fan who showed us around! 😀

Here's a quick summary on the overall 4D3N spending..
⇨⇨Accommodation ~ RM350/ pax.
⇨⇨Food & transportation ~ RM600/ pax.
⇨⇨Shopping this really depends on individual.
⇨⇨ All in, I spent around RM3,000, where airfare is actually the most pricey of all. 

The weather was clear and breezy in June, temperature ranging between 17°c to 23°c hence I just brought along a hand-carry luggage with minimum summer clothings+ 1 jacket when boarding. The beauty of traveling in summer - you may travel light.

Ready? Let's start now.

↬Itinerary Overview↫
This map summarises our 3 days itinerary:
Day 1: Gwangbok-ro ↠ BIFF  Jalgachi Market  Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park) ↠ Lotte Mall  Nampo-Dong 
Day 2: Haeundae Beach  Haeundong Yonggungsa Temple  Dalmaji-Gil road  Nampo-gil Fashion Street
Day 3: Gamcheong Cultural Village  Taejongdae  Taejongdae beach side seafood  Lotte Mall


↬Day 1↫
Elysee hotel was the hotel we stayed for the first night, it has a delightfully petite garden and is located near Yonggunsa Park - literally next to the Busan Tower and only 8 minutes walking distance to many popular tourist destinations.

SW and I quickly snapped some pictures before we continued with to explore with the area and the underground shopping center.. it's a really convenient neighbourbood.

Gwanbok-ro 光复路 광복로 아리랑 거리
Just about 5-8 minutes walking distance from our hotel, Gwanbo-ro is a tourist-friendly street that offers lots of cuisines, fashions, skin care products, glasses, sportswear, sports shoes etc... basically a place to burn cash and bring home loads of souvenirs :) 

A cup of fresh Latte.... nice...

Irresistible croissants and baked goodies 

Street artist at work.

• Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) 釜山电影节街 BIFF 광장 
BIFF is located adjacent to Gwanbo-ro, we hunt for street food here. The popular Korean street food, dak-kochi, a spicy grilled chicken stick and foot long chicken skewer & hot dog (you can choose your spice-level), ssiat hot-teok (crunchy pancake with sweet seed fillings), deok-bokki (chewy rice cakes in spicy sauce), o-deng (fish cakes cook in hot broth)... we literally left the place with very satisfied tummies!

I got some Korean cosmetic from the popular chain store, Olive Young, and face masks at the skincare stores with some really good deals! (Tony Moly, Nature Republic, Innesfree, Etude House, aplenty to choose from...)

We randomly picked a restaurant and had a scrumptious barbecue Pork and beef (bulgogi) for lunch. The egg pancake was really delicious!

• Jagalchi Market 부산 자갈치시장
This is the largest seafood market in Korea, where it offers tons of fresh seafood at this seaside market, from fresh sea squirts (a rather perculirt ball-shape puffy creature), cuttlefish, octopus, fresh shrimps, oysters, clams, mackerels to dried seafood... wherever we went, it's just seafood! This is the ideal place to place your order at the market and enjoy the fresh pots on the upstair restaurant. 

There's also a dried seafood market here selling dried seaweed, shrimps and other local marine products. One interesting thing that I've observed is that, majority of the sellers at this market are the local females. Never underestimate the women's power.

Useful Info:
Operating hour: 5:00-22:00 daily, close only every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Read on more here.

Ginseng, anyone?

Sea squirt.. my first encounter 

•  Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park) 부산타워
It's atop a hill overseeing the coastal line and has a flower clock, some nice pagoda, resting place where locals bring food or little ones to picnic. An ideal place to shoot some nice photo too 😉

Night view of Busan, Photo credit to TY

Note: You may opt to visit the observatory tower for a fee W$8000 (adult) or W$6000( 3-12yo), more information available here.

• Nampo-dong Street 남포동거리
In the evening, this is the place where the locals hang out for beers and street food, hot pot, barbecue, just loads of delicacies. There some entertainment and adult shops too. 

We had the famous seasoned pork trotters, jolbak, which are said to be high on collagen. Here, the shop served nothing but just Pork trotters and drinks. The medium set cost W35,000 each (about RM150) and was more than enough for 4 pax. 

Explored the street market for more food..

Fresh abalone... K$20K each. Fresh and ice..

The tiniest watermelon ever

Too much to remember? Fret no, this map sums up the places we visited in day 1. 😉

↬Day 2↫

Morning explored the streets near our hotel and got some food, had a nice coffee at the Caffeinated cafe, and our day journey began.

• Haeundae Beach  海云台 해운대해수욕장
We took the underground train from Yungang 中央 too Seomyeon 西面, then to Huandae station. The Haeundae Beach was really packed with tourists like us, no wonder it's known as the most popular beach in Busan where thousands of locals and visitors flocked to here every summer...

Note: we bought the train card (cost around RM16 each) at convenient store and top up as the station's recharge machine. 

We refueled our energey at the famous pork rice soup 猪肉烫饭 shop (Dwaji-Gukbapthat has been in serving since 1972. Long queue alert (that's what that attracted our attention at first... :) but the soft and tender pork belly is absolutely worth the wait. You may choose to mix the spicy miso paste for a spice up, or leave it out to experience the broth as it is.

Nearby to the Haeundae beach is the Busan aquarium and BEXCO, we have choose to skip due to the limited time.

Useful Links: 
Gwanggali beach 광안리해수욕장 is another famous beach in Busan which we had to give it a missed due to lack of time. You may read more about Haeundae beach here, or about Gwanggali beach here. The nearby Bay 101 is also said to be one of the popular night spots that offers beautiful night view of the beach.

• Haeundong Yonggungsa Temple 海龙王庙 해동 용궁사
This 600 over years old Buddhist temple is located at the cliff with an infinity view of the ocean. It's about 20min ride from Haeundae beach (cost W$12,000 one way per cab) and it's a must-visit landmark of Busan. We took lots of photo here at the rocky shore front. 

Thanks TY for the lovely pic!

Posing in front of the coastal view of Haeundae beach... thanks Shen for the photo :>

• Nampo-dong Street 남포동거리
There were rows of food stores here offering grilled seafoods, grilled beef, pork and best to pair with local beers or soju 烧酒. We ordered the beef hot pot from one of the stalls but turned out to be a mixed intestines soup, too bad most of us are not intestines lover >,< Luckily, the samgeopsal 삼겹살 (barbeque pork belly) was really delicious, so all in it was still a good experience. 😀

• Gwangbok-dong Shopping Street 광복로문화패션거리
Located at the alley area behind Gwangbok-ro, this is the shopping paradise for Korean fashion, all the clothes, shoes, hats were offered at very reasonable price, ranging from W$5000 onward. However, I hardly find anything for kids, except for hats, socks and some T shirts. So my besties and I had a good time fashion hopping & shopping here :D

Note: this area consist of mostly boutique shops and road side stores, credit cards are generally not accepted.

• Dalmaji-gil Road 해운대 달맞이길
Known as the "Montmartre" of Korea, this Dalmaji hill is well known for its view of blue ocean and cafe houses along the hillside. If you are here during the spring season you will witness rows of pine trees along the Moontan road. We were rather exhausted after spending hours at the temple, so having a cup of handcraft latte coffee paired with popular bingsu (ice shave dessert top with sweet fillings) and tiramisu cake was such a blessing moment.

A toast for friendship.

The bingsu (a popular shaved ice dessert) that looks mediocre but taste absolutely fabulous.

Photos taken at the A Twosome Cafe.

You may read more about Dalmaji-gil Road here.

↬Day 3↫
• Gamcheon Cultural Village 干川文化村 부산 감천문화마을
Of all the places we have visited, this is a must-visit in Busan. Gamcehon is a colorful cultural village that is also known as the "Santorini of Korea", thanks to its winding ally, maze-like paths,  brightly painted houses and artsy craft collections.

We discovered the post offices and bought the beautiful postcards painted by the local artists. you can even choose the special "Le Petite Prince" stamp at W$1,500 (stamp) and W$1,000 (postcard) respectively.

You may pick a date for the postcard to be sent.

Don't forget to snap a picture with little prince and his new acquitance, the green foxie too.

Try out the famous rose ice cream... warning: it melts really fast.

An ideal place to take loads of pretty photos with your buddies too! 😆😆

Thanks Rosa for the photos & directing!

Note: many of the boutique shops here offer DIY craft experience, e.g. to paint the wooden mirror, if you have a time do give it a try!

• Taejongdae 太宗台 태종대유원지(부산)
We arrived at Taejongdae, the national park of Busan at around 5:50pm, just to find out we were 20min too late to take the last train ride that tour the coastal land. However, we managed to ride the ferry instead, which took about 35 min and it took us back to the entrance upon end of trip. It's quite an pleasant ride to see the signature landmark of Taejongdae such as the observatory deck and lighthouse, there were flocks of seagulls following our ferry hoping to be fed. 

Ferry ride: W$10K per pax (we negotiated to W$8K)

Before leaving Taejongdae, my Korean buddy brought us to the row of seafood restaurants located at the beach (about 10 minutes walk from the roundabout in front of Taejongdae entrance) There, we had a luxury seafood meals with grilled abalones, scallops, fresh prawns, sashimi such as sea squirts, octopus tentacles (they were still moving as we ate them >.<), the very coward me chewed one of the tentacle with much fear but I had to say it tasted fresh, just not worth the scare I had to go through.. unless of course you are as brace as my besties who could even let the tentacles crawled all over her lips before swallowing it. Just not me!!!

Well, good food, great company and chilly sea wind... we ended the visit to Taejongdae with a satisfied tummy and free mind. 

Total meal cost about W$100,000 (RM400++) for 8 pax, including 6 bottles of large cold beers

The crawling tentacles and sea squirts sashimi.

Thanks LK for bringing us to this hidden treasure, we certainly would not have found this place without her!

• Lotte Mall & Departmental Store
In the evening, we came back to the ideal place to shop of souvenirs and ginseng products - Lotte Mall, where it has almost everything under one roof- local grocery foods, ginseng, bags etc. Then we continued our unfinished shopping mission at the Gwangbok-gil fashion where all of us brought home at least 1-2 piece of new clothes! :D

There are few gigantic Line Friends figurines at the Aqua Mall entrance (gate 9).

We had some authentic Bibimbap and spicy cold noodle for lunch at the food court.. too bad I deleted the pictures too fast.

These nuts are absolutely delicious and ideal for souvenior. Too bad I bought too little to be shared >.<

Day 4
Well, it's time to say bye bye to Busan, catching the morning flight back to KL where my 2 cutie pies were anxiously waiting for mommy to return. Till we meet again, saranghaeyo Busan!

• Accommodation
Elysee Hotel **** (Good!)
A 3 star hotel located nearby to Yongdunsa Park, very friendly front-desk service & clean room. Recommended for small family of 2-4 person.
You may read more about it here

Dandi Airbnb apartment **** (Good!)
Location: very centrally located, just 5 minutes walk to nearby underground train station & gwangbok-ro, few convenient stores nearby and in fact it's just right next to the well known 40-steps culture stairway 40계단 문화관광테마거리
Price: very reasonable for sharing up to 10 pax. Comes with free breakfast (toast and cereal)
Cleanliness: very clean, clean toiletries & fresh towels were provided.

You may read more about this airbnb here

That's all about our 4 days 3 nights in Busan. It's a once in a life time experience to travel with a group BFF without the kiddos, and experience the free-and-easy feeling of being single lady again. I would think that all mommies shall do this once in a while! 

Thanks my jimui for the wonderful travel memory... Friendship forever! ❤️

And to YOU, thanks for reading and please don't forget to LIKE and SHARE! 😉

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