I waited all year for this scheduled long break of year 2014 and it finally arrived. And then again, in a blink of the eye, it is now all over. Oh sigh! But the fact that I had done the trip, here I am commencing yet another travelogue series on my blog! Haha!
A little background information in case you are interested… The girls and I met while we were trying to earn some extra pocket money after our major exams and waiting for our results. Aside from our age, we had a couple of hiccups with the a handful of supervisors/ managers at the place we were working at and probably that helped to make us grow and bond stronger while we were dealing with it together.
And then we got separated and sent to work at other random locations, posted to different schools and majored at different courses in school but somehow the chemistry was right and we remained in contact no matter what.
Fast forward to today, and pretty much unbelievable to us still, 10 years has passed! The days of temporary part-time jobs or dealing with school are all over, all of that became history to us now. It was time we do a trip together and the nonsensical side of us decided that we will do a long break with a grand total of 13 days in Korea together! Yup, 13 days covering Busan and Seoul with these dearest girls since 10 years ago and counting…
[Korea September/October 2014]
26th September 2014 – Day 1
Seomyeon Shopping District, Gwangalli Beach & Gwangan Bridge
The countdown is over and it was finally going to happen! Just the thought of waking up next to these girls for the next 13 mornings got me so excited but still, it isn’t like we can teleport or something. We had to go through a 12-hour flight with AirAsia before we can get there.
We flew with AirAsia since they offer an affordable flight to Busan instead of the usual destination of Incheon Airport in Seoul. Also, it was 12 hours because the flight included a transfer at KLIA2 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Never mind the airline or the duration, it was really affordable and got us there nonetheless!
Home at Busan
I always find joy in lodging at a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) rather than a hotel room somehow and since we are going to plan the trip from scratch, we did our homework and a long round of shortlisting all the possibilities before we finally picked this apartment off AirBnb!
So for a start, let me introduce to you, our home in Busan for three nights!
This studio apartment is situated in a quaint neighborhood with eateries/restaurants and convenience stores located in close proximity. It takes about 5 minutes walk from the nearest metro station, Beomnaegol Station. And from there, you are basically situated right smack in the middle of Busan and very accessible to all the other areas via the metro train!
On the apartment itself, it is neat and cosy. Quite well-maintained but a little on the small side. I thought it is probably good for about two to three persons. Or a family with kids, I would say. Aside from that, one of the main reasons that the girls and I decided to take up this space for our visit to Busan because the owner was really very helpful and prompt to reply to every message I sent across. Most importantly, thank goodness he can converse well in English!
Seomyeon Shopping District 서면역
When we were done settling down in our apartment after arriving in Busan from an all-night flight, we had approximately half a day left. We didn’t want to start any sight-seeing frenzy just yet and since it was almost lunch time, we scooted off to Seomyeon district in search for food, glorious food!
I am nowhere keen to join the queues just to try out Yoogane Dak Galbi 유가네 닭갈비, the latest sensation from Korea that found its way to the shores of Singapore, I thought why not we try them in Korea where it originates from! But, I probably logged the wrong information with an outdated address and we had to pick an alternative from the street just beside Lotte Department Store to settle our lunch!
This eatery offers a small variety of Korean and Chinese fusion dishes in sizable portions. And they have an innovative dish that combines the popular jjajangmyeon 짜장면 and jjambong 짬뽕 together that we didn’t see anywhere else. Pretty yummy I must say.
Pojangmacha 포장마차 is a typical mobile food stall that you can find on the streets of Korea and they usually come with tents attached to shelter the customers stopping by for a bite. Of course there are various choices of food you can find off a pojangmacha but the most common, just to name a few, are namely tteokbokki 떡볶이 and odeng 오뎅.
Anyway, it’s not that we didn’t have enough for lunch, we were just being greedy and cannot resist it when we walked pass a pojangmacha outside Lotte Department Store! Hehe…
From what I had gathered, Daehyeon Underground Shopping is a shopping arcade that runs under Jungang-daero, the main street that cuts through Seomyeon district. It stretches from Bujeon Station, pass Seomyeon Station until somewhere near Judies Taehwa or even further.
And aside from that, the area revolving around Seomyeon Station or what everyone calls it as Seomyeon Shopping District, offers countless of malls and other shopping and food options on street level. [Read: Be prepared to shop till you drop!]
Map of Seomyeon Shopping District for illustration of the places I had mentioned.
Click for an enlarged view!
Gwangalli Beach 광안리 해수욕장 & Gwangan Bridge 광안대교
We were slowly growing tired of shopping and starting to feel hungry all over again despite munching on all the street food non-stop ever since we arrived in the district so we decided to make a move and hop over to Gwangalli Beach when the sun is gradually setting over Seomyeon.
When we got there, the streets along Gwangalli Beach is actually so overwhelming. There were one too many options in that area from local eateries to big franchised names and the horrifying thing is that all of them are crowded to the brim so we had a tough time deciding what to eat for dinner.
We chose Mom’s Hands in the end as it definitely looked like it serves authentic Korean dishes and simply because it was starting to get windy and chilly when we were closer to beach and a hot bowl of stew is all we really want. Besides, what are we going to do with a hamburger in hand while we are in Korea right? Haha!
Thank goodness our random pick off all the choices was right and a kind local helped to recommend some of her favorite dishes from the eatery, our dinner turned out awesome! The dishes were all very scrumptious and I cannot stop thinking about the Soft Tofu Stew. The tofu was so soft (no pun intended) and smooth that I would love to believe that it was homemade. And all that awesomeness decked together with generous helpings of sliced pork and cabbage in a savory and slightly spicy bean paste broth. Oh man… how I miss this bowlful!
Each building was brightly lit with lights as colorful as the rainbow, there was a concert, so many restaurants and coffee places to check out. What a happening place!
Of course, not forgetting to end off our day with a quiet celebration for the birthday girl at one of the cafes along the beach! A change in environment and location calls for a different kind of birthday “cake” so it shall be patbingsu from Cafe Pascucci! Happy birthday once again, Xin! Hehe!
Map of Gwangalli Beach & Gwangan Bridge for illustration of the places I had mentioned.
Click for an enlarged view!
And with that, we ended off the very first day of our escapade in Busan and headed home to catch up on proper rest and prepare ourselves for more activities the following day! Stay tuned!
More posts from Korea September/ October 2014 travelogue series:
- Day 1 – Seomyeon Shopping District, Gwangalli Beach & Gwangan Bridge
- Day 2 – Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Market, BIFF Square, Gukje Market & Gwangbok-ro Fashion Street
- Day 3 – Shinsegae Centum City, Haedong Yonggungsa & Jong-ga Daebak Jib
- Day 4 – KTX Busan to Seoul & Myeongdong
- Day 5 – Gwangjang Market, Bukchon Hanok Village (Samcheong-dong) & Insa-dong
- Day 6 – Edae Shopping District
- Day 7 – Gangnam and Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil
- Day 8 – Ihwa Mural Village and Namdaemun
- Day 9 – Hongdae (Hongik University Street)
- Day 10 – Hangang Park
- Day 11 – Bupyeong (Incheon) and Cheonggyecheon (Seoul)
- Day 12 & 13 – Flashback and Goodbye Korea (for now)!