Not gonna lie that it’s weird to be writing this seven months after this trip. But given that I will be staying home for the time being, I’ve made the decision to tick off items on my To Do list I had been procrastinating with. So here’s to ticking off moving to another blog domain (teesh.blog is now my new home!) and catching up on my posts.
My emotional and mental state at the time and where I am right now couldn’t be any more different. 2019 has been one of my more vulnerable years, and it had taken a lot to get myself back to a place where I am actually doing myself more good than harm. I think I can now admit that this was the trip I shed most tears on. While I did have fun and was happy to be there, no one could tell from beyond my Instagram stories and social media posts just how sad I got as well. I cried in the train. I cried while I was drunk at the beach. I cried while missing my mom. I cried myself to sleep. I even got sick from all that crying (and it didn’t help that I spent a couple of days in rainy Busan). I cried for the future I had lost and for the bright-eyed version of me who looked forward to 2019 with so much hope.
But as I said in a previous post back in June (that was one of the hardest to write) – time is a one-way street and all I can do is keep pushing forward. Time will eventually put all things into the place where they’re meant to be in.
Moving back to my Busan trip now~
I went to Busan via the KTX train from Seoul Station. To be completely honest, I have yet to watch the Train to Busan film in full and only ever watched parts of it. But I knew from the title alone that it was a long journey to Busan with a train filled with zombies. Fortunately, the train was zombie-free and it was one of the most comfortable three-hour train ride I have gotten on.
WHERE I STAYED
Busan is famous for having really nice beaches, so I wanted to stay somewhere that had a nice view of the ocean. My visit coincided with the tail end of summer in South Korea, as well as the weekend right before school starts that a lot of the hotels have already been booked. Luckily, I found this fairly new hotel right at the Mipo Harbour and a few minutes away from Haeundae Beach.
It is a small hotel with only one floor serving as an actual hotel, while the rest of the floors are literally restaurants. I got the Ocean Double room and it was definitely worth it. The room was not as big as my room in Seoul and of course, had less amenities too. But waking up to the view of the ocean (even when it was raining really hard) is an experience I would not trade for a bigger room. 😛
Can I just say that all toilets should definitely have a bidet?
I think the coolest part of this room aside from the view is the pop up television. In order to still have a TV in the room but still save space, and keep that view unobstructed, the TV was hidden right by the window. Cool, right?
Hotel: Mipo Oceanside Hotel
WHAT I DID
Staycation! I had the misfortune of being in Busan during really bad weather coupled with getting sick, so I spent a lot of time in my room. Fortunately, there’s a water kettle and complimentary water in the hotel so I got to eat instant noodles in the comfort my hotel room. There was also something peaceful about watching the storm surge outside this huge window while I cocoon myself in a warm blanket. Looking back, I should have been worried about tsunami and the likelihood of it happening, but I guess I was lucky that the odds were in my favor.
Burned so many calories by exploring Gamcheon Culture Village. When you ask anyone who has been to Busan, I guess the most popular tourist spot and the number one on their list of things you should not miss in Busan is this place. Due to its popularity, getting to Gamcheon Culture Village was a breeze. There were signs everywhere! Taylor Swift’s album Lover came out while I was on my way to the village, and the directions were easy enough that I paid more attention to listening to the discography instead of where I was going but still got there in one piece.
Since it’s a tourist attraction, when you get off the bus, you immediately see an information booth for visitors. You can buy a map of the entire village from there and collect stamps from specific places. They give out free postcards at specific stamp points, too! I would say that the map was useful, however, I also got lost in the middle of exploring the village and couldn’t pinpoint where I currently was. Coupled with the fact that it was sweltering, it was not the most fun I have had while sightseeing.
I’m not gonna lie that when I chanced upon an empty taxi driving by, I immediately flagged it down and headed back to the station. The great thing about Gamcheon is that while the area is a bit further out into the mountains (coming from Haeundae), there are other interesting sights to see within the vicinity. One of them is the BIFF Square which was an area that was heavily renovated in preparation for the Busan International Film Festival. The area was fun to walk around in since they had tons of street food, alleyways lined with restaurants and hip clothing stores.
I also went to Seomyeon and got hopelessly lost in the underground shopping area. There were a couple skincare brands in the underground area as well, where I bought items my friends asked me to buy for them.
Since Busan is a seaside city, there were other beaches aside from Haeundae Beach. I went to Gwangalli Beach before I met up with Busan Oppa. The thing about beaches in Busan is unlike the Philippines where beach-side cities really look like a tourist destination, you don’t even feel like the beach is right there until you get to it.
I met up with Dorawayo at Gwangalli Beach where he took photos of me and toured me around the area before we headed to his home for a nice seafood dinner.
We then went to the seafood market to buy ingredients for the dinner. You can rest assured that everything in the market is fresh because they’ll literally catch it from the fish tanks when you buy them. Insane!
I made another attempt in getting a tan in Haeundae Beach. I am a pale Asian who never really tan. I do get sunburned but then I return to my previous complexion once I leave the beach. Since I was already staying in the area, I decided to just go for it and try to hang out at the beach whenever the sun is out.
Aside from my tanning attempts, I also liked to buy snacks to eat at the beach while I aggressively played Taylor Swift’s album Lover repeatedly.
The thing I like the most about beaches in Busan is while the ones I visited is definitely not as beautiful as the ones in the Philippines, it’s clean. And they have free changing rooms, as well as different beach paraphernalia that was free for anyone to use.
HOW MUCH DID I EAT
I finally went out to try Lotteria. Lotte is a huge brand in South Korea and they have malls, amusement parks, and even their own food chain. I ate this while I was at the train station.
Because of the unfortunate weather while I was in Busan, I opted to dine at the restaurant downstairs. On my first rainy night, I had ox bone soup with rice. All my next meals were samgyupsal which the staff cooked for me because I obviously sucked at it and I guess they took pity on me. Haha!
I gorged on street food while I was at the BIFF Square. They had an entire street lined with stalls of street food that it was hard to pick just one option to eat in.
I am a huge fan of pastries and when I passed by the pretty macarons over at Dalcaron (still on BIFF Square), I immediately bought a box of assorted macarons. Ahhh, so pretty and so yummy!
Of course, no trip to SoKor is complete without eating at Yoogane.
On my last night in Busan, I had a home cooked dinner with Dorawayo. I booked the seafood dinner with Busan oppa and it was such an awesome experience. All the other guests who were scheduled to go cancelled at the last minute and I was the only guest for the night. Dorawayo split the market bill with me and we ended up eating all of it! I also finally got to try raw octopus which you can watch on my vlog below. 😀
If you wanna see me turn a live octopus into a raw octopus meal, watch this video!