What’s up in Busan?
UNTUK VERSI BAHASA MELAYU, KLIK SINI.
Busan is boring?
It is boring if you only get to be there only for a night, after all those walking tours across Seoul and Jeju Island. This will be my last post on my South Korea visit. After this I finally can move on with California.
We include Busan into our South Korea visit last October. But only for a night since we planned to spend more days in Jeju Island (which is, the right decision to do anyway). And we flew to LA from Busan.
Actually, Busan isn’t a boring city. There are plenty stuff to do and places to see in Busan. But due to limited time and budget, we choose to stay only for one night. The fact that we were exhausted from walking tours in Seoul and Jeju Island made our experience in Busan wasn’t so appealing. We flew into Busan from Jeju Island on first flight which is 7AM. So guess what is the time we had to check out from our hotel? 3AM. Plus, flight delayed and riding in and out, up and down subway and train once we reached Busan with our heavy luggage makes our Busan trip is a miserable one (to me). Both of us slept like a dead log once we checked into our hotel in Busan. It was a miserable experience and at that moment all I wished the trip to end.
The mood to explore Busan city was off. But knowing that we hit the city during its Fireworks Festival (23 – 24 October) at Gwangalli Beach, so we decided to make it there. We didn’t do proper research for Busan, we ended up staying in Seomyeon, which is quite far from the festival location. If you wish to visit Busan, I suggest that you stay in Gwangan area. The area similar to Gold Coast Australia, with lots of shopping mall and restaurants. It was an hour train ride from Seomyeon to Gwangalli Beach and again, it was a miserable ride. Did I tell you that I avoid any festival celebrations, concerts and street demonstration (even it’s for a good cause) in the city at all cost? Because I can’t stand the crowd. But I made an exception this time, here in Busan because;
One thing I forgot to mentioned in my previous post regarding South Korean in general – They are a zombie nation ready. I can say all of them are consumed by the smart phones/ android, it applies to all generation, young and old.
1) We are not coming to Busan everyday
2) The Koreans have a very good manners when it comes to queuing
3) I’m a sucker for fireworks
I had to stand through out the train ride. No seats available.
We happened to chat with another American on the train. He works in Busan so, he seemingly know his way around Busan. We took his advice to take off one train stop before Gwangan Station because it will be jammed packed on festival day at Gwangan station. And it will be a short walking distance to the firework area too. We ended walking quite a long distance finding our way to the festival location because I forgot that ‘a short distance’ for a white guy is like 5 kilometers.
We were starving from all the walking we made and started to find decent restaurant for a meal. Oh well, Busan isn’t popular like Seoul yet where, there are plenty halal restaurant can be found. We ended up eating at local vegetarian restaurant that selling only Ramen. The smell of sesame oil tricked us to it. Well, the taste isn’t that good. Have you ever tried healthy vegan soup? Yeah, the taste of healthy foods are like that. Tasteless. Haha. But it’s cheap. KRW 3,000 per big bowl. No tourist in sight except the two of us. The waiter had to use google translation on her android phone in order to explain the menus to us. No body can speak English in that restaurant. Such a local eateries experience we had that day.
After our early dinner, we continue with our walk to the festival area. It’s free. We refused to take that white guy we chatted on the train’s advice to watch the fireworks from the distance.
Oh wow, the festival is a thing to these people here indeed. They even set up a tent, serious good spot reservation complete with mat and picnic basket. We were looking hard for a good spot but it seems impossible although we were there one hour before the fireworks started..
Suddenly I wanted to pee so bad. Oh crap, I almost give up when I look at the long queue. What makes me mad is that, there is no one at gent’s side. I feel how lucky to be a guy at that moment. On the positive side, the public toilet is still clean and odorless with that kind of crowd. It won’t be the same if its public toilet in KL.
Finally I managed to find my spot. After I got a permission from this Korean guy to SIT UNDER HIS CAMERA’S TRIPOD. That’s the only spot I can get. What a miserable spot and experience I must tell you. I can’t move much or else I will knock that tripod leg. Mike refused to join my miserable wagon so he stood across the street.
And the show starts..
The fireworks went on for one hour with one break in between. The show wasn’t that great for the first 30 minutes. Not that wow to me. So we decided to leave early to avoid the massive crowds at the subway. When we leaving the area, the fireworks show suddenly became extravagant. They lit it up everywhere, south and north, east and west of the sky and the whole Gwangalli Diamond Bridge also all lit up by fireworks. I was so pissed since I unable to take a clear shot since millions of people head and hair around me.
Even though we leave early, it was still a struggle for us get down to the subway. Police and guards helped with the queue formation and release the crowd like 20 people at a time. But the arrangement was kind of smooth and it didn’t take long for us to get into the subway and hop into the train.
Here is the video of us against the crowds
It was a miserable trip for me. But it wasn’t Busan or anyone’s fault. It was me that chose to experience it.
Busan, South Korea