For Seollal, my friend and I went to Busan! It was amazing! We arrived Thursday, and left Sunday.
I left my apartment at 8:45ish, and took a taxi to the express bus terminal. Because the Olympics are going on, I decided I would take a bus to Seoul and from there take the KTX down to Busan (
really wanted to make a Train to Busan joke here). By doing this I could avoid all the Olympic traffic in Gangneung (for those who don’t know, all the ice events are in Gangneung not Pyeongchang).
I took a 9AM bus to Seoul, and arrived around 12:45PM. From the Bus terminal I took the ITX to the KTX station, and found out that all of the KTX stations go to different places, and I had gone to the wrong station. I arrived at the correct KTX station at 13:30, and was horrified by the huge line for the counter. I saw a way to skip the line since I had a domestic card, and tried to use the machine. I’m assuming it was because of Seollal that most trains were sold out. I ended up buying a Korail ticket instead of a KTX ticket, and that train left at 17:40. I had to wait for a few hours at the station before I could leave, and then because it was Korail instead of a KTX I didn’t arrive in Busan until 23:15ish.
When I got to Busan, I followed the directions the Korail attendant gave me to get to the right part of Busan to find my hostel. I got to the hostel at 00:05, talked with my friend for a while and went to sleep probably around 1am.
Because of Seollal, most places were closed, so my friend and I went to the Haedong Yonggung Temple in the morning. This place was beautiful!! (Pictures can be found on Instagram: world.member) It is a Buddhist Temple beside the sea. We also ate Hotteok for the first time, and I love it! So tasty!!
We then walked around Haeundae a bit to look around and eat lunch. Most places were closed, but the beach was gorgeous, and we found an Indian restaurant to eat at. I was so excited for Indian food since I hadn’t had Indian food since I left home.
That night, the hostel owner organized an event for everyone staying at the hostel to eat out together. We ate at a Korean Barbecue place, went to an expat bar, and then went to Noraebang.
This is my first time at a hostel, so it was really cool! I got to hear new peoples stories from traveling and why they are in Korea, and made new friends.
It was also my first time at an expat bar because I try to avoid them, but it was a new experience. I’m glad I went with a group, but I will continue to avoid the expat bars as much as I can.
Noraebang was a lot of fun! We had the big group, and when the time ended, half the group left and half of us stayed for another hour. We had someone from Argentina, and he wanted to dance which was a lot of fun doing a different type of dance!
This is what I wanted to go to Busan for. The Gamcheon Culture Village. AHHHHH I was so excited! It was so cool to see all the colorful houses and the random bits of art around the village. We walked around there for a bit and then on the way back to the subway we stopped and went up a hill where we could see all of Busan. This was not planned, we did not know it was there, but it was an amazing view.
We then took the subway one stop over, walked around a fish market, ate lunch at Mr. Pizza’s and ended up near Lotte Market where we explored a huge shopping district. After the person we were waiting for arrived, we went through Lotte Market and got surprised by a water show that was happening inside the building. When we finished window shopping, we went and saw Black Panther before going back to the Hostel.
We dropped our stuff off at the hostel and headed towards the beach to drink at a bar. I thought we’d just do a couple drinks, but then the group of Korean guys next to us invited us to play darts with them. It was 3 vs 3, and we lost lol we all talked for a bit, which was fun, but then it was a bit of an abrupt ending to the conversation and we went back to our individual groups.
I told my friends I’d be right back, and I went to go to the bathroom, where I saw a really drunk Korean girl about to go into the men’s bathroom, so I pulled her away to avoid a mishap. She was really surprised to see a foreigner, and started talking to me. This led to a really long conversation, and she wanted our groups of friends to drink together. She was really nice, and also really drunk lol She ended up sitting with my table for a little bit while her friends tried to take her away (they seemed pretty embarrassed). Before they took her away, she put her number in my phone, and called her phone so she could have my number too. We left soon after, and it was a good night overall, at the very least it was entertaining.
Sunday morning, I saw a missed call from the girl from the bar, and being a bit concerned I messaged to make sure she got home okay. After that she texted for a bit, apologizing, but since she remember the whole night, she asked if she could keep my number, so next time I’m in Busan we can hang out. I agreed since she seems really nice, and would like to hang out with her when she’s sober.
11 o’clock was the checkout time for the Hostel, and a few of us were checking out at the same time, so we were all talking with the owner of the hostel who is incredibly kind before checking out. At the time, my plan was to go to Daejeon and spend a night there, but it later changed. My friend and I went to the Korail/KTX station, and since all the tickets were pretty much sold out, I ended up taking a train to Daegu instead. I said goodbye to my friend, and went on my train. On the way to Daegu, a different friend messaged, and we ended up making plans to hang out in Chuncheon. Instead of spending a night in Daejeon, I stayed in Chuncheon before coming back home.
Buying tickets in advance is usually a good idea. However, if you make mistakes like going to a wrong station, or if something happens like a change of plans, this can easily backfire.
Watch out for events that could affect travel plans! For this trip, it was the Olympics, but there are a lot of Festivals/Events around Korea that could also affect your plans.
With big holidays where families travel to see each other, keep an eye on tickets to see if they are selling out.
Know how to get where you need to go from various cities, so have backup plans. When I was trying to buy a ticket from Busan, I asked for a few different cities that I knew I could get home from because so many were sold out.