Busan: The Coastal City

Remember how I said I had a lull in my work so I was going to post more? Well, that didn’t turn out how I expected haha. But this time, for real, there is a lull. I promise. I will be doing more regular updates for the next few months.

Last time I talked about Jeju, an island off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula. In this post I’ll be talking about Busan, the coastal city on the south-eastern coast of Korea.

Seagulls are kinda scary when they fly so close.

Busan might actually be my favourite city in Korea. It’s the second largest city and it’s filled with a ton of natural, historical, and cultural spots. It has pretty much everything you need for a good and peaceful life. That said, a lot of life in Korea revolves around Seoul, meaning that a lot of events and things are centered around Seoul, which is not necessarily close to Busan.

Regardless, I really enjoy going to Busan. I’ve been there a bunch of times, typically going a few times a year. Busan is most well-known for their nature. They have the country’s largest beaches and like any other part of Korea, also has a ton of hikeable mountains.

A big city with greenery and the ocean, wonderful.

Gwangalli is by far my favourite beach in Busan. Everyone always talks about Haeundae, but Haeundae is boring. Gwangalli is where it’s at. It’s closer to the city center, has an awesome bridge, and is just, better. Pretty much every time I go to Busan I end up going to Gwangalli even if just for a short time.

It’s really relaxing to just be by the beach and eat and drink. At night time the bridge lights up as well and people start shooting small fireworks around and it makes for a pretty great atmosphere.

And speaking of fireworks, Busan also has an insanely big fireworks festival. Every year in the fall they have the Busan Fireworks Festival by Gwangalli Beach where literally a million people show up to watch the show. I’ve been twice and it truly is a spectacle.

Fireworks, lasers, and lights.

The fireworks are big, and it’s all choreographed to music. It’s a really great show. Lots of people, but great show.

Moving away from Gwangalli, Busan also has a lot of great cultural and historical stuff too. During the Korean War a lot of Korea was destroyed but Busan actually stayed relatively intact. As a result it’s actually an “older” city in the sense that not as much of it was rebuilt. Plus, a lot of refugees came to Busan from all over Korea and so it ended up becoming a city that looks visually different from most of the other cities.

Like you have the Gamcheon Culture Village which is pretty unique looking. Korea normally has pretty grey buildings, but that village decided to not be grey and so it’s just pastel coloured. It’s also kind of a hub for some art stuff too, so it’s a neat walk around.

Buildings in the Gamcheon Culture Village are pastel coloured.

Busan just feels more like a city that evolved naturally rather than some other big Korean cities which feel very artificial. The entire place has a sense of (modern) history, which to me is really nice.

Speaking of modern history, Busan also has a war cemetery which commemorates the fallen of the Korean War. It’s kind of an interesting place to go to as well if you are interested in modern history, but it’s a cemetery so it’s not really a super big sightseeing place.

Aside from this kind of stuff, Busan also has a lot of traditional spots as well. One of the most famous is Yonggungsa, which is Korea’s only temple that is by the water. The temple itself is not that special, but it’s cool that it’s by the water. But what’s even more especially cool is when it’s Buddha’s Birthday because then the temples get decorated with a bunch of lanterns.

Colourful lanterns in a temple by the water,

Many temples get lanterns during that time, but of course it’s cool when its by the water because the ocean is great.

There’s a lot of other neat things to say about Busan. One of my favourite is G-Star, a large Korean gaming convention they have every year. I’ve been twice, and it has always been cool to check out some more gaming stuff. I wanted to go again last year, but because of school I couldn’t make it.

Gaming is big in Korea and so I really enjoyed going to a gaming convention. They frequently host esports events and showcase a lot of games and cool technology. In fact, the first time I went was because they had a Brood War tournament with some pros I liked.

Lots of people, lots of interesting games.

There’s a lot I can say about Busan. It’s a cool place and I really like it. I highly recommend others to go visit it. Most people just end up going to Seoul because it’s by the airport, but it’s always worth the trip down to Busan. It even has it’s own (small) airport, which could make it a good stop on the way to Japan or Jeju.

Author: Gary

Explorer, Creator, Gamer. #IDKAIST MSc and #UOITGameDev Alumni.

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