Due to the short term notice nature of my trip to Japan I had to keep flight prices in mind (since it was also Easter Weekend and on top of that prime Cherry Blossom season) so I ended up booking a trip over Korean Air with a 17 hour layover in Busan on the first leg of my trip.
Busan is South Korea’s second most populous city after Seoul and is nestled between mountains and the sea on the southern-most tip of Korea.
I had been to Korea before in 2012 to Seoul but never Busan and welcomed this short stopover as a good opportunity to get a glimpse of this city. After some issues with public transportation (due to late arrival at Gimhae Airport and lack of Korean language skills) I arrived at my couchsurfing host for the night. Luckily, Koreans are some of the most friendly and helpful people I have ever met, so I managed to get to my host just after midnight. He lives in a cute little apartment right next to the beach with stunning views of the beach and the towering high rises along the coast (see picture above).
The next morning I set out to explore the area by the beach and head down to a street supposedly lined with cherry blossom trees. The weather wasn’t too great but I enjoyed the walk on the beach, people playing with their puppies and jogging along the shore. After a delicious pastry from a cute bakery on the way I took a stroll through the streets lined with cherry blossom trees. Magnificent!
Since my flight was at 4pm in the afternoon I decided to collect my things and make my way to another area of Busan, Gamcheon Culture Village. It was again a bit of a challenge to get there, but once again the people of Busan were so helpful and friendly (someone even paid for my bus fare as I didn’t have any change and only large bills!) so I managed to get there in the end. You have to take a tiny little bus that takes you up the winding little streets up to the “village”, which is famous for it’s colorful houses nestled close to each other on the mountain. They even call it the “Favelas” of Korea!
I was lucky that the sun came out for a bit while I was there but unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to explore the little alleys due to my tight schedule… so I hailed a cab and headed back to the airport, where I tried some seafood noodles that proved that I have no tolerance towards spiciness…
I am really glad I had the opportunity to combine two places in one trip – and one thing is for sure: This wasn’t my last time in Busan… :)